A standard revenge story, with a little too much running around
for my tastes, but still told with an excellent writing style, and quite
For Qui-Gon, this was a tale of revenge. It is done for a
good cause, as Xanatos has taken over an entire planet, and addicted them to a
gambling game, and he will certainly do more damage in the future. But it
is revenge nonetheless. Qui-Gon goes against the Jedi Council to return to
Telos, the home planet of his former Padawan.
For Obi-Wan, it is a
chance to prove to his former master that he should be taken back as a Padawan.
He thinks on his own, and drives his master's plans without needing extra
prompting. I like the way the Council didn't expressly forbid him from
joining Qui-Gon on this mission, of which they also disapproved.
the moment they are chased from the spaceport, into the gambling den, and from
place to place, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan express concern for each other, and discuss
where they might find Xanatos. They don't have to wait long, for Xanatos
is seen as the savior of the planet. Apparently, the money from the
gambling goes to restore the planetary parks. The two Jedi don't believe
this for a moment.
They run into Den, a compulsive gambler in the game
of Katharsis, who saves them from the security force chasing after them. Den offers them
sanctuary in his apartment complex, but they are ambushed there. He then
leads them to Andra, a woman who is trying desperately to prove that the parks
are being exploited, not restored.
Obi-Wan is right when he thinks
about how Qui-Gon trusts every scavenger, but won't trust his former Padawan.
Qui-Gon trusted the Phindians with his life in The Hidden Past, then Elan, Nield,
and Cerasi. Now we have Den and Andra, and later, he will trust Jar-Jar
and Anakin with their lives. This is great continuity for the character.
And he is still closed-mouthed about his plan, showing his insecurity in
trusting the one closest to him.
There is not really much plot here. The
characters do a lot of running around, and changing their minds. Qui-Gon,
Obi-Wan and Den infiltrate the company they think is a front for Xanatos' mining
corporation, Offworld, and get captured, but not before Den escapes.
Xanatos shows up in their cell to taunt them, but somehow doesn't discover their
lightsabers. He manufactured their crimes, and testified at their trial,
telling the public the "story" of how Obi-Wan killed Bruck, a native of Telos, in cold
It is interesting how Xanatos is able to penetrate Obi-Wan's guilt at
Bruck's death. I still think Obi-Wan got the easy way out, but perhaps
this is leading somewhere, down the road. The author made sure he didn't
shoulder any of the responsibility of Bruck's death in
The Captive Temple, but
here he still feels remorse, and wonders endlessly if he could have done
something to prevent it. Very interesting character work.
are sentenced to death, but during their public execution, they are rescued by
Den and Andra. I wonder if the artist who painted the front cover read the
book properly? Neither Jedi sliced through the bars of their cell.
They waited until the bars were opened before making their move.
next plan, Den discovers that Katharsis is a fixed game, that a certain
contestant will win the jackpot, and funnel part of the money back to the parent
company. He is able to fix the game so that he will win it, so that they
can humiliate Xanatos and undermine the public's confidence in him. The
main plot concern here is whether Den will leave the planet with the money he
loves so much, or will he stay behind the cause. He actually turned out to be
more of a patriot than anybody thought he was, including himself, I think.
Obi-Wan and Andra scout out
the Sacred Pools, which they discover are indeed being exploited, and poisoned
by Offworld. They are nearly captured, but manage to steal a small
transport and make it to the Katharsis arena in time to send the images they
took to the big screens as Xanatos presents the prize. Unable to keep
control of the crowd, even when he has the two Jedi cornered, he flees.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan follow him, and battle with lightsabers back at the Sacred
Pools. It is a nasty fight, but somehow Xanatos is able to fend off both
attackers. Mainly this is because he still taunts Obi-Wan about Bruck's
death. Fortunately, Obi-Wan shakes off his guilt, and together, they
Unfortunately, Xanatos gets the same treatment here
that Bruck did in The Captive Temple. Qui-Gon didn't have to kill the man,
even though he was prepared to do it. Xanatos jumps from a cliff into
water that Obi-Wan discovered earlier could dissolve anything he put into it. His
body disintegrates. But it is not like Xanatos to commit suicide. More likely he would have gone
to jail and tried to escape -surely some Offworld subordinates could have rescued
What this incident highlights is to young readers is that there is
always a choice. But sooner or later, both of these men will have to kill
somebody. I am certain that Darth Maul was not the first person killed at
Although the plot is less than stellar, the characterization
of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan is still wonderfully written. The author seemed to
go overboard with the absolute pollution present in the Sacred Pools. But
she knows her characters very well.
Qui-Gon especially gets good
treatment here. He agonizes over the fact that he put Obi-Wan in danger
twice in this book. He thinks he had the choice to not allow Obi-Wan to join him
on Telos. And in the end, he realizes that he needs his apprentice as much
as Obi-Wan needs him. They both decide to go back to the Jedi Temple and
meditate. And when the probation period is over, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan will
be Master and Padawan once again.
This is a satisfying conclusion to
this story arc. Once again, the writing was extremely tight, so that even
though the plot could have used some more depth, it was still very exciting and
enjoyable, simply because of the good writing. I hope this series branches
out on to more alien worlds. There are too many humans and not enough
aliens. Let's have more alien bodies to worry about, instead of having
everybody be a potential romantic liaison for either of them. There was no
relationship this time, but it was always possible. With an alien, things
become more interesting. Still, the series overall, and this book, have been