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 . . .

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!

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.

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Read an Excerpt

The four walls of Finis Valorum's office, at the summit of the governmental district's stateliest if not most statuesque edifice, were made of transparisteel, paneled by structural members into a continuous band of regular and inverted triangles.

The city-planet that was Coruscant--"Scintillant Orb," "Jewel of the
Core," choked heart of the Galactic Republic--spread to all sides in a welter of lustrous domes, knife-edged spires, and terraced superstructures that climbed to the sky. The taller buil-ings resembled outsize rocketships that had never left their launch pads, or the wind-eroded lava tors of long-dead volcanoes. Some of the domes were flattened hemispheres perched on cylindrical bases, while others had the look of shallow, hand-thrown ceramic bowls with finialed lids.

Striations of magnetically guided sky traffic moved swiftly above the cityscape--streams of transports, air buses, taxis, and limousines,
coursing between the tall spires and over the mesureless chasms like schools of exotic fish. Instead of feeding, however, they were the feeders, distributing the galaxy's wealth among the greedy trillion to whom Coruscant was home.

As often as Valorum had beheld the view--which was to say, nearly every day of his now seven years as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic--he had yet to grow indifferent to the spectacle of Coruscant. As worlds went,
it was neither large nor especially rugged, but history had transformed it into a uniquely vertical place, a vertical experience more common to ocean than atmospheric life.

Valorum's principal office was located in the lower level of the
Galactic Senate dome, but he was generally so swamped by requests and business there that he reserved this lofty perch for meetings of a more private nature.

Pale hands clasped at his back, he stood at the bank of transparisteel windows that faced the dawn, though daybreak was hours behind him. He wore a magenta tunic that was high-collared and double-breasted, with matching trousers and a wide cummerbund. Southern light, polarized by the transparisteel panels, flooded the room. But Valorum's sole guest had taken a seat well out of the light's reach.

"I fear, Supreme Chancellor, that we face a monumental challenge,"
Senator Palpatine was saying from the shadows. "Frayed at its far-flung borders and hollowed at its very heart by corruption, the Republic is in grave danger of unraveling. Order is needed, directives that will restore balance. Even the most desperate remedies should not be overlooked."

Although such opinions had become the common sentiment, Palpatine's words pierced Valorum like a sword. The fact that he knew them to be true made them all the more difficult to hear. He turned his back to the view and returned to his desk, where he sat heavily into his padded chair.

Aging with distinction, Valorum had a receding cap of shorn silver hair,
pouches under piercing blue eyes, and dark, bushy brows. His stern features and deep voice belied a compassionate spirit and questing intellect. But as the latest in the line of a po-litical dynasty that stretched back thousands of years--a dynasty many thought weakened by its uncommon longevity--he had never been fully successful at overcoming an innate patrician aloofness.

"Where have we gone wrong?" he asked in a firm but sad voice. "How did we manage to miss the portents along the way?"

Palpatine showed him an understanding look. "The fault is not in ourselves, Supreme Chancellor. The fault lies in the out-lying star systems, and the civil strife iniquity has engendered there." His voice was carefully modulated, occasionally world-weary, seemingly immune to anger or alarm. "This most recent situation at Dorvalla, for example."

Valorum nodded soberly. "The Judicial Department has re-quested that I
meet with them later today, so they can brief me on the latest developments."

"Perhaps I could save you the trouble, Supreme Chancellor. As least in terms of what I've been hearing in the senate." "Rumor or facts?"

"A bit of both, I suspect. The senate is filled with delegates who interpret matters as they will, regardless of facts." Palpatine paused,
as if to gather his thoughts.

Prominent in a kind if somewhat doughy face were his heavy-lidded,
watery blue eyes and rudder of a nose. Red hair that had lost its youth he wore in the provincial style of the outlying systems: combed back from his high forehead but left thick and long behind his low-set ears.
In dress, too, he demonstrated singular allegiance to his home system,
favoring embroidered tunics with V-shaped double collars and outmoded cloaks of quilted fabric.

A sectorial senator representing the outlying world of Na-boo, along with thirty-six other inhabited planets, Palpatine had earned a reputation for integrity and frankness that had set him high in the hearts of many of his senatorial peers. As he had made clear to Valorum in numerous meetings, both public and private, he was more interested in doing whatever needed to be done than in blind obedience to the rules and regulations that had made the senate such a tangle of procedures.

"As the Judicial Department is certain to tell you," he began at last,
"the mercenaries who assaulted and destroyed the Trade Federation vessel
Revenue were in the employ of the Nebula Front terrorist group. It seems likely that they gained access to the freighter with the complicity of dockworkers at Dorvalla. How the Nebula Front learned that the freighter was carrying a fortune in aurodium ingots has yet to be established. But clearly the Nebula Front planned to use the aurodium to finance additional acts of terrorism directed against the Trade Federation, and perhaps against Republic colonies in the Outer Rim."

"Planned?" Valorum said.

"All indications are that Captain Cohl and his team of assassins perished in the explosion that destroyed the Revenue. But the incident has had wide-ranging repercussions, nevertheless."

"I'm well aware of some of those," Valorum said, with a note of disgust.
"As a result of continuing raids and harassment, the Trade Federation plans to demand Republic intervention, or, failing that, senate approval to further augment their droid contingent."

Palpatine made his lips a thin line and nodded. "I must confess, Supreme
Chancellor, that my first instinct was to refuse their requests out of hand. The Trade Federation is already too powerful--in wealth and in military might. However, I've since reassessed my position."

Valorum regarded him with interest. "I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts."

"Well, to begin with, the Trade Federation is made up of entrepreneurs,
not warriors. The Neimoidians, especially, are cowards in any theater other than commerce. So granting them permission to enlarge their droid defenses--slightly, at any rate-- doesn't concern me unduly. More important, there may be some advantage to doing so."

Valorum interlocked his fingers and leaned forward. "What possible advantage?"

Palpatine took a breath. "In exchange for honoring their re-quests for intervention and additional defenses, the senate would be in a position to demand that all trade in the outlying systems would henceforth be subject to Republic taxation." Valorum sat back in his chair, clearly disappointed. "We've been through all this before, Senator. You and I
both know that a majority of the senate has no interest in what happens in the outer systems, much less in the free trade zones. But they do care about what happens to the Trade Federation."

"Yes, because the shimmersilk pockets of many a senatorial robe are being lined with graft from the Neimoidians." Valorum snorted.
"Self-indulgence is the order of the day." "Undeniably so, Supreme
Chancellor," Palpatine said tolerantly. "But that, in itself, is no reason to allow the practice to continue."

"Of course not," Valorum said. "For both my terms of office I have sought to end the corruption that plagues the senate, and to unravel the knot of policies and procedures that thwart us. We enact legislation,
only to find that we cannot implement it. The committees proliferate like viruses, without leadership. No fewer than twenty committees are needed just to determine the decor of the senate corridors.

"The Trade Federation has prospered by taking advantage of the very bureaucracy we've created. Grievances brought against the Federation languish in the courts, while commissions belabor each and every aspect.
It's little wonder that Dorvalla and many of the worlds along the Rimma
Trade Route support terrorist groups like the Nebula Front.

"But taxation isn't likely to solve anything. In fact, such a move could prompt the Trade Federation to abandon the outlying systems entirely, in favor of more lucrative markets closer to the Core."

"Thus depriving Coruscant and its neighbors of important outer system resources and luxury goods," Palpatine interjected, seemingly by rote.
"Certainly the Neimoidians will see taxation as a betrayal, if for no other reason than the Trade Federation blazed many of the hyperspace routes that link the Core to the outlying systems. Regardless, this could be the opportunity many of us have waited for--the chance to exercise senate control over those very trade routes."

Valorum mulled it over briefly. "It could be political suicide."

"Oh, I'm well aware of that, Supreme Chancellor. Proponents of taxation would suffer merciless attacks from the Commerce Guild, the Techno
Union, and the rest of the shipping conglomerates awarded franchises to operate in the free trade zones. But it is the appropriate measure."

Valorum shook his head slowly, then got to his feet and moved to the windows. "Nothing would cheer me more than getting the upper hand on the
Trade Federation."

"Then now is the time to act," Palpatine said.

Valorum kept his gaze fixed on the distant towers. "I could count on your support?"

Palpatine rose and joined him at the view.

"Let me be frank about that. My position as representative of an outlying sector places me in an awkward situation. Make no mistake about it, Supreme Chancellor, I stand with you in advocating central control and taxation. But Naboo and other outlying systems will undoubtedly be forced to assume the bur-den of taxation by paying more for Trade
Federation services." He paused briefly. "I would be compelled to act with utmost circumspection."

Valorum merely nodded.

"That much said," Palpatine was quick to add, "rest assured that I would do all in my power to rally senate support for taxation."

Valorum turned slightly in Palpatine's direction and smiled lightly. "As always, I'm grateful for your counsel, Senator. Particularly now, what with troubles erupting in your home system."

Palpatine sighed with purpose. "Sadly, King Veruna finds himself enmeshed in a scandal. While he and I have never seen eye to eye with regard to expanding Naboo's influence in the Republic, I am concerned for him, for his predicament has not only cast a pall over Naboo, but also over many neighboring worlds."

Valorum clasped his hands behind his back and paced to the center of the spacious room. When he swung to face Palpatine, his expression made clear that his thoughts had returned to issues of wider concern.

"Is it conceivable that the Trade Federation would accept taxation in exchange for a loosening of the defense restraints we have placed them under?"

Palpatine steepled his long fingers and brought them to his chin.
"Merchandise--of whatever nature--is precious to the Neimoidians. The continuing assaults on their vessels by pirates and terrorists have made them desperate. They will rail against taxation, but in the end they will tolerate it. Our only other option would be to take direct action against the groups that are harassing them, and I know that you're opposed to doing that."

Valorum confirmed it with a determined nod. "The Republic hasn't had a standing military in generations, and I certainly won't be the person to reinstate one. Coruscant must remain a place where groups can come together to find peaceful solutions to conflicts."

He took a breath. "A better course would be to allow the Trade
Federation adequate protection to defend itself against acts of terrorism. After all, the Judicial Department can't very well suggest the Jedi dedicate themselves to solving the Neimoidians' problems."

"No," Palpatine said. "The judicials and the Jedi Knights have more important matters to attend to than keeping the space lanes safe for commerce."

"At least some constants remain," Valorum mused. "Just think where we might be without the Jedi."

"I can only imagine."

Valorum advanced a few steps and laid his hands on Palpatine's shoulders. "You're a good friend, Senator."

Palpatine returned the gesture. "My interests are the interests of the
Republic, Supreme Chancellor."

From the Hardcover edition.

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. 57 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 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 it has the coolest jedi to date qui gon jinn in 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.
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