“Our time has come. For three hundred years we prepared; we grew stronger while you rested in your cradle of power. . . . Now your Republic shall fall.”
A Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order’s Dark Lords, Darth Malgus brought down the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in a brutal assault that shocked the galaxy. But if war crowned him the darkest of Sith heroes, peace will transform him into something far more heinous—something Malgus would never want to be but cannot stop becoming, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching. Her name is Aryn Leneer—and the lone Jedi Knight that Malgus cut down in the fierce battle for the Jedi Temple was her Master. Now she’s going to find out what happened to him, even if it means breaking every rule in the book.
About the Author
Paul S. Kemp is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Star Wars: Crosscurrent and Star Wars: Riptide, as well as nine Forgotten Realms fantasy novels and many short stories. When he’s not writing, he practices corporate law in Michigan, which has inspired him to write some really believable villains. He digs cigars, single malt scotch, and ales, and tries to hum the theme song to Shaft at least once per day. Paul S. Kemp lives and works in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, with his wife, twin sons, and a couple of cats.
Read an Excerpt
FATMAN SHIVERED, her metal groaning, as Zeerid pushed her through Ord Mantell's atmosphere. Friction turned the air to fire, and Zeerid watched the orange glow of the flames through the transparisteel of the freighter's cockpit.
He was gripping the stick too tightly, he realized, and relaxed.
He hated atmosphere entries, always had, the long forty-count when heat, speed, and ionized particles caused a temporary sensor blackout. He never knew what kind of sky he'd encounter when he came out of the dark. Back when he'd carted Havoc Squadron commandos in a Republic gully jumper, he and his fellow pilots had likened the blackout to diving blind off a seaside cliff.
You always hope to hit deep water, they'd say. But sooner or later the tide goes out and you go hard into rock.
Or hard into a blistering crossfire. Didn't matter, really. The effect would be the same.
"Coming out of the dark," he said as the flame diminished and the sky opened below.
No one acknowledged the words. He flew Fatman alone, worked alone. The only things he carted anymore were weapons for The Exchange. He had his reasons, but he tried hard not to think too hard about what he was doing.
He leveled the ship off, straightened, and ran a quick sweep of the surrounding sky. The sensors picked up nothing.
"Deep water and it feels fine," he said, smiling.
On most planets, the moment he cleared the atmosphere he'd have been busy dodging interdiction by the planetary government. But not on Ord Mantell. The planet was a hive of crime syndicates, mercenaries, bounty hunters, smugglers, weapons dealers, and spicerunners.
And those were just the people who ran the place.
Factional wars and assassinations occupied their attention, not governance, and certainly not law enforcement. The upper and lower latitudes of the planet in particular were sparsely settled and almost never patrolled, a literal no-being's-land. Zeerid would have been surprised if the government had survsats running orbits over the area.
And all that suited him fine.
Fatman broke through a thick pink blanket of clouds, and the brown, blue, and white of Ord Mantell's northern hemisphere filled out Zeerid's field of vision. Snow and ice peppered the canopy, frozen shrapnel, beating a steady rhythm on Fatman's hull. The setting sun suffused a large swath of the world with orange and red. The northern sea roiled below him, choppy and dark, the irregular white circles of breaking surf denoting the thousands of uncharted islands that poked through the water's surface. To the west, far in the distance, he could make out the hazy edge of a continent and the thin spine of snowcapped, cloud-topped mountains that ran along its north-south axis.
Motion drew his eye. A flock of leatherwings, too small to cause a sensor blip, flew two hundred meters to starboard and well below him, the tents of their huge, membranous wings flapping slowly in the freezing wind, the arc of the flock like a parenthesis. They were heading south for warmer air and paid him no heed as he flew over and past them, their dull, black eyes blinking against the snow and ice.
He pulled back on the ion engines and slowed still further. A yawn forced itself past his teeth. He sat up straight and tried to blink away the fatigue, but it was as stubborn as an angry bantha. He'd given the ship to the autopilot and dozed during the hyperspace run from Vulta, but that was all the rack he'd had in the last two standard days. It was catching up to him.
He scratched at the stubble of his beard, rubbed the back of his neck, and plugged the drop coordinates into the navicomp. The comp linked with one of Ord Mantell's unsecured geosyncsats and fed back the location and course to Fatman. Zeerid's HUD displayed it on the cockpit canopy. He eyed the location and put his finger on the destination.
"Some island no one has ever heard of, up here where no one ever goes. Sounds about right."
Zeerid turned the ship over to the autopilot, and it banked him toward the island.
His mind wandered as Fatman cut through the sky. The steady patter of ice and snow on the canopy sang him a lullaby. His thoughts drifted back through the clouds to the past, to the days before the accident, before he'd left the marines. Back then, he'd worn the uniform proudly and had still been able to look himself in the mirror--
He caught himself, caught the burgeoning self-pity, and stopped the thoughts cold. He knew where it would lead.
"Stow that, soldier," he said to himself.
He was what he was, and things were what they were.
"Focus on the work, Z-man."
He checked his location against the coordinates in the navicomp. Almost there.
"Gear up and get frosty," he said, echoing the words he used to say to his commandos. "Ninety seconds to the LZ."
He continued his ritual, checking the charge on his blasters, tightening the straps on his composite armor vest, getting his mind right.
Ahead, he saw the island where he would make the drop: ten square klicks of volcanic rock fringed with a bad haircut of waist-high scrub whipping in the wind. The place would probably be underwater and gone next year.
He angled lower, flew a wide circle, unable to see much detail due to the snow. He ran a scanner sweep, as always, and the chirp of his instrumentation surprised him. A ship was already on the island. He checked his wrist chrono and saw that he was a full twenty standard minutes early. He'd made this run three times and Arigo--he was sure the man's real name was not Arigo--had never before arrived early.
He descended to a few hundred meters to get a better look.
Arigo's freighter, the Doghouse, shaped not unlike the body of a legless beetle, sat in a clearing on the east side of the island. Its landing ramp was down and stuck out of its belly like a tongue. Halogens glared into the fading twilight and reflected off the falling snow, turning the flakes into glittering jewels. He saw three men lingering around the ramp, though he was too far away to notice any details other than their white winter parkas.
They spotted Fatman, and one waved a gloved hand.
Zeerid licked his lips and frowned.
Something felt off.
Flares went up from the freighter and burst in the air--green, red, red, green.
That was the correct sequence.
He circled one more time, staring down through the swirl of snow, but saw nothing to cause alarm, no other ships on the island or in the surrounding sea. He pushed aside his concern and chalked his feelings up to the usual tension caused by dealing with miscreants and criminals.
In any event, he could not afford to frak up a drop of several hundred million credits of hardware because he felt skittish. The ultimate buyer--whoever that was--would be unhappy, and The Exchange would take the lost profits from Zeerid in blood and broken bones, then tack it on to the debt he already owed them. He'd lost track of exactly how much that was, but knew it was at least two million credits on the note for Fatman plus almost half that again on advances for Arra's medical treatment, though he'd kept Arra's existence a secret and his handler thought the latter were for gambling losses.
"LZ is secure." He hoped saying it would make it so. "Going in."
The hum of the reverse thrusters and a swirl of blown snow presaged the thump of Fatman's touching down on the rock. He landed less than fifty meters from Arigo's ship.
For a moment he sat in the cockpit, perfectly still, staring at the falling snow, knowing there'd be another drop after this one, then another, then another, and he'd still owe The Exchange more than he'd ever be able to pay. He was on a treadmill with no idea how to get off.
Didn't matter, though. The point was to earn for Arra, maybe get her a hoverchair instead of that wheeled antique. Better yet, prostheses.
He blew out a breath, stood, and tried to find his calm as he threw on a winter parka and fingerless gloves. In the cargo hold, he had to pick his way though the maze of shipping containers. He avoided looking directly at the thick black lettering on their sides, though he knew it by heart, had seen such crates many times in his military career.
DANGER--MUNITIONS. FOR MILITARY USE ONLY. KEEP AWAY FROM INTENSE HEAT OR OTHER ENERGY SOURCES.
In the crates were upward of three hundred million credits' worth of crew-served laser cannons, MPAPPs, grenades, and enough ammunition to keep even the craziest fire team grinning and sinning for months.
Near the bay's landing ramp, he saw that three of the four securing straps had come loose from one of the crates of grenades. He was lucky the crate hadn't bounced around in transit. Maybe the straps had snapped when he set down on the island. He chose to believe that rather than admit to his own sloppiness.
He did not bother reattaching the straps. Arigo's men would have to undo them to unload anyway.
He loosened his blasters in their holsters and pushed the button to open the bay and lower the ramp. The door descended and snow and cold blew in, the tang of ocean salt. He stepped out into the wind. The light of the setting sun made him squint. He'd been in only artificial light for upward of twelve hours. His boots crunched on the snow-dusted black rock. His exhalations steamed away in the wind.
Two of the men from Arrigo's freighter detached themselves from their ship and met him halfway. Both were human and bearded. One had a patched eye and a scar like a lightning stroke down one cheek. Both wore blasters on their hips. Like Zeerid, both had the butt straps undone.
Recognizing neither of them rekindled Zeerid's earlier concerns. He had a mind for faces, and both of the men were strangers.
The drop was starting to taste sour.
"Where's Arigo?" Zeerid asked.
"Doin' what Arigo does," Scar said, and gestured vaguely. "Sent us instead. No worries, though, right?"
No Scar shifted on his feet, antsy, twitchy.
Zeerid nodded, kept his face expressionless as his heart rate amped up and adrenaline started making him warm. Everything smelled wrong, and he'd learned over the years to trust his sense of smell.
"You Zeerid?" Scar asked.
No one called him Zeerid except his sister-in-law.
And Aryn, once. But Aryn had been long ago.
"Z-man," echoed No Scar, shifting on his feet and half giggling.
"Sound funny to you?" Zeerid asked him.
Before No Scar could answer, Scar asked, "Where's the cargo?"
Zeerid looked past the two men before him to the third, who lingered near the landing ramp of Arigo's ship. The man's body language--too focused on the verbal exchange, too coiled--reinforced Zeerid's worry. He reminded Zeerid of the way rooks looked when facing Imperials for the first time, all attitude and hair trigger.
Suspicion stacked up into certainty. The drop didn't just smell bad, it was bad.
Arigo was dead, and the crew before him worked for some other faction on Ord Mantell, or worked for some organization sideways to The Exchange. Whatever. Didn't matter to Zeerid. He never bothered to follow who was fighting who, so he just trusted no one.
But what did matter to him was that the three men standing before him probably had tortured information from Arigo and would kill Zeerid as soon as they confirmed the presence of the cargo.
And there could be still more men hidden aboard the freighter.
It seemed he'd descended out of atmospheric blackout and into a crossfire after all.
What else was new?
"Why you call that ship Fatman?" No Scar asked. Arigo must have told them the name of Zeerid's ship because Fatman bore no identifying markings. Zeerid used fake ship registries on almost every planet on which he docked.
" 'Cause it takes a lot to fill her belly."
"Ship's a she, though. Right? Why not Fatwoman?"
No Scar frowned. "Huh? To who?"
Zeerid did not bother to answer. All he'd wanted to do was drop off the munitions, retire some of his debt to The Exchange, and get back to his daughter before he had to get back out in the black and get dirty again.
"Something wrong?" Scar asked, his tone wary. "You look upset."
"No," Zeerid said, and forced a half smile. "Everything's the same as always."
The men plastered on uncertain grins, unclear on Zeerid's meaning.
"Right," Scar said. "Same as always."
Knowing how things would go, Zeerid felt the calm he usually did when danger impended. He flashed for a moment on Arra's face, on what she'd do if he died on Ord Mantell, on some no-name island. He pushed the thoughts away. No distractions.
"Cargo is in the main bay. Send your man around. The ship's open."
The expressions on the faces of both men hardened, the change nearly imperceptible but clear to Zeerid, a transformation that betrayed their intention to murder. Scar ordered No Scar to go check the cargo.
"He'll need a lifter," Zeerid said, readying himself, focusing on speed and precision. "That stuff ain't a few kilos."
No Scar stopped within reach of Zeerid, looking back at Scar for guidance, his expression uncertain.
"Nah," said Scar, his hand hovering near his holster, the motion too casual to be casual. "I just want him to make sure it's all there. Then I'll let my people know to release payment."
He held up his arm as if to show Zeerid a wrist comlink, but the parka covered it.
"It's all there," Zeerid said.
"Go on," said Scar to No Scar. "Check it."
"Oh," Zeerid said, and snapped his fingers. "There is one other thing . . ."
No Scar sighed, stopped, faced him, eyebrows raised in a question, breath steaming out of his nostrils. "What's that?"
Zeerid made a knife of his left hand and drove his fingertips into No Scar's throat. While No Scar crumpled to the snow, gagging, Zeerid jerked one of his blasters free of its hip holster and put a hole through Scar's chest before the man could do anything more than take a surprised step backward and put his hand on the grip of his own weapon. Scar staggered back two more steps, his mouth working but making no sound, his right arm held up, palm out, as if he could stop the shot that had already killed him.
As Scar toppled to the ground, Zeerid took a wild shot at the third man near the Doghouse's landing ramp but missed high. The third man made himself small beside the Doghouse, drew his blaster pistol, and shouted into a wrist comlink. Zeerid saw movement within the cargo bay of Arigo's ship--more men with ill intent.
No way to know how many.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
this book is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
good action and for those who have watched the previews for the old republic video game this book has the scene where the sith invade the jedi temple and continues the story from then on
Great read. Engaging characters. Too short.
amazing from begining to the very end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sith Warrior Darth Malgus is frustrated with the political machinations of Darth Angral and Darth Baras. Whereas he believes in getting to the point as he did when he crashed the Jedi Temple on Coruscant with an explosion heard around the galaxy; his so-called allies prefer working behind the scenes maneuvers. Malgus has other issues with his peers due to his relationship with his Twi'lek slave Eleena. The Sith only accept purity of the blood, which means only with Sith. Jedi Aryn Leneer heads to Coruscant on a mission of vengeance against those in the Republic who destroyed the Temple and killed her Master. Also heading to the capital city is former Havok Squad Trooper turned Smuggler Zeerid Korr to provide his beloved daughter a safer life. As Aryn targets Malgus, Korr eludes the Hutt Cartel, but soon they will meet up in an encounter to rival the destruction of the Temple. As the three prime principals collide in an explosive way, fans of the extended saga will realize how different Deceived is from Sean Williams' Fatal Alliance; the previous Old Republic thriller is vast in distance and numerous planets while this entry is limited to three orbs. The same goes for characterizations as the focus in Deceived is on the lead trio as opposed to a De Mille cast. Thus fans who relish action over characterizations and culture will prefer Fatal Alliance; while those who prefer key cast and culture to supersede the action will choose Deceived. Still both are fun to read as Paul S. Kemp concentrates on events that will not make the history books in the Skywalker future, but the audience will enjoy the clash when his fully developed threesome converge. Harriet Klausner
Great Star Wars book. Action packed and doesn't get bogged down in a lot of myth and prophecy. A little dissapointingly short, but sets up the mind of Malgus very well.
SITH RULE ALL AND ARE FREACKING AWESOME!!!!!!!
While Paul Kemp does a good job of developing the three main characters in a way that you end up caring for them, overall this book is sort of a disappointment. The storyline is rather uneventful and the universe is in much the same place as it was after the opening sequence. The actions and reasoning behind Lord Malgus' actions through the tale seem disjointed and is probably the weakest character overall. The smuggler and Jedi Knight are much better written overall and you find yourself rooting to succeed in their missions.
We first met him in a Star Wars: The Old Republic game trailer ¿ the mysterious masked Sith that brought down the Jedi Temple during the sacking of Coruscant. Darth Malgus, dark lord of the Sith, was the one who led this brutal assault and cut down countless Jedi on their own sacred ground. Now he is one of the main characters in Deceived, the second book in the SWTOR series by Paul S. Kemp, which tells the story of the attack as well as the calamitous events which came afterward.On the surface, Deceived might just be another novel based on a video game, but after reading it, I admit the quality of the storytelling took me by surprise. Even as Star Wars novels go, I have to say it is better than most. Granted, it is still your standard Star Wars fare ¿ you have your archtypal tale about a Jedi and her comrade pitted against a Sith Warrior and the dark side and such. But still, it was refreshing to read a game book for once and get the sense that the author is actually more interested in telling a good story rather than trying to write a blatant MMO marketing piece that attempts to showcase every single player class and their abilities (which, incidentally, was my main complaint about the first SWTOR book).That is not to say Deceived is completely devoid of references to the upcoming MMO, just that I feel they are much less pronounced. In fact, in true BioWare fashion, what I think the book attempts to do is to set the stage for the type of light-side/dark-side interactions we can expect to see in TOR. Deceived does this by delving deeper into character motivations and ambitions, and treading the line of morality.Instead of hobbling the story, the addition of this interplay actually made things better. Subsequently, I felt the characters of Deceived were more fleshed out than I would have expected from a video game tie-in or Star Wars novel, because of the personal reasons and internal conflicts that drive them. The angry and hate-filled Darth Malgus, for example, may surprise you with his tenderness towards the woman he loves. Similarly, the Jedi protagonist Aryn Leneer has her own reasons for turning her back on the Order and going rogue. The reader will also find the smuggler Zeerid struggle to make some difficult decisions, in the name of keeping his family safe.As such, even though this book can be read as a standalone novel, if I have to relate it back to SWTOR, I want to say Deceived prepares us for the kind of moral dilemmas and questionable choices and we will no doubt face in-game. In the context of the novel, however, this also serves to provide in-depth characterizations for the heroes and villains, and helps readers connect to characters who are otherwise new to the Star Wars expanded universe and are thus relatively still unknown. It¿s a win-win situation, really.There were a few things that annoyed me about Deceived, and I feel I need to mention them. One of them pertains to Darth Malgus, who was the one I was most looking forward to reading about, but unfortunately he also turned out to be the weakest character for me. I felt that his evilness, anger, hate, and all that lust for destruction and melodrama was just a tad over-exaggerated, making him just another broody Sith Lord in the Star Wars line-up, overshadowing what depth he could have had. Aryn and Zeerid, on the other hand, were much more interesting to me.The book also changes points-of-view very frequently, bouncing around, sometimes only after just a few paragraphs at a time. Word of warning, it can get taxing if you are unused to that. Thankfully, there are blessedly few subplots in this novel, which made the constant shifts bearable. I liked how the storyline in Deceived has a clear focus, and Kemp follows through with it very well.I would recommend this book to fans of Star Wars, fans who are looking forward to the MMORPG, and even those who are just looking for a quick but fun video game-related read. If you enjoy scenes of lightsaber combat and sp
For me, Star Wars books are often like comfort food -- familiar, not overly surprising, but good, an enjoyable way to pass the time. So when I scheduled Paul Kemp for my interview chat, I was surprised to learn his Star Wars books didn't include those familiar characters I'd grown to love--the characters who made me fall in love with science fiction, made me want to tell stories. But Paul Kemp wrote a Star Wars book (three now in fact), and we're close in age, so I wanted to commiserate. He must have viewed the saga at the same age I did with similar awe. What was it like to now be a part of that universe as a storyteller? So I ordered up some reading copies and read.Imagine my surprise when I found myself engaged, even captivated by the characters. Kemp's ability to create immediate connections between characters and readers is admirable. He had me at "hello," you might say. And like a stalker, he never let me go, but in a good way. Even the antagonist, Darth Malgus is someone you can't help but feel sympathy for. He's relatable. He may be evil and dark and hateful, but he's human, just like the reader. And Kemp brings that out so well you almost root for him at times against the protagonists. That's great writing.Like most Star Wars tie-ins the prose is kept simple, a few challenging words here and there, but not many. After all, these books are intended to be accessible for fans of all ages. And that requires talent, too. When the competition are sometimes books with extra effort at complex prose, to have written a book written simply but well which engages adults as well as children is a real accomplishment. One to be proud of.I can't wait to chat with Paul and find out more about his writing journey, to soak up the lessons he has to teach us about writing, and to call him my friend. He tells me his assignment was to do a story with Darth Malgus, a character from the forthcoming online multi-player game "The Old Republic." He wrote a Malgus story with spades.The book revolves around three central characters, the dark Sith Malgus, a rogue Jedi Aryn, and a pilot Zeerid. Malgus wants to conquer the universe for the Sith and rid them forever of the Jedi menace. Aryn wants revenge for the death of her mentor/father-figure at Malgus' hands. Zeerid, an old friend of Aryn's, is just trying to pay off a debt and provide artificial legs for his young daughter. Each of them gets sucked in by circumstance to a web of deception--both internal and external to themselves--and struggles to accomplish their goal. All of them wind up taking paths far different than they'd imagined in doing so. And all of them learn lessons that forever change them in the process.Filled with action and moving at a steady clip, "Deceived" even includes a cute astromech droid character, who may remind us of ancestors to come. It has romance, betrayal, political intrigue, and rivalry. It's a well told tale that could be set in any universe but works exceedingly well in the confines of the familiar Star Wars one. Truly these are characters worth discovering and enjoying. I'd like to see more of each of them.I can't wait to read more from Kemp. Highly recommended.
In this tale from the old republic the Sith and the Jedi are coming to a truce. It is at this moment that the Sith launch a surprise attack on the Jedi Temple and Kill A master. This is a novel about looking for revenge and what it does to you. It is also a novel about a father doing what he must to protect his family. That being said, there is great promise to this novel, but the delivery is a little bit lack-luster. The actions of the Sith seem unmotivated and it feels as if the truce and deception are just devices to tell this story. The plot is predictable and the characters are transparent and flat. If ¿Deceived¿ wasn¿t a Star Wars novel I would have given it a lesser rating and may not have even finished it. It just goes to show that just because it has the Star Wars name on it doesn¿t mean it is worth reading.
I loved the characters and the attention to their character development.
Excellent series and this book kicks it off terrifically.
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Deceived was one of the better SW novels I have read. Darth Malgus is an excellent character – one of the most interesting Sith Lords written into Legends - and his relationship with Eleena is complex and brings some of the most memorable scenes from this novel. The end of the novel is a series of endings and new beginnings. I haven’t played the video game or seen the trailers for the game, but this novel makes we want to do so. The Sith carry this novel, as the Jedi – Aryn Lenner – and her ex-military partner - Zeerid Korr – are good, but not great characters. Recommended if you’d like to get into the head of a Sith Lord and learn what makes them tick.
Dramatic and Grounded (a spoiler-free review) Within the setting of the galaxy-spanning conflict engineered for BioWare’s massive online multiplayer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived is a well-told and personal struggle for survival and identity. It fleshes out the characters and events surrounding the shocking video game trailer of the same name, where the Sith Empire ransacks the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. It succeeds in keeping the story grounded through holding to a limited cast of characters, all of whom are unique. The story’s Jedi is far from what one might expect. The primary Sith pictured on the cover, Darth Malgus, stands apart from the hoard of scowling villains wielding red sabers who tend to occupy and strive to conquer the galaxy. And right in the midst of the clash between dark and light is a solder/smuggler with his own complexities. Deceived, at its best, is a study in the grey area in between right and wrong. The novel stands alone without much knowledge of the Old Republic’s particular setting. A reader uninterested in playing the video game can enjoy this one. There’s little doubt that this book would serve as a good primer and companion piece to the online gaming experience, but as a story it is good nevertheless. It’s good, but far from perfect. In particular, Kemp’s writing never stands out as particularly impressive. His use of language tells the story and gets the job done. Deceived was worth the money. It’s rare for a single novel to develop its core characters as quickly as this. It’s far from the top of the list of must-read Star Wars books, but it does deserve a place on at least a similar list of books worth the reading experience.
loved it well written
Great book! Great stories of intriguing characters