Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
Del Ray, February, 2001.
Hardcover, 305 pages.
The standout villain of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was the Force-wielding, hideously-visaged Darth Maul. Now author Michael Reaves is the latest in a string of well-known authors to try their hand at crafting a tale set in George Lucas' incredible universe. Darth Maul is ordered by his master, Darth Sidious, to track down a Neimoidian who has betrayed his country and Darth Sidious by escaping to the planet Coruscant to sell secret information: that the Trade Federation plans to blockade the planet Naboo. Maul's orders are to kill the Neimoidian and anyone to whom he has betrayed the secret, and to recover the holocron which gives details of the blockade. The Corellian Lorn Pavan (who reminds one not a little of Han Solo) and his trusty sidekick, I-5, a supercharged protocol droid, are in the market for the valuable holocron, and soon cross paths with Darth Maul. Meanwhile, a young Jedi Padawan on her first training mission, Darsha Assant, also soon crosses paths with Maul and Pavan. But can a young, untried Jedi, a smart-mouthed Droid and a fast-talking trader outwit the feared Darth Maul?
The events in the book are set just before the film, The Phantom Menace, so to some extent readers know parts of the outcome -- for example, the trade blockade of Naboo must eventually happen. But Reaves does an excellent job of creating suspense about the fates of the interesting characters that Darth Maul meets in his mission. We learn more about the character and thoughts of the mysterious Maul, including his harsh training, his devotion to his master, Darth Sidious, and his two weaknesses: impatience and an overweening vanity. The storyline is fast-paced and the action sequences are exciting. This is a great read for those that really enjoy the tales from the darker side of the Star Wars universe.
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This review was published in the March, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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