Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil
Author: James Luceno
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Finally! After all of these years, I have finally read every single book in the original Clone Wars series! It took a while to achieve, but in completing Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno, I have finally done it. Of course, there have been quite a few books added to the series since then, but thatís okay, Iíve been pecking away at those too.
The events of Labyrinth of Evil take place just before those of Revenge of the Sith. In fact, this novel is toted as a must-read prequel to Episode III. As we come upon our hero Jedi and their clone trooper army, they are about to capture Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. In escaping Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, Gunray has made a terrible mistake. He has left behind his mechno-chair, a valuable piece of equipment that contains one specific modification that separates it from all others of its kind. The Jedi discover a special communications device in the chair that has allowed Viceroy Gunray to speak with the likes of General Grievous, Count Dooku and the mysterious Sith known as Darth Sidious.
As Republic intelligence forces delve deeper into the hologram projectorís memory, they discover proof that the Sith have been behind the development of the entire war, including the Trade Federation blockade years before. As the Jedi investigate the clues uncovered by the intelligence forces, they find themselves coming closer and closer to revealing the true identity of Darth Sidious,
Unfortunately, Darth Sidious isnít about to let himself fall into the hands of the Jedi. Calling upon Dooku to create a diversion on Tythe, Sidious sends General Grievous on a mission to do the unspeakable - engage in a full-on attack of Coruscant itself! With the Republic forces divided all along the Outer Rim, how could they possibly protect the heart of their nation from such a diabolical plot?!
I enjoyed this prequel to Revenge of the Sith. The readers get a very good look at the anger fueling Anakinís actions in the film as he seethes over losing Gunray and Dooku. We see how he has lost faith in the Jedi Council as they and the Republic forces allow themselves to be duped into leaving Coruscant unprotected. We also see the war Anakin is fighting within himself over revealing his marriage to Padme and his struggle over his feelings for her.
I enjoyed joining Mace Windu and Shaak Ti on their hunt for Sidious and the frustration both Mace and Yoda feel over not being able to reveal the location of the Sith leader. I still find myself wondering about Yoda and his alleged knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force. Has he dabbled in the Dark Side? Has he come dangerously close to being one of the fallen Jedi? I wish someone would expand upon this idea in a later novel centered on Yoda.
I also liked the ways in which Luceno shows Dooku beginning to falter in his faith in Sidious and himself. Although he knows that he is too deeply into the Dark Side to go back, he does find himself thinking about Yodaís offer to take him back into the fold. He also worries about Sidiousí plans - whether they will actually come to fruition, and what Skywalkerís place in those plans might be. Dooku gets a glimpse as to how expendable he is about to become in Sidiousí eyes.
All in all, Labyrinth of Evil is an excellent prequel to Revenge of the Sith, setting everything in motion for the first scene of the film in which Anakin and Obi-Wan race to save Chancellor Palpatine from General Grievous and Count Dooku. The novel is a fast and exciting read and, I agree, a must read for any fan of the prequel films and novels.