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Jedi News Book Review - Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
on February 11, 2012
*** WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
The Sith have been getting a lot of love of late, what with the introduction of Darth Malgus in Star Wars: The Old Republic as well as the recent novel about Darth Plagueis, and this has continued with the release of The Phantom Menace on 10th February, and on the same day, Book of Sith, which as the title suggests, is a book, of Sith...
The book itself comes enclosed in a holocron that also contains a Sith Crystal and Talisman concealed within the tray that also holds the book. Pressing a button on the top of the holocron opens it, with a section of the front lifting-up to allow the tray inside to slide out and reveal the book, all of which is accompanied by a rather piercing wall of noise (sounding at times like force lightning, at others a lightsaber closing down) and flashing red lights. I may be easily entertained, but personally I think it's a pretty awesome feature.
The books is broken down into six texts, which, as Darth Sidious details in the preface, were recovered during his gathering of ancient Sith artifacts, and comprises Sorzus Syn's chronicle of the rise of the Sith Empire, a war journal by Darth Malgus, The Rule of Two by Darth Bane, Wild Power by Mother Talzin, a scientific journal by Darth Plagueis, and Absolute Power by Darth Sidious. A note from Luke Skywalker(!), explains that each of these sections has its own page design and trim, to distinguish the six individual texts.
In the preface of the book, Darth Sidious explains how he has seen the Grand Plan of the Sith come to fruition, as well as his purpose in compiling the texts included in the book, with one, somewhat ironically, being recovered from the Jedi Temple. Sidious goes on to briefly describe each of the texts within the Book of Sith, and how they came to be in his possession, whilst also hinting at a multi-volume Dark Side Compendium (can't wait!). Throughout the book are comments from Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Mace Windu and Quinlan Vos from the ranks of the Jedi, as well as annotations from Darth's Sidious and Vader, and Asajj Ventress.
The text written by Dark Jedi, Sorzus Syn, begins with Exile and Arrival, following her expulsion from the Republic, and covers such topics as Sith weapons, amulets & holocrons and also their conquests, alchelmy & incantations, concluding with The Sith Code and The Prophecy of the Sith'ari. The pages themselves have an almost serrated-edge and are written in a script that exemplifies the text's age, and also included within the section is a burial shroud
Printed on what looks like graph paper, Darth Malgus's journal begins mid-sentence, with an annotation from Luke stating that the section was all that survived of a longer document. Close to a year of his Rim Campaign is covered, during which Malgus discusses both victories and failures against the Republic as well as infighting with other Sith Lords, and the section ends with his search for a weapon built by Exar Kun, with an amusing remark from Darth Vader that has echoes of Indiana Jones' comment about the Nazis and their search for the ark. Malgus also makes reference to the Sith enslaving non-humans, something that was seen again in Palpatine's era, whilst also touching upon a seemingly forbidden love with a Twi'lek by the name of Eleena, and this section comes with a battle map from the Great Galactic War.
The Rule of Two, written by Darth Bane, will likely be familiar to most readers, particularly since it is referred to in Yoda's remark to Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace that "Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.", but it was not always the case. Bane explains why this philosophy must be adopted by the Sith in order to survive, by highlighting past mistakes in the Sith Empire, namely the destruction of the Brotherhood of Darkness and the Jedi Army of Light on Ruusan with the triggering of the thought bomb. He elaborates on the rule when discussing "The Title of Darth", "Striking from the Shadows", "Selecting an Apprentice" and "The Revenge of the Sith" in which he describes how one day the Sith will reveal themselves to the Jedi; sound familiar? Bane's statement that the Force is venom leads him to discuss personal, lightsaber and dark side combat, lightsaber construction and Sith variants of the weapon among other things.
Whilst not strictly a Sith, Mother Talzin writes about the Nightsisters of Dathomir in Wild Power. Not distinguishing light from dark, the Force is referred to merely as the spirits, and in her text, Talzin covers an array of topics, including "The Writings of the Nightsisters", "The Living Force and the Dark Side", "The History of Dathomir", "The History of the Nightsisters", "The Winged Goddess", "The Fanged God", "Talismans and Totems", "Beasts of Dathomir", "Nature's Vigor", "Training a Warrior", "Instruction and Transformation" and "Competing Dark Side Traditions". As might be expected, Asajj Ventress contributes a number of annotations to this text, and in "Training a Warrior", the Tests of Fury, Night and Elevation, witnessed in the Savage Opress arc of season three of The Clone Wars, are briefly documented.
The tragedy of Darth Plagueis was recently revealed in the novel named after the Muun Sith Lord, and Darth Sidious' master was described as being obsessed with manipulating midi-chorians for the purpose of creating life and preventing death. In his text, he devotes pages to "The Science of Creating Life", "Influencing Midi-Chlorians", "Perpetual Life", "Concentrating the Force", "The Philosophy of Life", "New Explorations in the Force", "Transcending Death", "The Netherworld and Chaos", "Sith Spirits" and "The Prophecy of the Chosen One" (in which he makes mention of the legend of Mortis, a planet that will no doubt be familiar to viewers of The Clone Wars), ending the text with the Sith's own prophecy, "The Culmination of the Sith'ari".
Darth Sidious' text, "Absolute Power" concludes Book of Sith and it is presented as three books: "The Weakness of Inferiors", "The Book of Anger" and "The Manipulation of Life". Whilst much of his master plan was covered in the Darth Plageis novel, Sidious does expand on how he brought about the Clone Wars as part of his master plan, referring to "The False War", "The Useful Bureaucrats" and "Hiding in Plain Sight". The artifacts accompanying this section consist of a diagram of Palpatine/Sidious' master plan and also a propaganda poster for the Galactic Empire.
All of this merely scratches the surface, and Book of Sith is enhanced greatly by original illustrations by acclaimed artists Paul Allan Ballard, Jeff Carlisle, Chris Reiff, Chris Trevas, Russell Walks, Terryl Whitlach and Aristia/Hive Studios.
Review originally posted on JediNews.ca [...]