- Author: James Luceno
- 362 Pages
- Published in 2014
- Placement in Timeline: Between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith
What It’s About:
Labyrinth of Evil is a combination Clone Wars story/prequel to Revenge of the Sith, bringing us right up to the events at the start of Episode 3.
It starts with a battle on Cato Neimoidia, with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, along with Republic forces, in pursuit of Nute Gunray, the Viceroy of the Trade Federation who was central to Naboo’s invasion in The Phantom Menace. Gunray escapes, but leaves behind a key piece of equipment that holds important intelligence vital to the Republic: the mechno-chair he used in the Phantom Menace.
What follows is a kind of Jedi CSI, in which Obi-Wan and Anakin follow the trail of the mechno-chair’s creation, in an effort to trace it back to Darth Sidious.
In the meantime, Count Dooku and General Grievous play their parts in Sidious’ labyrinthine plan to bring the Republic to its knees, beginning with the “abduction” of Chancellor Palpatine. Dooku plays bait to lure Obi-Wan and Anakin away from Coruscant, while Grievous deploys his droid army to attack the city-planet and snag the Chancellor.
Even though this book is considered “Legends”, it very easily fits into canon, giving a clear picture of the events leading up to ROTS.
We jump right into a Clone Wars battle with Anakin and Obi-Wan, and I pictured their animated counterparts going up against battle droids with their clone troopers. What I noticed here is Anakin very freely tapping into his anger to boost his powers in battle with the Force, a result of his “friend” Palpatine dispensing his advice. There’s also a neat little scene where Anakin uses a “Jedi healing technique” on a wounded clone trooper, to prevent him from going into deep shock. So there you go.
Back on Coruscant, Padme is with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, confronting Palpatine about his unchecked powers. Most of Padme’s scenes in the book foreshadow her concerns in ROTS–hinting at her pregnancy and the growing anxiety about their future.
I loved getting into Dooku’s head and thoughts, as well as Grievous. Dooku’s ruminations helped me understand a bit more about his history with the Jedi Order, and the whole Sifo-Dyas thing. With Grievous, I learned more about how he came to be a cyborg.
But mostly I loved that Obi-Wan and Anakin were always together, the team they were meant to be. Their banter, their disagreements, their love for each other as well as their misgivings about each other. In a discussion they have before leaving for Tythe to confront Dooku, Anakin says,
“I never claimed to be the Chosen One. That was Qui Gon. Even the Council doesn’t believe it anymore, so why should you?”
“Because I think you believe it,” Obi-Wan replied calmly. “I think you know in your heart you’re meant for something extraordinary.”
“And you, Master. What does your heart tell you you’re meant for?”
“Infinite sadness,” Obi-Wan said, even while smiling.
And that little exchange just made me infinitely sad as well.
James Luceno is a great Star Wars author (he’s written many, including Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, and Tarkin), but it takes me a little bit longer to get through his books. Not because it’s boring in any way, but because of his attention to detail. One cannot simply breeze through a Luceno novel. But the effort is well worth it.
If you’re a Luceno fan, a Clone Wars or Prequel fan, or a fan of Obi-Wan and/or Anakin, this book is for you.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Lightsabers.