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An e-book by Steven Barnes (2004, Del Rey)
A Clone Wars Story
Set 21 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

Obi-Wan travels ancient corridors with a native from Ord Cestus in order to find hidden eggs that could restore the Royal Family.



Read on May 3rd, 2005  
    A very well told story, with two very interesting characters, and an exciting situation.

There is nothing that really stands out about this story, but it moves along steadily as Obi-Wan and the X'Ting named Jesson make their way towards their goal. They provide much better interaction than the other characters from The Cestus Deception. This story is sort of a missing chapter, taking place about halfway through that book. I don't recall hearing about Obi-Wan's journey through the Hive to get to the royal eggs, but then, I was frustrated and uninterested in what was happening at around this point in the book.

In the hopes of restoring unity to the community of X'Ting, the Council asks Obi-Wan to try where others have failed, to gain the eggs hidden by the royal family just before they were all killed by the plague that swept the planet long ago. They left the eggs so well guarded, however, that nobody can get through the traps, and all records about how to get through have been destroyed by the ages. They do believe, however, that the eggs would be destroyed if somebody failed three times to gain access to them. This does beg the question about how many times anybody would try. This might only be the council's third attempt to gain the eggs, but how do they know that their enemies haven't tried before? Apparently at least one X'Ting gained access to the chamber and died.

Obi-Wan and Jesson the warrior make their way through a couple of hollow statues, past a swarm of X'Ting who have become cannibals, and over a plain filled with carnivorous worms. They find Jesson's sibling hanging from his lift-cable so that he would not lose his footing and fall victim to the worms as he became exhausted. Only a carapace was left. Each obstacle provides them with challenges, and they prove themselves to each other. Jesson doesn't like outsiders, for what they did to Ord Cestus, and Obi-Wan doesn't trust Jesson to turn the eggs over to the council. Slowly they come to appreciate each other.

I kind of liked the twist on the last challenge, where the computer tells Jesson that he had the wrong answers, even though he was correct, only to detect the scent of his fear and exasperation. "Egg termination has begun" only deepened his fear, which allowed the computer to determine his true and selfless motives. To his surprise and relief, the eggs are given into his care.

The last lines of the story give us a little more satisfaction, as they find that one of the hollow statues they climbed down depicted Yoda, the Jedi who came secretly to Ord Cestus and help the X'Ting in the past. Once Obi-Wan started wondering who the mysterious Jedi could be, there was really no doubt about his identity, but the statue in the Hall of Heroes was a nice touch.

This was a rather short e-book compared to others, but it was remarkably well pieced together. Uncomplicated, this was more about characters. It managed to give us a good plot along with good character development with a minimum of clichés and contradictions (though those did show up a couple of times anyway). This was so much better than the book it supplements; I wish that book had dealt more with this kind of thing.


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