Science Fiction
 

Star Wars: Book One

Authors: Paul Davids and Hollace Davids

Illustrated By: Karl Kesel and Drew Struzan

Published By: Barnes and Noble Books, Inc.

by arrangement with

Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers
 

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            Star Wars: Book One is a compilation of three separate volumes written by the husband and wife tam of Paul and Hollace Davids.  Each novel was originally published in 1992, a time during which Star Wars was making its literary resurgence.  These novels were tailored to young adults in an effort to bring the world of Star Wars to a new generation of science fiction fans. 

            As a writing duo, Star Wars fans couldn’t have asked for a better pair.  Paul Davids’ love for science fiction spanned a lifetime.  His works in the genre at the time included co-writer and producer of the movie Roswell and production coordinator and writer for the television series The Transformers.  At that time, his wife, Hollace, had a long standing career in the entertainment business.  Starting at the Los Angeles International Film Exposition, Hollace Davids moved on to a publicist position at Columbia Pictures and later became the Vice President of Special Projects at Columbia.  She also worked for TriStar Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.  Two people with a past in the entertainment business and a love for science fiction whose writing skills played off each other perfectly.

            Artistry also figures heavily into Star Wars: Book One.  Each of the three novels represented in this compilation is richly illustrated by artists Karl Kesel and Drew Struzan.  At the time, Karl Kesel would have been best know for his work on such DC Comics as Superman and World’s Finest and Dark Horse Comics miniseries The Terminator and Indiana Jones.  Drew Struzan was known for his poster art, creating posters for Star Wars, E.T., the Indiana Jones series, An American Tale, and more.

            Star Wars: Book One continues the adventures of Luke Skywalker and the heroes of the Rebellion.  The novels take place shortly after the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Emperor Palpatine.  The Empire is in a shambles with several factors claiming the Emperor’s place as leader of the Imperial forces.  In an effort to unite the Empire under one ruler, Grand Moff Hissa brings forth a descendent to the Emperor’s throne – Trioculus, a three-eyed mutant claiming to be the son of Emperor Palpatine.  Although rumors have circulated throughout the Empire regarding a hidden heir, Trioculus’ rise to power is not without opposition.  Unwilling to yield their power so easily, several Imperial leaders request proof of Grand Moff Hissa and Trioculus’ claim.

            It has been prophesized by Kadan, Supreme Prophet of the Dark Side, that the new leader of the Empire would wear the glove of Darth Vader.  In The Glove of Darth Vader, Trioculus, seeking to prove that he is the rightful heir to the Emperor’s throne, launches a search for the indestructible glove once worn on the right hand of Darth Vader – the hand severed in battle by Luke Skywalker on the second Death Star.  His search leads him to Mon Calamari where Trioculus has his own encounter with Luke Skywalker.  Trioculus retrieves the Glove of Vader, but not without near fatal consequences as he is almost killed by Skywalker on a Whaladon hunting vessel.  His brush with death sparks off a grudge Trioculus carries against Skywalker that spans the length of Star Wars: Book One.

            In The Lost City of the Jedi, Trioculus discovers that he will never be respected as the true leader of the Empire without the acceptance of the Supreme Prophet of the Dark Side, Kadan.  However, his meeting with Kadan is less than fulfilling.  The prophet agrees that Trioculus has fulfilled the prophecy that the new Emperor will wear upon his right hand the Glove of Vader.  However, Kadan reveals another prophecy – that a Jedi Prince, secretly housed in the Lost City of the Jedi, will have enough power to cause his destruction.  Trioculus rushes off to Yavin IV to search for the lost city and destroy this would-be enemy.  Meanwhile, on Yavin IV, Luke Skywalker has been searching for the very same lost city after having dreams about coming upon it in the forest.  Once again, Skywalker is placed at odds with Trioculus.  However, Trioculus has more to worry about than Luke Skywalker.  His sight has suddenly failed him and the radical way in which he has decided to clear the forests of Yavin IV and find the lost city may spell out his doom.

            In Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge, having survived his failed attempt at finding the Lost City of the Jedi, Trioculus begins an all-out search for the Jedi Prince, Ken, who is now believed to be traveling with Luke Skywalker.  Meanwhile, Zorba the Hutt returns to Tatooine to visit his son Jabba.  Having been incarcerated on the planet Kip for some time, Zorba is unaware that Jabba has been killed.  Learning that Princess Leia is the one responsible for his son’s death, Zorba vows to avenge Jabba.  However, his mission runs counter to that of Trioculus.  Ever since setting his three eyes on Leia, Trioculus has decided that he must have her at his side, ruling the Empire as his wife.  But Zorba has something Trioculus wants – the Jedi Prince Ken.  Can the heroes of the Republic rescue Leia and Ken before a bargain is struck that will spell out their demise?

            The illustrations in Star Wars: Book One are highly enjoyable and give vision to the tale.  The stories are well-written and easily enjoyed by anyone who loves science fiction, action, and adventure.  Paul and Hollace Davids are indeed an excellent team of writers, bringing life to new and exciting characters within the Star Wars Universe. 

            However, these novels suffer some “out-of-character” moments that are difficult for any hard-core fan to ignore.  For example, Han Solo’s character has always been very leery of droids.  His opinion of droids softens in later years, but at the time setting of the novels in Book One, Han would still bristle at the mere suggestion of owning a droid.  When he is presented with a droid by Luke Skywalker in Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge, one would expect quite a different reaction from Solo than the one given.  He seems incredibly happy for someone who loathes droids - especially when the droid in question happens to be a housekeeping droid.  What bachelor with a severe dislike for droids would want a present like that?

            Despite this flaw, the stories included in Star Wars: Book One serve their purpose, appealing to the younger generation of Star Wars fans.  As an addition to the book collections of older Star Wars fans, the hardcover compilation makes an attractive piece, despite the fact that the stories within are not written with the adult fan in mind.  The continuity of the tales is a tad off, but true Star Wars book collectors will realize their value as a piece of Star Wars history.

 

For more about Star Wars, check out:

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic

Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: The Final Prophecy

Star Wars: The Unifying Force

Star Wars: Dark Nest

 

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