Re-watching all the Star Wars movies with Evan re-immersed me in the Star Wars universe and made me want a little more. I have devoured many a Doctor Who and Star Trek novel, but strangely never a Star Wars one. I'm at a loss to explain why, but I was always more avid fan of Dr Who and Star Trek when I was younger.
With easily well over 100 to choose from I wasn't quite sure where to start. I didn't really fancy reading about Han & Leia's children, or be confused by some huge array of characters unknown to me from previous books. So I went back in time, 1000 years before Star Wars, to a time when the Sith were many, and were at it hammer and tong (or lightsaber and blaster) with the Republic and the Jedi.
The story follows the rise of a mine worker Des, who joins the Sith, and ultimately becomes the most powerful of his peers to wield the dark side of the force, becoming Darth Bane. An anti-hero to rival Dart Vader? Not quite yet, but there are 2 more books in the series.
Passing name checks to Star Wars people and places were dropped in to remind you this was a Star Wars book - The Hutts, Wookies, Bespin, Coruscant, Kashyk etc etc ad nauseam, but none of these were required or featured, except to squeeze a tiny smile of recognition from the most keen anoraks. You knew this was a Star Wars book due to the brooding menace of the Dark Side, hanging over many scenes, waiting to unleash it's fury, when fed by the rage or jealousy of a player in this ancient universe.
Nice touches like Sith Training Academy - a Hogwarts for baddies, and a brief glimpse of Darth Raven a Sith from thousands of years prior, kept the intrigue levels high enough. The Jedi are a pretty weak bunch in all this and are really just Bantha fodder for the Sith in most scenes. But it's not their story - so fair enough.
With plenty of light sabre battles, at least 5 different planets, bar brawls, drunken card games, assassination plots, and an army of Sith Dark Lords, there was enough pulpy action packed nonsense, and a interesting array of characters to give a nice Star Wars fix. Book 2 arrived in the post last Friday!
3 out of 5