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a great second instalment
on 20 June 2016
This is the second novel in a trilogy, and it immediately follows on from the events of the first instalment "Path of Destruction". Here, author Drew Karpyshyn continues the story of Darth Bane - an immensely powerful Dark Lord of the Sith - who has accessed ancient and forbidden knowledge. With this knowledge, Bane has ended the war that had engulfed the Republic - by destroying his former brotherhood and killing all other Sith lords. This was done so that Bane could instigate the Rule of Two - that the Sith should only ever comprise of two: a master and an apprentice. Together, their task is to use secrecy, subterfuge and other clandestine methods so as to infiltrate the Republic and - over time - conquer it. With this in mind, Darth Bane seeks to train an apprentice ...
Karpyshyn offers an intriguing and highly engaging story - one that draws on the Star Wars mythos, but also contributes to it. This is a very fascinating adventure - focussing on the villain-as-protagonist - set some 1,000 years before the events of "A New Hope". And what this novels does is present a story about what that galaxy - far, far away - is like. We get to read about the Jedi Order at the peak of its power and influence. And we discover the first tentative steps taken by the Sith that eventually culminate in Palpatine's victory and the rise of the Empire. If this backstory interests you, I thoroughly recommend this book.
In this novel, Darth Bane takes an apprentice - a young woman called Zannah - and trains her in the dark side of the Force. Meanwhile, he seeks to advance his own strengths and abilities - by locating the remaining hidden remnants of ancient Sith knowledge. To do this, he journeys around the galaxy, in search of long abandoned temples. It is during this quest that he falls victim to trap - and is attacked by orbalisks, parasitic creatures that attach themselves to his body, growing and multiplying, feeding of his energy. Unable to remove these creatures, Bane learns to control their growth - so as to prevent them covering him completely. And, strangely, they now serve as invulnerable body armour - even able to withstand a light-sabre.
As the years pass, Zannah grows into a beautiful woman - and masters the ways of Sith sorcery. As their plans are set in motion, a few Jedi start to suspect that the Sith have returned. And so, revealing themselves for the first time, Bane and Zannah engage the Jedi ... resulting in an intense confrontation. And the outcome of the battle leads directly into the concluding instalment of the trilogy: "Dynasty of Evil".
"Rule of Two" is an excellent Star Wars novel - but I do suggest reading this as part of the trilogy.