Soldier for the Empire (Star Wars: Dark Forces, Book 1)

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9780425165287: Soldier for the Empire (Star Wars: Dark Forces, Book 1)

Kyle Katarn is a decorated graduate from the Imperial Military Academy who would forfeit his life for the Empire. But when he learns of his father's untimely death--and the devastating way in which he was killed--Kyle swears revenge against the very Imperial forces he was about to join. His opportunity comes when the Rebel Alliance offers him a special mission: break into the Imperial Research Facility on Danuta, find the Death Star plans, and bring them out.

Any sensible person would call it suicide. Kyle calls it vengeance.

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Review:

In Soldier for the Empire, writer William Dietz and painter Dean Williams have accomplished something rare among the numerous spinoffs of the Star Wars films: a story that captures the essence of Star Wars while charting new territory in terms of character development.

The story is a simple one. Like Luke Skywalker, Kyle Katarn is a young farm boy who dreams of the stars. But for Kyle, the way off his home world is through the Imperial Military Academy, not through a Jedi mentor. Just as Kyle reaches the end of his training in a vicious firefight on a Rebel-held asteroid, his father, Morgan, is killed in an Imperial attack. As he learns the truth behind his father's death, Kyle is awakened to a terrifying vision of the Empire that he has grown to respect, and he suddenly finds himself working for the Rebels to steal plans for the newly completed Death Star.

By integrating Kyle's tale into the actual plot of Star Wars, Deitz makes his novel especially relevant for Star Wars fans. But what really drives Soldier for the Empire are the grim details that bring the war to life. Dietz's vision of the Empire recounts the awesome discipline of Nazi Germany, and his descriptions of Dark Jedi Jerec are reminiscent of the twisted minds that must always stand behind organized evil. At the same time, by going inside the Empire (and into the psyches of Storm Troopers), Dietz reveals the seductive power of that evil. Dean Williams's award-winning paintings are a perfect complement to the story, creating a cinematic life for the text. Kyle's tale continues in Rebel Agent and Jedi Knight. --Patrick O'Kelley

About the Author:

William C. Dietz grew up in the Seattle area, spent time with the Navy and Marine Corps as a medic, graduated from the University of Washington, lived in Africa for a year, and has traveled to six continents. Dietz has been variously employed as a surgical technician, college instructor, news writer and television producer, and currently serves as Director of Public Relations and Marketing for an international telephone company.

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