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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Wars
The Old Republic
Deceived (Hardback)


Author: Paul S. Kemp
Titan Books
RRP: £17.99, US $27.00
ISBN: 978 0 85768 091 4
Available 25 March 2011

In the Old Republic the Sith and the Jedi vied for supremacy, the Jedi with their empathy for all beings, the Sith through brutality and war. In one final act of deception the Sith commanded by Darth Malgus break through Coruscant’ defences laying waste to the Jedi temple. It is an act even more despicable as, at the same time, they are in peace talks with the Jedi. When Aryn Leneer feels her master fall to the lightsaber of Malgus, she abandons her peace mission for one of revenge, knowing only Zeerid Korr, an old army friend had a chance of getting her back to the capital and her destiny...

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived is a new novel by Paul S. Kemp. There's been a recent upsurge in the quality of tie-in novels recently and Deceived is certainly at the forefront of this new literary renaissance in Star Wars books. The book is the second novel, set in the Old Republic and based on the upcoming massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Wrapped within a relatively uncomplex structure Kemp has woven a much deeper narrative, examining less the differences, but much more the similarities between the Jedi and the Sith. More than this the story is about relationships. Don’t let that turn you off the book, there is excitement enough, not least in the sacking of the Republic's core planet.

Each of the three main characters is presented with a choice, a choice born out of love. For Aryn, the pain at the loss of her teacher and surrogate father leads her to abandon her Jedi teachings in order to avenge his death, though you get the feeling that her teacher would have been less than impressed. Korr also is engaged in gun and spice running, not merely for profit, but to provide for his disable daughter, always thinking that he can get out of debt with the criminal organisation, but also knowing that this is unlikely.

Korr so easily could have become another Solo, but whereas Solo’s criminal past was glossed over as being a bit roughish, Korr has real moral dilemmas about how he makes his money, leading to a much deeper characterisation than Solo ever got.

The real jewel in the crown is Darth Malgus, not unlike Aryn, he is a man who believes in the force, though their philosophies are at odds. It would be so easy to paint him as a one dimensional panto villain, a lot of the Sith are presented this way. With the introduction of his slave, Eleena, and his conflicted feeling towards her Kemp has created one of the most rounded Siths I’ve read.

The writing it top notch and Kemp has taken time to balance the action sequences with the more interesting character driven elements. I don’t know if the game is any good but Kemp has produced not only a good Star Wars tale, but also a good novel as well, full of moral and emotional choices which have real consequences for his characters.


Charles Packer

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