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Capturing Trade Federation Viceroy–and Separatist Councilmember–Nute Gunray is the mission that brings Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, with a squad of clones in tow, to Neimoidia. But the treacherous ally of the Sith proves as slippery as ever, evading his Jedi pursuers even as they narrowly avoid deadly disaster. Still, their daring efforts yield an unexpected prize: a unique holotransceiver that bears intelligence capable of leading the Republic forces to their ultimate quarry, the ever-elusive Darth Sidious.
Swiftly taking up the chase, Anakin and Obi-Wan follow clues from the droid factories of Charros IV to the far-flung worlds of the Outer Rim . . . every step bringing them closer to pinpointing the location of the Sith Lord–whom they suspect has been manipulating every aspect of the Separatist rebellion. Yet somehow, in the escalating galaxy-wide chess game of strikes, counterstrikes, ambushes, sabotage, and retaliations, Sidious stays constantly one move ahead.
Then the trail takes a shocking turn. For Sidious and his minions have set in motion a ruthlessly orchestrated campaign to divide and overwhelm the Jedi forces–and bring the Republic to its knees.
Darkness was encroaching on Cato Neimoidia’s western hemisphere, though exchanges of coherent light high above the beleaguered world ripped looming night to shreds. Well under the fractured sky, in an orchard of manax trees that studded the lower ramparts of Viceroy Gunray’s majestic redoubt, companies of clone troopers and battle droids were slaughtering one another with bloodless precision.
A flashing fan of blue energy lit the undersides of a cluster of trees: the lightsaber of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Attacked by two sentry droids, Obi-Wan stood his ground, twisting his upraised blade right and left to swat blaster bolts back at his enemies. Caught midsection by their own salvos, both droids came apart, with a scattering of alloy limbs.
Obi-Wan moved again.
Tumbling under the segmented thorax of a Neimoidian harvester beetle, he sprang to his feet and raced forward. Explosive light shunted from the citadel’s deflector shield dappled the loamy ground between the trees, casting long shadows of their buttressed trunks. Oblivious to the chaos occurring in their midst, columns of the five-meter-long harvesters continued their stalwart march toward a mound that supported the fortress. In their cutting jaws or on their upsweeping backs they carried cargoes of pruned foliage. The crushing sounds of their ceaseless gnawing provided an eerie cadence to the rumbling detonations and the hiss and whine of blaster bolts.
From off to Obi-Wan’s left came a sudden click of servos; to his right, a hushed cry of warning.
He dropped into a crouch even before Anakin’s lips formed the final word, lightsaber aimed to the ground to keep from impaling his onrushing former Padawan. A blur of thrumming blue energy sizzled through the humid air, followed by a sharp smell of cauterized circuitry, the tang of ozone. A blaster discharged into soft soil, then the stalked, elongated head of a battle droid struck the ground not a meter from Obi-Wan’s feet, sparking as it bounced and rolled out of sight, repeating: “Roger, roger . . . Roger, roger . . .”
In a tuck, Obi-Wan pivoted on his right foot in time to see the droid’s spindly body collapse. The fact that Anakin had saved his life was nothing new, but Anakin’s blade had passed a little too close for comfort. Eyes somewhat wide with surprise, he came to his feet.
“You nearly took my head off.”
Anakin held his blade to one side. In the strobing light of battle his blue eyes shone with wry amusement. “Sorry, Master, but your head was where my lightsaber needed to go.”
Anakin used the honorific not as learner to teacher, but as Jedi Knight to Jedi Council member. The braid that had defined his earlier status had been ritually severed after his audacious actions at Praesitlyn. His tunic, knee-high boots, and tight-fitting trousers were as black as the night. His face scarred from a contest with Dooku-trained Asajj Ventress. His mechanical right hand sheathed in an elbow-length glove. He had let his hair grow long the past few months, falling almost to his shoulders now. His face he kept clean-shaven, unlike Obi-Wan, whose strong jaw was defined by a short beard.
“I suppose I should be grateful your lightsaber needed to go there, rather than desired to.”
Anakin’s grin blossomed into a full-fledged smile. “Last time I checked we were on the same side, Master.”
“Still, if I’d been a moment slower . . .”
Anakin booted the battle droid’s blaster aside. “Your fears are only in your mind.”
Obi-Wan scowled. “Without a head I wouldn’t have much mind left, now, would I?” He swept his lightsaber in a flourishing pass, nodding up the alley of manax trees. “After you.”
They resumed their charge, moving with the supernatural speed and grace afforded by the Force, Obi-Wan’s brown cloak swirling behind him. Victims of the initial bombardment, scores of battle droids lay sprawled on the ground. Others dangled like broken marionettes from the branches of the trees into which they had been hurled.
Areas of the leafy canopy were in flames.
Two scorched droids little more than arms and torsos lifted their weapons as the Jedi approached, but Anakin only raised his left hand in a Force push that shoved the droids flat onto their backs.
They jinked right, somersaulting under the wide bodies of two harvester beetles, then hurdling a tangle of barbed underbrush that had managed to anchor itself in the otherwise meticulously tended orchard. They emerged from the tree line at the shore of a broad irrigation canal, fed by a lake that delimited the Neimoidians’ citadel on three sides. In the west a trio of wedge-shaped Venator-class assault cruisers hung in scudding clouds. North and east the sky was in turmoil, crosshatched with ion trails, turbolaser beams, hyphens of scarlet light streaming upward from weapons emplacements outside the citadel’s energy shield. Rising from high ground at the end of the peninsula, the tiered fastness was reminiscent of the command towers of the Trade Federation core ships, and indeed had been the inspiration for them.
Somewhere inside, trapped by Republic forces, were the Trade Federation elite.
With his homeworld threatened and the purse worlds of Deko and Koru Neimoidia devastated, Viceroy Gunray would have been wiser to retreat to the Outer Rim, as other members of the Separatist Council were thought to be doing. But rational thinking had never been a Neimoidian strong suit, especially when possessions remained on Cato Neimoidia the viceroy apparently couldn’t live without. Backed by a battle group of Federation warships, he had slipped onto Cato Neimoidia, intent on looting the citadel before it fell. But Republic forces had been lying in wait, eager to capture him alive and bring him to justice—thirteen years late, in the judgment of many.
Cato Neimoidia was as close to Coruscant as Obi-Wan and Anakin had been in almost four standard months, and with the last remaining Separatist strongholds now cleared from the Core and Colonies, they expected to be back in the Outer Rim by week’s end.
Obi-Wan heard movement on the far side of the irrigation canal.
An instant later, four clone troopers crept from the tree line on the opposite bank to take up firing positions amid the water-smoothed rocks that lined the ditch. Far behind them a crashed gunship was burning. Protruding from the canopy, the LAAT’s blunt tail was stenciled with the eight-rayed battle standard of the Galactic Republic.
A gunboat glided into view from downstream, maneuvering to where the Jedi were waiting. Standing in the bow, a clone commander named Cody waved hand signals to the troopers on shore and to others in the gunboat, who immediately fanned out to create a safe perimeter.
Troopers could communicate with one another through the comlinks built into their T-visored helmets, but the Advanced Recon Commando teams had created an elaborate system of gestures meant to thwart enemy attempts at eavesdropping.
A few nimble leaps brought Cody face-to-face with Obi-Wan and Anakin.
“Sirs, I have the latest from airborne command.”
“Show us,” Anakin said.
Cody dropped to one knee, his right hand activating a device built into his left wrist gauntlet. A cone of blue light emanated from the device, and a hologram of task force commander Dodonna resolved.
“Generals Kenobi and Skywalker, provincial recon unit reports that Viceroy Gunray and his entourage are making their way to the north side of the redoubt. Our forces have been hammering at the shield from above and from points along the shore, but the shield generator is in a hardened site, and difficult to get at. Gunships are taking heavy fire from turbolaser cannons in the lower ramparts. If your team is still committed to taking Gunray alive, you’re going to have to skirt those defenses and find an alternative way into the palace. At this point we cannot reinforce, repeat, cannot reinforce.”
Obi-Wan looked at Cody when the hologram had faded. “Suggestions, Commander?”
Cody made an adjustment to the wrist projector, and a 3-D schematic of the redoubt formed in midair. “Assuming that Gunray’s fortress is similar to what we found on Deko and Koru, the underground levels will contain fungus farms and processing and shipment areas. There will be access from the shipping areas into the midlevel grub hatcheries, and from the hatcheries we’ll be able to infiltrate the upper reaches.”
Cody carried a short-stocked DC-15 blaster rifle and wore the white armor and imaging system helmet that had come to symbolize the Grand Army of the Republic—grown, nurtured, and trained on the remote world of Kamino, three years ear- lier. Just now, though, areas of white showed only where there were no smears of mud or dried blood, no gouges, abrasions, or charred patches. Cody’s position was designated by orange markings on his helmet crest and shoulder guards. His upper right arm bore stripes signifying campaigns in which he had participated: Aagonar, Praesitlyn, Paracelus Minor, Antar 4, Tibrin, Skor II, and dozens of other worlds from Core to Outer Rim.
Over the years Obi-Wan had formed battlefield partnerships with several Advanced Recon Commandos—Alpha, with whom he had been imprisoned on Rattatak, and Jangotat, on Ord Cestus. Early-generation ARCs had received training by the Mandalorian clone template, Jango Fett. While the Kaminoans had managed to breed some of Fett out of the regulars, they had been more selective in the case of the ARCs. As a consequence, ARCs displayed more individual initiative and leadership abilities. In short, they were more like the late bounty hunter himself, which was to say, more human. While Cody wasn’t genetically an Advanced Recon Commando, he had ARC training and shared many ARC attributes.
In the initial stages of the war, clone troopers were treated no differently from the war machines they piloted or the weapons they fired. To many they had more in common with battle droids poured by the tens of thousands from Baktoid Armor Workshops on a host of Separatist-held worlds. But attitudes began to shift as more and more troopers died. The clones’ unfaltering dedication to the Republic, and to the Jedi, showed them to be true comrades in arms, and deserving of all the respect and compassion they were now afforded. It was the Jedi themselves, in addition to other progressive thinking officials in the Republic, who had urged that second- and third-generation troopers be given names rather than numbers, to foster a growing fellowship.
“I agree that we can probably reach the upper levels, Commander,” Obi-Wan said at last. “But how do you propose we reach the fungus farms to begin with?”
Cody stood to his full height and pointed toward the orchards. “we go in with the harvesters.”
Obi-Wan glanced uncertainly at Anakin and motioned him off to one side.
“It’s just the two of us. What do you think?
“I think you worry too much, Master.”
Obi-Wan folded his arms across his chest. “And who’ll worry about you if I don’t?”
Anakin canted his head and grinned. “There are others.”
“You can only be referring to See-Threepio. And you had to build him.”
“Think what you will.”
Obi-Wan narrowed his eyes with purpose. “Oh, I see. But I would have thought Senator Amidala of greater interest to you that Supreme chancellor Palpatine.” Before Anakin could respond, he added: “Despite that she’s a politician also.”
“Don’t think I haven’t tried to attract her interest, Master.”
Anakin placed his artificial hand on Obi-Wan’s left shoulder. “Perhaps, Master. But then, who would look after you?”
Posted July 28, 2009
I Also Recommend:
If you are to completly understand Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, you must first read this book. There aren't any boring parts that I can remember, just constant action. Obi-Wan and Anakin chasing Dooku, Mace Windu and a few others hunting down Darth Sidious. We get to see Mace take on Grievous, and also how Grievous captures Palpatine. Great Read!
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2008
The Force is strong with this one. An excellent book, it was. Insightful and exciting, and concluding directly prior to the beginning of Revenge of the Sith, Labrynth of Evil was. Skillfully written, its was. Enjoyed it, I did.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 28, 2014
Posted January 7, 2014
Star Wars Labyrinth Of Evil is one of the best Star Wars novels I've read. The story is engaging and feels just like Star Wars Episode III. Although you can read and fully comprehend Star Wars III: Revenge Of The Sith without reading this book, this story is still well worth the reading and lays essential groundwork for episode III.
I recommend this Star Wars Tale to any fan.
Posted September 23, 2013
This is a great novel. Of the three prequel films each had a novel set just before it. This one is the best of the three. The main story of chasing Grevious around the galaxy wasn't too interesting to me, but the parts where Dooku tells the story of Syfo Dias was very good. That was a horrible hanging thread from the films. It was good to see it finally resolved in this book.
The best part of the story was Mace Windu and Yoda dealing with the ever widening powers of the Chancellor, and and at the same time coming closer and closer to discovering the true identity of Darth Sidious. To bad stuff like that didn't make it into the films.
Overall a good read with some great aspects to it. Read this with the Episode III novelization and you'll get the entire story of Revenge of the Sith in a way better version than the one we got on film.
Posted July 19, 2013
Posted April 2, 2013
Posted December 29, 2012
Posted April 21, 2012
I love star wars but my favorite characters are padme and anakin i know anakins in this book alot so i was wondering if it also had padme? Anyway i give this sample two thumbs up! I love star wars.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 27, 2012
Posted February 18, 2008
Most of the books I have read for leisure are 'Star Wars' novels. I have read many of them, and there are three so far that stick out above the others: 'Shadows of the Empire,' 'Dark Lord,' and 'Labyrinth of Evil.' Two of these three are written by James Luceno, proving what a perfect match his writing style is with a Star Wars story. Luceno does a masterful job engaging the audience in some of the climactic events of the rich-in-story Clone Wars, including the abduction of Chancellor Palpatine by General Grievous and an ensuing chase involving Mace Windu 'yes, they lightsaber duel', Shaak Ti, and Kit Fisto, all members of the Jedi Council by Episode III. The reader really gets connected with the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi but particularly Anakin Skywalker far beyond what can be portrayed in what films really can't explore since they can't be much longer than two-and-a-half hours. Anybody who by chance hasn't seen the Episode III film should read 'Labyrinth' first. It's what I did, and I was able to connect with the climactic movie even more that I would have. Luceno really takes the heroes of the war, Kenobi and Skywalker, while including other villains from Ep. III like Grievous and Dooku, and villains from previous films in the prequel trilogy like Nute Gunray, and even minor characters from other mediums like Quinlan Vos and blends a great interlude story together to create a gripping lead-in tale that directly connects with the first act of Revenge of the Sith.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2008
Posted April 29, 2006
I liked this book. it had a good story line but the thing that really captured me was luceno explaining how Gen.Grievos came to be. His memory and i like how he tells you what the 'bad guys' are up to rather than leaving it for the end... all in all a good book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 20, 2006
I thought that the underlying story of this novel was very good. However, I have always found the writing of James Luceno to be extremely dry and boring. I couldn't even read Cloak of Deception because of this. But I did make it through this one. But again, it's a good story and a good try, but the writing was typical Luceno...dry.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 4, 2006
I like the way the author, James Luceno, mixes thrill and mystery in this book.The cliff-hangers that he put at almost the end of every chapter made it so that I just couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2005
The book was awesome, and it brought to light a lot of stuff that wasn't really mentioned in ep.3 but isn't Johnathan Davis the lead singer of KoRn? Not exactly the person who you'd want to be telling you a story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2005
Definately a must read before you read (or see) ROTS. Very easy to read and follow what going on. James Luceno really knows how to capture the feeling of the SW universe, and does a great job tying in the classic trilogy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2005
o.k. It was a little hard to read at first but got better half way through. Did go in more detail about what happened before revenge of the sith. Was a good read not great like Revenge Of The Sith & Jedi Trial but o.k.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2005