As I have been slowly making my way through the game I have been re-reading the tie-in novel ‘Battlefront 2: Inferno Squad’ by Christie Golden.
I can honestly say I was looking forward to this book when it was first announced. The promise of details on life as an Imperial Agent was intriguing to me and I loved Christie Golden’s previous Star Wars novel ‘Dark Disciple’.
The novel tells the story of the formation of Inferno Squad, a Special Forces group created in the wake of the Death Stars destruction. Originally made up of Iden Versio, Del Meeko, Gideon Hask and Seyn Marana.
Their first mission to recover intel from an Imperial Governors homestead goes well and the team are sent on a dangerous mission, to infiltrate to remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans that call themselves ‘The Dreamers’.
Once they are part of the group they search out an Imperial Agent who is executed. Gideon becomes friends with the leader, Staven. Del helps the Chandra-Fan mechanic Piikow, Seyn becomes romantically involved with a young member of the group, Sadori and Iden, who is believed to be an Imperial defector is taken in by the mysterious ‘Mentor’ to become the face of their movement.
Through time with The Dreamers the group sow seeds of dissent among the Rebels and soon tensions become high.
Sadori is killed in a mission which seems to be the final straw and when Seyn accidentally lets on that she speaks more languages that she has let on she is discovered to be another Imperial Agent within the group. In a moment of heightened emotions it is Iden that kills her friend and ally at the orders of Staven.
During some precious downtime, Iden breaks into the Mentors tent and discovers a data pad full of information on possible locations for targets. The remnants of Inferno Squad finish their mission, with Iden discovering that The Mentor is actually Liz Bonteri, who fought with Saw during the Clone Wars who became an Imperial Senator and defected.
Hask kills the remaining Dreamers and the team return to the Empire as heroes.
Christie Golden really gives us some great characters, you feel Iden’s hatred for the Rebels and get it. We live in a world where most of our Star Wars stories have been told from the perspective of the Heroes and now we learn how it feels to live, breathe and believe in the Empire and what it takes to succeed. Iden’s relationship with her father is wholly relatable, she always strives for his approval and never feels that she really gets it. Even when she sees him for the first time after being one of the few survivors of the Death Star he merely says something like “Nice of you to be able to join us.” and she accepts it as paternal warmth and she uses her feelings towards her father to convince Staven that she hates the Empire when he needs convincing of her loyalty to The Dreamers, it’s her brutal honesty that saves her life but at the same time all she knows is the Empire and so it is her home and the only way of life she knows.
As far as the rest of the team, their stories aren’t as in depth but we do get a sense of their characters and understand the way the act and think when it comes to the storyline of the game. Hask is Empire through-and-through in all ways, he is very black-and-white in his thought process whereas Del and Iden allow a bit of grey to peek through from time to time which eventually leads then down their path after the Battle of Endor.
Seyn is a great addition to the team and following her time with The Dreamers and her conflicted feelings for her burgeoning relationship with Sadori as part of her cover really causes her to doubt some of her actions, which eventually leads to his death and subsequently her own by not concentrating and breaking cover, even only slightly.
The scene where she is sentenced to death and then Iden having to do it is tough to read because it’s so emotional and her final words to her Commander ‘For the Empire.’ Are both chilling and devastating for Iden.
Whilst it’s not my favourite novel in the new Canon it’s definitely one I will go back to frequently because it’s a great story and the characters are rich and, hopefully we’ll get some more content with them set between this book and the Battlefront 2 game. Definitely one to pick up and once you do it’s tough to put down.
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