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When the sinister Palpatine began grooming young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Revenge Of the Sith many fans became intrigued by his mention of a Sith lord named Darth Plagueis. Who was this very secretive character and how did he relate to the experiences in the films? All answers were finally revealed with the release of this book.
The book provides the explanation that Darth Plagueis was none other than the master to Darth Sidius (The Emperor) as many had previously theorized. It opens with the culmination of a battle between the two for the mantle of Dark Lord, before flashing back to his own history. Darth Plagueis was a Sith apprentice unsatisfied with Darth Bane's rule of two, who wanted to team up with another Sith as equals in order to overthrow the Jedi. Taking an opportunity to kill his own master Plagueis then sets out investigating the mysteries behind the midiclorians in order to extend his own life. He also tries to find a cunning individual capable of becoming his equal in the use of The Dark Side. He finds this in a young Naboo royalist named Palpatine who he proceeds to groom in the ways of the Sith.
I really liked this book. It flowed at a very nice pace and featured some nice characterization. Fans of the movies will no doubt be interesting in reading about the origins of some of the characters from the prequel trilogy; including Count Dooku's dissatisfaction with the Jedi order, and even the birth of Darth Maul himself. It answers a lot of questions left over from the films and sheds light on plot points that were previously left a mystery. Although I personally was a little disappointed that it left certain important questions unanswered.
As a Star Wars book this is one of the better entries. I always enjoy the Sith Lord books as the darker characters tend to be a lot more fleshed out than the often bland heroes of the universe. This is no exception. Both Plagueis and Sideous are portrayed as intriguing characters with interesting motives that are able to cunningly manipulate the political scene for their own ends. Throughout the book you can never quite predict what these sinister characters will do next, even with your foreknowledge of the outcome.
I would recommend reading the Darth Bane trilogy before you read this book as it often references the characters involved. That is probably the only fault I could lay against the story though. As a singular narrative it works well on its own, even when it is running parallel with the films. A lot of the revelations will prove more impactful if you've seen the films, but then again the book will hold a lot more mystery if you haven't.
Nevertheless the characters are well developed, and the sinister games work very well. Another strong entry into the darker side of the Star Wars universe that fans will no doubt enjoy.