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Darth Plagueis: Star Wars Legends (Star Wars - Legends Book 19) Kindle Edition
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This essential Star Wars Legends novel chronicles the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, and the origins of the saga’s most enduring evil—the malevolent Sith master Palpatine.
“The best Star Wars publication to date . . . [James] Luceno takes Darth Plagueis down the dark path and never looks back.”—Newsday
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. When the time is right, he destroys his Master—and 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 the other to live forever, sow the seeds of their destruction?
“Luceno draws on his storytelling skill and prodigious knowledge of the [Star Wars] world . . . to craft a complex tale of ambition and desire.”—Library Journal
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, and 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.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Lucerno / STAR WARS DARTH PLAGUEIS
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?”
“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 bolts coruscated into the lateral corridor the probe had excavated. Crackling sounds spewed from the opening long after the Sith had harnessed their powers.
Then the repetitive strikes of the jackhammer began once more.
“It’s the ore,” Tenebrous said. “There’s too much resistance here.”
Plagueis knew what needed to be done. “I’ll go down,” he said, and was on the verge of leaping into the shaft when Tenebrous restrained him.
“This can wait. We’re returning to the grotto.”
Plagueis hesitated, then nodded. “As you say, Master.”
Tenebrous swung to the droid. “Continue your attempts to deactivate the unit.”
“I will, sir. To do that, however, I will need to remain here.”
“What of it?” Tenebrous said, cocking his head to one side.
“Should I fail in my efforts, the ensuing explosion will surely result in my destruction.”
Plagueis understood. “You’ve been useful, droid.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Tenebrous scowled. “You waste your breath.”
Nearly knocked over by the swiftness of Tenebrous’s departure, Plagueis had to call deeply on the Force merely to keep up. Retracing the inclined path they had taken from the grotto in which their starship waited, they fairly flew up the crystal-studded tunnel they had picked their way through earlier. Plagueis grasped that a powerful explosion was perhaps imminent, but was mystified by his Master’s almost mad dash for the surface. In the past Tenebrous had rarely evinced signs of discomfort, let alone fear; so what danger had he sensed that propelled him with such abandon? And when, in the past, had they fled danger of any sort? Safeguarded by the powers of the dark side, the Sith could hardly fear death when they were allied to it. Plagueis stretched out with his feelings in an attempt to identify the source of Tenebrous’s dread, but the Force was silent.
Ten meters ahead of him, the Bith had ducked under a scabrous outcropping. Haste, however, brought him upright too quickly and his left shoulder glanced off the rough rock, leaving a portion of his suit shredded.
“Master, allow me to lead,” Plagueis said when he reached Tenebrous. He was only slightly more agile than the Bith, but he had better night vision and a keener sense of direction, over and above what the Force imparted.
His pride wounded more than his shoulder, Tenebrous waved off the offer. “Be mindful of your place.” Regaining his balance and composure, he streaked off. But at a fork in the tunnel, he took the wrong turn.
“This way, Master,” Plagueis called from the other corridor, but he stopped to surrender the lead.
Closer to the surface the tunnels opened into caverns the size of cathedrals, smoothed and hollowed by rainwater that still surged in certain seasons of Bal’demnic’s long year. In pools of standing water darted various species of blind fish. Overhead, hawk-bats took panicked flight from their roosting places in the stippled ceiling. Natural light in the far distance prompted the two Sith to race for the grotto; but, even so, they were a moment late.
The gas explosion caught up with them just as they were entering the light-filled cavity at the top of the escarpment. From deep in the tunnel resounded a squealing electronic wail, and at the same time, almost as if the cave system were gasping for breath, a searing wind tore down from a perforation in the grotto’s arched ceiling through which the ship had entered. A muffled but ground-heaving detonation followed; then a roiling fireball that was the labyrinth’s scorching exhalation. Whirling to the tunnel they had just exited and managing somehow to remain on his feet, Tenebrous conjured a Force shield with his waving arms that met the fireball and contained it, thousands of flaming hawk-bats spiraling within the tumult like wind-blown embers.
A few meters away Plagueis, hurled face-first to the ground by the intensity of the vaporizing blast, lifted his head in time to see the underside of the domed ceiling begin to shed enormous slabs of rock. Directly below the plummeting slabs sat their starship.
“Master!” he said, scrambling to his feet with arms lifted in an attempt to hold the rocks in midair.
His own arms still raised in a Force-summoning posture, Tenebrous swung around to bolster Plagueis’s intent. Behind him, the fireball’s final flames surged from the mouth of the tunnel to lick his back and drive him deeper into the grotto.
The cave continued to spasm underfoot, sending shock waves through the crazed ceiling. Cracks spread like a web from the oculus, triggering collapses throughout the grotto. Plagueis heard a rending sound overhead and watched a fissure zigzag its way across the ceiling, sloughing layer after layer of stone as it followed the grotto’s curved wall.
Now, though, it was Tenebrous who was positioned beneath the fall.
And in that instant Plagueis perceived the danger Tenebrous had foreseen earlier: his death.
His death at Plagueis’s hands.
<pre class="moz-signature" cols="72">-- Gail ErichBook DeveloperScribe Inc.<a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href="http://www.scribenet.com">www.scribenet.com</a> 7540 Windsor DriveSuite 200BAllentown PA 18195main telephone: 215.336.5094direct telephone: 215.336.5094 ext. 126</pre> --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0051ANRMW
- Publisher : Del Rey (January 10, 2012)
- Publication date : January 10, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 7693 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 498 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,676 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2021
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First off, I grew up reading star wars. Started with the kids books obi wan kenobi adventures, when he starts off not even getting picked as an apprentice to falling in love with Siri and almost leaving the jedi order. I've read all the Old republic books. The Bane Trilogy (which is a great precursor book to this one) all of Timothy Zahn's works, and the New Jedi Order Series, and pretty much everything in between. A good 60+ books I would say with confidence.
Secondly. I abhor the decision made to turn the Expanded Universe into....the....legends.........It physically angers me. That all those works done to make Star Wars into My star wars, the star wars I know and love, are turned into stories merely so Disney can have creative f***ing insight to make their new movies--......... It was a poor and crap decision. Bc now everything I know is out the window to pave the way for the crap they're wanting to do now. The movies could have been great if they did the yhuuzhang vong invasion....but I digress.....
Thirdly. This is the best book about the force I have ever read. Those 60+ books I've read don't include the omnibus's, comics, or the guide books they've created to explain the star wars universe. Yet, this book talks about the force in a way that the matrix animated movie explains what the matrix was really about.
The author goes so in depth with the force, what it is, what its capable of, that some chapters you'll read twice just to be sure you gathered all the info correctly. So either he had Lucas on speed-dial to ask him about what the force really is, or he has a better understanding than even Lucas himself has. Bc he does a great job explaining the capability of the force and its uses that can be implemented if merely looked at a different way. Things the jedi could never do bc of their almost religious way of using it and seeing it as something given, instead of something that exists to be used. As always, its about point of view in how you perceive it.
The book starts off amazingly with the death of the main character. Entices you into wondering "what just happened?" and then delving into the...I believe 50-75 year journey of this barely aging, very mysterious, almost mad Dr. like Sith who delves into the science and experimentation of what the force can do, and he does it well. Almost beautifully. As mentioned before, the Bane Trilogy is a good pre-book series to read, as those set up everything that this book continues. The bane trilogy is one of my favorites, and is the beginning of the Rule of 2 sith. This book, is basically the culmination of of a thousand years of building, planning, and gaining knowledge to bring about the downfall of the jedi and the coming of the sith. They go into detail about the secret contacts, meetings, almost illuminati like gatherings of the galaxies most powerful people, and how they are all being manipulated to do the sith's bidding. Eventually finding palpatine, and delving into his previously unknown backstory and even the intro of Darth Maul and how he came to be in an almost "slap on the knee I can't believe that just happened they had no idea they were giving maul to a sith instead of a jedi" moment.
The story follows Plagueis's experiments into solving the biggest thing the Sith have looked for, immortality, and he FINDS it. It follows the story of Palpatines training and involvement into becoming the President of the Republic Galaxy basically.
AND....in a sith ritual to put a veil over the jedi.......basically tells you what happened that brought Anakin into the world.
And in one part, IF IT WERE CANON, places Plagueis being present during the time of episode I. Literally in the background of when the ship first lands on Coruscant when they're looking at Anakin knowing that this is the child they basically created and knew he would be the future.
Which just goes to upset me more that this is just....legends.......grrrrrrr.......
But anyway, I've downvoted all the 1 star reviews about "lack of character development bc of a pretentiousness of the authors inability to blah blah blah I'm probably an art history major and am filled with years of culture that make me better than you and use big words bc I'm smart blah blah blah"
The story starts out with Plagueis being old, almost if not over 100, for a good reason it starts here. and Palpatine wasn't trained as a child, bc sith apprentices are different from jedi, they don't come as babies all the time, look at Dooku. Its more of someones ideals than it is them just being young, and they explain Palpatines desires to join and the "how it happened" very well. So character development is good. Action isn't everywhere, but this is more about learning about previously unknown origins and new facts about things we've never thought of than a book of Sith going on a killing rampage.
All in all, I bought this a while ago on paper back, and wanted it on my kindle. So I BOUGHT IT AGAIN. Bc I'm that happy with it.
May the force be with you.
Look, I get it. The Sith have to be politically savvy because they are outnumbered. But if you want a political sci-fi novel, go read Dune to read one done right. This jumps around over a 30-year plotline and rotates characters in and out so often that you have no time to become invested in the power players. Also, this book is prequel worship and if you're not down with midicholorians, then you'll be annoyed by Plagueis's obsession with them.
The core problem of this book is that it reads more like a series of loosely-connected, disparate, boring political stories. Plagueis is not interesting at all - he's a flat character with a simple motivation. Luceno doesn't expand on what I already knew about the SIth - "one to hold power, and another to crave it." The book has a few interesting moments, but these consistely give way to boring political chatter and endless discussions about Naboo and prequel retcon. Too much time filling in Episode 1 backstory and trying to fill Lucas's plot holes.
I'm not sure why so many people adore this novel. Finished it but man alive was it a chore. Political Star Wars is boring Star Wars, in my opinion, but if you liked the prequels, you'll probably find more to like here. Otherwise, stay away. Stay very far away.
Darth Plagueis “the Wise” aims to execute the “Grand Plan,” which essentially means toppling the Jedi Order and the Republic and restoring the Sith to power in the galaxy. Simple, right? Heck, no, and Luceno expertly weaves a complex political and economic back story to bring events up to the film “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (TPM), where the “taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.”
Luceno also has a significant subplot involving the midi-chlorians and the Force. Plagueis is attempting to manipulate the former in order to extend his life, with the ultimate goal of being immortal. However, he knows that with every advance he makes, the Force exacts a penance. Thus, Luceno establishes some interesting differences between the Sith and the Jedi and how they use the Force.
What's fun about the book is seeing how Luceno moves everything into place for the PT. Plagueis chooses Palpatine as his apprentice and grooms him for the chancellorship of the Republic, where Plagueis will quietly rule as his co-chair. Palpatine, as Sidious, finds the infant Maul on Dathomir and trains him as a Sith assassin.
To get rid of the Jedi, they must first fracture the Republic, which means alienating the Outer Rim systems to the point of secession. When that happens, the Republic will need a fighting force, so they convince one wavering Jedi Master, Syfo-Dyas, of the need for a clone army from Kamino, and an order is placed in his name. Another Jedi Master, Dooku, is gradually disillusioned by and disaffected from the Order because of its unwavering support of the corrupt Republic Senate.
Trade routes to the Outer Rim are taxed; the Trade Federation is angered and blockades Naboo, where its plasma export business is threatened; Chancellor Valorum is scandalized by false business contributions to the Trade Federation, thus ending his political career and opening the door for Palpatine's election. And you know the rest …
That's a basic outline, but it's well told. The material involving the Force gets a little dense; some of the political machinations are not well developed and, thus, difficult to follow; and the last few chapters involving the events leading up to/involving TPM seemed rushed. But the book is truly a labor of love that, I daresay, Luceno intended as a way to better clarify the galactic events of the Star Wars PT.
And he did all this with just a couple of passing references to Jar Jar Binks. Can you beat that?
Top reviews from other countries
Es irónico, podía salvar a los demás de la muerte, pero no a él mismo.
Este libro les contará la historia de Darth Plagueis, que está muy buena por cierto, sólo tengan en cuenta que es una novela escrita en inglés, y la escritura está densa y llena de figuras literarias en inglés, a mí me está costando trabajo leerla de manera fluída porque está llena de adornos en inglés.
En sí la historia y la edición están muy bien, sólo es eso de que el inglés que utiliza está complicado.
This is a well-written and entertaining novel, and one that adds a lot to the saga that is the prequel Star Wars universe. The Plagueis character is briefly mentioned in the films, and is here fleshed out in detail. He's a powerful Sith lord intent on mastering life and death. If this character interests you then I highly recommend this book. But, just to say, as this story focuses on the Sith so there's little or no Jedi action, and not much by way of space battles ... instead it's about plots developed over decades and their fruition as political plans. This might not interest all Star Wars fans.
On the whole it reads more like a lot of padding around very little content. I'm very disappointed and hoped for more.
This book has put Darth Plagueis in my top 3 favourite sith of all time.
This goes in depth about how Plagueis discovered the secrets to midi-chlorine manipulation. I don’t care how your stance is on midi-chlorians, this book goes into higher detail and makes them even more interesting.
It shows how he met the soon to be Emperor and how he trained him. I only have two slight complaints.
1. The book goes to extreme lengths to explain the banking clan in the Star Wars universe. It got stale pretty fast. I understand that the main character was a magister in the banking community but still, it could have eased up a little.
2. It spent too much time showing Palpatine rising through the ranks of the senate and not enough time with Plagueis even though the book is named after him.
It’s well written, don’t get me wrong, but I would’ve been happy with a book from Sidious’ POV in infiltrating republic politics. I wanted to learn as much about Plagueis as possible and feel slightly robbed of that chance.
However, his book still gets a five star rating with how well written it is and how it presents Plagueis and Sidious’ relationship.