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Star Wars Cloak of Deception

Star Wars Cloak of Deception

3.8 60
by James Luceno

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From New York Times bestselling author James Luceno comes an all-new Star Wars adventure that reveals the action and intrigue unfolding directly before Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Mired in greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation


From New York Times bestselling author James Luceno comes an all-new Star Wars adventure that reveals the action and intrigue unfolding directly before Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Mired in greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation maintains a stranglehold on shipping routes, tensions are boiling over-while back in the comfort of Coruscant, the hub of civilized space and seat of the Republic government, few senators seem inclined to investigate the problem. And those who suspect Supreme Chancellor Valorum of having a hand in the machinations are baffled-especially when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi foil an assassination attempt on the Chancellor.

With the crisis escalating, Valorum calls for an emergency trade summit. As humans and aliens gather, conspiracies sealed with large sums of money run rampant, and no one is entirely above suspicion. But the greatest threat of all remains unknown to everyone except three members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with a dark overlord. While the trio will be content with more money and fewer problems, Darth Sidious has grander, far more terrifying plans.

It is a time that tests the mettle of all those who strive to hold the Republic together-none more so than the Jedi Knights, who have long been the galaxy's best hope for preserving peace and justice. Yet despite their most valiant efforts, the meeting will explode into fiery chaos beyond everyone's worst fears . . .

Editorial Reviews

After Chancellor Valorum has fallen victim to partisan muckraking, he watches helplessly as his power leaks steadily away. Only the forceful efforts of the Jedi Knights can restore his power. A strong Star Wars novel, set in prequel times.
This book is set in the Star Wars(tm) universe before the events that took place in Episode I:The Phantom Menace (Del Rey, 1999/VOYA October 1999). The Galactic Republic is crumbling, the Trade Federation is under attack, and someone is plotting to assassinate Supreme Chancellor Valorum of Coruscant. How foolish can that be when he is personally under the protection of the Jedi Knights? Nevertheless there is more than one kind of assassination—up close and personal, long distance, and even character. Valorum does not make it any easier when he insists on exposing himself to attack by attending a trade summit. In his corner, Valorum is supported by that dynamic duo readers will soon come to know and love—Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Apprentice, young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Opposed to him are members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with Darth Sidious. Plots within plots swirl around the central characters, and waiting in the wings is none other than that oh-so-clever and manipulative Senator Palpatine of Naboo—so adept at dissembling you scarcely realize the damage that he has done—and he is just getting started. Fast-paced fun with action bouncing all over the place alternates with masterful fight scenes. Character development is minimal, but readers have already met the major ones on the screen. Fans will no doubt say, "What's not to love? It's Star Wars(tm)!" This best-selling addition to the Star Wars(tm) opus also has considerable appeal for fans of space opera and militaristic science fiction. VOYA CODES:3Q 4P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects;Broad general YA appeal;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12;Adultand Young Adult). 2001, Lucas Books/Del Rey, 342p, $24. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer:Bonnie Kunzel—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
Library Journal
At last, what you've been waiting for: a prequel to the Star Wars ramble that will explain why Chancellor Valorum fell from power. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Star Wars
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.86(w) x 4.10(h) x 0.98(d)

Read an Excerpt


Luxuriating in the unfailing light of countless stars, the Trade Federation freighter Revenue lazed at the edge of Dorvalla’s veil of alabaster clouds.

Indistinguishable from its myriad brethren, the freighter resembled a saucer, whose center had been pared away to create two massive hangar arms and a stalked centersphere that housed the great ship’s hyperdrive reactors. Forward, the curving arms fell short of each other, as if in a failed attempt to close the circle. But, in fact, the gap was there by design, with each arm terminating in colossal docking claws and gaping hangar portals.

Like some gluttonous beast, a Trade Federation vessel didn’t so much load as gobble cargo, and for close to three standard days, the Revenue had been feeding at Dorvalla.

The outlying planet’s principal commodity was lommite ore, a major component in the production of transparisteel viewports and starfighter canopies. Ungainly transports ferried the strip-mined ore into high orbit, where the payloads were transferred to a fleet of self-propelled barges, tenders, and cargo pods, many of them as large as shuttles, and all bearing the Spherical Flame sigil of the Trade Federation.

By the hundreds the unpiloted crafts streamed between the Dorvallan transports and the ring-shaped freighter, lured to the breach in the curving arms by powerful tractor beams. There the docking claws nudged the crafts through the magnetic containment fields that sealed the rectangular maws of the hangars.

Safeguarding the herd from attacks by pirates or other raiders flew patrols of bullet-nosed, quad-thruster starfighters, wanting shields but armed with rapid-fire laser cannons. The droids that piloted the ships answered to a central control computer located in the freighter’s centersphere.

At the aft curve of the centersphere stood a command and control tower. The ship’s bridge occupied the summit, where a robed figure paced nervously before an array of inwardly inclined viewports. The interrupted view encompassed the distal ends of the hangar arms and the seemingly ceaseless flow of pods, their dorsal surfaces aglow with sunlight. Beyond the arms and the rust-brown pods spun translucent-white Dorvalla.

“Status,” the robed figure hissed.

The Revenue’s Neimoidian navigator responded from a thronelike chair set below the burnished floor of the bridge walkway.

“The last of the cargo pods is being taken aboard, Commander Dofine.” Neimoidian speech, while lilting, favored first syllables and elongated words.

“Very well, then,” Dofine replied. “Recall the starfighters.”

The navigator swiveled in his chair to face the walkway. “So soon, Commander?”

Dofine ceased his relentless pacing to cast a dubious look at his shipmate. Months in deep space had so honed Dofine’s natural distrust that he was no longer certain of the navigator’s intent. Was the navigator questioning his command in the hope of gaining status, or was there some good reason to delay recalling the starfighters? The distinction troubled Dofine, since he risked losing face by airing his suspicions and being proven wrong. He decided to gamble that the question had been prompted by concern and contained no hidden challenges.

“I want those fighters recalled. The sooner we leave Dorvalla, the better.”

The navigator nodded. “As you will, Commander.”

Captain of the Revenue’s skeleton crew of living beings, Dofine had a pair of front-facing red oval eyes, a prominent muzzle, and a fish-lipped slash of mouth. Veins and arteries pulsed visibly beneath the surface of puckered and mottled pale-green skin. Small for his species—the runt of his hive, some said behind his back—his thin frame was draped in blue robes and a tufted, shoulder-padded mantle more appropriate for a cleric than a ship’s commander. A tall cone of black fabric, even his headpiece suggested wealth and high office.

The navigator was similarly attired in robes and headpiece, though his floor-length mantle was solid black and of a simpler design. He communicated with the devices that encircled the shell-like pilot’s chair by means of data readout goggles that cupped his eyes and a disk-shaped comlink that hid his mouth.

The Revenue’s communications technician was a jowled and limpid-eyed Sullustan. The officer who interfaced with the central control computer was a Gran—three-eyed, with a hircine face. Beaked and green-complexioned, the ship’s assistant bursar was an Ishi Tib.

Dofine hated having to suffer aliens aboard his bridge, but he was compelled to do so as an accommodation to the lesser shipping concerns that had allied with the Trade Federation; small companies like Viraxo Shipping, and powerful shipbuilders like TaggeCo and Hoersch-Kessel.

Humaniform droids saw to all other tasks on the bridge.

Dofine had resumed his pacing when the Sullustan spoke.

“Commander, Dorvalla Mining reports that the payment they received is short one hundred thousand Republic credits.”

Dofine waved his long-fingered hand in dismissal. “Tell her to recheck her figures.”

The Sullustan relayed Dofine’s words and waited for a reply. “She claims that you said the same thing the last time we were here.”

Dofine exhaled theatrically and gestured to a large circular screen at the rear of the bridge. “Display her.”

The magnified image of a red-haired, freckle-faced human woman was resolving on the screen by the time Dofine reached it.

“I am not aware of any missing credits,” he said without preamble.

The woman’s blue eyes flashed. “Don’t lie to me, Dofine. First it was twenty thousand, then fifty, now one hundred. How much will we have to forfeit the next time the Trade Federation graces Dorvalla with a visit?”

Dofine glanced knowingly at the Ishi Tib, who returned a faint grin. “Your world is far removed from normal space lanes,” he said calmly toward the screen. “As far from the Rimma Trade Route as from the Corellian Trade Spine. Your situation, therefore, demands additional expenditures. Of course, if you are displeased, you could always do business with some other concern.”

The woman snorted a rueful laugh. “Other concern? The Trade Federation has put everyone else under.”

Dofine spread his large hands. “Then what is a hundred thousand credits, more or less?”

“Extortion is what it is.”

The sour expression Dofine adopted came naturally to his slack features. “I suggest you file a complaint with the Trade Commission on Coruscant.”

The woman fumed; her nostrils flared and her cheeks reddened. “You haven’t heard the last of this, Dofine.”

Dofine’s mouth approximated a smile. “Ah, once again, you are mistaken.” Abruptly, he ended the transmission, then swung back to face his fellow Neimoidian. “Inform me when the loading process is concluded.”

Deep in the hangar arms, droids supervised the disposition of the cargo pods from traffic stations located high above the deck. Humpbacked craft with bulbous noses that gave them an animated appearance, the pods entered through the hangars’ magcon orifices on repulsorlift power and were routed according to contents and destination, as designated by codes stenciled on the hulls. Each hangar arm was divided into three zones, partitioned by sliding bulkhead doors, twenty stories high. Normally, zone three, closest to the centersphere, was filled first. But pods containing goods bound for destinations other than Coruscant or other Core worlds were directed to berthing bays in zones one or two, regardless of when they were brought aboard.

Scattered throughout the hangars were security automata toting modified BlasTech combat rifles, some with dispersal tips. Where the worker droids might be hollow-bodied asps, limber-necked PKs, boxy GNKs, or flat-footed binary loadlifters, the security droids appeared to have been inspired by the skeletal structure of any number of the galaxy’s bipedal life-forms.

Lacking both the rounded head and alloy musculature of its near cousin, the protocol droid, the security droid had a narrow, half-cylindrical head that tapered forward to a speech processor and, at the opposite end, curved down over a stiff, backwardly canted neck. What distinguished the droid, however, was its signal boost backpack and the retractable antennae that sprouted from it.

The majority of the droids that comprised the Revenue’s security force were simply appendages of the freighter’s central control computer, but a few had been equipped with a small measure of intelligence. The foreheads and chest plastrons of these lanky commanders were emblazoned with yellow markings similar to military unit flashes, though less for the sake of other droids than for the flesh and bloods to whom the commanders ultimately answered.

OLR-4 was one such commander.

Blaster rifle gripped in both hands and angled across his chest, the droid stood in zone two of the ship’s starboard hangar arm, halfway between the bulkheads that defined the immense space. OLR-4 was aware of the activity around him—the current of cargo pods moving toward zone three, the noise of other pods settling to the deck, the incessant whirrs and clicks of machines in motion—but only in a vague way. Rather, OLR-4 had been tasked by the central control computer to watch for anything out of the ordinary—for any event that fell outside performance parameters defined by the computer itself.

Meet the Author

James Luceno is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novels Millennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil, as well as the New Jedi Order novels Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial and Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force, and the eBook Darth Maul: Saboteur. He is also the author of the fantasy novel Hunt for the Mayan Looking-Glass, available as an eBook. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and youngest child.

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Star Wars Cloak of Deception 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard some people pick this book apart, picking apart all the stupid little things. This is a politicaly filled book, you have to be prepared to read in the first place. If your expecting constant action, then you will be turned off. A good story isnt always action action action, some, like this one, throw in some stuff to think about, forcing people to use their brains. I enjoyed this book, it has enough action to make you go 'sweet, the jedi!', and enough politics to give the star wars universe even more depth than it already has...if thats really possible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book showed allot of the corruption in the senate and the abilities of Sidious to twist things to work his own way. It has allot of parts that are kind of boring but there are also some exciting parts. It really explains why the Nemodians blockaded Naboo in Episode I.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've heard alot of people say this book is mainly political thus boring, but that is not entirely true. While alot of it does have to do with the senate and politics, it is notheless interesting and exciting along the way. Cohl is a classic character, I found him very easy to visualize. Every second with Obi was great, too. I wish more Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon novels would be published. If you are a Star Wars fan, give this book a try. I think you'll like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It doesn't matter if your understand the politics of the Rebulblic or not, this book is a needed read for all Star Wars fans. You are given an insite into the beaurocrates' and diplomats' minds. You are taken into the middle of a dilemma which extends beyond that of The Phantom Menace, you see the trechery of Palpatine, and how he maneuvers everyone against each other, all to his own ends. It doesn't lack action, but is more about the politics than anything else...
anikun07 More than 1 year ago
Cloak of Deception is currently the novel that begins the downfall of the Galactic Republic. The Trade Federation, Chancellor Valorum, and Senator Palpatine are introduced into the series. This novel very much helped explain the situation of the Star Wars Galaxy prior to The Phantom Menace, which I always felt was a little confusing because I never knew what was really happening. But James Luceno wrote a great chapter of the Star Wars time line about the events that began the movements of the Galactic Republic's disarray. The short story Darth Maul: Saboteur may be found a paperback copy of Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter which tells the events prior to the beginning of Cloak of Deception.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a very good read, it went by really fast, probably because I'm really into Star Wars right now. It's an excellent prequel to Episode I, you can relate what's going on to what will happen in the movie. My first SW book, I needed help with names and places from the SW website to picture them. Qui-Gon rules, I recommend it all the way!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although not having read may of the Star Wars books, I must admit that this book is astoundingly brilliant. A Politico-Thriller in deed, the book twists and turns without subjecting the reader to any yawn-stiffling bordome. The mysteries of the Jedi and the Republic are all unravelled. This, in my opion, is a must-have to any Star Wars fanatic's Collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, in my opinion, starts off really slow. I think that if I wasn't an avid Star Wars fan, I would have given up. I'm glad that I didn't give up, however, because the book ties it's on plot in so well wih the storyline of Episode I. After I got through the dry spots, this book was very enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't fully understand the deep deep government stuff but the rest I do, and I can reccomend this book to any Star Wars fan that would like to learn alot of pre-episode one stuff. At one point it goes pretty deep into government stuff, but it is a solid book that is well worth your spare time. I couldnt put it down because it gets a bit more interesting as you read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the needed companion to the Phantom Menace for those fans who couldn't follow the political maneuverings in the movie. Luceno does a fine job -- this is his best Star Wars offering. I didn't like some of the character names, but the storyline and action make that a small complaint.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not finished the book, but it is very good so far. The way James Luceno brings 'old' characters into the new storyline of the prequels is perfect.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Well written Political thriller!! Solid read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Close to a must read.. but not quite lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Star Wars is AWESOME!!!There is something REALLY,REALLY,REALLY WRONG with you;you are really messed up if you do not like Star Wars.YOU are stupid to not like Star Wars.Only a total retard like yourself would not like Star Wars.Star Wars is SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yay! Drama.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shows the political side of things during the beginning ofthe clonewars...plus it has the coolest jedi to date qui gon jinn in it...how can it not be good?
ryan1234500 More than 1 year ago
I know that some of the complaints about Episode I were how politically driven it was, and who cares about spacelane taxation. But since that is a reality, why not make that story better, more understandable, and better explained? That's what this book is all about. It centers on Chancellor Velorum's previous dealings with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, and really makes Episode I quite a bit better after reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crummy , terrible , lousy , boring , stupid , messed up , dumb , dissapointing , and i could continue for forever . Not even one star , But thats all my e reader will let me put . The charectrs are messed up , the discriptions are terrible , the action is pathetic , they barely mention obi wan at all and in the preview thing they say him and qui gon stop the assassination attempt but its only qui gon who does while obi wan isnt even in that part of coruscant . Truly dissapointing . Anyways , may the force be with you - From one dissapointed star wars kid .
Johnny3 More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Star Wars Prequel novels, but I really had to work to get through this one. So much politics, so little action.... I would only recommend to the hard-core fans who don't mind just reading about the back-story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luceno provides a book perfect for all Star Wars fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Star Wars but 2/3rds of this book is political dealings that i personally just found really hard to read. When there was action it was good but sometimes short and too far between. I put the book away 3 times being unable to tolerate the political details but i am a person to never quit so finally after 4 "sessions" with this book it is done but unfortunately it took about a year to get through.