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Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn
Review by Drew Bittner
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345477484
Date: 26 December 2007 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

In Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two, a puzzle from the Star Wars series is explained in greater depth: why are there only two Sith at any one time?

Having survived a "thought bomb" that killed legions of Jedi and Sith on a battlefield world, Darth Bane finally discovers the crucial clue to the tomb of Freedon Nadd, one of the most feared Sith sorcerers in history. Bane's child apprentice, Zannah, is abandoned so that he can pursue the treasures of this tomb alone; she is given the task of meeting him on a distant world.

Meanwhile, her childhood friend Darovit, maimed by an encounter with Bane and Zannah, forsakes his aspiration to become a Jedi and settles down. Unfortunately for him, destiny is not yet finished with him.

Meanwhile, Johun, a Jedi Padawan, is convinced that the Sith were not entirely destroyed by the thought bomb. Although he has lost his master, General Hoth, he acquires another in Valenthyne, and is there when the Jedi Order set aside their military role in favor of becoming advisers to the Galactic Republic. He is convinced this is a foolish move but cannot think of how to counteract it.

Bane finds the tomb but runs afoul of crablike creatures that bond to his skin, becoming symbiotic armor resistant even to lightsabers. Impressed with his new abilities, yet fearful he has grown too strong to overcome, Zannah works to plant doubts in Bane's mind.

He has taught her an important lesson, the cornerstone of his philosophy: there are to be two Sith, one to command mastery of the Dark Side of the Force and the other to crave that mastery. The apprentice must seek to destroy the master and take his place; it is how the Sith remain strong.

And Zannah shows herself to be a very apt student indeed.

Fans of the Star Wars series of novels will find a great deal to enjoy in Rule of Two. Bane is a resourceful, intelligent Sith whose ego blinds him to certain dangers, while Zannah's coldblooded embrace of evil grows steadily from her childhood killing of a family up to her torture of Darovit many years later.

Johun, much like many Jedi in the novels, realizes the danger but lacks the ability to defeat it, except around the margins. (And besides, the name of the book is "Darth Bane," not "Johun," after all.) Nevertheless, he tries hard to seek out and destroy the last vestige of the Sith -- if the search for the Sith's dark lore doesn't kill Bane first.

Recommended.

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