Jedi News Book Review: Darth Plagueis

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 the other to live forever, sow the seeds of their destruction?”

There have been many huge revelations made in previous Star Wars novels, a format custom made for such detail, but it’s difficult to imagine any other book making the ground shaking reveals that James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis does. having flickered on and off the schedules since the middle of the decade, Darth Plagueis presents information on a regular basis. For instance, how Plagueis learned how to manipulate midichlorians, how he seduced Palpatine to the dark side and how Maul was in turn ensnared by Sideous. It’s a miasma of interconnecting plot threads that we never thought would be pulled together, but Luceno does a fine job. How else would we learn that Palpatine made Maul a darth without Plagueis knowing, or how the plans for a Clone army were formulated, or when the scales of the force began to tip towards the dark side?

The book certainly covers a significant amount of ground, from when Plagueis is initiated as a Sith master through a forty year span of time to his death at the hands of Darth Sideous, a death that takes place during the events of The Phantom Menace. What a revelation, that Plagueis was alive as the machinations of Sideous began. It’s a delicious thought and harkens back to a 1983 Prevue interview Richard Marquand gave wherein he described all galactic events being orchestrated by someone above the Emperor. Perhaps this links in with that?

Plagueis is an intriguing character, both a public and private character who can control both life and death. he operates in public as a member of the Intergalactic banking clan, and his skills are easy to see in that arena. His interractions with Palpatine are thrilling, and it’s deftly written – Palpatine is taking as much if not more out of this relationship than his master, and uses that knowledge to great effect.

Politics are a key ingredient in the novel and the lives of Plagueis and Palpatine, and it’s in this arena that Luceno excels. All members of the galactic melting pot are present, from Hutts to Black Sun. All are mere pawns in Plagueis’s plans, but in the politically minded Palpatine he meets his tactical match. Throughout the novel we are dipping into pre-existing stories told in other books and comics, and by the time Palpatine is made Chancellor we are in familiar story territory.

For such an eagerly-awaited book Darth Plagueis thankfully delivers and tells the tale of the two men who, more than any others, brought millennia of rule by the Republic to an end and ushered in the New Order.

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