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On Sale: June 28, 2011
Pages: 368 | ISBN: 978-0-307-79565-6
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

There is a great disturbance in the Force. . . . From the sleek ships of the glimmering Coruscant skyscape to the lush gardens of pastoral Naboo, dissent is roiling. The Republic is failing, even under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, elected ten years earlier to save the crumbling government. Separatists threaten war, and the Senate is hopelessly divided, unable to determine whether to raise an army for battle or keep the fragile peace. It is a stalemate that once broken, could lead to galactic chaos.

Mischievous and resolved, courageous to the point of recklessness, Anakin Skywalker has come of age in a time of great upheaval. The nineteen-year-old apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi is an enigma to the Jedi Council, and a challenge to his Jedi Master. Time has not dulled Anakin’s ambition, nor has his Jedi training tamed his independent streak. When an attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala’s life brings them together for the first time in ten years, it is clear that time also has not dulled Anakin’s intense feelings for the beautiful diplomat.

The attack on Senator Amidala just before a crucial vote thrusts the Republic even closer to the edge of disaster. Masters Yoda and Mace Windu sense enormous unease. The dark side is growing, clouding the Jedi’s perception of the events. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, a slow rumble is building into the roar of thousands of soldiers readying for battle. But even as the Republic falters around them, Anakin and Padmé find a connection so intense that all else begins to fall away. Anakin will lose himself—and his way—in emotions a Jedi, sworn to hold allegiance only to the Order, is forbidden to have.

Based on the story by George Lucas and the screenplay by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales, this intense and revealing novel by bestselling author R. A. Salvatore sheds new light on the legend of Star Wars—and skillfully illuminates one of our most beloved sagas.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Chapter Four



The four starships skimmed past the great skyscrapers of Coruscant, weaving in and out
of the huge amber structures, artificial stalagmites rising higher and higher over the years, and
now obscuring the natural formations of the planet unlike anywhere
else in the known galaxy. Sunlight reflected off the many
mirrorlike windows of those massive structures, and gleamed
brilliantly off the chrome of the sleek ships. The larger starship,
which resembled a flying silver boomerang, almost glowed,
smooth and flowing with huge and powerful engines set on
each of its arms, a third of the way to the wingtip. Alongside it
soared several Naboo starfighters, their graceful engines set out
on wings from the main hulls with their distinctive elongated
tails.

One of the starfighters led the procession, veering around
and about nearly every passing tower, running point for the second
ship, the Naboo Royal Cruiser. Behind that larger craft came
two more fighters, running swift and close to the Royal Cruiser,
shielding her, pilots ready to instantly intercept any threat.

The lead fighter avoided the more heavily trafficked routes of
the great city, where potential enemies might be flying within the
cover of thousands of ordinary vehicles. Many knew that Senator
Amidala of Naboo was returning to the Senate to cast her vote
against the creation of an army to assist the overwhelmed Jedi in
their dealings with the increasingly antagonistic separatist movement,
and there were many factions that did not want such a vote
to be cast. Amidala had made many enemies during her reign as
Naboo’s Queen, powerful enemies with great resources at their
disposal, and with, perhaps, enough hatred for the beautiful
young Senator to put some of those resources to work to her
detriment.

In the lead fighter, Corporal Dolphe, who had distinguished
himself greatly in the Naboo war against the Trade Federation,
breathed a sigh of relief as the appointed landing platform came
into sight, appearing secure and clear. Dolphe, a tough warrior
who revered his Senator greatly, flew past the landing platform
to the left, then cut a tight turn back to the right, encircling the
great structure, the Senatorial Apartment Building, adjacent to
the landing platform. He kept his fighter up and about as the
other two fighters put down side by side on one end of the platform,
the Royal Cruiser hovering nearby for just a moment,
then gently landing.

Dolphe did another circuit, then, seeing no traffic at all in
the vicinity, settled his fighter across the way from his companion
craft. He didn’t put it down all the way just yet, though, but
remained ready to swivel about and strike hard at any attackers,
if need be.

Opposite him, the other two fighter pilots threw back
their respective canopies and climbed from their cockpits. One,
Captain Typho, recently appointed as Amidala’s chief security
officer by his uncle Panaka, pulled off his flight helmet and
shook his head, running a hand over his short, woolly black
hair and adjusting the black leather patch he wore over his
left eye.

“We made it,” Typho said as his fellow fighter pilot leapt
down from a wing to stand beside him. “I guess I was wrong.
There was no danger at all.”

“There’s always danger, Captain,” the other responded in a
distinctly female voice. “Sometimes we’re just lucky enough to
avoid it.”

Typho started to respond, but paused and looked back
toward the cruiser, where the ramp was already lowering to the
platform. The plan had been to get the contingent off the exposed
platform and into a transport vehicle as quickly as possible.
Two Naboo guards appeared, alert and ready, their blaster
rifles presented before them. Typho nodded grimly, glad to see
that his soldiers were taking nothing for granted, that they
understood the gravity of the situation and their responsibility
here in protecting the Senator.

Next came Amidala, in her typical splendor, with her paradoxical
beauty, both simple and involved. With her large brown
eyes and soft features, Amidala could outshine anyone about
her, even if she was dressed in simple peasant’s clothing, but in
her Senatorial attire, this time a fabulous weave of black and
white, and with her hair tied up and exaggerated by a black
headdress, she outshone the stars themselves. Her mixture of intelligence
and beauty, of innocence and allure, of courage and
integrity and yet with a good measure of a child’s mischievous-ness,
floored Typho every time he looked upon her.

The captain turned from the descending entourage back to
Dolphe across the way, offering a satisfied nod in acknowledgment
of the man’s point-running work.

And then, suddenly, Typho was lying facedown on the permacrete,
thrown to the ground by a tremendous concussion,
blinded for a moment by a brilliant flash as an explosion roared
behind him. He looked up as his vision returned to see Dolphe
sprawled on the ground.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion for Typho at
that terrible moment. He heard himself yelling “No!” as he
scrambled to his knees and turned about.

Pieces of burning metal spread through the Coruscant sky
like fireworks, fanning high and wide from the wreckage. The
remaining hulk of the Royal Cruiser burned brightly, and seven
figures lay on the ground before it, one wearing the decorated
raiments that Typho knew so very well.
Disoriented from the blast, the captain stumbled as he tried
to rise. A great lump welled in his throat, for he knew what had
happened.

Typho was a veteran warrior, had seen battle, had seen people
die violently, and in looking at those bodies, in looking at
Amidala’s beautiful robes, at their placement about the very still
form, he instinctively knew.

The woman’s wounds were surely mortal. She was fast dying,
if not already dead.


“You reset the coordinates!” Obi-Wan Kenobi said to his
young Padawan. Obi-Wan’s wheat-colored hair was longer now,
hanging loosely about his shoulders, and a beard, somewhat unkempt,
adorned his still-young-looking face. His light brown
Jedi traveling clothes, loose fitting and comfortable, seemed to
settle on him well. For Obi-Wan had become comfortable, had
grown into the skin of Jedi Knight. No longer was he the intense
and impulsive Jedi Padawan learner under the training of
Qui-Gon Jinn.

His companion at this time, however, appeared quite the opposite.
Anakin Skywalker looked as if his tall, thin frame simply
could not contain his overabundance of energy. He was dressed
similarly to Obi-Wan, but his clothing seemed tighter, crisper,
and his muscles under it always seemed taut with readiness. His
sandy-blond hair was cropped short now, except for the thin
braid indicative of his status as a Jedi Padawan. His blue eyes
flashed repeatedly, as if bursts of energy were escaping.
“Just to lengthen our time in hyperspace a bit,” he explained.
“We’ll come out closer to the planet.”

Obi-Wan gave a great and resigned sigh and sat down at the
console, noting the coordinates Anakin had input. There was little
the Jedi could do about it now, of course, for a hyperspace
leap couldn’t be reset once the jump to lightspeed had already
been made. “We cannot exit hyperspace too close to Coruscant’s
approach lanes. There’s too much congestion for a safe
flight. I’ve already explained this to you.”

“But—”

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan said pointedly, as if he were scolding a
pet perootu cat, and he tightened his wide jaw and stared hard
at his Padawan.

“Yes, Master,” Anakin said, obediently looking down.

Obi-Wan held the glare for just a moment longer. “I know
that you’re anxious to get there,” he conceded. “We have been
too long away from home.”

Anakin didn’t look up, but Obi-Wan could see the edges of
his lips curl up in a bit of a smile.

“Never do this again,” Obi-Wan warned, and he turned and
walked out of the shuttle’s bridge.

Anakin flopped down into the pilot’s chair, his chin falling
into his hand, his eyes set on the control panels. The order had
been about as direct as one could get, of course, and so Anakin
silently told himself that he would adhere to it. Still, as he considered
their current destination, and who awaited them there,
he thought the scolding worth it, even if his resetting of the coordinates
had bought him only a few extra hours on Coruscant.
He was indeed anxious to get there, though not for the reason
Obi-Wan had stated. It wasn’t the Jedi Temple that beckoned to
the Padawan, but rather a rumor he had heard over the comm
chatter that a certain Senator, formerly the Queen of Naboo,
was on her way to address the Senate.

Padmé Amidala.

The name resonated in young Anakin’s heart and soul. He
hadn’t seen her in a decade, not since he, along with Obi-Wan
and Qui-Gon, had helped her in her struggle against the Trade
Federation on Naboo. He had only been ten years old at that
time, but from the moment he had first laid eyes on Padmé,
young Anakin had known that she was the woman he would
marry.

Never mind that Padmé was several years older than he was.
Never mind that he was just a boy when he had known her,
when she had known him. Never mind that Jedi were not allowed
to marry.

Anakin had simply known, without question, and the image
of beautiful Padmé Amidala had stayed with him, had been
burned into his every dream and fantasy, every day since he had
left Naboo with Obi-Wan a decade ago. He could still smell the
freshness of her hair, could still see the sparkle of intelligence
and passion in her wondrous brown eyes, could still hear the
melody that was Padmé’s voice.

Hardly registering the movement, Anakin let his hands return
to the controls of the nav computer. Perhaps he could find
a little-used lane through the Coruscant traffic congestion to get
them home faster.


Klaxons blared and myriad alarms rent the air all about the
area, screaming loudly, drowning out the cries from the astonished
onlookers and the wails of the injured.

Typho’s companion pilot raced past him, and the cap-tain
scrambled to regain his footing and follow. Across the way,
Dolphe was up and similarly running toward the fallen form of
the Senator.

The female fighter pilot arrived first, dropping to one knee
beside the fallen woman. She pulled the helmet from her head
and quickly shook her brown tresses free.

“Senator!” Typho yelled. It was indeed Padmé Amidala
kneeling beside the dying woman, her decoy. “Come, the danger
has not passed!”

But Padmé waved the captain back furiously, then bent low
to her fallen friend.

“Cordé,” she said quietly, her voice breaking. Cordé was one
of her beloved bodyguards, a woman who had been with her,
serving her and serving Naboo, for many years. Padmé gathered
Cordé up in her arms, hugging her gently.

Cordé opened her eyes, rich brown orbs so similar to
Padmé’s own. “I’m sorry, m’Lady,” she gasped, struggling for
breath with every word. “I’m . . . not sure I . . .” She paused
and lay there, staring at Padmé. “I’ve failed you.”

“No!” Padmé insisted, arguing the bodyguard’s reasoning,
arguing against all of this insanity. “No, no, no!”

Cordé continued to stare at her, or stare past her, it seemed
to the grief-stricken young Senator. Looking past her and past
everything, Cordé’s eyes stared into a far different place.

Padmé felt her relax suddenly, as if her spirit simply leapt
from her corporeal form.

“Cordé!” the Senator cried, and she hugged her friend
close, rocking back and forth, denying this awful reality.

“M’Lady, you are still in danger!” Typho declared, trying
to sound sympathetic, but with a clear sense of urgency in his
voice.

Padmé lifted her head from the side of Cordé’s face, and
took a deep and steadying breath. Looking upon her dead friend,
remembering all at once the many times they had spent together,
she gently lowered Cordé to the ground. “I shouldn’t have come
back,” she said as she stood up beside the wary Typho, tears
streaking her cheeks.

Captain Typho came up out of his ready stance long enough
to lock stares with his Senator. “This vote is very important,” he
reminded her, his tone uncompromising, the voice of a man
sworn to duty above all else. So much like his uncle. “You did
your duty, Senator, and Cordé did hers. Now come.”

He started away, grabbing Padmé’s arm, but she shrugged
off his grasp and stood there, staring down at her lost friend.

“Senator Amidala! Please!”

Padmé looked over at the man.

“Would you so diminish Cordé’s death as to stand here and
risk your own life?” Typho bluntly stated. “What good will her
sacrifice be if—”

“Enough, Captain,” Padmé interrupted.

Typho motioned for Dolphe to run a defensive perimeter
behind them, then he led the stricken Padmé away.

Back over at Padmé’s Naboo fighter, R2-D2 beeped and
squealed and fell into line behind them.


From the Hardcover edition.
R.A. Salvatore|Author Q&A

About R.A. Salvatore

R.A. Salvatore - Attack of the Clones: Star Wars: Episode II
R. A. Salvatore was born in Massachusetts in 1959. He is the author of the DemonWars trilogy: The Demon Awakens, The Demon Spirit, and The Demon Apostle, as well as the novels in the Second DemonWars Saga: Ascendance and Transcendence. He is also the author of Mortalis, The Bastion of Darkness, the New York Times bestseller Star Wars® The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime, and the novel based on the screenplay Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Diane, and their three children.

Visit the author’s Web site at www.rasalvatore.com

Author Q&A

A Conversation with R.A. Salvatore


DR:Your last foray into the STAR WARS universe, VECTOR PRIME, featured the death of Han Solo’s partner, Chewbacca. I think it’s safe to say that for a while there you weren’t in danger of winning any popularity contests among Star Wars fans! That might have soured some writers on the idea of doing another book in the series. A novelization is obviously different from an original novel, but even so, I can’t help wondering if you felt any hesitation about doing ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

RAS: Of course. The Chewie incident came at a very bad time in my life. I’d lost my brother, my best friend. I don’t think the world will ever look quite the same to me. At that time, honestly, it was tough for me to generate empathy for people who wrote to me all upset about the loss of a fictional character. Now, in retrospect, I think I can appreciate the deep love that many people have for George Lucas’s GFFA. These are more than fictional characters to many folks. What a tribute to George Lucas that is! And even though it’s a novelization and I’m playing off someone else, I got to sit down with George Lucas and listen to the guy who created all this. That’s a life experience. You don’t turn down things like that.

DR:Um, “GFFA”?

RAS: Galaxy Far Far Away.

DR:I said earlier that a novelization is obviously different from an original novel, but it occurs to me now that perhaps it’s not so obvious after all. How does the writing process differ? Had you done novelizations before? Did this one present any special challenges?

RAS:Well, of course the basis of the story is already done in a novelization. I get a script to write off of. The script had a lot of meat. A lot of it’s psychological. You’ve got this really torn teenager. You start seeing the indications that something’s not right in Anakin’s world. Here’s a guy we know is heading for darkness. I was afraid that the turnover for Anakin was gonna be just a simple thing. People don’t snap like that and go over to the dark side. Maybe they have temporary rage, but they don’t become Darth Vader because of that. But with Anakin, there’s a lot more to it. That’s the real beauty of it. I think that was a nice touch with the script.

What I’m trying to do in the novelization is find those fingers, those side-stories, that will help flesh out the main story. And of course, it’s always easier when I don’t have to come up with too many names! After so many novels, I’m about out of names.

DR:Can you give us an example of the kind of side-stories you’re talking about?

RAS:Not without having my head explode from the famous Lucasfilm implant.

DR:How do you flesh out a story that isn’t really yours to begin with? Did George Lucas work with you on this?

RAS:I had a great meeting up at the Skywalker Ranch with George Lucas, and really got some insights into what he’s trying to accomplish beyond the film. One of his requests was that I try to concentrate on Padmé’s side of the story. George actually took me down the screening room and showed me all the scenes they shot with Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen. They were beautifully shot.

DR:Has doing the novelization ruined the movie for you?

RAS:Absolutely. I don’t even like trailers! Well, on the other hand, it will be interesting to see the finished product after watching the process for so long.

DR:I know you haven’t seen the movie yet, but based on the script, what do you think fans are going to enjoy most about ATTACK OF THE CLONES?

RAS:I can only speak for myself here. What I enjoyed most is the pacing. We know where we’ve been with Anakin in Episode I, and know where we have to be at the end of Episode III. Watching George Lucas take us there is what has most captured my attention. Of course, there are always those incredible special effects!

DR:Lets’s talk about your own writing for a little bit. What’s next for R.A. Salvatore?

RAS: Immortalis, the finale of the DemonWars series (though I hope to go back and do more books in that world, in different times and/or different places). I just started it the other day, after finishing up the Drizzt book that’s coming out this fall, The Thousand Orcs. My next release is TRANSCENDENCE, which is out at the same time as Episode II.

DR:Is TRANSCENDENCE a continuation of a series, or something brand new?

RAS:DemonWars was originally supposed to be six books, split into two trilogies. The first — The Demon Awakens, The Demon Spirit, and The Demon Apostle — tells the story of Elbryan and the coming of the demon. After I finished that series, I started on the second trilogy, only to realize that I needed a seventh book, a bridge book, to tell of the transition in Pony’s life. Mortalis was born, and to this day, I think it’s not only the best thing I’ve ever written, but the best thing I’ll ever write. Then came the second DemonWars trilogy: Ascendance, TRANSCENDENCE, and the book I just started, Immortalis. I am so very satisfied with this series; it did exactly what I wanted it to do, personally and professionally.

Del Rey:You’ve mentioned in public several times that Tolkien’s work greatly influenced your writing. Which other writers have influenced you, both within the genre and without?

R. A. Salvatore: I think Terry Brooks has been both a friend and an inspiration, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Fritz Lieber as a huge source for me. His Grey Mouser has been quite an inspirational archtype! Also, many of the modern day writers, like Grisham and Crichton, help me along, because they have an understanding of the readership of today. It’s a very different world out there. Readers weaned on MTV and television in general digest information differently than readers of 50 years ago.

DR: Obviously reading is important to you, as is fostering a love of reading in your own kids. Are you involved with any literacy projects in your hometown?

RAS: I sponsor a writing scholarship with my local high school and I visit schools, happily, when asked. I’ve just been so flat-out busy lately, with DemonWars, Dark Elf, and Star Wars® that many things have sort of disappeared from my life. As things settle down, I’ll be able to get back out there more often.

DR:Let’s talk about the act of writing. You are extremely prolific. Is there a routine you follow? Are you a disciplined writer?

RAS: If you’re not a disciplined writer, you’re not a professional writer. It’s that simple. Time management is everything. I write at all hours of the day, whenever the mood strikes and real life allows. And of course, as deadlines approach, I make the mood strike more often. Typically, I try to get about a thousand words done in the morning, right after the kids get off to school. Then I’ll go back to work in the afternoon for an hour or so, and try to get a bit more done at night. Fifteen hundred words a day is a good average right now — hopefully, after I catch up, I’ll get back to between 500 - 1,000 a day.

DR: Then do you have any sage advice for new writers?

RAS: I tell everyone who professes an interest in the business the same thing: if you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, then you’re a writer. I really believe it’s that simple. Writers have to write to be happy, though they’re often miserable while they’re doing it (ask my wife). Writing isn’t a choice for me, nor is it one for any professional writers that I know. Does this mean that if you feel that writing is your calling, you’ll sell books and make a living at it? Absolutely not, because the business of being a writer is a different thing than the calling to be a writer. The way I look at it is, simply, write your stories in the manner in which you feel the most comfortable, then hope that enough readers enjoy your style for you to make a living out of it.


From the Hardcover edition.

Awards

Awards

WINNER New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age

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