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Review by Brad Harmer
Darth Plagueis: one of the most brilliant Sith Lords who ever lived. Possessing power is all he desires. Losing it is the only thing he fears. As an apprentice, he embraces the ruthless ways of the Sith. And when the time is right, he destroys his Master - but vows never to suffer the same fate. For like no other disciple of the dark side, Darth Plagueis learns to command the ultimate power...over life and death.
Darth Sidious: Plagueis's chosen apprentice. Under the guidance of his Master, he secretly studies the ways of the Sith, while publicly rising to power in the galactic government, first as Senator, then as Chancellor, and eventually as Emperor.
Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious, Master and acolyte, target the galaxy for domination - and the Jedi Order for annihilation. But can they defy the merciless Sith tradition? Or will the desire of one to rule supreme, and the dream of another to live forever, sow the seeds of their destruction?
If anyone was going to tackle the back history of the most enigmatic of all Star Wars characters, I’m sure as hell glad it was Luceno. I’d have been happy with Stover or Karpyshyn, but I’m seriously glad it was Luceno. Luceno really manages to “get” Star Wars characters (especially the bad guys) better than most, and it’s never more evident than in this depiction of Palpatine. You can hear the voice, see the mannerisms and feel the character in every scene that he’s in.
The darker characters of Plagueis, Sidious and Maul underpin the events leading up to a during the bright and cartoonish The Phantom Menace, lending a great gravitas to the previously vague and wishy-washy explanations for the presence of the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo.
The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: Surprisingly infrequent, but always grisly and brutal when it does arrive.
Summary: The finest Star Wars EU novel so far, and it sets a great, dark backstory to the events of the otherwise bright and cartoonish The Phantom Menace. Essential for Star Wars fans. 10/10