The Star Wars novel Lords of the Sith by author Paul S. Kemp is one of the better novels from the new Star Wars universe that I’ve read in a while.
In the novel, a group of fighters led by Cham Syndulla, who was introduced in several episodes of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, are undermining the Imperial presence in the sector.
The Emperor decides he and Vader will go to Ryloth to quell this problem, and when Cham finds out from his Imperial spy, it sets in motion a plan by the freedom fighters to kill the leader of the Empire.
While the novel is about what happens when Cham and his team of Twi’leks try to defeat Emperor Palpatine and his right hand Vader, the real story is in the interaction between Palpatine and Vader. Remember, this is shortly after Anakin becomes Vader, so he is still struggling with committing to the dark side.
In telling this part of the story, Kemp writes some beautiful scenes inside the head of Vader where we see the anger and hate that fuels him. One particularly well-written scene puts us inside Vader’s mind as he puts on the uniform that transforms him into the imposing looking Darth Vader.
We learn in an off-hand manor that Cham is also the father of Hera Syndulla from the Star Wars: Rebels animated series, and we are introduced to Cham’s right hand, Isval. She is made to be a more interesting character, as we learn she was a former Twi’lek slave who is secretly helping to free other slaves.
The use of Twi’leks as slaves has been glossed over in the Star Wars universe, most notably the scene in Return of the Jedi in Jabba’s palace. In this book, we get a deeper look at the situation through the eyes of a former slave.
Also of note is the auxilliary Imperial character of Moff Mors, who is the first gay character in the official Star Wars Universe canon.
There are several major fight scenes, all beautifully descriptive in how they play out on the page. The most impressive is a scene with the Emperor and Vader battling hordes of a bug-like creature native to Ryloth, using both the Force and teamwork as they fight side by side.
Lords of the Sith is a welcome addition to the Star Wars canon, and is a fascinating look at the early time period of Darth Vader’s evolution.
Paul S. Kemp is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Star Wars: Crosscurrent, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived, and Star Wars: Riptide, as well as numerous short stories and fantasy novels.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from NetGalley for review purposes. As always, all opinions are mine. This review also uses affiliate links which help pay for the cost of running this site at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your purchases!
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