Star Wars
The Cestus Deception

Author: Steven Barns
RRP £17.99
ISBN 1 8441 3692 2
Available 03 June 2004

Ord Cestus, an inhospitable planet, was first colonised as a prison world - until a group of pioneers discovered its rich ore deposits and built up a droid manufacturing industry. But the eruption of the Clone Wars brought about a Republic ban on the production of battle droids, threatening Ord Cestus with imminent economic collapse. That is until the Confederacy offers to purchase vast quantities of bio-droids. If these droids were ever deployed for military use they would prove almost impossible to stop. To halt the sale Obi-Wan Kenobi leads a team of envoys to stop the government of Ord Cestus selling the lethal droids...

The Cestus Deception is the third in the Clone Wars series of novels from Century. It opens with the Confederacy attempting to acquire a quantity of bio-battle droids. The Republic is determined to stop these droids reaching the Confederacy and dispatch Obi-Wan Kenobi to talk to the manufacturers of the droids. However when talking fails Obi-Wan must turn to other means. He must prevent these highly dangerous weapons from reaching enemy hands - at any cost.

As Obi-Wan and Jedi Master Kit Fisto begin to dig deep into the evil residing on Ord Cestus and pull back the layers of secret plans, they realise that the truth is darker than even their worst fears. The manufacturing plant is being controlled by some outside force, someone with a hidden purpose of their own - a purpose that would allow neither side to win and result in a fate worse than defeat for both.

Steven Barnes gives us a cracking book, with a very engaging plot. I will probably be berated by Lucas fans for saying this, but The Cestus Deception would make a fantastic A-plot for one of the new Star Wars movies - much better than the attempts made for Episodes I and II.

Another interesting point worth making is that Barnes breaks the book into bite-sized chapters. For me, this made the book seem more fresh. Instead of pointless, dull descriptions of everything, he is more intent on moving the story along - although that's not to say that his characterisations and storytelling are shallow, far from it.

Any serious Star Wars fan will need to add this to their collection, and anyone who is a fan of the original Star Wars movies, but hates the new films, will find that this has a story that is as captivating and timeless as Star Wars stories should be.

Nick Smithson

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