Star Wars Darth Bane #1: Path of Destructionby Drew Karpyshyn
“Two there should be; no more, no less.
One to embody the power, the other to crave it.”
–Darth Bane, Dark Lord of the Sith
On the run from vengeful Republic forces, Dessel, a cortosis miner, vanishes into the ranks of the Sith army and ships out to join the bloody war against the Republic and its Jedi champions. There, Dessel’s… See more details below
“Two there should be; no more, no less.
One to embody the power, the other to crave it.”
–Darth Bane, Dark Lord of the Sith
On the run from vengeful Republic forces, Dessel, a cortosis miner, vanishes into the ranks of the Sith army and ships out to join the bloody war against the Republic and its Jedi champions. There, Dessel’s brutality, cunning, and exceptional command of the Force swiftly win him renown as a warrior. But in the eyes of his watchful masters, a far greater destiny awaits him.
As an acolyte in the Sith academy, studying the secrets and skills of the dark side, Dessel embraces his new identity: Bane. But the true test is yet to come. In order to gain acceptance into the Brotherhood of Darkness, he must defy the most sacred traditions and reject all he has been taught. It is a trial by fire in which he must surrender fully to the dark side–and forge from the ashes a new era of absolute power.
“A solid space adventure [that] charts the evolution of an antihero almost as chilling as Darth Vader.”
Read an Excerpt
Star Wars Darth Bane Path of Destruction
A Novel of the Old Republic
By Drew Karpyshyn
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
Dessel was lost in the suffering of his job, barely even aware of his
surroundings. His arms ached from the endless pounding of the hydraulic jack.
Small bits of rock skipped off the cavern wall as he bored through, ricocheting
off his protective goggles and stinging his exposed face and hands. Clouds of
atomized dust filled the air, obscuring his vision, and the screeching whine of
the jack filled the cavern, drowning out all other sounds as it burrowed
centimeter by agonizing centimeter into the thick vein of cortosis woven into
the rock before him.
Impervious to both heat and energy, cortosis was prized in the construction of
armor and shielding by both commercial and military interests, especially with
the galaxy at war. Highly resistant to blaster bolts, cortosis alloys supposedly
could withstand even the blade of a lightsaber. Unfortunately, the very
properties that made it so valuable also made it extremely difficult to mine.
Plasma torches were virtually useless; it would take days to burn away even a
small section of cortosis-laced rock. The only effective way to mine it was
through the brute force of hydraulic jacks pounding relentlessly away at a vein,
chipping the cortosis free bit by bit.
Cortosis was one of the hardestmaterials in the galaxy. The force of the
pounding quickly wore down the head of a jack, blunting it until it became
almost useless. The dust clogged the hydraulic pistons, making them jam. Mining
cortosis was hard on the equipment ... and even harder on the miners.
Des had been hammering away for nearly six standard hours. The jack weighed more
than thirty kilos, and the strain of keeping it raised and pressed against the
rock face was taking its toll. His arms were trembling from the exertion. His
lungs were gasping for air and choking on the clouds of fine mineral dust thrown
up from the jack's head. Even his teeth hurt: the rattling vibration felt as if
it were shaking them loose from his gums.
But the miners on Apatros were paid based on how much cortosis they brought
back. If he quit now, another miner would jump in and start working the vein,
taking a share of the profits. Des didn't like to share.
The whine of the jack's motor took on a higher pitch, becoming a keening wail
Des was all too familiar with. At twenty thousand rpm, the motor sucked in dust
like a thirsty bantha sucking up water after a long desert crossing. The only
way to combat it was by regular cleaning and servicing, and the Outer Rim
Oreworks Company preferred to buy cheap equipment and replace it, rather than
sinking credits into maintenance. Des knew exactly what was going to happen
next-and a second later, it did. The motor blew.
The hydraulics seized with a horrible crunch, and a cloud of black smoke spit
out the rear of the jack. Cursing ORO and its corporate policies, Des released
his cramped finger from the trigger and tossed the spent piece of equipment to
"Move aside, kid," a voice said.
Gerd, one of the other miners, stepped up and tried to shoulder Des out of the
way so he could work the vein with his own jack. Gerd had been working the mines
for nearly twenty standard years, and it had turned his body into a mass of
hard, knotted muscle. But Des had been working the mines for ten years himself,
ever since he was a teenager, and he was just as solid as the older man-and a
little bigger. He didn't budge.
"I'm not done here," he said. "Jack died, that's all. Hand me yours and I'll
keep at it for a while."
"You know the rules, kid. You stop working and someone else is allowed to move
Technically, Gerd was right. But nobody ever jumped another miner's claim over
an equipment malfunction. Not unless he was trying to pick a fight.
Des took a quick look around. The chamber was empty except for the two of them,
standing less than half a meter apart. Not a surprise; Des usually chose caverns
far off the main tunnel network. It had to be more than mere coincidence that
Gerd was here.
Des had known Gerd for as long as he could remember. The middle-aged man had
been friends with Hurst, Des's father. Back when Des first started working the
mines at thirteen, he had taken a lot of abuse from the bigger miners. His
father had been the worst tormentor, but Gerd had been one of the main
instigators, dishing out more than his fair share of teasing, insults, and the
occasional cuff on the ear.
Their harassments had ended shortly after Des's father died of a massive heart
attack. It wasn't because the miners felt sorry for the orphaned young man,
though. By the time Hurst died, the tall, skinny teenager they loved to bully
had become a mountain of muscle with heavy hands and a fierce temper. Mining was
a tough job; it was the closest thing to hard labor outside a Republic prison
colony. Whoever worked the mines on Apatros got big-and Des just happened to
become the biggest of them all. Half a dozen black eyes, countless bloody noses,
and one broken jaw in the space of a month was all it took for Hurst's old
friends to decide they'd be happier if they left Des alone.
Yet it was almost as if they blamed him for Hurst's death, and every few months
one of them tried again. Gerd had always been smart enough to keep his
"I don't see any of your friends here with you, old man," Des said. "So back off
my claim, and nobody gets hurt."
Gerd spat on the ground at Des's feet. "You don't even know what day it is, do
you, boy? Kriffing disgrace is what you are!"
They were standing close enough to each other that Des could smell the sour
Corellian whiskey on Gerd's breath. The man was drunk. Drunk enough to come
looking for a fight, but still sober enough to hold his own.
"Five years ago today," Gerd said, shaking his head sadly. "Five years ago today
your own father died, and you don't even remember!"
Des rarely even thought about his father anymore. He hadn't been sorry to see
him go. His earliest memories were of his father smacking him. He didn't even
remember the reason; Hurst rarely needed one.
"Can't say I miss Hurst the same way you do, Gerd."
"Hurst?" Gerd snorted. "He raised you by himself after your mama died, and you
don't even have the respect to call him Dad? You ungrateful
Des glared down menacingly at Gerd, but the shorter man was too full of drink
and self-righteous indignation to be intimidated.
"Should've expected this from a mudcrutch whelp like you," Gerd continued.
"Hurst always said you were no good. He knew there was something wrong with you
Des narrowed his eyes, but didn't rise to the bait. Hurst had called him by that
name when he was drunk. Bane. He had blamed his son for his wife's death. Blamed
him for being stuck on Apatros. He considered his only child to be the bane of
his existence, a fact he'd tended to spit out at Des in his drunken rages.
Bane. It represented everything spiteful, petty, and mean about his father. It
struck at the innermost fears of every child: fear of disappointment, fear of
abandonment, fear of violence. As a kid, that name had hurt more than all the
smacks from his father's heavy fists. But Des wasn't a kid anymore. Over time
he'd learned to ignore it, along with all the rest of the hateful bile that
spilled from his father's mouth.
"I don't have time for this," he muttered. "I've got work to do."
With one hand he grabbed the hydraulic jack from Gerd's grasp. He put the other
hand on Gerd's shoulder and shoved him away. Stumbling back, the inebriated man
caught his heel on a rock and fell roughly to the ground.
He stood up with a snarl, his hands balling into fists. "Guess your daddy's been
gone too long, boy. You need someone to beat the sense back into you!"
Gerd was drunk, but he was no fool, Des realized. Des was bigger, stronger,
younger ... but he'd spent the last six hours working a hydraulic jack. He was
covered in grime and the sweat was dripping off his face. His shirt was
drenched. Gerd's uniform, on the other hand, was still relatively clean: no
dust, no sweat stains. He must have been planning this all day, taking it easy
and sitting back while Des wore himself out.
But Des wasn't about to back down from a fight. Throwing Gerd's jack to the
ground, he dropped into a crouch, feet wide and arms held out in front of him.
Gerd charged forward, swinging his right fist in a vicious uppercut. Des reached
out and caught the punch with the open palm of his left hand, absorbing the
force of the blow. His right hand snapped forward and grabbed the underside of
Gerd's right wrist; as he pulled the older man forward, Des ducked down and
turned, driving his shoulder into Gerd's chest. Using his opponent's own
momentum against him, Des straightened up and yanked hard on Gerd's wrist,
flipping him up and over so that he crashed to the ground on his back.
The fight should have ended right then; Des had a split second where he could
have dropped his knee onto his opponent, driving the breath from his lungs and
pinning him to the ground while he pounded Gerd with his fists. But it didn't
happen. His back, exhausted from hours of hefting the thirty-kilo jack, spasmed.
The pain was agonizing; instinctively Des straightened up, clutching at the
knotted lumbar muscles. It gave Gerd a chance to roll out of the way and get
back to his feet.
Somehow Des managed to drop into his fighting crouch again. His back howled in
protest, and he grimaced as red-hot daggers of pain shot through his body. Gerd
saw the grimace and laughed.
"Cramping up there, boy? You should know better than to try and fight after a
six-hour shift in the mines."
Gerd charged forward again. This time his hands weren't fists, but claws
grasping and grabbing at anything they could find, trying to nullify the younger
man's height and reach by getting in close. Des tried to scramble out of the
way, but his legs were too stiff and sore to get him clear. One hand grabbed his
shirt, the other got hold of his belt as Gerd pulled both of them to the ground.
They grappled together, wrestling on the hard, uneven stone of the cavern floor.
Gerd had his face buried against Dessel's chest to protect it, keeping Des from
landing a solid elbow or head-butt. He still had a grip on Des's belt, but now
his other hand was free and punching blindly up to where he guessed Des's face
would be. Des was forced to wrap his arms in and around Gerd's own, interlocking
them so neither man could throw a punch.
With their limbs pinned, strategy and technique meant little. The fight had
become a test of strength and endurance, with the two combatants slowly wearing
each other down. Dessel tried to roll Gerd over onto his back, but his weary
body betrayed him. His limbs were heavy and soft; he couldn't get the leverage
he needed. Instead it was Gerd who was able to twist and turn, wrenching one of
his hands free while still keeping his face pressed tight against Des's chest so
it wouldn't be exposed.
Des wasn't so lucky ... his face was open and vulnerable. Gerd struck a blow
with his free hand, but he didn't hit with a closed fist. Instead he drove his
thumb hard into Des's cheek, only a few centimeters from his real target. He
struck again with the thumb, looking to gouge out one of his opponent's eyes and
leave him blind and writhing in pain.
It took Des a second to realize what was happening; his tired mind had become as
slow and clumsy as his body. He turned his face away just as the second blow
landed, the thumb jamming painfully into the cartilage of his upper ear.
Dark rage exploded inside Des: a burst of fiery passion that burned away the
exhaustion and fatigue. Suddenly his mind was clear, and his body felt strong
and rejuvenated. He knew what he was going to do next. More importantly, he knew
with absolute certainty what Gerd would do next, too.
He couldn't explain how he knew; sometimes he could just anticipate an
opponent's next move. Instinct, some might have said. Des felt it was something
more. It was too detailed-too specific-to be simple instinct. It was more like a
vision, a brief glimpse into the future. And whenever it happened, Des always
knew what to do, as if something was guiding and directing his actions.
When the next blow came, Des was more than ready for it. He could picture it
perfectly in his mind. He knew exactly when it was coming and precisely where it
would strike. This time he turned his head in the opposite direction, exposing
his face to the incoming blow-and opening his mouth. He bit down hard, his
timing perfect, and his teeth sank deep into the dirty flesh of Gerd's probing
Gerd screamed as Des clamped his jaw shut, severing the tendons and striking
bone. He wondered if he could bite clean through and then-as if the very thought
made it happen-he severed Gerd's thumb.
The screams became shrieks as Gerd released his grasp and rolled away, clasping
his maimed hand with his whole one. Crimson blood welled up through the fingers
trying to stanch the flow from his stump.
Standing up slowly, Des spat the thumb out onto the ground. The taste of blood
was hot in his mouth. His body felt strong and reenergized, as if some great
power surged through his veins. All the fight had been taken out of his opponent;
Des could do anything he wanted to Gerd now.
The older man rolled back and forth on the floor, his hand clutched to his chest.
He was moaning and sobbing, begging for mercy, pleading for help.
Des shook his head in disgust; Gerd had brought this on himself. It had started
as a simple fistfight. The loser would have ended up with a black eye and some
bruises, but nothing more. Then the older man had taken things to another level
by trying to blind him, and he'd responded in kind. Des had learned long ago not
to escalate a fight unless he was willing to pay the price of losing. Now Gerd
had learned that lesson, too.
Des had a temper, but he wasn't the kind to keep beating on a helpless opponent.
Without looking back at his defeated foe, he left the cavern and headed back up
the tunnel to tell one of the foremen what had happened so someone could come
tend to Gerd's injury.
He wasn't worried about the consequences. The medics could reattach Gerd's
thumb, so at worst Des would be fined a day or two's wages. The corporation
didn't really care what its employees did, as long as they kept coming back to
mine the cortosis. Fights were common among the miners, and ORO almost always
turned a blind eye, though this particular fight had been more vicious than
most-savage and short, with a brutal end.
Just like life on Apatros.
Excerpted from Star Wars Darth Bane Path of Destruction
by Drew Karpyshyn
Copyright © 2006 by Drew Karpyshyn.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Drew Karpyshyn is a fantasy and science fiction novelist and an award-winning writer/designer for the computer game company BioWare, where he was lead writer on the popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. He lives in Canada’s hinterlands of the Great White North with his loving wife, Jen, and their cat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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PROs : Lots of action. A very detailed look at how a Force user is trained in the dark arts. Very well written. Interesting characters. Although the ending was somewhat predictable, there were a few surprises there as well. CONs : Starts off a bit slow, but picks up after chapter two. Some of the names the author chose for characters seemed odd. Kaan, Des, Hoth, Kopecz; all seemed strange to me. Why use the name of a planet (Hoth) when naming a character? CONCLUSION : Stick with it, because it really picks up the pace starting with chapter three. This book kind of reminded me of Harry Potter 1, abused kid learns he has a mystical power and enrolls in an academy to learn to master these magical skills. However, the difference is that Harry makes all the light side choices, but Bane makes all the dark side choices. This book would definitely be in the top 20 of all the Star Wars books I've read over the years. I look forward to getting to the next installment of the trilogy. Four stars. 01/15/13
Having read all the young readers up through the adult novel Coruscant Nights I, I was reluctant to go back in time and read this novel. It grabbed me right from page one. I enjoyed learning of this "Darth Bane" and how he came to be. The follow up "Rule of Two" was very good as well. I can't wait to read more from this period of Star Wars lore.
'I am not a man of words...but I respect the power of words...' Darth Bane: Path of Destruction is the true manefestation of the power of words. Not merely is this the first true novel of the Sith Era, and provides fascinating enlightenment to the creation and/or destruction of the Old Republic, it is crafted from the perceptions of the anti-hero, divulging compelling insight into Sith philosophy. And as for us 'arm-chair Jedi' out there who think we've read it all and played it all and have our own Jedi philosophy down to the hilt of our lightsabers, this novel truly causes some changes in thought. In addition, the book was written by the same author who crafted the masterful lines for the award-winning RPG game Knights of the Old Republic, and the plot is worthy of his vast imagination.
What an anti-hero!! I mean wow, Darth Bane is not just a Sith but the Sith. While the story takes a bit to get started every one needs a back/origin story. This is where the sith transform from a bunch of back stabbing lords out for power and become the evil duo we all fear and hate. It's well written and full of action a good read overall.
This book was the first book I've read of the Star Wars novels and it had all the elements for a great and fast read. The character development, plot, and writing style were excellent. Like several other Star Wars novels this book reads very quickly and was difficult to put down. Although there are several authors of Star Wars novels, Drew Karpyshyn is a fantastic writer and is on par with some of the authors who may be better known; James Luceno, Michael Reaves, and Timothy Zahn.
I thought this book was terrific! I couldn't put it down! I still need to read the 2 follow up books, but this is definitely a must read for any Star Wars fan!
This is very interesting from a lore perspective and better written than many novels of its kind.
this book seriously is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One if the best starwars books ive read. Its addicting once you start reading you never wanna stop. Very good book i perfer it for every Star Wars fan.
STAR WARS Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn was truly an engaging and fascinating novel. I highly recommend it for anyone who has even a basic knowledge of the STAR WARS movies and is interested in learning about the Sith. Not only does this novel introduce the origins of the Sith, but also a history of the STAR WARS Galaxy, which should prove interesting to any STAR WARS fan. I found myself lost in the pages of the book during times that are usually set aside for listening to the professor (aka class) or studying. This was an excellent book.
The Bane series had me hooked. Well writen, action packed, and plenty of twists. Karpyshyn brought a little of KOTOR to the table when writing this book. He's a great Game Dev and an awesome writer. Highly recommend!!!
Karpyshyn spins a nice yarn. It's not a great literary masterpiece, but it adds a nice slant on the Star Wars universe. This is the beginning of what will now be a (well at least a) trilogy of novelized tales about Bane and his vision for the legacy of the Sith. I think Karpyshyn does an excellent job of telling the story and I look forward to the third installment.
I own over 20 star wars titles and i love them all but Darth Bane is the most interesting charecter ive incountered in the entire star wars series.
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction is truley great novel focusing on the events 1020 years before A New Hope. Darth Bane is a great anti-hero worthy of standing next to Darth Vader. The story is told from the dark side of the Force as it follows a young man's journey from working the mines of Apatros to becoming a Dark Lord of the Sith. Lots of action as the Sith and Jedi battle it out to see which side will prevail and rule the galaxy.
Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction is possibly the best Star Wars novel ever written, and that is not an exaggeration. This book starts off slow but quickly builds to provide a heart-pounding plot. The author provides a great view of the Sith perspective in the Star Wars universe, and his noble work on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (XBox, PC, Mac) echoes throughout the novel. Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction would best be enjoyed by a Star Wars fan, but if you're not, this novel may yet convert you.
If you payed attention to the movie you would know who Snoke is.Anyway,who would win?I would say Vader.
The rule of two is annoying. I have to fight for power. Darth Carnage. Btw im awsome.
I have read this book 3 or 4 times and it never gets old. The Darth Bane character is one of the best ever created for the old books. The story is nonstop action and doesn't slow down.
Awesome book read it over a dozen times
An amazing start to an amazing series. This novel contains so much story and character development that it is somewhat surprising how far Bane has come by the end of the book. This novel s also very key to reading many other books about Sith Lords since Bane is referenced time and again as the possible Sithari and as the founder of the Rule of Two. The story follows the end of the Jedi-Sith war of the Old Republic and the subsequent revitalization of the Sith that began a thousand-year-long plan that ends with Sidious in Episode III. A great read from beginning to end and a book that is worth multiple rereads. Just a whole lot of fun all around, cover to cover.
Really enjoyed this 1st book in the Darth Bane series, and now enjoying book 2. (There are 3 in the series...) Darth Bane is an extremely interesting character, and these books tell much more about the history of the Sith than the other books I've seen, or movies 1-6.
This book is great!I have bought all three of the Darth Bane books and this one is by far the best!I highly recommend this book to any Star Wars fan.