Star Wars CATALYST: “A Rogue One Novel”
By James Luceno
*Spoiler Warning for anyone who has yet to read Star Wars CATALYST: “A Rogue One Novel.”*
THE END OF THE CLONE WARS IS IN SIGHT. BUT BEYOND HOPE’S HORIZON, THE DARKEST OF STARS IS RISING.
For years, the Clone Wars have raged across the galaxy. Countless worlds have been ensnared in the conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist army led by the devious Sith Lord Count Dooku. While rumors spread that the Separatis are nearing completion of a superweapon, fear grips the Republic. In response, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine has tasked a secret team of researchers with perfecting a battle station for the Republic.
…the Death Star
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
As war rips the galaxy apart, an impending brink of scientific discovery shrouds the innocent as the soon to be technological terror is in the beginning stages of its construction.
Chancellor Palpatine has organized an elite intelligence guild to helm the development of his top-secret Death Star program. One of its members, Orson Krennic, is hell-bent on beating their scheduled timeframe and even more so, their enemies as well. Unlike the others, his motivation comes with connections, an old acquaintance and a first-rate scientist, Dr. Galen Erso.
Dr. Erso’s energy-centric experimentations have not only caught the attention of Orson Krennic, and adversaries alike, it has made him the most sought-after apparatus of The Clone Wars, and possibly, even after. If matters couldn’t get any worse, Galen Erso finds himself and the rest of his family, his wife Lyra and their daughter Jyn, forever in Krennic’s debt after he liberates them from a Separatist prison. It’s not long thereafter that Krennic offers Galen an opportunity of a lifetime; to continue his crystal research with an unlimited supply of resources. All the while, Krennic has alternative plans for his friends’ scientific discoveries, ones that’ll eventually turn the Death Star into the most powerful weapon in the galaxy.
Ensnared by the tightening grip of their sponsor, the Ersos must find a way to unsnarl Krennic’s net of carefully weaved lies and disappear without a trace. Of course, they’ll need some outside help and a little thing called “hope,” and who knows, if they try hard enough, they might just succeed…
James Luceno is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novels Tarkin, Darth Plaguies, Millennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil and much, much more. So it’s literally, no surprise to see him once again, ink the pages of yet, another literary-edition to our beloved galaxy far, far away. Even more so, Star Wars Catalyst: “A Rogue One Novel” leaves off where Star Wars: Tarkin picks up. So, in a way, they are bookends.
With that, James Luceno brings us back in time to the beginning of the dark times, the infamous Clone Wars. Only, we get a bit more than just the sneak peeks of the happenings that occurred behind the war or away from the dreaded frontlines of combat. For the first time, we come head-to-head with the very thing (well, almost) that Princess Leia in A New Hope, is so desperately trying to protect and decode – the plans to the Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star.
Luceno dives into the scientific aspects or blueprints of this technological terror’s construction and then, delves even deeper into the lore behind the Kyber Crystals. He masterfully connects the development of this scientific monstrosity throughout the events of the prequels, The Clone Wars, and into beginning stages of the Rebellion. And that’s not all, Luceno carefully orchestrates, a story within a story, as he lays the foundational background surrounding our leading family (the Ersos) in the upcoming film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Again, like matching pawns on a chessboard, James Luceno brings each character, some new and some old, into the fold and gives them purpose. And while it’s obvious that Galen Erso is the key element or Catalyst of the story (pun intended), the true spark or rather, driving force throughout the entire novel, is none other than, Lyra Erso.
Yes, Lyra, a historical preservationist and an enthusiast of wildlife, and most importantly, Jyn’s mother and Galen’s headstrong wife. She refers to herself as a transcendent and is a true supporter of the Force and its mystical ways. All of the above is enough to make any devotee of the Empire a bit wary. And so, with Orson Krennic being the lead overseer to her husbands’ research, you can say Lyra’s willful ways and unfavorable beliefs keep him on his toes. So, in a sense, she is the cog that sets the wheels in motion. Without her persistent influence and magnetic charisma, there simply wouldn’t be much of a story to tell. After all, it’s Lyra and her faith in the Force that eventually draws Saw Gerrera to the Erso family and forges a favorable bond between them, especially little Jyn.
In essence, the moral of the story of Star Wars Catalyst: “A Rogue One Novel” is it’s not a choice between right and wrong, per se. We tend to know what’s right, but it’s the actual act of doing it that happens to be the hardest part. Just like Brin, from Jyn’s favorite bedtime story, The Octave Stairway.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
Catalyst: “A Rogue One Novel” (Star Wars) by James Luceno and Del Rey Publishing was released on November 15th, 2016. Del Rey Hardcover, Kindle, and audio versions are also available. Star Wars and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates.
Thank you to Del Rey Publishing for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.
- Becca Benjamin is a Medical Receptionist for a Retina Specialist, and the Editor-in-chief for The Cantina Cast, an innovative and thought-provoking Star Wars podcast and website, with a down-to-earth approach. She is also a host (with co-host Mark Sutter) on Tarkin’s Top Shelf, a literary Star Wars podcast and the personal author for Lucasfilm artist Steve Anderson. Becca is a monthly blog contributor for Coffee with Kenobi.