Cloak of Deception (Star Wars)
Del Ray, May, 2001.
Hardcover, 342 pages.
James Luceno steps behind the wheel for this interesting and well-imagined look at the political maneuvering orchestrated by Senator Palpatine just before the events chronicled in The Phantom Menace. The Galactic Republic is falling apart. Terrorists are attacking Trade Federation ships, many worlds are unhappy about the Trade Federation's virtual monopoly power over the shipping lanes, and a controversial taxation plan is being hotly debated. When Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi stop an assassination attempt against Supreme Chancellor Valorum, it becomes clear to the Jedi Council that someone is pulling the strings behind the escalating events which seem to indicate the impending breakdown of the Republic. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan travel offworld for the trade conference which Supreme Chancellor Valorum will be attending, much to the annoyance of his security advisers. Intelligence suggests that another assassination attempt will be made at the conference. But the Jedi Knights don't yet realize the nature and power of their enemy: the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious.
Cloak of Deception is a crucial book for understanding why Prime Chancellor Valorum fell from power, and how Senator Palpatine brilliantly manipulated events and people as he follows his own dark path to power and glory. With less action and more time spent following Palpatine's machinations, Cloak of Deception is an interesting departure from the normal Star Wars books. The glimpses inside Palpatine's mind make for great reading, as he pulls strings in the Senate and off-world with equal ease. Although politics are the focus of the book, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan see enough fast-paced action to satisfy everyone. This is a must-read for Star Wars fans.
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