Knight ErrantJune 8, 2011 at 3:54 am | Posted in Books | 6 Comments
Tags: Books, star wars
I’ve got a long history with Star Wars novels. Everything from their premier line of books that feature the Skywalker extended family, to less reliable fare like Coruscant Nights. All in all, their more famous protagonists are usually kept to a minimum standard while other books tend to hit or miss.
Which is why I was a little apprehensive when I picked up Knight Errant. It’s a book set about 1000 years before A New Hope. Similar to the era of the Darth Bane trilogy (Darth Bane is 30 years later) where Sith forces control large parts of the galaxy. Not to be confused with the era in which Sith forces control large parts of the galaxy in the Great Galactic War, the setting of SWTOR.
It’s based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name, and in fact, has the same writer. You get a preview of the comic within the pages of the novel, art and all, but in all honesty comic books rarely move me anymore. Their depth can be shallow, dialogue stilted, details truncated, leaving little but the art to admire and I’ve always been more of a words person.
I haven’t read the comic series and normally that would annoy the hell out of me before reading a novel that follows up on a previous story.
There was something different about reading Knight Errant though. It is a well written, tightly plotted, adventure that reminds me of the feeling of watching those first Star Wars movies. Encountering countless problems that need to be overcome. Lead characters who find themselves thrown together but don’t necessarily get along. That desperate clinging to doing the right thing even though the odds are stacked against Kerra.
Kerra Holt, a Jedi Knight trapped in Sith space. With no way home she wages a one woman war, taking no prisoners. At first I was a little put off by her character. I thought her treatment of the bothan spy Narsk in the very first pages to be overly cruel.
Past that stumbling block you grow to like, if not love, many of the characters. They have their own moral codes and driving forces behind them. It’s always disappointing to read a book where all the characters are on the exact same page morally in a situation, where there are few arguments about a course of action, and where everyone gets along swimmingly.
One of the main things I liked about the book though were the strange politics. Sith Lords have divided up their territory into dozens of kingdoms. Information has become controlled and even travel is nearly impossible. People barely know who controls neighbouring planets, let alone know how to get there.
Beyond that there is a strong orwellian theme. The Sith dominate their citizenry in the extreme, often with a draconian police state. Work, sleep, conversation and sometimes their very thoughts are not of their own will.
There is the usual fantasy meets sci-fi tone as well, with lightsaber duels, the force, epic battles and mysterious cultures. Everything you might expect from a Star Wars novel.
I think the best part is probably that the novel introduces a setting that will no doubt be useful for the books to come. It is intriguing, complex, suggests depth and an extensive world beyond the immediate setting we find ourselves in. Knight Errant was a pleasant surprise in quality. I haven’t been as satisfied with a non-Skywalker related novel since, I think, the second Republic Commando novel Triple Zero.
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