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A novel by Jude Watson (2006, Scholastic Paperbacks)
The Last of the Jedi, Book 5
19 years before and Star Wars: A New Hope

The Emperor blackmails Ferus into investigating the sabotage of a planet's controlling computer.




Read October 2nd to 5th, 2015, in paperback  
    This felt more like setup than anything else, as the story seems to veer off in yet another direction. I don’t know what to make of Ferus working for the Emperor, or his ability to stay alive after visiting the Palace on Coruscant. There are more questions than answers, but the brief story about finding the saboteur was well executed.

Spoiler review:

In the first four books of this series, we’ve had two plots, and it looks like this book is moving the series to a third, though I’m not sure what it is, yet. First Obi-Wan tracked down Ferus and they tried to eliminate the threat of finding Padme’s children (though Ferus didn’t know that’s what he was doing). Then Ferus went in search of new Jedi. Now, he’s suddenly accepted an offer of amnesty from the Emperor, though the reasons for that offer, and why Ferus actually entertains it, are completely unknown. Everybody comments on the former, but after a few token protests, nobody really questions whether Ferus should actually do this, or if the Emperor would even keep his word.

Putting that aside for the rest of the book, because the Emperor does keep his word, at least for this book, Ferus easily tracks down the Saboteur of the computer system that links all of Samaria. These people have shoulder-mounted droids that keep track of every single thing, from transactions to security and even act as pedometers and tracking devices. When the system crashes, everybody’s lives are thrown into chaos.

Ferus looks into the sabotage, and takes an unconventional route to find the person responsible. Looking for clues within the programming isn’t very useful, so he tracks people who tried to get off planet but couldn’t due to the Empire’s quick closure of the spaceports. It turns out that Bog Divinian (from The Dangerous games), is the Imperial Administrator of the planet, and that he wants to take control of it. It is obvious that the Empire wants full control of the governing body, so Ferus tries to keep his affairs secret, a hard thing to do with surveillance droids following him everywhere. But his friends from the previous books help him out, posing as staff and taxi drivers. Ferus tracks down Astri, who was Obi-Wan’s friend through several of the Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest novels. She sabotaged the computer system to erase the names of the people who were becoming resistance members, and to try and hide her son Lune from her ex-husband. Lune is force-sensitive, so he could be a target or a major catch for the Empire.

Of course, Ferus is being tracked, and at that moment, Darth Vader arrives with stormtroopers to catch Astri.

Ferus was blackmailed into working for the Emperor, because his friend Roan was being held on a traveling prison trial ship, an idea created by Senator Sano Sauro, who also had a large number of nefarious plots in Jedi Quest. The cast of characters in these books is getting large, and it appears that everybody has a role to play. While Ferus searches for the saboteur, Trever and Solace board the prison ship to rescue Roan, posing as a judicial party, reversing the charges against him and eventually taking over the ship. Solace uses that ship to get Astri and the others off Samaria, but Ferus stays, because he thinks he can find out more by infiltrating deeper into the Empire.

Based on the way these books are written, I fully expect him to turn to the Dark Side before coming back at the end. But this book as a whole seemed more like setup than anything else. I wonder what more Ferus can do there, especially if Darth Vader stays with him.

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