In lieu of a single player story campaign in the highly anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront reboot, author Alexander Freed (who wrote the Imperial Agent campaign in Star Wars: The Old Republic) was brought on board to write Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company, a companion novel set after the destruction of the Death Star told primarily from the point of view of a single unit in the Rebel Alliance military, the titular Twilight Company. Despite this being his first attempt at a novel, Freed has knocked it out of the park and delivered what is easily the strongest canon piece of Star Wars literature thus far; Battlefront: Twilight Company is sure to be a fan-pleasing favorite.
Twilight Company tells the story of Namir, a young warrior from an uncivilized world who finds himself dragged into the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. As part of Twilight Company, Namir takes part in an ambitious campaign by the Rebel Alliance to push inwards to the Core worlds of the Galactic Empire following the events of A New Hope. The overstretched Rebel Alliance soon deems the operation too taxing and orders a retreat, setting up the events of The Empire Strikes Back and culminating in the Battle of Sullust, easily the most ambitious battle scene of the new literary canon thus far and a tentpole of the Galactic Civil War alongside Yavin, Hoth, and Endor.
Fans of classic Expanded Universe novels by Michael Stackpole, Karen Traviss, and Aaron Allston will find much to love in Twilight Company, such as the gritty action scenes, dark humor, and “unit”-oriented storytelling that gives every character a chance to shine; you’ll meet new faces like ex-bounty hunter Brand, four-armed behemoth Gadren, and a shady Imperial turncoat with major ties to another character of the new Star Wars canon.
The book’s morally ambiguous take on the Galactic Civil War paves the way for next year’s spin-off film, Rogue One, painting shades of grey on both sides. The reader experiences several chapters from the point of view of an upstart female stormtrooper named Thara and several high-ranking Imperial advisers of dubious moral nature, while we’ll see soldiers of the Rebel Alliance engaged in horrible acts of war, teetering the boundary between noble freedom fighters to violent insurgents.
Namir himself often questions his own reasons for fighting. On his home planet, Namir found himself bounced between fighting for the dominant military force of the moment before getting swept up in the Rebel Alliance. Does Namir actually believe in the values of the Rebels, or does he just go with the flow? What is preventing him from switching to the Galactic Empire, whose success in the Galactic Civil War is much more realistic? Namir’s character arc contrasts with that of Governor Everi Chalis, an Imperial politician and efficiency agent assigned to a backwater planet in the Mid Rim of the galaxy who opts out of the Imperial war machine and promises to deliver the secrets of the Empire’s infrastructure to Rebel intelligence. The relationship between Namir and Chalis forms the backbone of Twilight Company.
While Twilight Company is easily enjoyed on its own, much of the events of the novel tie in directly with the various stories compiled in the recently released Rise of the Empire bind up, which includes the novels Tarkin and A New Dawn as well as three short stories, the story “Bottleneck” specifically setting up the backstory of one of the major players in Twilight Company. This is an example of the synergy made possible by the LucasFilm Story Group established in 2014, currently overseeing the development of a single, cohesive Star Wars canon, and the novel is easily the most continuity-building of the new novels thus far.
Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company’s dense and layered storytelling eschews the traditional Star Wars black-and-white flavoring in favor of a darker and more personal tale of varying. Explosive action scenes and dark humor only punctuate this character-driven tale, and the hardcore Star Wars fan will appreciate its heavy world-building and cameos from other characters throughout the Star Wars pantheon.