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ALL TIMELINES


ALL TIMELINES

SECRET WEAPON

A novel by Jude Watson (2007, Scholastic Paperbacks)
The Last of the Jedi, Book 7
19 years before and Star Wars: A New Hope

Assigned to his old home planet, Ferus has to decide if he will serve the Empire or the Resistance.

                                                                                     

 

 

Read October 14th to 19th, 2015 in paperback  
    Ferus gets back to his better role in this book, as a leader of the resistance. It made the story far more interesting, though the Emperor still seems to think he will be able to replace Vader with Ferus –it’s a wonder that Vader lasted so long under that man’s rule.

Spoiler review:

Although I still have a lot of trouble with the Emperor trying to solicit Ferus’s help, when he must remember the rivalry these two had as Padawans, it looks like the authors want us to believe that the Emperor is searching for a new apprentice, one that could replace Vader. Although I think 20 years as enforcer to the Emperor makes him strong, George Lucas always referred to Vader as defective, which is why Palpatine wanted Luke in Return of the Jedi. I guess that explains why there are so many Force-sensitive people in the Empire’s service in so many stories. In this particular case, the Emperor must have reiterated to Vader explicitly not to harm Ferus, because otherwise Ferus would be armless, or even split in half by the end of this book. As it turns out, even after all the open rebellion he displays, the Emperor starts to take him under his wing, to show him how to become more powerful than Vader. As I predicted in A Tangled Web, this can only lead to Ferus turning to the Dark Side, no matter how much he thinks of himself as a double agent. It took Leia’s love to bring Luke back from the Dark Side in Dark Empire; I would say it needs to take more than that if Ferus turns.

The story starts in deep space; I thought it was heading for the Death Star, but nobody explicitly mentions that space station here. Ferus sneaks into Vader's quarters and grabs some data from an unencrypted data block (I don’t believe for a second that Vader is so careless), before Vader returns. He finds reference to a secret program Vader is conducting, which may be to find other Force-sensitive people, but it’s not clear at this point.

Regardless, the Emperor returns Ferus and Vader to Bellassa, where Ferus spent his post-Jedi life until the Empire took over. There, he is paraded as a figurehead to the people, showing them that he will take care of them, but really showing them that he turned traitor and that they should stop resisting. Meanwhile, Trever and Roan separately make their way back to Bellassa, too. After the events of the last book, Trever really does think that Ferus has switched sides. Roan has trouble believing that, so he arranges for a meeting with Ferus.

I liked the way Ferus and Roan interacted. Ferus, under armed escort, notices the signs in the alleyways that indicates Roan is in town and wants to meet with him. So he ditches his guards, and goes to the specified meeting place, and together, he and Roan compile their information, and discover that the Empire is using Belassan resources to create some huge secret project, obviously the Death Star. It’s a tough balance for the author to keep the Death Star secret, yet let the readers know that’s what is going on.

Ferus is always kept out of the really important meetings, only invited in for press conferences, to be the poster boy for Bellassa. But he does some snooping around, and talks with a security guard who recognizes him –I liked the metaphorical talk about gardens that leads to the security breach, and the resistance members of The Eleven to infiltrate the facility. Unfortunately, they don’t get much information, as Vader arrives, kills the security guard, and traps Ferus. Finally, in order to hurt Ferus, because he can’t physically touch him, he kills Roan in cold blood. This is a surprising twist in these stories, which are getting darker and darker.

It is at this point that Ferus would appear to become useless to the Empire. Yet while imprisoned by Vader, Ferus is visited by the Emperor himself, who offers to teach him how to be stronger than Vader. This is unfortunately too tempting for Ferus, who agrees. Meanwhile, Trever is trapped in the cargo bay, but gets back in time to witness Roan’s death and Ferus’ capture. One of the scientists smuggles him out of the complex, hoping he can spread the word and get the facility shut down.

I’m afraid that this series will go too far into darkness; no matter how tempting, I have a lot of trouble believing that Ferus could fall to the Dark Side. I also don’t like how he mocks his old self, rule-following and rigid to the code. He should have learned how to live with himself and his former traits by now, especially given his lifestyle and personality. I don’t believe that he would look back at that in regret, either –he was trying to find his way, to the best of his abilities. It looks more to me like the author is trying to apply current popular beliefs (incorrect) about what makes a good person, when there is no one single criterion that does this.

Regardless, the story was very well written, especially in the part where Ferus decides he’s had enough of being a double agent, and rejoins the resistance, if only for a short time. I wish we could see more of that, instead of him trying to infiltrate the Empire.
 
   

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