USA Today releases excerpt from the Star Wars Battlefront II tie-in novel, Inferno Squad


Iden Versio, star of Star Wars Battlefront II, witnesses the First Death Star’s destruction in a new excerpt from the game’s tie-in novel, Inferno Squad.

“The Rebellion has hope. The Empire has Inferno Squad.”

That’s the tagline for Del Rey’s newest adult Star Wars novel, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden, releasing on July 25. As its title indicates, the novel is a tie-in to Electronic Arts’ upcoming Star Wars video game, Battlefront II. Both the game and the novel star a new character named Iden Versio, and she is the commander of Inferno Squad: an elite team of Imperial soldiers.

In the game’s canon storyline, the Squad is tasked with avenging the Emperor after the destruction of the Second Death Star. But in the novel, the timeline is set during and just after the events of A New Hope.

Image Credit: Del Rey

The excerpt of Inferno Squad released by USA Today places Versio in a TIE fighter outside the First Death Star. There, in the cold of space, Versio witnesses the massive station’s explosion.

"The pale moon-shape of the Death Star loomed behind the vessel, its gargantuan size making the rebel ship look like the toys she’d been allowed to play with as a child. The Y-wing was making for Yavin as fast as it could, swerving erratically enough that Iden frowned as she tried to get a lock on it.A sudden scalding brightness filled her vision.Temporarily blinded, Iden hurtled wildly, her TIE fighter tum­bling out of control. As her vision returned, she realized debris was coming at her as intensely as if she had suddenly materialized inside an asteroid field. Her focus, always powerful, narrowed to laserlike precision as she frantically dodged and swerved, maneuvering around the biggest pieces and wishing with all her being that TIE fighters had shields.Iden pivoted and tumbled, breathing the mercifully still-flowing oxygen deeply and rhythmically. But she knew in her heart it was just a matter of time. There was too much debris, some of it the size of a standard escape pod, some of it as small as her clenched fist, and she was right in the thick of it. The smaller pieces were pelting her TIE fighter already. Sooner or later, one of the big chunks would hit her, and both Senior Lieutenant Iden Versio and her ship would be noth­ing more than smears on what was left of Yavin’s moon.Somehow, she’d wandered too close to the Death Star’s target and had gotten swept up in the chaotic sweep of its destruction—exactly what her commander had been warning her against.But how was that possible?"

Read the full excerpt here.

In addition to releasing the excerpt, USA Today also interviewed the author of Inferno Squad, Christie Golden. Golden has written several Star Wars books, including the canon novel Dark Disciple about the morally conflicted Asajj Ventress from The Clone Wars. Clearly, Golden is familiar with writing complicated characters who straddle the thin line between good and evil.

Based on what she told USA Today, she had fun straddling that line again for Inferno Squad:

"“It was wonderful to be able to explore the Empire’s side of things through the eyes of someone who is a strong, likable person who firmly believes in what she’s been taught the Empire espouses… Iden is a deep, complex character who is faced with decisions and choices that are often harsh and sometimes downright brutal.”"

The harsh decisions Versio and her team face in Inferno Squad will, apparently, yield moral consequences:

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"“Like so many things in life, once you’re in the situation you realize things aren’t simple at all… How far do you go? What do you really believe? Is there any line you won’t cross for the cause you champion? What are the consequences if you do and if you don’t? The whole idea of gray, rather than black and white, fascinates me.”"

I love the idea of humanizing characters traditionally considered to lean toward the “bad side” of galactic conflicts. The truth is that most people are not truly evil; they are just deluded, living the lies told to them by someone with no code of honor whatsoever. I wonder how Versio and the rest of Inferno Squad handle the responsibilities given them, and if they will defect to the other side by the end of Battlefront II.

Inferno Squad by Christie Golden releases in stores in hardback, e-book and audiobook formats on July 25. 2017. Star Wars Battlefront II, meanwhile, debuts in stores on November 17, 2017.