Dropping into swirling clouds conjured by Murkhana's weather stations, Roan Shryne was reminded of meditation sessions his former Master had guided him through. No matter how fixed Shryne had been on touching the Force, his mind's eye had offered little more than an eddying whiteness. Years later, when he had become more adept at silencing thought and immersing himself in the light, visual fragments would emerge from that colorless void-pieces to a puzzle that would gradually assemble themselves and resolve. Not in any conscious way, though frequently assuring him that his actions in the world were in accord with the will of the Force.
Frequently but not always.
When he veered from the course on which the Force had set him, the familiar white would once again be stirred by powerful currents; sometimes shot through with red, as if he were lifting his closed eyes to the glare of a midday sun.
Red-mottled white was what he saw as he fell deeper into Murkhana's atmosphere. Scored to reverberating thunder; the rush of the wind; a welter of muffled voices . . .
He was standing closest to the sliding door that normally sealed the troop bay of a Republic gunship, launched moments earlier from the forward hold of the Gallant-a Victory-class Star Destroyer, harried by vulture and droid tri-fighters and awaiting High Command's word to commence its own descent through Murkhana's artificial ceiling. Beside and behind Shryne stood a platoon of clone troopers, helmets fitting snugly over their heads, blasters cradled in their arms, utility belts slung with ammo magazines, talking among themselves the way seasoned warriors often did before battle. Alleviating misgivings with inside jokes; references Shryne couldn't begin to understand, beyond the fact that they were grim.
The gunship's inertial compensators allowed them to stand in the bay without being jolted by flaring anti-aircraft explosions or jostled by the gunship pilots' evasive maneuvering through corkscrewing missiles and storms of white-hot shrapnel. Missiles, because the same Separatists who had manufactured the clouds had misted Murkhana's air with anti-laser aerosols.
Acrid odors infiltrated the cramped space, along with the roar of the aft engines, the starboard one stuttering somewhat, the gunship as battered as the troopers and crew it carried into conflict.
Even at an altitude of only four hundred meters above sea level the cloud cover remained dense. The fact that Shryne could barely see his hand in front of his face didn't surprise him. This was still the war, after all, and he had grown accustomed these past three years to not seeing where he was going.
Nat-Sem, his former Master, used to tell him that the goal of the meditative exercises was to see clear through the swirling whiteness to the other side; that what Shryne saw was only the shadowy expanse separating him from full contact with the Force. Shryne had to learn to ignore the clouds, as it were. When he had learned to do that, to look through them to the radiant expanse beyond, he would be a Master.
Pessimistic by nature, Shryne's reaction had been: Not in this lifetime. Though he had never said as much to Nat-Sem, the Jedi Master had seen through him as easily as he saw through the clouds.
Shryne felt that the clone troopers had a better view of the war than he had, and that the view had little to do with their helmet imaging systems, the filters that muted the sharp scent of the air, the earphones that dampened the sounds of explosions. Grown for warfare, they probably thought the Jedi were mad to go into battle as they did, attired in tunics and hooded robes, a lightsaber their only weapon. Many of them were astute enough to see comparisons between the Force and their own white plastoid shells; but few
From the site of Anakin Skywalker's last stand-on the molten surface of the planet Mustafar, where he sought to destroy his friend and former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi-a fearsome specter in black has risen. Once the most powerful Knight ever known to the Jedi Order, he is now a disciple of the dark side, a lord of the dreaded Sith, and the avenging right hand of the galaxy's ruthless new Emperor. Seduced, deranged, and destroyed by the machinations of the Dark Lord Sidious, Anakin Skywalker is dead . . . and Darth Vader lives.
Word of the events that created him-the Jedi Council's failed mutiny against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the self-crowned Emperor's retaliatory command to exterminate the Jedi Order, and Anakin's massacre of his comrades and Masters in the Jedi Temple-has yet to reach all quarters. On the Outer Rim world of Murkhana, Jedi Masters Roan Shryne and Bol Chatak and Padawan Olee Starstone are leading a charge on a Separatist stronghold, unaware that the tide, red with Jedi blood, has turned suddenly against them.
When the three narrowly elude execution-and become the desperate prey in a hunt across space-it's neither clone soldiers, nor the newly deployed stormtroopers, nor even the wrath of the power-hungry Emperor himself they must fear most. The deadliest threat rests in the hideously swift and lethal crimson lightsaber of Darth Vader-behind whose brooding mask lies a shattered heart, a poisoned soul, and a cunning, twisted mind hell-bent on vengeance.
For the handful of scattered Jedi, survival is imperative if the light side of the Force is to be protected and the galaxy somehow, someday reclaimed. Yet more important still is the well-being of the twin infants, Leia and Luke Skywalker, the children of Anakin and his doomed bride, Padmé Amidala. Separated after Padmé's death, they must be made safe at all costs, lest the hope they represent for the future be turned to horror by the new Sith regime-and the unspeakable power of the dark side.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Star Wars, Dark Lord
- Verlag: Ballantine
- Seitenzahl: 338
- Abmessung: 176mm x 108mm x 25mm
- Gewicht: 177g
- ISBN-13: 9780345477330
- ISBN-10: 0345477332
- Best.Nr.: 20796021