Hath Monchar – briefly seen in “Darth Maul” (comic) trying to sell information regarding the Naboo blockade to one of Black Sun’s vigos (lieutenants) – has fled to Coruscant in the hopes of finding a buyer. Loran Pavan, an information broker, and his droid business associate I-Five, agrees to meet Monchar. Darth Maul is sent to eliminate the Neimoidian and anyone else who poses a threat to Darth Sidious’s plans. Meanwhile, a Jedi Padawan, Darsha Assant, is tasked with safeguarding the only survivor of the Black Sun massacre as her trial for Knighthood.
Era: Republic, 32.5 – 33 years Before the Battle of Yavin
Author: Michael Reaves
ISBN: 0-345-43541-9 (Del Rey)
The biggest gripe I have with the novel is that it wants you to believe that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were sent to Naboo within 24 hours of the blockade. The Phantom Menace gives the impression that several weeks, possibly a month or two, has gone by from the time the blockade begins to the moment the Jedi arrive. Otherwise, the book was good: fast-paced, but not too gripping. There was no hope that Lorn, Darsha, and I-Five would successfully reach the Jedi with the news about the blockade and the return of the Sith. However, it was refreshing to see that no one, not even a Jedi or a Sith, was infallible. Darth Maul was thwarted, time and again, in his mission to kill Lorn, sometimes due to his own over-confidence and belief that he was facing worthless and easy opponents. However, Maul is eventually successful, killing both Darsha and Lorn. I-Five escapes, only because Lorn turns him off and entrusts him to a business associate: Darth Maul is unaware of this fact. I-Five was my favorite character. He had all the best lines and I’m glad he escaped.
“Here’s all you need to know about the Jedi.”
“Oh, please — not again.”
“They’re a bunch of self-serving, sanctimonious elitists.”
“I have this entire rant recorded, you know. I could play a holo at fast speed; it would save time.”
— Lorn Pavan; I-Five
Nute Gunray closed his eyes and tried to imagine what life as mulch farmer back on Neimoidia would be like. Mulch farming probably had its good points, Gunray told himself. For one thing, the possibility of having to deal with the Sith in his new occupation was very unlikely.
— Nute mulls over his future employment opportunities.
“Well, thank you, Mistress of the Force, but pardon me if I don’t stop worrying. It seems like your track record with that skill is still a little on the nebulous side.”
— Lorn commenting on Darsha’s ability to sense other life-forms
A plethora of ways to die were available here, none of them pleasant: eaten by a monster, decapitated by a lightsaber, or falling to smash against the planet’s bedrock.
— Lorn assesses the situation
“Any warnings from the science and sorcery team? And don’t start whining again about the cheap sensor suite I had installed in you.”
— Lorn, speaking to Darsha and I-Five