Hard Contact - Karen Traviss

Hard Contact

By Karen Traviss

  • Release Date: 2004-10-26
  • Genre: Science Fiction
Score: 4.5
From 144 Ratings


As the Clone Wars rage, victory or defeat lies in the hands of elite squads that take on the toughest assignments in the galaxy–stone-cold soldiers who go where no one else would, to do what no one else could. . . .

On a mission to sabotage a chemical weapon research facility on a Separatist-held planet, four clone troopers operate under the very noses of their enemies. The commandos are outnumbered and outgunned, deep behind enemy lines with no backup–and working with strangers instead of trusted teammates. Matters don’t improve when Darman, the squad’s demolitions expert, gets separated from the others during planetfall. Even Darman’s apparent good luck in meeting an inexperienced Padawan vanishes once Etain admits to her woeful inexperience.

For the separated clone commandos and stranded Jedi, a long, dangerous journey lies ahead, through hostile territory brimming with Trandoshan slavers, Separatists, and suspicious natives. A single misstep could mean discovery . . . and death. It’s a virtual suicide mission for anyone–anyone except Republic Commandos.

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!


  • Hard Contact

    By RedRiots66
    Traviss does Star Wars better than anyone, as good as the early Zahn stuff
  • Worth the Read

    By mbfree226
    Sadly it doesn’t follow Delta Squad, however it does give us insight to new and interesting characters!
  • Realistic soldiering

    By jmbwashi
    As a career soldier myself I was very please the the writer did the research to have the characters use current military language and tactics. Adding the Star Wars skin on top just made it better.
  • Greatest Series EVER

    By y alex o
    Every book is absolutely amazing. True Star Wars fans will LOVE
  • 5 book bundle

    By Patty21222324
    I love the series this book has spanned. But I think iTunes should release an entire 5 book bundle with all the republic commando novels and the 501st instead of individually
  • The Clone Wars may have been fought with Jedi, but they were fought BY Clones

    By ShrikeOne
    I have a confession to make: after reading the publisher’s summary on the back of the book, I was originally going to skip it. The story sounded generic and I’ve read it before in a number of other Star Wars books. The good guys are stuck in enemy territory and have a mission to complete, been there, done that. After hearing all the praise for it I decided to give it a go and boy, am I happy I did! By the end, I can honestly say my initial impression was correct, the story was quite generic. A squad of clone commandos must infiltrate a Separatist-controlled planet and extract a Separatist scientist. Needless to say, McGuffin-chasing storylines have been done to death in Star Wars novels and this book doesn’t deviate too much from that trend story-wise. So why would I give it a five star rating? The characters and character-interactions are some of the best I’ve ever read. It’s been said (by me) that the Clone Wars were fought with Jedi but by Clones. We’ve seen Jedi-Clone Trooper relations before, but this book by far pulls it off the best. After being separated from his comrades, Clone Trooper Darman meets Jedi padawan Etain, a girl with an overwhelming sense of self-doubt. Being only a padawan, she lacks combat experience, is unskilled with the Force, and as a result openly questions her Jedi status. This made her a very relatable character, possibly the most relatable in the entire Star Wars universe. She is juxtaposed against Darman, a man who, by contrast, is firm in his duty and resolve. Trained and bred to be the perfect soldier, Darman and the rest of the Clone Commandos are experienced fighters and killing machines. They know their purpose and are good at their job, much to Etain’s envy. Despite this, the clones and Etain share a common trait: their naiveté. While Etain is naïve in the ways of combat, the clones are naïve in their life experience due to their accelerated growth. Darman is only 10 years old and spent his whole life on military training grounds, never seeing the galaxy at large and eating not much more than tasteless nutrition cubes. On top of that, Etain is one of the only females the clones have ever met. This use of foil characters made for a great dynamic and had me constantly turning pages. If I had any problems with the book apart from the plot, it would the main villain. One can tell Traviss did her best to make him not come off as unoriginal and derivative, but in the end his motivations were left underdeveloped. We do learn the reason why he decides to fight for the Separatists but it’s only mentioned a few times and he spends most of the book simply trying to stop the commandos and we learn nothing of his past. (Minor nerd rant: he’s a Mandalorian, but what happened to his clan and why isn’t he with them? The book never reveals it.) He isn’t a bad villain by any stretch of the imagination – on the contrary he actually comes off as cool, collected, and intelligent and his actions make sense – but his character simply paled in comparison to the main cast’s development. Overall, this was a very good book and I haven’t seen such well-written and relatable characters since I read the Thrawn Trilogy. I would recommend this book to fans of character-driven stories rather than plot-driven ones. If you’re looking for huge space battles, epic lightsaber duels, or mind-boggling plot twists, look elsewhere. Instead go in expecting a very personal story that allows you to see into the everyman of the Clone Wars. ALTERNATE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS (apart from the rest of the series): Annihilation by Drew Karpyshyn and Kenobi by John Jackson Miller. Both have stories that on their own aren’t too special, but it’s the characters and character dynamics that turn pages.
  • Brilliantly crafted series

    By B.f.b.2
    I bought the entire series on paperback and I have read every book up until “True Colors”. This is by far the best book set that I have ever read due to the enticing characters, vivid details, brilliantly thought out story line, and how generally realistic it is, from how the individuals in this series interact with each other and their surroundings, to how they handle the situations on hand. I have been studying the U.S Navy SEALS (which the clone commandoes are based off of) for the past 3 years and Karen Traviss must have put her all into the series and has actually gone and talked to military operatives, because the way that these young men act in this book seems to be identical to how the men in the SEALS act. To sum this up if you are looking to read an enticing book that will keep an iron grip on you, then buy this.
  • Slow, sufffers from source material

    By ryan123450
    I didn't really like this one. I think it suffered from the source material. It's probably hard to stretch a video game plot into a full length novel and make it interesting. I like later books in the series, though, so if you're going to read the others, I suppose slogging threw this one would be worth it. Since the series was cancelled on a cliffhanger without ever getting any resolution though, you might want to rethink even wanting to start this series at all.
  • Fantastic

    By Crazy Wii
    Great characters and well thought out equipment. Very realistic and will keep you hanging until the end
  • Series

    By Hhfdsqersssxx
    What is the first book i want to read the series