Author: Paul S. Kemp
Genre: Science Fiction
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”
Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.
For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.
Bluestocking’s Opinion: I have to say I was really impressed with the fact that Cham came pretty darned close to destroying Vader and the Empire. If he had done a little more planning, well….
The most interesting thing about this book was the fact that it delved into the relationship of the Emperor and Darth Vader. Something that has never been touched on in prior books is that Vader didn’t fully have the Emperor’s trust. I believe that in the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith it was briefly alluded to that the Emperor wasn’t getting quite what he bargained for in Vader. First, Vade was missing a lot of limbs by that point, and it was insinuated that this would limit how powerful he could become in the Force. Second, Vader still had underlying guilt about killing his wife. In this book, that intense guilt crops up a lot for Vader. In fact a couple of times it becomes a somewhat deadly distraction. It never occurred to me that Vader struggled to embrace the Dark Side, but you get to see that in this book. I guess this is what Padme meant when she said that she knew there was still good in him.
I liked this book better than some of the other revisionist Star Wars books that they’ve been publishing.
I still miss the extended universe though.