NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The Republic has fallen.
Sith Lords rule the galaxy.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has lost everything . . .
Everything but hope.
Tatooine—a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.
Known to locals only as “Ben,” the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.
Ben—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope—can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi—and the formidable power of the Force—in his never-ending fight for justice.
Praise for Kenobi: Star Wars
“Buy this book right now. . . . [This novel] manages to explore the depths of Ben Kenobi but still maintains the aura of mystery around his character.”—Tosche Station
“Addictive, engrossing . . . wildly entertaining . . . There are plenty of twists, turns, and surprises. . . . John Jackson Miller creates a story that reaches new heights.”—Roqoo Depot
“Brilliant . . . This is Star Wars fiction at its absolute best.”—Examiner
“Enthralling . . . almost impossible to put down.”—Eucantina
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
Everything casts two shadows.
The suns had determined this at the dawn of creation. Brothers, they were, until the younger sun showed his true face to the tribe. It was a sin. The elder sun attempted to kill his brother, as was only proper.
But he failed.
Burning, bleeding, the younger sun pursued his sibling across the sky. The wily old star fled for the hills and safety, but it was his fate never to rest again. For the younger brother had only exposed his face. The elder had exposed his failure.
And others had seen it—to their everlasting sorrow.
The first Sand People had watched the battle in the sky. The suns, dually covered in shame, turned their wrath on the witnesses. The skybrothers’ gaze tore at the mortals, burning through flesh to reveal their secret selves. The Sand People saw their shadows on the sands of Tatooine, and listened. The younger spirit urged attack. The elder told them to hide. Counsels, from the condemned.
The Sand People were condemned, as well. Always walking with the twin shadows of sacrilege and failure beside them, they would hide their faces. They would fight. They would raid. And they would run.
Most Sand People struck at night, when neither skybrother could whisper to them. A’Yark preferred to hunt at dawn. The voices of the shadows were quieter then—and the settlers who infested the land could see their doom clearly. That was important. The elder sun had failed by not killing his brother. A’Yark would not fail, had never failed, in killing settlers. The elder sun would see the example, and learn . . .
. . . now.
A’Yark charged toward the old farmer who had given the cry. The raider’s metal gaderffii smashed into the human’s naked chin, shattering bone. A’Yark surged forward, knocking the victim to the ground. The settler struggled, coughing as he tried to repeat the cry. “Tuskens!”
Years earlier, other settlers had given that name to the Sand People who obliterated Fort Tusken. The raiders back then had welcomed the name into their tongue; it was proof the walking parasites had nothing the Sand People could not take. But A’Yark couldn’t stand to hear the proud name in the mouths of the appalling creatures—and few were as ugly as the bloody settler now writhing on the sand. The human was ancient. Apart from a bandage from a recent head injury, his whitish hairs and withered flesh were exposed to the sky. It was horrible to see.
A’Yark plunged the hefty gaderffii downward, its metal flanges crushing against the settler’s rib cage. Bones snapped. The weapon’s point went fully through, grinding against the stone surface beneath. The old settler choked his last. The Tusken name again belonged only to the Sand People.
Immediately A’Yark charged toward the low building, a short distance ahead. There was no thought to it. No predator of Tatooine ever stopped to reflect on killing. A Tusken could be no different.
To think too long was to die.
The human nest was a wretched thing, something like a sketto hive: scum molded and shaped into a disgusting half bulb, buried in the sand. This one was formed from that false rock of theirs, the “synstone.” A’Yark had seen it before.
Another shout. A pasty white biped with a bulging cranium appeared in the doorway of the building, brandishing a blaster rifle. A’Yark discarded the gaderffii and lunged, ripping the gun from the startled settler’s hands. A’Yark did not understand how a blaster rifle tore its victim apart, but understanding wasn’t necessary. The thing had a use. The marauder put it to work on the settler, who had no use.
Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The settlers did have a use: to provide more rifles for the Tuskens to take. It might have been a funny thought, if A’Yark ever laughed. But that concept was as alien as the white-skinned corpse now on the floor.
So many strange things had come to live in the desert. And to die.
Behind, two more raiders entered the structure. A’Yark did not know them. The days of going into battle flanked by cousins were long since past. The newcomers began flipping crates in the storage area, spilling contents. More metal things. The settlers were obsessed with them.
The warriors were, too—but it wasn’t time for that. A’Yark barked at them. “N’gaaaiih! N’gaaaiih!”
The youths didn’t listen. They were not A’Yark’s sons. A’Yark had but one son, now, not quite old enough to fight. Nor did these warriors have fathers. It was the way, these days. Mighty tribes had become mere war parties, their ranks constantly evolving as survivors of one group melted into another.
That A’Yark led this raid at all bespoke their misery. No one on the attack had lived half as long as A’Yark had, or seen so much. The best warriors had fallen years before; these youths certainly wouldn’t live to vie for leadership. They were fools, and if A’Yark did not kill them for their foolishness, they would die some other way.
Not this morning, though. A’Yark had chosen the target carefully. This farm was close to the jagged Jundland Wastes, far from the other villages—and it had few of the vile structures by which the residents wrenched water from a sky none could own. The fewer spires—vaporators, the farmers called them—the fewer settlers. Now, it would seem, there were none. Except for the young warriors fumbling, all was quiet.
But A’Yark, who had lived to see forty cycles of the starry sky, was not fooled. A weapon stood beside the doorway leading outside. The old human’s, left by accident? Rifle to silvery mouthpiece, A’Yark sniffed.
No. With one swift motion, A’Yark smashed the weapon against the doorjamb. The rifle had been used to kill a Tusken. The smell of sweat from another day still clung to the stock. It differed from the old human’s scent, and that of the white creature the settlers called a Bith. Someone else was here. But the rifle could not be used now, nor ever again.
A weapon that killed a Tusken had no more power than any other, so far as A’Yark was concerned; such superstitions were for weaker minds. But just as Tuskens prized their banthas, the settlers seemed to prize individual rifles, etching symbols on their stocks. The human that carried this one was more formidable than the old man and the Bith creature, but he would have to resort to something new and unfamiliar next time. If he survived the day.
A’Yark would see that he didn’t.
The war leader reclaimed the gaderffii from the floor and shoved past the looting youths. Footsteps in the sand led around back, where three soulless vaporators hummed and defiled. A small hut for servicing the foul machines sat behind them.
Fitting. A’Yark would make the inhabitants bleed for using the vaporators. Slowly, and so the suns would see. What the settlers had stolen would return to the sand, a drop at a time.
“Ru rah ru rah!” A’Yark called, straining to remember the old words. “We is here in peace.”
No answer. Of course, there would be none—but someone was surely inside and had heard the words. The warrior was proud of remembering them. A human sister had joined A’Yark’s family years ago; the Tuskens often replenished their numbers by kidnapping. The band needed reinforcements now, but would not take anyone here. The settlers’ presence so near the wastes was too great an offense. They would die, and others would see, and the Jundland would be left alone.
The other warriors filed from the house and surrounded the service hut. The Tuskens numbered eight; none could challenge them. Cloth-wrapped hands curled around the shaft of an ancient gaderffii, A’Yark inserted the traang—the curved end of the weapon—into the door handle.
The metal door creaked open. Inside, a quivering trio of humans huddled amid spare parts for the thirst machines. A black-haired woman clutched a swaddled infant, while a brown-haired male held them both. He also held a blaster pistol.
It was the owner of the busted rifle—and A’Yark could tell he was missing the weapon now. Swallowing his fear, the young man looked right into A’Yark’s good eye. “You—go! We’re not afraid.”
“Settlers lie,” A’Yark said, the strange words startling the humans almost as much as they startled the other Tuskens. “Settler lies.”
Eight gaderffii lifted to the sky, their spear-points glinting in the morning light. A’Yark knew some would land true. And the old skybrother above would see again what real bravery was—
The sound echoed over the horizon. As one, the war party looked north. The sound came again, louder this time. Its meaning was unmistakable.
The youngest Tusken in the party said it first: krayt dragon!
The warrior-child spun—and stumbled over his own booted feet, landing mouthpiece-first in the sand. The others looked to A’Yark, who turned back toward the hut. The war leader had seen enough human faces to read expressions—but even to a seasoned marauder, the visages were startling.
The farmer and his wife didn’t just appear relieved. They looked defiant.
In the presence of a krayt? The greatest predator Tatooine knew, after the Tuskens? Yes, A’Yark saw. And that wasn’t all. The young mother was clutching something, beside the baby, in her free hand.
A’Yark barked a command to the warriors, but it was too late. With the horrific sound in the air, none would stand. The two looters from earlier nearly trampled the fallen youth as they darted away, trying to remember where they’d set their stolen goods. The others clutched their gaderffii to their chests and fled behind the main hut.
Wrong. Wrong! This wasn’t what A’Yark had taught them. Not at all! But they scattered before they even knew where the dragon was, leaving their leader alone with the settlers. The young farmer kept his blaster pointed at A’Yark, but did not fire. Perhaps he’d calculated the risk, deciding the unfired weapon was more of a deterrent than a shot by a shaky hand.
It didn’t matter. If the settlers had hoped for a distraction, they had gotten one. A’Yark snorted and stepped backward, tan robes swirling.
The warriors were running this way and that. A’Yark yelled, but no one could be heard over the din. There was something unnatural about the sound. But what? No one would pretend to be a krayt dragon! If any could, it would never sound so—
No mistaking that, A’Yark thought. The moan of the dragon had resolved itself into a head-splitting shrill, far beyond the capacity of any lungs. It was coming loudest from a new source, immediately apparent: a horn attached to one of the silver spires in the middle of the farm. And there were similar sounds, emanating from over the hills to the north and east.
A’Yark stood in the middle of the yard, gaderffii raised aloft. “Prodorra! Prodorra! Prodorra!”
The young looters appeared again, running over a crest back toward the farm. A’Yark exhaled through rotten teeth. At least someone had heard, over the racket. Now, at least, maybe they could—
Blasterfire! An orange blaze enveloped one of the runners from behind. The other turned in panic, only to be incinerated as well. A’Yark crouched instinctively, seeking cover behind the accursed vaporator.
“Wa-hooo!” A metallic wave, copper and green, swept over the dune. A’Yark recognized it right away. It was the landspeeder that had haunted them before at the Tall Rock. And now, as then, several settler youths clustered in its open interior, hooting and firing wildly.
A’Yark darted behind a second vaporator, suddenly more confident. There was no dragon, only settlers. The Tuskens could be rallied against them, if they stood true.
But they weren’t standing. One fled toward the nothingness of the east, and A’Yark could see two more landspeeders racing after him. And the clumsy young warrior—who had barely survived the rites of adulthood days before—hid behind the hut, clutching at the sands in cowardice. Only the suns knew where the others had gone.
The first speeder circled the settlement, its riders showering fire on nothing in particular. And now another hovercraft arrived. Fancier, with sloping curves, the silver vehicle carried two humans in an open compartment protected by a windshield. A grim, hairy-faced human steered the vessel as his older passenger stood brazenly up in his seat.
A’Yark had seen the passenger before, at a greater distance. Clean-shaven, older than most Tuskens ever got—and always wearing the same senseless expression.
The Smiling One.
“More to the south, folks!” the standing human said, macrobinoculars in hand. “Keep after ’em!”
A’Yark didn’t need to know all of the words. The meaning was clear. The missing warriors weren’t nearby, ready to strike. The band, routed, had taken flight.
Seeing the tall human’s landspeeder, the cowering young Tusken from earlier squealed and stood. Leaving his gaderffii on the ground, he bolted.
“Urrak!” A’Yark yelled. Wait!
Too late. Another landspeeder banked—and the hollering riders aboard chopped the fleeing Sand Person down with blast after blast. Not six days a warrior, and dead in seconds.
This was too much. A’Yark rose, weapon in hand, and dashed behind the hut. Away from where the laughing settlers, aware only of their killing, could see. Ragged fabric flew as the warrior tumbled over a dune into a dusty ravine. Another dune followed, and another.
At last, A’Yark fell to the ground, gasping. Three had been lost—maybe more. And the Sand People couldn’t afford to lose anyone.
Worse, they’d lost to settlers using a low trick no Tusken four years earlier would’ve fallen for. The settlers would know now: the mighty Tuskens were not what they once were.
Struggling to stand, A’Yark looked down at the ground. The elder shadow lengthened. Like the older brother sun, the band had struck—and failed.
It was time for the Tuskens to hide. Again.
Orrin Gault towered over the farm, a lofty witness as some Tuskens ran for their lives—and others ran to their deaths. Clinging to the side of the vaporator tower, he watched the last landspeeder disappear over the horizon.
“Okay, Call Control, that’s got it,” he said into his comlink. “Shut it down.”
He released the comlink button and listened. His ears still rang from the alarm atop the tower, which he had just deactivated by hand. Peering out from beneath the canvas brim of his range hat, he scanned the landscape. One by one, the sirens kilometers away went quiet—and silence returned to the desert.
He looked at the comlink and cracked a grin. Orrin, son—that’s some pull you’ve got there. It was nice to reach a point in life where people did what you said. And on Tatooine, where the people were born cussed and nobody took orders from anyone else, it meant even more.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Where DID Obiwan live after he entrusted Luke to Owen and Beru Lars? Surely he didn't sit on a desert outcropping in the glare of the twin suns watching. John Jackson Miller presents us with a community of outcasts, describing their everyday life, revealing not only the unavoidable small town politics, but the foibles and failings of the movers and shakers. If that weren't enough, he introduces flesh-and-blood Tuskens never described before. There are enough twists and turns to satisfy anyone who has read other novels about the Star Wars universe, both pre- and post-Battle of Yavin. Well worth the wait.
I always loved Westerns when I was growing up. One of my favorite authors was Louis L’amour. Then when I was 10, Star Wars came along. The Tatooine setting was ripe for emulating that western tale setting and putting it in the Star Wars Universe. You have Ben Kenobi as the Sergio Leone Man with No Name. You have the stage coach depot/general store setting of the Calwell’s. You have the Cattle/Oil Baron character of Orrin Gault, then you have the threat of the Indians, or in this case, Tusken Raiders. Mr. Jackson blends these two settings together into a tale that draws you in. While some may scoff at a Star Wars western, I think it works very well. I’d love to see more stories set in the Tatooine frontier such as this. The characters fit well in the Star Wars universe. We get to see more in depth what Obi-Wan did all those years in seclusion. We also get more of a look into the Tusken Raider culture and see some of their beliefs and superstitions. This was a fun story to read and I’d highly recommend it to western or Star Wars fans. I’d say it’s suitable for pre-teen/older teens and adults due to some darker passages.
I have read all the books done on Kenobi and feel this is the first book which makes him a human character. All others you could see how his own problems added to Ankin's issues. But this book not only gives him a heart but shows a start for him to understand what went wrong. However it was the whole order which caused the downfall. Also it gives you more insite to the tuskan's which I would like to understand more of. Great job and great read.
This was one of the best Star Wars novels ever. I had heard really good things about it, but I went in kind of hesitant. I don't like Westerns. But the farther I got in the book the more I knew that the good reviews I had heard were spot on. The characters, the events, and the little nods to the rest of the Star Wars EU were all extremely well done. The inclusion of the Tusken Raiders was really a good aspect of the story. Seeing Obi-Wan's shattered spirit in the wake of having to kill his best friend and watching the galaxy he has protected fall under the control of evil was the best part of the book. I would recommend this to anyone who has seen and loved the movies. There is no need to have ever read any other book. If you love Star Wars you will love this book.
Greetings Star Wars fans, I have read stories about his time on Tatooine, but never have I read one with so much detail about his first trail under the twin suns. I also enjoyed reading the parts where he tries to talk with his old master. Fans of Obi Won will love this story and those who don't know him will surely find him their favorite. Read on.
I liked this story. It had a familiar setting in the Star Wars universe, but almost all of the characters were new. This is a story about Obi Wan Kenobi's first weeks of his hermitage on Tatooine. It is a good missing chapter between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the original Star Wars film. The only thing I did not appreciate about the book was that there was only one setting. Constantly changing environments is one of the things I have always liked about the Star Wars stories. However, it was still a well told story.
About time Ben got his own book. Great read for any Star Wars fan.
This is a must read for any fan of Star Wars! You follow Obi Wan on his quest to protect the infant son of his former apprentice and friend, Anakin Skywalker, on the rough planet of Tatooine. You go through his personal turmoil of wanting to remain inconspicuous while attempting to protect young Luke from any dangers that may arouse, and from the inner turmoil of not being able to allow others to see him for who he really is, the wise and great Jedi Master, Obi Wan Kenobi. He tries unsuccessfully to attempt to do both, while he cannot ignore the slight injustices being done to some of Tatooine's current residence. Great book, and great insight into Obi Wan/Ben's character. Loved It!!!
Looking at the history of Star wars I am excited to look closely at Kenobi. What happened to Kenobi after returning to Tattooine with the infant Luke, he turns over the child, but how does a heroic figure like Kenobi remain hidden in a wild desert country. He must learn to let others solve their problems and how they relate to the difficulties of life on the edge of the galaxy. This book is reported to be a western version of the Star Wars legacy, but I have found it to be a page turner.
It was written well. Only down side, it is kinda boring because of how predictable it was.
The first star wars novel i ever bought. I was not disappointed. The star wars legends series is amazing maybe movie deserving
"If you had the chance to save the galicyand every one was depending on you would you do it?If you had a chance to become a jedi would you hessitate?Well I would'nt.Hi,Im clone Camander Skii and Im here to tell you my story...........So the first thing I remeber was waking up on dry hard ground,vary hard ground.so I satt up and looked around I was layi'n on,well had ground in a desert and by the looks of it in the middle of the night.Well I got up and well did what any person would do I wanderd around.After a seamingly long time I came apoun a little town.For the first time I looked down at my self I was waeri'n black pants and shirt and white shoes."well" I sead to my self "at least Im whareing somthing"I walked in to the small town ware I would I would spend the next 7 years living.if you can call it living it was mainly steling ontill one day I accadently got a job. For a long time i worked as a book sorter and volirer for random stuff and the fumnny part is that after 7 years I barely looked a day older!But when i reach the 7 years and days 11 uh,thats whwn my world litterly fell apart. Helooo this is ZaneMasterOfIce739 the next part will be on Jay ninja of lightning(for you guys that are worred that Jay ninja of lightning is werd or bad trust me it is not.its ashort book ritten of of a TV show calld lego ninjago so dont be worred!)thank you for reading this!!!! Oh yah skii is perounced sky OK?ok! ZaneMasterOfIce739 over and out(for now......)****************:D
I really enjoyed the the development of the characters, and ending was so appropriate.
You'll feel like a citizen of Tatooine (spoiler-free review) When Kenobi was announced, I was uninterested. A book about a depressed man stranded in a desert didn’t appeal to my particular taste. I was sure that it would be a book for some people, such as big Obi-Wan fans, but that it was a Star Wars book I could pass on. I felt that if I didn’t read it, I couldn’t be missing much–after all, I knew that Ben would still be right there on Tatooine in A New Hope. So for years, I said, “Cool cover, but I’ll skip this one.” But I was very wrong. I couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised with how much fun this was to read. The recipe: Turn a great author like John Jackson Miller loose with a complex Legacy character like Ben Kenobi on a planet rich with Star Wars lore. Allow the author to further flesh out that setting and character with original characters and plot. The result: A character-driven, emotionally-charged adventure where the reader can actually feel the sand of Tatooine, hear the Krayt dragon call, and see the setting twin suns upon the man we’ve known and loved for decades. (Ok, I listened to the audiobook so I could literally hear the sounds and the music, but I think the point still stands about the text.) One of the things that this particular novel has going for it is its accessibility. Even if a reader has little to no knowledge of Star Wars beyond having seen the films, Kenobi is one that is both readable and enjoyable. This book will make you love reading Star Wars books, and remind the long-time reader why we read in the first place. All that being said, there are many more Star Wars books that rank higher on my personal list. Some fans might want more lightsabers, space battles, Sith Lords, or Skywalkers and Solos. But I can’t say that all Skywalker-Solo-Sith-spaceship books are as easy to hand off to a casual fan as is Kenobi. I hope for more books like this: great author, familiar setting, one film character supported by strong original characters, and a surprising plot. I’m glad that I was originally wrong about this one–Kenobi is not a book to pass on.
Personally I love this book. I am about 50% of the way through and can't wait to leave work so I can read more. It starts out a little bit slow, but even so it kept my interest, and only got better from there. The book is written from the perspective of the various residents of Tatooine, specifically the owner of the local "store", the most prominent and well known moisture farmer, and the war chief of the tusken raiders. Yes, I said war chief of the Tusken Raiders. I think this different perspective makes this book unique and extremely interesting as you watch the legend of "Crazy Ben" unfold from the perspective of those around him.
If we had only EU novels like this, maybe 1 or 2 a year, the expanded universe could be taken a lot more seriously. This novel is small in scope and in page count, but helps us to understand the role Obi-Wan has to play in his exile. Many fans will want to see one last big adventure for Obi-Wan, but this cannot happen (even though it does in young readers books), and the author understands this. There is a lot of restraint shown by the author, no major reveals are made (again because they were made in lessor works), yet the book pulls you in and makes you care not only about Obi-Wan but about the supporting characters as well. While Obi-Wan comes to terms with his final mission, which becomes a way of paying penance for his failures in training his former apprentice, he becomes unwillingly entangled in local events. This story creates a believable and interesting representation of what the character of Obi-Wan should be in this period between trilogies. What we see of Obi-Wan is mostly through the eyes of others, and it becomes clear how Obi-Wan Kenobi of the prequel trilogy becomes crazy old Ben from Episode IV. This is a must read for any Star Wars fan, especially those who haven't read any of the novels.
I love this book!!! It was great to see what happened when Obi-Wan was looking after Luke. It made me love Obi-Wan even more. The whole book is really good and you feel the heartacheObi-Wan is going through. Highly recommend for any Star Wars fan and anyone else!
Action packed reading.
love this book. Obi wan is one of the strongest characters next to luke.
Kenobi focuses on a 'smaller' story within the galaxy far, far away, despite the fact the primary antagonist is a main film character. There's no over-arcing galactic conflict here, the universe won't fall into chaos if they fail in their mission. Instead what fans get is a more personal journey that delves deeper into the character we all know and love. Kenobi was interesting mostly because it showed how Obi-Wan dealt with the guilt he felt over his failure to curb his apprentice's (Anakin) darkest thoughts. It's a very personal journey, and despite being presented for the most part from another person's perspective, it's easy to see Kenobi's anguish and heartache. Even though he has the chance of being genuinely happy and able to cast aside his former life, he refuses to do so. Rather, he looks at his exile as a form of repentance. He's continually punishing himself, never once letting himself be as happy as is possible. The conflict in the book stems from his innate heroic nature. His inability to let injustice stand causes a great deal of trouble amongst some of the corrupt water dealers. On top of that a band of Tusken Raiders are on the move seeking to reclaim their lost glory, and there's a lot of innocent people in the way that Kenobi feels compelled to protect. While he still acts like a hero and performs amazing feats of heroism for the cause he still fights for, Kenobi's inner turmoil paints him in a different light and one that makes him more relatable. I found myself rooting for him in ways I hadn't before, going beyond his archetype. For this reason, I thoroughly enjoyed Kenobi a great deal more than I expected. While I love the big epics some of the book series provide, the smaller story resonated with me in a way the others don't normally. When people think of Star Wars, they think of broad galaxy spanning stories that have great effects the universe over. Really, though, Star Wars is all about the characters and the journey they undertake to get where they are, and embrace their desitny (even if they don't want it). John Jackson Miller is the stronger writer and it's evident in this book. Even if it's not considered Canon, it's a story that's well worth picking up and investing yourself into.