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Abnett, Dan
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of Greg Bear

Greg Bear has written dozens of books, earning him several Hugo and Nebula awards.  He and his wife Astrid Anderson Bear have two children, Erik and Alexandra.  His website can be found at www.gregbear.com.
Average Review Score: 4 out of 5 (1 book)

Star Wars: Rogue Planet
Three years after 'The Phantom Menace', Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are sent to an enigmatic planet in search of a missing Jedi Knight.  A good many Star Wars book fans strongly disliked this book, but I'm prepared to say that is was the best story to come out of the merchandise explosion that followed Episode I's release.  Rather than trying to cash in on an element of the film (*ahem* 'Darth Maul - Shadow Hunter'), Bear writes an original stand-alone story dealing largely with the exploration of a strange new world and in that way, 'Rogue Planet' is a lot like many of the post-RotJ Star Wars novels.  It's also our first real chance to see the development of the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, with Anakin struggling against the restrictions of the Jedi lifestyle and Obi-Wan feeling very much in Qui-Gon's shadow (he's even taken to using Qui-Gon's lightsaber).  As well as the development of the prequel characters, Bear also goes to some effort to tie the book into the larger Star Wars saga.  It has strong ties to the massive New Jedi Order series, featuring the discovery of the Yuuzhan Vong's first foray into the galaxy and revealing the true identity of Vergere.  The book's villains (although that word doesn't really fit one of them) will also be known to Star Wars fans; Raith Sienar (the guy who goes on to design TIE-Fighters for the Empire) and Wilhuff Tarkin (Peter Cushing in 'A New Hope').  In fact, the book's finest moment is one between Sienar and Tarkin, who are both friends and enemies, in which Sienar reveals his designs for a moon-sized battlestation (that coupled with Zonama Sekot's surprising travel abilities give Tarkin some familiar ideas).  Other highlights include the first time Anakin kills with the Force and the boy's discovery of a sport to fill the gap in his life since he stopped Podracing.  Sadly, because of Lucasfilm's strict control of the prequel era, there is a strong feeling of restraint about the book, as if Bear wanted to go further but wasn't allowed.
4 out of 5
'Anakin Skywalker stood in a long, single-file line in an abandoned maintenance tunnel leading to the Wicko district garbage pit.'

If you liked Bear:

Then you might like to try the New Jedi Order books, which tell the further stories of Vergere, Zonama Sekot and the Far Outsiders.

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