"Darth Plagueis" has been a highly anticipated novel for a very long time. Ever since the mention of Plagueis' name in "The Phantom Menace," fans of the Star Wars universe were hoping to find out more about this mysterious Sith Lord who attempted to use the Force in order to save people from death, bring them back to life and even becoming immortal. James Luceno has done a nice job giving fans much of the information they've been longing for in this book, as well as shedding new light on occurrences in Episode One of the film series.
The book opens with Darth Sidious having an experience that makes him doubt the death of his master, Darth Plagueis, and then goes backward in time to around sixty to seventy years before the Battle of Yavin in the film series. We meet Plagueis and his Master, Darth Tenebrous, as Plagueis takes advantage of a sticky situation to bring Tenebrous to his own untimely demise. From there we gain insight into Hego Damask, the Muun who also goes by the name of Darth Plagueis, as he sets out to bring the Sith back to power. We also witness his attempts to control the midi-chlorians of the Force, which he hopes will eventually make him immortal.
Along the way, he faces off against a number of enemies, ranging from fellow Sith to politicians. He manipulates them all in order to set a plan in motion that will give the Sith control over the entire galaxy.
One interesting person he meets in his conquests is Palpatine, a young man in Naboo's Youth Legislative Program. Plagueis recognizes Palpatine's persuasive manner, as well as his strength in the Force and plans to put both to good use. Plagueis befriends Palpatine and eventually convinces him to turn to the dark side. From there, we see Palpatine, now Darth Sidious, grow in power both Force-wise and in the political arena. All the while, Plagueis is becoming more and more obsessed with the fight for immortality.
This book might be entitled "Darth Plagueis," but the bulk of it focuses on the development of Darth Sidious and his rise to power. A number of characters from the film series, both major and minor, are mentioned and/or explored at varying depths, particularly Darth Maul.
The book eventually fuses with and, in the final quarter of the book, runs parallel with "The Phantom Menace," and makes that particular film (my least favorite, until now) much more interesting.
Luceno has a very easy reading style of writing, and he managed to hold my attention throughout the entire book, even in long-winded political arguments between characters and also debates about Sith and Jedi codes. He did an excellent job of winding both EU novels and canon films into his story and even hinted at an explanation for certain things that happen to Anakin Skywalker in the films. I won't mention them here, as I do not want to ruin it for anyone, but just know that key points in Anakin's life definitely didn't occur by accident.
Overall, this tale probably would have been better served with a title that focused on Palpatine and not Plagueis. As enjoyable as it was, I feel that some other readers might feel a bit cheated by the title. Personally, I believe James Luceno has a winner on his hands, and it's one of the few EU novels out there that actually made me appreciate the prequels more.
"Darth Plagueis" tells the story of the title character. He's a Sith Lord, and we start with him killing his master and then casting about for an apprentice, all the while trying to use the Force to unlock the secrets of immortality. We know that the apprentice will eventually be Palpatine, who will then go on to become the Emperor, but what we don't know is how exactly we get from the one state to the other, and that's what this book sets out to do. Plagueis comes off as … more
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James Lucenois theNew York Timesbestselling author of theStar WarsnovelsMillennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil,as well as the New Jedi Order novelsAgents of Chaos I: Hero’s TrialandAgents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force,and the eBookDarth Maul: Saboteur. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and youngest child.