Ossus Library Index Star Wars Timeline




A novel by Jude Watson (2002, Scholastic Books)
Jedi Quest, Book 3
27 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

Patrolling the Galactic Games, Anakin and Obi-Wan discover a plot to sabotage the podraces and accuse innocent senators of illegal activity.




Read February 17th to 20th, 2011  
    This was a good excuse to get Anakin into a podracer again, and he shows his true colors. The theme is about how expectations can color perceptions.

No wonder Yoda was so afraid of teaching Luke Skywalker the Jedi way in The Empire Strikes Back. Anakin, his father, was full of impatience, always seeking adventure, excitement. The moment he hears about the podraces, he can think of nothing else. Any justification that he can think up becomes his excuse, but fortunately the other Jedi see through him, even if they let him have his fun.

The three Jedi pairs, all of which appeared in The Way of the Apprentice, are on Euceron to supervise the Galactic Games, a sort of galaxy wide Olympics held every seven years, featuring all sorts of tests of skill. The head of the games is afraid of illegal gambling and illegal podracing. They also find Didi and Astri, former owners of the bar on Coruscant. Astri has married Bog, a gullible man who is arranging seating for Senators during the games.

Obi-Wan catches Didi making illegal bets on the games, finding out in the process that some of the games are fixed. Over the course of the book, Obi-Wan catches Didi stealing Bog's speeder and datapad, hoping to get money back that he lost on his betting, which he also took from Bog and Astri (that last is never addressed in the book).

Anakin, meanwhile, finds Sebulba among the podracers; his son Hekula will be racing in Anakin's old racer. But Sebulba owns a slave of his own, so Anakin decides to help her two brothers win the money in the podrace to buy her back. He is good-natured that way, but really only when it suits his purpose. Sebulba confronts him, and the racer is hurt, so Anakin volunteers to race in his place.

Obi-Wan, meanwhile, meets up with Didi's contact, and finds out some of the games which are fixed, including the podraces. He and Anakin follow a timekeeper, who is killed after they chase him outside. Anakin is sent back to the podraces to keep an eye out, while Obi-Wan goes to meet Bog, Astri, and Maxi Vista, the hero of the previous games. Bog is embarrassed that he is being used to help set up the Senators for illegal betting, but Maxi Vista hauls Obi-Wan off into a "demonstration match", where he plans to have the Jedi killed. Previously, Obi-Wan recognized Maxi Vista as the person who killed the timekeeper, and probably the architect of this plan.

He keeps Obi-Wan busy in the obstacle course while Anakin pilots the podracer through his own course. Obi-Wan gets through the course as fast as possible, using the Force to detect when one of the holographic monsters turned out to be a real battle droid, which he destroyed (why didn't he use this fact at his hearing, as evidence that somebody tried to kill him?). Anakin's podracer is sabotaged twice, which seems a little over-planned, since nobody but a Jedi could possibly have survived the first encounter. It seems unlikely that the head of the games, who was a big part of the sabotage, would be there in person to do the dirty work.

Obi-Wan colored his perceptions of Maxi Vista by not being interested in the past games, thinking this was a nobody milking his fame, when he turned out to be the greatest danger on the planet, aiming to kill thousands of spectators with a podracer crash. Anakin let his hatred for Sebulba color his perceptions, thinking that the Dug was responsible for the fixed timings and the sabotage, when it was in fact the hurt driver whose podracer he raced that arranged to win. But Maxo Vista and the head of the games wanted a spectacular crash, and decided on these racers.

In the final insult, Maxo Vista and the head of the games are let go free of charges after the Jedi failed to bring supporting evidence of the crimes. They had only their own eyes as witnesses, and that wasn't enough, since Bog lied and told the Ruling Power that he knew nothing of illegal bets and fixed competitions.

It is a tough lesson for Anakin to learn, but Obi-Wan thinks it typical of those in power. Maybe we'll see these guys in a future book, where they can get justice. In the meantime, Anakin still hasn't learned to stop and think things through before acting (and after his unthinking attack on Dooku in Attack of the Clones, I guess he never really will).


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