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Darth Plagueis (Star Wars) Hardcover – January 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Star Wars (Book 19)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034551128X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345511287
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (494 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Luceno is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novels Millennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil, as well as the New Jedi Order novels Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial and Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force, and the eBook Darth Maul: Saboteur. He is also the author of the fantasy novel Hunt for the Mayan Looking-Glass, available as an eBook. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and youngest child.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

9780345511287|excerpt

Lucerno / STAR WARS DARTH PLAGUEIS

PART ONE:

Enlistment

67–­65 Years Before the Battle of Yavin



1: THE UNDERWORLD

Forty-­seven standard years before the harrowing reign of Emperor Palpatine, Bal’demnic was nothing more than an embryonic world in the Outer Rim’s Auril sector, populated by reptilian sentients who expressed as little tolerance for outsiders as they did for one another. Decades later the planet would have a part to play in galactic events, its own wink of historical notoriety, but in those formative years that presaged the Republic’s ineluctable slide into decadence and turmoil, Bal’demnic was of interest only to xenobiologists and cartographers. It might even have escaped the notice of Darth Plagueis, for whom remote worlds held a special allure, had his Master, Tenebrous, not discovered something special about the planet.

“Darth Bane would appreciate our efforts,” the Sith Master was telling his apprentice as they stood side by side in the crystalline cave that had drawn them across the stars.

A Bith, Tenebrous was as tall as Plagueis and nearly as cadaverously thin. To human eyes, his bilious complexion might have made him appear as haggard as the pallid Muun, but in fact both beings were in robust health. Though they conversed in Basic, each was fluent in the other’s native language.

“Darth Bane’s early years,” Plagueis said through his transpirator mask. “Carrying on the ancestral business, as it were.”

Behind the faceplate of his own mask, Tenebrous’s puckered lips twitched in disapproval. The breathing device looked absurdly small on his outsized cleft head, and the convexity of the mask made the flat disks of his lidless eyes look like close-­set holes in his pinched face.

“Bane’s seminal years,” he corrected.

Plagueis weathered the gentle rebuke. He had been apprenticed to Tenebrous for as many years as the average human might live, and still Tenebrous never failed to find fault when he could.

“What more appropriate way for us to close the circle than by mimicking the Sith’ari’s seminal efforts,” Tenebrous continued. “We weave ourselves into the warp and weft of the tapestry he created.”

Plagueis kept his thoughts to himself. The aptly named Darth Bane, who had redefined the Sith by limiting their number and operating from concealment, had mined cortosis as a youth on Apatros long before embracing the tenets of the dark side. In the thousand years since his death, Bane had become deified; the powers attributed to him, legendary. And indeed what more appropriate place for his disciples to complete the circle, Plagueis told himself, than in profound obscurity, deep within an escarpment that walled an azure expanse of Bal’demnic’s Northern Sea.

The two Sith were outfitted in environment suits that protected them from scorching heat and noxious atmosphere. The cave was crosshatched by scores of enormous crystals that resembled glowing lances thrust every which way into a trick chest by a stage magician. A recent seismic event had tipped the landmass, emptying the labyrinthine cave system of mineral-­rich waters, but the magma chamber that had kept the waters simmering for millions of years still heated the humid air to temperatures in excess of what even Tenebrous and Plagueis could endure unaided. Close at hand sat a stubby treddroid tasked with monitoring the progress of a mining probe that was sampling a rich vein of cortosis ore at the bottom of a deep shaft. A fabled ore, some called it—­owing to its scarcity, but even more for its intrinsic ability to diminish the effectiveness of the Jedi lightsaber. For that reason, the Jedi Order had gone to great lengths to restrict mining and refinement of the ore. If not the bane of the Order’s existence, cortosis was a kind of irritant, a challenge to their weapon’s reputation for fearsome invincibility.

It was to Tenebrous’s credit that the Sith had learned of Bal’demnic’s rich lodes before the Jedi, who by means of an agreement with the Republic Senate had first claim to all discoveries, as they had with Adegan crystals and Force-­sensitive younglings of all species. But Tenebrous and the generations of Sith Masters who had preceded him were privy to covert data gleaned by vast networks of informants the Senate and the Jedi knew nothing about, including mining survey teams and weapons manufacturers.

“Based on the data I am receiving,” the treddroid intoned, “eighty-­two percent of the ore is capable of being purified into weapons-­grade cortosis shield.”

Plagueis looked at Tenebrous, who returned a nod of satisfaction. “The percentage is consistent with what I was told to expect.”

“By whom, Master?”

“Of no consequence,” Tenebrous said.

Strewn about the superheated tunnel were broken borer bits, expended gasifiers, and clogged filtration masks, all abandoned by the exploratory team that had sunk the shaft several standard months earlier. From the shaft’s broad mouth issued the repeated reports of the probe droid’s hydraulic jacks. Music to Tenebrous’s auditory organs, Plagueis was certain.

“Can you not share your plans for this discovery?”

“In due time, Darth Plagueis.” Tenebrous turned away from him to address the treddroid. “Instruct the probe to evaluate the properties of the secondary lode.”

Plagueis studied the screen affixed to the droid’s flat head. It displayed a map of the probe’s movements and a graphic analysis of its penetrating scans, which reached clear to the upper limits of the magma chamber.

“The probe is running an analysis,” the treddroid updated.

With the reciprocating sounds of the probe’s hydraulic jacks echoing in the crystal cave, Tenebrous began to circle the shaft, only to come to a sudden halt when the drilling ceased.

“Why has it stopped?” he asked before Plagueis could.

The droid’s reply was immediate. “The Em-­Two unit informs me that it has discovered a pocket of gas directly beneath the new borehole.” The droid paused, then added: “I’m sorry to report, sirs, that the gas is a highly combustible variant of lethane. The Em-­Two unit predicts that the heat generated by its hydraulic jacks will ignite an explosion of significant magnitude.”

Suspicion crept into Tenebrous’s voice. “The original report made no mention of lethane.”

The droid pivoted to face him. “I know nothing of that, sir. But the Em-­Two unit is quite insistent. What’s more, my own programming corroborates the fact that it is not unusual to find pockets of lethane in close proximity to cortosis ore.”

“Query the probe about excavating around the lethane pocket,” Plagueis said.

“The Em-­Two unit recommends employing that very strategy, sir. Shall I order it to proceed?”

Plagueis looked at Tenebrous, who nodded.

“Task the probe to proceed,” Plagueis said. When the hammering recommenced, he fixed his gaze on the display screen to monitor the probe’s progress. “Tell the probe to stop,” he said after only a moment had elapsed.

“Why are you interfering?” Tenebrous said, storming forward.

Plagueis gestured to the display. “The map indicates a more massive concentration of lethane in the area where it’s drilling.”

“You’re correct, sir,” the droid said in what amounted to dismay. “I will order the unit to halt all activity.”

And yet the hammering continued.

“Droid,” Plagueis snapped, “did the probe acknowledge your order?”

“No, sir. The Em-­Two is not responding.”

Tenebrous stiffened, narrowly avoiding slamming his head into one of the cave’s massive crystals. “Is it still within range?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then run a communications diagnostic.”

“I have, sir, and all systems are nominal. The unit’s inability to respond—­” It fell briefly silent and began again. “The unit’s refusal to respond appears to be deliberate.”

“Deactivate it,” Tenebrous said. “At once.”

The hammering slowed and eventually ceased, but not for long.

“The Em-­Two unit has overridden my command.”

“Impossible,” Tenebrous said.

“Clearly not, sir. In fact, it is highly probable that the unit is executing a deep-­seated subroutine that escaped earlier notice.”

Plagueis glanced at Tenebrous. “Who procured the probe?”

“This isn’t the time for questions. The probe is about to breach the pocket.”

Hastening to the rim of the circular shaft, the two Sith removed their gloves and aimed their long-­fingered unprotected hands into the inky darkness. Instantly tangles of blue electrical energy discharged from their fingertips, raining into the borehole. Strobing and clawing for the bottom, the vigorous bol...

More About the Author

JAMES LUCENO is The New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order novels Agents of Chaos: Hero's Trial, Agents of Chaos: Jedi Eclipse, and The Unifying Force, as well as Star Wars: Cloak of Deception, and the eBook Darth Maul: Saboteur. He also co-authored the popular ROBOTECH series with his close friend the late Brian Daley. Luceno wrote the film adaptations for The Shadow and The Mask of Zorro. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and youngest child.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

183 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Enjolras TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
[Note: I tried to make this review 100% spoiler-free, but read at your own risk. Once the book is published, I will update the review to discuss a few plot points and characters in greater depth. However, I'm happy to answer specific questions in the comments section.]

I think it's fair to say that Star Wars: Darth Plagueis is the most eagerly anticipated Star Wars novel of the past 5 years. However, Star Wars: Darth Plagueis is also one of the most risky because it delves into the backstory of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine, easily the most evil villain in all of Star Wars. Some fans were worried that the book might "demystify" Palpatine or humanize him a bit too much (just as Episode I made Anakin a bit too sympathetic a character).

So let me begin my review by stating that Star Wars: Darth Plagueis does not destroy Palpatine's character - it makes him even more evil and chilling. We do not see Palpatine as a cute little blond boy. While the book spends a good deal of covering Palpatine and his machinations, it's quite clear how the younger Palpatine presented in this book grew up to become the sadistic Sith Lord of the films. There were a few times when Palpatine's actions even sent a slight shiver down my spine. We do, however, learn a bit more about how exactly Palpatine rose to power and where his urges stem from.

As for the title character, I think James Luceno does a great job of bringing Darth Plagueis to life.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Peter Morrison on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Everything I tell you is a lie. Every question I ask is a trick. You will find no truth in me. " ~ Vergere, to Jacen Solo (New Jedi Order: Traitor)

Expectations are a funny thing, they affect how we perceived things for good or ill. The danger that any book runs is that it's reviews will hype it up too much, that expectations will be set so high that they cannot possibly be met. In the Star Wars fan community, expectations usually outstrip that which is possible. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a great film, but the expectations of fans after waiting 16 years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace were simply too high. No matter what George Lucas delivered it would not have matched what fans wanted or expected. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that The Phantom Menace is placed in its proper context and can be judged fairly.

Before you ever begin or contemplate beginning to read Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, be aware that whatever I or other reviewers say, this book will receive tons of hype. I only have one thing to say to you, believe it. Darth Plagueis is simply pardon the pun, a tour de Force.

At 368 pages Darth Plagueis isn't the biggest novel in the Expanded Universe but of any EU work it may have the biggest impact on the story that George Lucas told in the film saga. Author James Luceno delivers his magnum opus with such skill and care that you can tell this was a novel years in the making. Originally slated for release in 2008, this book idea was shelved and then reclaimed. What Luceno delivers is a galaxy spanning masterpiece that takes place in three distinct periods of time and follows the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis as he navigates the Sith Rule of Two, searches and grooms an apprentice, and his subsequent fate.
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42 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Darth Mortis VINE VOICE on November 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis is not just the story of Plagueis, but also the story of the rise to power of his apprentice, Darth Sidious. Actually, the first chapter is the death of Plagueis. Then it reverts back to the time when he was an apprentice himself to Darth Tenebrous.

Plagueis is a Muun, and as such, has a much longer life span than humans. His master, Darth Tenebrous, is a Bith, also having a long life span. This being the case, he was given a lengthy tutelage in the Sith arts before finally taking his master down and earning the mantle of Dark Lord. Then he meets a young man, strong in the force and defiant. So defiant in his ways, that this young man shed his given name but kept his house name, Palpatine.

Plagueis decides that it is time to move away from Darth Bane's strict rule of two where the master possesses the power and the apprentice craves it. He sees himself as the one who will implement the Sith's ultimate plan of revenge and desires to forge a partnership for the Sith order. What ensues are the detailed plans and events that lead up to Phantom Menace.

This book does an excellent job in linking with other pre-Episode I books. There are numerous references to past Sith Lords, including Kaan, Darth Bane, and Darth Zannah, as well as hinting to some of the other Sith that came after them (including one who betrayed the order and turned to the light side, which will probably become another book that I will be interested in reading). Keep this in mind when reading because there are a few parts where it seems to skip over a section but the events actually happened in another book and they just did not get repetative. For instance, when Sidious dispatches Darth Maul to take down Black Sun, it skips to the aftermath.
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