ISBN 10: 1565112024 / ISBN 13: 9781565112025
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The Star Wars saga continues with William Dietz's Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire. The brilliantly told story brings to light the events that ripped apart the life of young Kyle Katarn, turning him into a man without friends or family—a man devoted only to vengeance. The Rebel Alliance employs Katarn, a freelance fighter, to fight their cause in numerous perilous situations. But Katarn is interested in fighting the Empire for his own reasons and has no allegiance to the Rebel cause. He doesn't mind fighting the fight of the Rebel Alliance, because it enables him to fight against the powerful Empire, for which he harbors a bitter hatred that is rooted deep inside him. Katarn's haunting past reveals that he was once in training to become an Imperial soldier, dedicated to the service of the Emperor.
Written by John Whitman, based on a novel by William C. Dietz
Produced by Tom Voegeli
Directed by Peter Moore
Music by John Williams

Randal Berger as Kyle Katarn
Christopher Bloch as Rosco Ross
Virginia Burke as Courier
James Cada as Sergeant Major Hong
David Chase as Morgan Katarn
Mo Collins as Jan Ors
Patrick Coyle as Nathan Donar
Bob Davis as Skorg Jameson and Lando Calrissian
Chris Forth as Mon Mothma
Gary Groomes as Governor Donar and Major Horst
Allen Hamilton as Jerec
Ken Hiller as Narrator
Peter Moore as Meck Odom and Slyder
Tim Russell as Captain Thrawn, A-Cee, and General Mohc

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

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