BN.com Gift Guide

Star Wars Darksaber

( 47 )

Overview

Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, cloaked by the Force and riding with the hostile Sand People, have returned to the dunes of the desert planet Tatooine in hopes of finding what Luke so desperately seeks: contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Luke is hoping the old Jedi Knight's spirit will tell him how to help his  love, Callista, regain her lost ability to use the Force.  Tormented and haunted, Luke cannot rest until Callista is a Jedi in the fullest sense, for only then will the link between ...

See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback)
$5.87
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$7.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (99) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $4.30   
  • Used (89) from $1.99   
Star Wars Darksaber

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, cloaked by the Force and riding with the hostile Sand People, have returned to the dunes of the desert planet Tatooine in hopes of finding what Luke so desperately seeks: contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Luke is hoping the old Jedi Knight's spirit will tell him how to help his  love, Callista, regain her lost ability to use the Force.  Tormented and haunted, Luke cannot rest until Callista is a Jedi in the fullest sense, for only then will the link between their minds and souls be restored. Yet brewing on Tatooine is news that will shake Luke and Han and  threaten everything they value.

The disturbing piece of information is that the evil Hutts, criminal warlords of the galaxy, are building a secret superweapon: a reconstruction of the original Death Star, to be named Darksaber. This planet-crushing power will be in the ruthless hands of Durga the Hutt — a creature without conscience or mercy.

But there is worse news yet: the Empire lives. The beautiful Admiral Daala, still very much alive and more driven than ever to destroy the Jedi, has joined forces with the defeated Pellaeon, former second in command to Grand Admiral Thrawn. Together they are marshaling Imperial forces to wipe out the New Republic.

Now, as Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, Artoo and Threepio regroup to face these threats, they are joined by new Jedi Knights and Callista. Together they must fight on two fronts, outshooting and outsmarting the most formidable enemies in the galaxy. In Darksaber the Jedi are heading for the ultimate test of their power—a test in which all the temptations of the dark side beckon.  And Luke Skywalker must draw upon his innermost resources to fight for a world in which he can not only live, but dare to love.

The author of the blockbuster paperback original Jedi Academy trilogy makes his Bantam debut with a thrilling new Star Wars adventure. A ruthless mining baron teams up with an Imperial general to steal the plans for the original Death Star--and construct a new superweapon for extortion and terrorism.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Rave reviews for previous Star Wars adventures:

"Anderson has all but assumed the title of Chancellor of Star Wars  University."
— Starlog

"Chock full of all the good stuff you've come to expect from a battle of good against evil."
— Daily News, New York

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anderson, whose Jedi Academy trilogy of Star Wars paperbacks were all bestsellers, makes his Star Wars hardcover debut with this novel. Unlike many of the previous series hardcovers, Darksaber often harkens back to the time of the Star Wars movies, invoking familiar scenes and flourishes (Princess Leia being forced to wear a ``humiliating costume'' after she's captured by Jabba the Hutt; Han Solo entreating, ``It's not my fault!''). Anderson is careful, though, to include plenty of present-day action. Set just after the events of Barbara Hambly's Children of the Jedi, this novel follows the quest of Luke Skywalker and Callista to reestablish the latter's Jedi powers. Meanwhile, Durga the Hutt is using Bevel Lemelisk, co-designer of the original Death Star, to create a similar weapon for his own nefarious purposes, and the still-living Admiral Daala is working to reunite various factions of the Empire to reassert their glory. Anderson manages to keep everything fast-paced, yet the whole never coheres into a properly exciting story. This is probably the most accessible of the Star Wars hardcovers; fans of the movies should experience nostalgic delight, but it often comes off as more of a marketing device than a novel proper, especially with George Lucas's three-part prequel to the Star Wars movies now in the works. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Eight years after the Empire's collapse, its scattered remnants still pose a threat to the fledgling New Republic. While Luke embarks on a journey to help his beloved Callista recover her Jedi powers, Han and Leia investigate rumors of a collaboration between an ambitious Hutt crimelord and the Imperial forces. In brief, cinematic chapters, the author of Jedi Search (Bantam, 1994) captures the excitement and fast-paced action so essential to the Star WarsTM universe. Fans of the popular series will demand this title. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/95.]
Carl Hays
Among the many authors who have contributed their talents to the prodigious Star Wars library, Anderson leads the pack in both overall popularity and sheer storytelling power. To follow his best-selling Jedi Academy trilogy, he launches a new saga about the fractured Empire's struggle to regain its lost glory. The once mighty Hutt crime syndicate, now led by Jabba's successor Durga, is staging a comeback. With the help of the Deathstar's original designer, the perpetually executed and resurrected Bevel Lemelisk, a new military juggernaut free of the Deathstar's flaws will soon terrorize the galaxy and give Durga unlimited control. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker desperately searches for the means to restore the Force's blessings to his newfound Jedi love, Callista, and a still vengeful Admiral Daala is regrouping the many scattered imperial factions for a bold new show of power. Anderson ties these narrative threads together with a series of progressively suspenseful developments that cumulatively speed to a compelling finish. His writing is a chief reason the Star Wars universe remains popular beyond its cinematic origins. He gives a depth to familiar characters and surroundings that two hours of film just cannot.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553576115
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Series: Star Wars Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 259,605
  • Product dimensions: 4.15 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Anderson
Kevin J. Anderson

Jim Butcher is the author of the USA Today best-selling series "The Dresden Files" for Roc and the high fantasy series "The Codex Alera" for Ace. "The Dresden Files" is also a successful series of audio books; has been optioned for a television series by the SCI FI Channel; and is currently being developed into an online roleplaying game. A martial arts enthusiast and a skilled equestrian rider, Jim lives in Missouri with his wife and son.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The time is eight years after the battle of Endor.

Grand Admiral Thrawn and the resurrected Emperor have been defeated and their forces scattered, leaving only bickering warlords to fight over the scraps of Imperial war machinery deep in the Core Systems, far behind enemy lines. The renegade Admiral Daala is believed dead, but with her lone remaining Star Destroyer she has limped back to the shelter of the tattered Empire, where she hopes one day to return to the fight for lost Imperial territory....

On Yavin 4 Luke Skywalker has formed an academy to reestablish the Jedi Knights, former guardians of the Old Republic. He has already taught many students how to use their powers with the Force; more candidates come, while others decide to go forth and help safeguard the fragile alliance of the New Republic.

In recent months Luke has destroyed the automated Dreadnaught, the Eye of Palpatine, and rescued the spirit of the Jedi woman Callista, who was trapped in the Dreadnaught's computer for decades. Luke has fallen deeply in love with her, even as she inhabits the body of one of his lost students. Though Callista is now alive again and free to love Luke Skywalker, she has inexplicably lost all of her Jedi powers in the ordeal.

Luke is desperate to find some way for Callista to get her abilities back. No matter where the search may lead him....

CHAPTER 1

The banthas plodded in single file, leaving only a narrow trail of scuffed footprints across the dunes.

Twin suns hammered down on the procession. Waves of heat rippled like cloaking shields, blurring the distance and making an oven of the Dune Sea. Indigenous creatures took shelter in whatever shadow they could find until the firestorm of afternoon trickled away into the cooler dusk.

The banthas moved with no noise other than the muffled crunching of their footsteps in the sand. Swathed in strips of cloth, the Tusken Raiders astride the shaggy beasts looked from side to side, keeping watch.

Wrapped entirely in bandages, yet still uneasy about the disguise, Han Solo looked out through narrow metal tubes designed to shield the eyes from blowing grit. His mouth was covered with a corroded metal filter for the sand; the filter contained a small internal moisturizer to make Tatooine's fiery air more breathable. The other Sand People had tiny ventilators studded around their desert coverings. Only their strongest survived to adulthood, and they prided themselves on it.

Han rode on his bantha, hoping to remain inconspicuous in the middle of the procession. The hairy beast swayed as it walked, and Ha tried not to clutch its scalloped, curving horns more often than the other Tusken Raiders did. The bantha's sharp back ridges were covered with matted fur, and the disconcertingly thin saddle made the ride excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Han swallowed, taking another sip of his precious water and biting back a complaint. This had, after all, been his own crazy suggestion. He just hadn't expected Luke Skywalker would be so eager to agree, and now Han was stuck. The mission was vital to the New Republic, and he had to follow through.

With a muttered command, the lead raider urged his bantha to greater speed. The procession trudged through fine sand, winding along the crest of a shifting dune that stood like a towering sentinel in the arid ocean. Han did not grasp the dune's great size until they had ascended for the better part of an hour without reaching t-he top.

The suns grew even hotter, if that were possible. The banthas coughed and snorted, but the Sand People were focused on a mission.

Han swallowed, trying to ease his parched throat. Finally, he could remain silent no longer and whispered into the short-range transmitter implanted in his breathmask. "Luke, what's goin' on?" he said. "I've got a bad feeling about whatever they're up to."

It took Luke Skywalker a moment to respond. Han watched the thin rider two banthas ahead of him sit up straighter; Luke seemed far more comfortable in his disguise than Han felt. Of course, Luke had grown up on Tatooine—but the young man's voice now sounded bone weary as it came over the voice pickup in Han's ear.

"Nothing to do with us, Han," he said. "A few of the Sand People have vague suspicions, but they haven't centered on us yet. I'm using the Force to distract anyone who pays too much attention. No, this is something different entirely. A great tragedy . . . you'll see." Luke heaved a long breath through his breathmask. "Can't talk now. Have to concentrate. Wait until they're preoccupied, and I'll explain more."

Up ahead, Luke slumped forward in his Tusken disguise. Han knew his friend was expending an incredible amount of energy to lull the Sand People into ignoring their two unwanted guests. Luke was able to use his abilities to muddle the minds of weak individuals, but never before had Han seen his friend manipulate so many minds at once.

The trick was to keep the Sand People from noticing them; then it was easy for Luke to divert a few stray thoughts. If someone sounded an alarm and all the Sand People focused on the intruders, though, not even a Jedi Master would be able to keep up the charade. Then there would be a fight.

Tucked under his tattered robes, Han carried his trusty blaster pistol. He didn't know if he and Luke could take on the entire band of raiders—but they would make a good accounting of themselves if circumstances ever came to that.

The lead rider reached the peak of the sand mountain. The bantha's wide feet trampled the wind-sharpened edge atop the dune. The air was still, as if stunned. The sands glittered like a billion miniature novas.

Han adjusted the corroded filters over his eyes. The other banthas plodded up, surrounding their leader, who raised his cloth-wrapped arm, brandishing a wicked-looking gaffi stick. Behind the Tusken leader, his single passenger sat slumped and sullen, though it was difficult to understand the body language of these masked and alien people.

Han sensed somehow that this withdrawn passenger was the center of the ceremony. Was some kind of honor being bestowed, Han wondered, or was this man being exiled from the tribe?

The passenger slid off the lead bantha, letting himself drop from the shaggy beast. He clung to the woolly fur as if in desperation, but no sounds came from his bandaged face, not even the guttural grunts and snorts the Tuskens used as language. Head down, his eye tubes pointed toward the churned sand where bantha footprints had trampled the pristine dune, the passenger stood dejected in front of the lead rider.

The leader waited beside his mount, holding the upraised gafm stick; the other Sand People climbed down from their banthas. They thrashed their own weapons in the air. Han and Luke copied the gestures, trying to blend in.

In his disguise Luke moved slowly and wearily. This mission was taking a heavy toll on the Jedi Knight, and Han hoped they would reach their destination soon.

The forlorn passenger hesitated at the edge of the dune, gazing across the sweeping ocean of loose sands that spread to the horizon. The Sand People stood at attention and raised their gafm sticks high.

While they concentrated on the intensity of the moment, Luke's voice buzzed in Han's ear. "All right, they're distracted," he said. "I can explain. The lone Tusken Raider lost his bantha three days ago. A krayt dragon killed it, and unfortunately our friend there got away."

"What do you mean, unfortunately?" Han mumbled, hoping his voice wouldn't carry over the restless sounds of the Sand People.

"The Tusken Raiders have a very close relationship with their banthas," Luke said. "It is a mental bonding, a symbiosis, almost like a marriage. They become part of each other, bantha and Tusken. When one member of the pair is killed, the other is incomplete—like an amputee." Unconsciously, Luke flexed his cyborg hand. "He has no place in Tusken society though he is more an objea of pity than of hatred. Many believe he should have died beside his bantha, no matter what the circumstances."

"So, are they just going to kill him?" Han asked.

"Yes and no," Luke said. "They believe the spirit of the dead bantha must decide. If the spirit wishes for him to bond with another mount, our friend will find a free wild bantha in the desert, join with it, and return in triumph to the tribe, where he will be fully accepted— even highly revered. However, if the bantha's spirit wants his rider to join him in death, then the outcast will wander hopelessly in the desert until he dies."

Han barely shook his head. "Doesn't sound like his chances are too hot."

Luke said, "Probably not—but that is their way."

The Sand People waited for the exile to make the first move. Finally, with a single anguished cry that might have been triumph or challenge, he plunged down the steep and shifting slope of the dune. The Sand People tilted their heads toward the burning sky and let out a loud ululating cry that made Han shudder.

The Tusken Raiders thrashed their gaffi sticks to wish their com-

panion well. The banthas raised up their squarish, shaggy heads and bellowed in unison, a rumbling, growling cry that shook the Dune Sea.

The lone raider waded down the steep slope. Dusty golden sand flew up around him as his feet and legs sank in. His robes flapped behind him as he plodded on. He tripped and tumbled, flailing his arms, and finally jabbed his gaffi stick deep into the uncertain surface, one arm thrust out to gain balance, leaving a swath of disturbed sand behind him.

The exiled raider heaved himself to his feet again. Sand trickled from his flowing cloaks, but still he marched ahead, not looking back. A few of the banthas bellowed again. The sound was swallowed up in the empty vastness. The outcast's drab garments soon made him disappear into the landscape.

The lead raider turned and, with a single energetic leap, mounted his bantha. The other Sand People climbed into their saddles. The banthas snorted and stomped on the loose sand.

Han got back to his seat. Luke was the last to balance himself again, and by that time the lead raider had already turned the hairy beast to the side and began to plunge down the shallower slope at the back of the dune. The other Sand People followed, marching closely in line to mask their tracks.

Han risked a glance behind him. He could just make out the single exiled raider dwindling in the distance, moving with slow determination as ripples of heat blurred his tiny figure. Soon he was swallowed completely by the unforgiving jaws of the Dune Sea

The heat of the day seemed to last forever, and Han rode in a fugue state, barely aware of his surroundings, self-hypnotized by a litany of rocking footfalls. Ahead, Luke continued to sit upright on the bantha saddle, though he wavered from time to time. Han wondered what sort of energy the Jedi Knight was tapping into.

The group camped in a thick maze of rocky badlands punctuated by pockmarked stone needles rising out of the windblown sand. Darkness fell quickly with the double sunset, and the temperature plummeted. For a while the rocks continued to throb with stored heat, but they quickly cooled.

Grunting and chufmng to each other in their baffling language, the Sand People pitched camp. Each knew his or her own duties—Han could not tell whether the individual Tuskens were male or female. Luke had said that only assigned mates were able to see each other with faces unwrapped.

Two of the younger people encircled a flat area with smaller rocks, and piled bricks of what Han realized must be dried bantha dung, the only fuel source available out in the barrens.

Han and Luke moved about, trying to appear busy. The banthas, not corralled or tied in any way, were simply led to a side canyon where they could rest for the night. Other raiders broke out packages of stringy dried meat. Han and Luke took their share and squatted on boulders.

Carefully, Han lifted his metal breathmask and jammed a piece of the meat into his mouth. He chewed and wasted several drinks of water as he tried to make the jerky palatable enough to swallow. "What is this stuff?" he muttered into the voice pickup.

Luke answered without looking at him. "Dried and salted dewback flank, I believe."

'Tastes like leather," Han muttered.

"It's more nutritious than leather . . . I think," Luke said. He turned his metal eyetubes toward Han, who could detect no expression on the wrappedup face. Han became disoriented if he swiveled his head too fast while looking through the small holes in the eyetubes.

As the Sand People finished their meal, they gathered around the blaze as a tall raider hunched near the brighter part of the fire. From the careful way he moved, the slow placement of limbs—not to mention the silent reverence the other Tuskens granted him—Han got the impression that this was a very old person.

"The storyteller," Luke's voice said in his ear.

Other raiders brought out long poles and unfurled bright clan banners marked with jagged slashes, some sort of violent written language. These must be totems, symbols not seen by the outside world at all.

A young, wiry raider sat next to the storyteller. Others came back from their bantha saddles with trophies, visual aids for the story. They

held out scraps of rough cloth, a bloodied banner. Han saw battered and cracked stormtrooper helmets like the skulls of fallen enemies; a luminous milky gem the size of his fist, which Han recognized with a start as a krayt dragon pearl, one of the rarest treasures ever to come from Tatooine.

The old man raised up his bandage-wrapped hands and began to speak. The other raiders sat enraptured as stories spilled out in low grunts and barely recognizable sounds that might have been words.

Luke translated for Han. "They're telling of their exploits, how they took an entire stormtrooper regiment many years ago. How they slew a krayt dragon and took the pearls out of its gullet. How they defeated another Tusken clan, slaughtered all their adults and adopted their children into the clan, thereby increasing their numbers."

The storyteller finished his tale and squatted lower, gesturing to the young apprentice who glanced around. Two Tusken Raiders stood on either side of the boy, holding their gaffi sticks with the axheads pointing down at the apprentice. The storyteller raised a trembling hand and turned it sideways like a knife blade. The apprentice hesitated for a moment and began to speak slowly.

"Now what?" Han said.

Luke answered. "That boy is being trained as the dan's next storyteller. The Tuskens believe very much in inflexible tradition. Once a story is set down as an oral path, it must remain forever unaltered. This boy has learned the story he is now telling about a raid on a moisture farmer who attempted to bring peace between humans and Jawas and Sand People."

"But why the weapons?" Han said. "Looks like they're ready to snuff the poor kid."

"They will, if he makes so much as one mistake. If the boy alters a single word, the storyteller will chop down with his hand, and the Raiders will kill the apprentice immediately. They

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

The time is eight years after the battle of Endor.

Grand Admiral Thrawn and the resurrected Emperor have been defeated and their forces scattered, leaving only bickering warlords to fight over the scraps of Imperial war machinery deep in the Core Systems, far behind enemy lines. The renegade Admiral Daala is believed dead, but with her lone remaining Star Destroyer she has limped back to the shelter of the tattered Empire, where she hopes one day to return to the fight for lost Imperial territory....

On Yavin 4 Luke Skywalker has formed an academy to reestablish the Jedi Knights, former guardians of the Old Republic. He has already taught many students how to use their powers with the Force; more candidates come, while others decide to go forth and help safeguard the fragile alliance of the New Republic.

In recent months Luke has destroyed the automated Dreadnaught, the Eye of Palpatine, and rescued the spirit of the Jedi woman Callista, who was trapped in the Dreadnaught's computer for decades. Luke has fallen deeply in love with her, even as she inhabits the body of one of his lost students. Though Callista is now alive again and free to love Luke Skywalker, she has inexplicably lost all of her Jedi powers in the ordeal.

Luke is desperate to find some way for Callista to get her abilities back. No matter where the search may lead him....

CHAPTER 1

The banthas plodded in single file, leaving only a narrow trail of scuffed footprints across the dunes.

Twin suns hammered down on the procession. Waves of heat rippled like cloaking shields, blurring the distance and making an oven of the Dune Sea. Indigenous creatures took shelter in whatever shadow they could find until the firestorm of afternoon trickled away into the cooler dusk.

The banthas moved with no noise other than the muffled crunching of their footsteps in the sand. Swathed in strips of cloth, the Tusken Raiders astride the shaggy beasts looked from side to side, keeping watch.

Wrapped entirely in bandages, yet still uneasy about the disguise, Han Solo looked out through narrow metal tubes designed to shield the eyes from blowing grit. His mouth was covered with a corroded metal filter for the sand; the filter contained a small internal moisturizer to make Tatooine's fiery air more breathable. The other Sand People had tiny ventilators studded around their desert coverings. Only their strongest survived to adulthood, and they prided themselves on it.

Han rode on his bantha, hoping to remain inconspicuous in the middle of the procession. The hairy beast swayed as it walked, and Ha tried not to clutch its scalloped, curving horns more often than the other Tusken Raiders did. The bantha's sharp back ridges were covered with matted fur, and the disconcertingly thin saddle made the ride excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Han swallowed, taking another sip of his precious water and biting back a complaint. This had, after all, been his own crazy suggestion. He just hadn't expected Luke Skywalker would be so eager to agree, and now Han was stuck. The mission was vital to the New Republic, and he had to follow through.

With a muttered command, the lead raider urged his bantha to greater speed. The procession trudged through fine sand, winding along the crest of a shifting dune that stood like a towering sentinel in the arid ocean. Han did not grasp the dune's great size until they had ascended for the better part of an hour without reaching the top.

The suns grew even hotter, if that were possible. The banthas coughed and snorted, but the Sand People were focused on a mission.

Han swallowed, trying to ease his parched throat. Finally, he could remain silent no longer and whispered into the short-range transmitter implanted in his breathmask. "Luke, what's goin' on?" he said. "I've got a bad feeling about whatever they're up to."

It took Luke Skywalker a moment to respond. Han watched the thin rider two banthas ahead of him sit up straighter; Luke seemed far more comfortable in his disguise than Han felt. Of course, Luke had grown up on Tatooine -- but the young man's voice now sounded bone weary as it came over the voice pickup in Han's ear.

"Nothing to do with us, Han," he said. "A few of the Sand People have vague suspicions, but they haven't centered on us yet. I'm using the Force to distract anyone who pays too much attention. No, this is something different entirely. A great tragedy...you'll see." Luke heaved a long breath through his breathmask. "Can't talk now. Have to concentrate. Wait until they're preoccupied, and I'll explain more."

Up ahead, Luke slumped forward in his Tusken disguise. Han knew his friend was expending an incredible amount of energy to lull the Sand People into ignoring their two unwanted guests. Luke was able to use his abilities to muddle the minds of weak individuals, but never before had Han seen his friend manipulate so many minds at once.

The trick was to keep the Sand People from noticing them; then it was easy for Luke to divert a few stray thoughts. If someone sounded an alarm and all the Sand People focused on the intruders, though, not even a Jedi Master would be able to keep up the charade. Then there would be a fight.

Tucked under his tattered robes, Han carried his trusty blaster pistol. He didn't know if he and Luke could take on the entire band of raiders -- but they would make a good accounting of themselves if circumstances ever came to that.

The lead rider reached the peak of the sand mountain. The bantha's wide feet trampled the wind-sharpened edge atop the dune. The air was still, as if stunned. The sands glittered like a billion miniature novas.

Han adjusted the corroded filters over his eyes. The other banthas plodded up, surrounding their leader, who raised his cloth-wrapped arm, brandishing a wicked-looking gaffi stick. Behind the Tusken leader, his single passenger sat slumped and sullen, though it was difficult to understand the body language of these masked and alien people.

Han sensed somehow that this withdrawn passenger was the center of the ceremony. Was some kind of honor being bestowed, Han wondered, or was this man being exiled from the tribe?

The passenger slid off the lead bantha, letting himself drop from the shaggy beast. He clung to the woolly fur as if in desperation, but no sounds came from his bandaged face, not even the guttural grunts and snorts the Tuskens used as language. Head down, his eye tubes pointed toward the churned sand where bantha footprints had trampled the pristine dune, the passenger stood dejected in front of the lead rider.

The leader waited beside his mount, holding the upraised gafm stick; the other Sand People climbed down from their banthas. They thrashed their own weapons in the air. Han and Luke copied the gestures, trying to blend in.

In his disguise Luke moved slowly and wearily. This mission was taking a heavy toll on the Jedi Knight, and Han hoped they would reach their destination soon.

The forlorn passenger hesitated at the edge of the dune, gazing across the sweeping ocean of loose sands that spread to the horizon. The Sand People stood at attention and raised their gafm sticks high.

While they concentrated on the intensity of the moment, Luke's voice buzzed in Han's ear. "All right, they're distracted," he said. "I can explain. The lone Tusken Raider lost his bantha three days ago. A krayt dragon killed it, and unfortunately our friend there got away."

"What do you mean, unfortunately?" Han mumbled, hoping his voice wouldn't carry over the restless sounds of the Sand People.

"The Tusken Raiders have a very close relationship with their banthas," Luke said. "It is a mental bonding, a symbiosis, almost like a marriage. They become part of each other, bantha and Tusken. When one member of the pair is killed, the other is incomplete--like an amputee." Unconsciously, Luke flexed his cyborg hand. "He has no place in Tusken society though he is more an objea of pity than of hatred. Many believe he should have died beside his bantha, no matter what the circumstances."

"So, are they just going to kill him?" Han asked.

"Yes and no," Luke said. "They believe the spirit of the dead bantha must decide. If the spirit wishes for him to bond with another mount, our friend will find a free wild bantha in the desert, join with it, and return in triumph to the tribe, where he will be fully accepted -- even highly revered. However, if the bantha's spirit wants his rider to join him in death, then the outcast will wander hopelessly in the desert until he dies."

Han barely shook his head. "Doesn't sound like his chances are too hot."

Luke said, "Probably not -- but that is their way."

The Sand People waited for the exile to make the first move. Finally, with a single anguished cry that might have been triumph or challenge, he plunged down the steep and shifting slope of the dune. The Sand People tilted their heads toward the burning sky and let out a loud ululating cry that made Han shudder.

The Tusken Raiders thrashed their gaffi sticks to wish their companion well. The banthas raised up their squarish, shaggy heads and bellowed in unison, a rumbling, growling cry that shook the Dune Sea.

The lone raider waded down the steep slope. Dusty golden sand flew up around him as his feet and legs sank in. His robes flapped behind him as he plodded on. He tripped and tumbled, flailing his arms, and finally jabbed his gaffi stick deep into the uncertain surface, one arm thrust out to gain balance, leaving a swath of disturbed sand behind him.

The exiled raider heaved himself to his feet again. Sand trickled from his flowing cloaks, but still he marched ahead, not looking back. A few of the banthas bellowed again. The sound was swallowed up in the empty vastness. The outcast's drab garments soon made him disappear into the landscape.

The lead raider turned and, with a single energetic leap, mounted his bantha. The other Sand People climbed into their saddles. The banthas snorted and stomped on the loose sand.

Han got back to his seat. Luke was the last to balance himself again, and by that time the lead raider had already turned the hairy beast to the side and began to plunge down the shallower slope at the back of the dune. The other Sand People followed, marching closely in line to mask their tracks.

Han risked a glance behind him. He could just make out the single exiled raider dwindling in the distance, moving with slow determination as ripples of heat blurred his tiny figure. Soon he was swallowed completely by the unforgiving jaws of the Dune Sea

The heat of the day seemed to last forever, and Han rode in a fugue state, barely aware of his surroundings, self-hypnotized by a litany of rocking footfalls. Ahead, Luke continued to sit upright on the bantha saddle, though he wavered from time to time. Han wondered what sort of energy the Jedi Knight was tapping into.

The group camped in a thick maze of rocky badlands punctuated by pockmarked stone needles rising out of the windblown sand. Darkness fell quickly with the double sunset, and the temperature plummeted. For a while the rocks continued to throb with stored heat, but they quickly cooled.

Grunting and chufmng to each other in their baffling language, the Sand People pitched camp. Each knew his or her own duties -- Han could not tell whether the individual Tuskens were male or female. Luke had said that only assigned mates were able to see each other with faces unwrapped.

Two of the younger people encircled a flat area with smaller rocks, and piled bricks of what Han realized must be dried bantha dung, the only fuel source available out in the barrens.

Han and Luke moved about, trying to appear busy. The banthas, not corralled or tied in any way, were simply led to a side canyon where they could rest for the night. Other raiders broke out packages of stringy dried meat. Han and Luke took their share and squatted on boulders.

Carefully, Han lifted his metal breathmask and jammed a piece of the meat into his mouth. He chewed and wasted several drinks of water as he tried to make the jerky palatable enough to swallow. "What is this stuff?" he muttered into the voice pickup.

Luke answered without looking at him. "Dried and salted dewback flank, I believe."

"Tastes like leather," Han muttered.

"It's more nutritious than leather...I think," Luke said. He turned his metal eyetubes toward Han, who could detect no expression on the wrappedup face. Han became disoriented if he swiveled his head too fast while looking through the small holes in the eyetubes.

As the Sand People finished their meal, they gathered around the blaze as a tall raider hunched near the brighter part of the fire. From the careful way he moved, the slow placement of limbs -- not to mention the silent reverence the other Tuskens granted him -- Han got the impression that this was a very old person.

"The storyteller," Luke's voice said in his ear.

Other raiders brought out long poles and unfurled bright clan banners marked with jagged slashes, some sort of violent written language. These must be totems, symbols not seen by the outside world at all.

A young, wiry raider sat next to the storyteller. Others came back from their bantha saddles with trophies, visual aids for the story. They held out scraps of rough cloth, a bloodied banner. Han saw battered and cracked stormtrooper helmets like the skulls of fallen enemies; a luminous milky gem the size of his fist, which Han recognized with a start as a krayt dragon pearl, one of the rarest treasures ever to come from Tatooine.

The old man raised up his bandage-wrapped hands and began to speak. The other raiders sat enraptured as stories spilled out in low grunts and barely recognizable sounds that might have been words.

Luke translated for Han. "They're telling of their exploits, how they took an entire stormtrooper regiment many years ago. How they slew a krayt dragon and took the pearls out of its gullet. How they defeated another Tusken clan, slaughtered all their adults and adopted their children into the clan, thereby increasing their numbers."

The storyteller finished his tale and squatted lower, gesturing to the young apprentice who glanced around. Two Tusken Raiders stood on either side of the boy, holding their gaffi sticks with the axheads pointing down at the apprentice. The storyteller raised a trembling hand and turned it sideways like a knife blade. The apprentice hesitated for a moment and began to speak slowly.

"Now what?" Han said.

Luke answered. "That boy is being trained as the dan's next storyteller. The Tuskens believe very much in inflexible tradition. Once a story is set down as an oral path, it must remain forever unaltered. This boy has learned the story he is now telling about a raid on a moisture farmer who attempted to bring peace between humans and Jawas and Sand People."

"But why the weapons?" Han said. "Looks like they're ready to snuff the poor kid."

"They will, if he makes so much as one mistake. If the boy alters a single word, the storyteller will chop down with his hand, and the Raiders will kill the apprentice immediately. They believe that speaking the stories in any manner other than the way they were originally told is great blasphemy."

Han said, "Not much room for mistakes, is there?"

Luke shook his head. The other Tuskens were concentrating completely on the boy's speech. "The desert is a hard place, Han. It allows no room for mistakes. The Sand People are a product of that environment. They have harsh ways, but such harshness has been forced upon them."

The boy finished, and the old storyteller raised his other hand in a congratulatory gesture. The young apprentice slumped with trembling relief, and the other Sand People muttered their appreciation.

After a while, the fire was banked and began to burn low. The Tusken Raiders settled down for the night.

"I'm going to get some rest," Han said. "You haven't slept in two days, Luke. Can't you wait until they all go to sleep, then catch a nap yourself?"

Luke shook his head. "I don't dare. If I stop monitoring their thoughts, if I release my hold on their minds, they might suddenly realize we're not supposed to be with them. If somebody sounds an alarm, we're lost. Besides, a Jedi can go a long time without rest."

"Whatever you say, buddy," Han said.

"We should reach Jabba's palace by tomorrow," Luke said with weary hope.

"I can't wait," Han said. "I mean, we had so much fun the last time we were there."

Copyright © 1996 by Kevin J. Anderson. ™ & © 1996 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    THE HERO'S DEATH OF GENERAL KRIX NADINE

    As in all star wars novels we have the leia, han, and of course luke. In this book the hutts are in collaboration with remnants of the empire to build a super weapon. Luke, han, chewy and leia must find a way to stop them as is expected. What i liked best in this book is the reintroduction of one of the characters from return of the jedi. In rotj we only see general krix nadine for the briefest seconds. In this book we find out about his background and how he came to be with the rebellion. Best of all we a privileged to witness his immense courage and undying commitment to the cause of freedom. Read as he, along with two of his fellow agents infiltrate and sabotage durga the hutt's gigantic super laser codenamed 'darksaber.' named thus because of it's uncanny resemblance to a jedi light saber it is the size of a superstar destroyer. When finished the hutts plan to use it to force the galaxy to pay for protection. In this way they will become true galactic gangsters. General nadine it captured and tortured in an attempt to find out what the rebellion knows. He endures the pain and suffering knowing he will die within minutes as will all onboard the super weapon when it explodes. Unknown to the general han solo, luke skywalker and chewbacca are on their way to save him if they can? in 'the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.' nuff said!!!! read it or miss out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After reading the first couple of chapters I thought this was go

    After reading the first couple of chapters I thought this was going to be a really good book. Unfortunately the rest of the book was pretty bad. My suggestion is to spend your money on one of the hundreds of other Star Wars books that are so much better than this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Very bad

    The story was okay till the end and then it just got stupid.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An exciting and dramatic ending

    This story had a remarkable build up and an ending that had one exciting thing happen after another. The locations will remind the reader of the movies, but that is not a bad thing. It was really worth reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Good!

    I really liked this book, but I think that there are better Star Wars Books out there. Read The Thrawn Trilogy By Timothy Zhan first, then the story line of this book makes a little more sense, and I happen to like Zhan's writing style better than Anderson's, but I would sill whole-heartedly recomend this book, it is a must-read for Star Wars fans everywhere

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2006

    Action packed!!!!!!

    If you like star wars or any si-fi and looking for something good, here it is!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2006

    Well worth the price of admission

    Years have passed since Luke Skywalker turned Darth Vader back from the Force's dark side. The Rebel Alliance has recaptured Coruscant, where Leia Organa Solo (now married to Han, and mother of three small children) leads a sometimes weary life as chief of state. Luke spends most of his time on Yavin 4, training a new generation of Jedi knights in the ways of the Force. Yet as DARKSABER opens, Master Skywalker leaves his 'Jedi Academy' for a return to Tatooine, the desert planet of his boyhood. He wants to contact his dead mentor, Obi-Wan 'Ben' Kenobi, one more time and he's desperate enough to attempt this despite Ben's warning that it cannot happen again. His motivation? Callista, the woman he loves. This former Jedi knight from the old era now inhabits a new body, but somehow transferring into it from the computer core of the dreadnaught Eye of Palpatine robbed her of her powers. Luke hopes that Obi-Wan may know how those powers can be restored, because until that happens he and Callista cannot share their lives fully. What follows is a galaxy-spanning romp, with the narrative's viewpoint switching from character to character in frequent (but never disconcerting) transitions. Sometimes we're looking through the eyes of Bevel Lemelisk, designer of both the Death Star and a new, under-construction superweapon called Darksaber. Sometimes we're inside the head of Admiral Daala, Empire loyalist commander. Sometimes we're with Luke, sometimes with Leia, sometimes with cloned Jedi knight Dorsk 81. While there were a few awkward moments for me, since I only dip into the Star Wars novels occasionally and this book is a sequel to its author's earlier Jedi Academy Trilogy, I nevertheless enjoyed the adventure. The characters that were new to me, introduced in earlier Star Wars novels but not present in the films, fit into the established universe quite seamlessly and the characters I already knew stayed true to their personalities. My one real criticism is finding some passages a bit 'over the top' in the sadism department. That's a matter of taste, but - in my mind, at least - it does mean this isn't a suitable book for younger Star Wars readers. The author does have some interesting things to say, with all the subtlety I expect from really well written science fiction, about the nature of mortality and the doubtful benefits of transcending its limits. Overall? Well worth the price of admission.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2006

    Darksaber is a masterpiece!

    I absolutely love this book! Kevin J. Anderson has once again created another spectacular addition to his collection! If you are new to reading Star Wars books beyond Return of the Jedi, read this book IMMDEIATELY. I read this book for a book report for English class, and I finished my book before anyone else it was so good! The main plot throughout this book is that Durga the Hutt is building a reconstruction of the Death Star called Darksaber. Enjoy this time and time again! RECOMMENDED FOR ALL STAR WARS FANS!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2005

    An average response for an average tail...

    Don't get me wrong I did enjoy the book. Yet I agree with the comment that there was too much 'goofiness' going on throughout the story. On the positive side though, I enjoyed reading about Bevel Lemelisk. It is interesting to read into some of the unseen characters behind such creations as the Death Star (like Qwi Xux), and reading the details of some of Bevel's executions at the hands of the Emperor was enjoyable. I like this aspect because it gives you a better idea of how the Empire worked from within, rather than just via massive space vessels and constant laser fire. I disagree with the statement about the Hutt's plan to dominate the galaxy being unrealistic (not that Star Wars is actually realistic). The author made it a point to state that Durga would use the Darksaber as a tool to extort 'protection' money from whole planetary systems, just as many organized criminal groups do today. He didn't want to be the Emperor, he wanted to be a 'Don!'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2002

    Read in 3 hours.

    This is the perfect example of why more Star Wars movies should be made. I read this when I was in 5th grade. I didn't speed read, and I really didn't like reading that much. But this book was too good. I read the thing in three hours. I literally did not take my eyes off of it. I don't think that there is another Star Wars that can top this book. EVERY STAR WARS FAN MUST MUST MUST READ THIS BOOK!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2001

    Another great SW book

    I loved this book! It seemed to have gone by so fast (even though it took me a while to read it) because I enjoyed it so much. I like it that it had a lot of things going on at once, which all met and became one in the end. I also liked the original ways which the jedi trainees defended their temple. I recomend this book to anyone who likes SW.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2000

    very( x500) good book

    this is an excellent book. it tells how the hutts are building another death star

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 1999

    Great book!!!

    Details are amazing. Really awesome. Can't get much better than this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Good

    Read for laughs about funny hutts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Hutts are officaly declared stupid for trying to build a death star.

    Read for some laughs about a hutt who thought he was stronger than jedis.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Please don't waste your money

    If you must, get from the library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Sort of good

    Luke rules the star wars galaxy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    The Hutts build a Death Star... really?

    First off let's begin by saying Kevin J Anderson is quite possible the worst Star Wars author ever and this book is a shinning example why such an argument can be made.

    Let's begin, the Hutts build a death star, they do it quicker than the empire did, but are so fat they struggle putting there finger into a blaster trigger guard and waste most of a page stuggling to put it on just so they can personally shot the guy who tried to blow up there death star rather then just have a guard do it. This is the logic that floats around thoughout this book. Oh and let's not forget Jedi students force pushing a super star destroyer across a solar system in a fraction of a second (that's right they broke the speed of light while doing it too) but don't worry though there was a consiquence for this, the super weak jedi died but all the others where fine due to his sacrific... I mean really how does that respect me as a reader and not just insult my intelligence.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2013

    A young man named Luke Skywalker roams the galaxy in desperate n

    A young man named Luke Skywalker roams the galaxy in desperate need of help. Luke contacts his old friend Han solo to help him arrive on the planet Tatooine. With the help of the fastest ship in the galaxy, “The Millennium Falcon” they arrive to the dunes of the desert planet to help Luke’s love Callista regain her Jedi power. 
    My favorite character is Luke Skywalker because he’s like the ladies man in the book the one who takes his girls side, “he smiled in a wistful sigh as he found his target. “All right,” he said and turned to Callista.” Looks like we’ll go to Dagobah first.”
    Honestly if you’re that type of person who loves romantic, sci-fi, action books this is a great book from beginning to end.
    The message the author is getting by is that no matter how far the journey you’ll make it as useless as you are powerful.
    It was a great book but in my opinion I would have lowered the level of adventure and heightened the love behind this story spiraling from Luke to Callista. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2009

    Another exciting story within the Star Wars universe.

    Extends deeper into the series so more is learned about the lead characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)