Star Wars
Darth Maul - Shadow Hunter

Author: Michael Reaves
Lucas Books
ISBN 0712684174
Available now

He's here, he's bad, he's Darth Maul and he's got his own novel! No, the thorny-headed one hasn't risen from the dead, rather Shadow Hunter is set just before the events of The Phantom Menace. Bad-boy Darth Sidious is about to launch his Naboo trade blockade, but one of his henchman has legged it and intends to give the game away. Darth Maul is dispatched to find the henchman and kill him, including anyone he has spoken to, their friends and their dogs...

Simply, the novel is one big chase and the author (Michael Reeves) makes a good job of it, although his writing style is by no means spectacular.

There are some interesting insights, the most prominent being a close look at the fighting method known as tras ksi (remember the less than impressive game for the PlayStation?) It's been mentioned before, but this is the first time we get to see what it actually is. There is also an examination of Sith culture, particularly why the Jedi are hated so much and in turn why Darth Maul is so obsessed with killing them.

Fans of action won't get bored either as there is no end of killing and weaponry, but the fact that The Phantom Menace comes next defuses any possible suspense. We know that the trade blockade is going to happen which means that Darth Maul will succeed in his mission, no matter what.

Shadow Hunter is a fast, fun romp that won't disappoint.

Jeff Watson