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Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Drew Karpyshyn
Lucas Books / Del Rey, 324 pages

Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Drew Karpyshyn
With one B.A. in fine arts, one humbling defeat on the TV show Jeopardy, and half a masters' degree in English, Drew Karpyshyn found himself working as a writer/designer for the computer game developer BioWare. Since joining them in the spring of 2000, Drew has worked on such games as Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Throne of Bhaal, and the CRPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He has also found the time to pen two novels for Wizards of the Coast: Temple Hill and Throne of Bhaal. He now lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, with his wife Jennifer.

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A review by David Maddox


"Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to crave it."
With these words, Darth Bane defined and structured the Sith hierarchy of the Star Wars Universe. Three thousand years before the time of Episode I and the Classic Trilogy, the multitude of Sith Lords had found a relatively shaky common ground. Instead of wiping themselves out, they banded together as the Brotherhood of Darkness, forming Academies and an army in which all were equal.

Amidst the turmoil and ongoing war with the Old Republic and the Jedi, an angry, lone miner on the planet Apatros named Dessel finds his destiny. Son to an abusive father, trapped in never-ending debt to a faceless corporation, Des has become hard, mean and vicious to survive in the Outer Rim. Although he has always had precognitive senses, a violent turn of events with a Republic ensign puts him on the run.

Des joins the legions of the Sith army, working his way to sergeant, when his true power with the Force is discovered. At the Academy on Korriban he learns the ways of the Sith, renouncing his past life and taking the name Bane. But buried in the ancient tomes of the planet's library, Bane learns that those who teach him have lost their way. He takes it upon himself to bring true Sith Darkness back to the universe.

Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction is very different from most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe fiction. Told entirely from a Sith perspective it brings the Dark Side users into much greater focus than any other tale. While the Sith are inherently evil, it's interesting that, as Obi-Wan once said, when seem from a "certain point of view," perspectives and allegiances can be radically altered. With all the frustration and hardship Bane endures, the reader literally cheers as he makes his leaps with the Dark Side of the Force.

The novel is an historic tale, presenting an older version of the Jedi who are much more fallible than those of the modern era. It's interesting to see so many different types of Sith Lords (a surprising number of which are Twi'leks), some working together, like Bane's mentor Blademaster Kas'im. But they all have ulterior motives, scheming to increase their own power at any expenses.

The cast of characters is unique as well, from turncoat Jedi Giffany, who thinks she may become Bane's initial apprentice, to Army of Light General Hoth who has been fighting a war for so long, it's difficult to distinguish him from those he fights. The book also features the history and meaning of the Darth title.

Adding a new twist to the Expanded Universe, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction is a interesting, psychological read. It shows than even the wielders of the Dark Side have more layers to them than the casual observer might imagine and fills in the much questioned mystery of why there really should only be two Sith.

Copyright © 2006 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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