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[The Dark Times]
Events that occur between 19 and 2 years before the Battle of Yavin.

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Paperback Novel
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This novel is included in:

[The Dark Lord Trilogy]

The Dark Lord Trilogy

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Audio Book
Read by Jonathan Davis
Published as abridged audio CD
and digital download.

[Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader - audiobook]

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Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
James Luceno
Del Rey [US]
Arrow Books
Story published as:
Hardback Novel (2005)
Audio Book (2005, 2007)
Paperback Novel (2006, 2008)
e-Book (2011)

If you have read this book, please rate it:
2 reviews [Average review score: 3.5 / 5]

Throughout the galaxy, it was believed that Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, had died on Coruscant during the siege of the Jedi Temple. And, to some extent, that was true. Anakin was dead.
From the site of Anakin Skywalker’s last stand, on the molten surface of the planet Mustafar, where he sought to destroy his friend and former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, a fearsome spectre in black has risen. Once the most powerful Knight ever known to the Jedi Order, he is now a disciple of the dark side, a lord of the dreaded Sith, and the avenging right hand of the galaxy’s ruthless new Emperor. Seduced, deranged, and destroyed by the machinations of the Dark Lord Sidious, Anakin Skywalker is dead and Darth Vader lives.
Word of the events that created him, the Jedi Council’s failed mutiny against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the self-crowned Emperor’s retaliatory command to exterminate the Jedi Order, and Anakin’s massacre of his comrades and Masters in the Jedi Temple, has yet to reach all quarters. On the Outer Rim world of Murkhana, Jedi Masters Roan Shryne and Bol Chatak and Padawan Olee Starstone are leading a charge on a Separatist stronghold, unaware that the tide, red with Jedi blood, has turned suddenly against them.
When the three narrowly elude execution and become the desperate prey in a hunt across space, it’s neither clone soldiers, nor the newly deployed stormtroopers, nor even the wrath of the power-hungry Emperor himself they must fear most. The deadliest threat rests in the hideously swift and lethal crimson lightsaber of Darth Vader, behind whose brooding mask lies a shattered heart, a poisoned soul, and a cunning, twisted mind hell-bent on vengeance.
For the handful of scattered Jedi, survival is imperative if the light side of the Force is to be protected and the galaxy somehow, someday reclaimed. Yet more important still is the well-being of the twin infants, Leia and Luke Skywalker, the children of Anakin and his doomed bride, Padmé Amidala. Separated after Padmé’s death, they must be made safe at all costs, lest the hope they represent for the future be turned to horror by the new Sith regime–and the unspeakable power of the dark side.

This storyline occurs approximately 1 month after Revenge of the Sith (19 years before the Battle of Yavin).

Related Stories (in chronological order):


Review by Darth Kondorr, Poland, 2016:
"Now THIS was Luceno how I know and love him! Even though I did not dislike his first entry to the new canon titled simply Tarkin, I had quite some issues with it. Not because of the writing, rather because of turning the titular character into yet another veteran warrior pilot. To me Tarkin always was an arrogant but brilliant and ruthless strategist, who let others fight his battles. Here Tarkin appears seldom and in ways I can accept him.
"But this is just an introducing side comment to a book, that is simply stellar.
"It hits many high notes perfectly and it has as many epic battles as revealing character insights. Yes, this book is not part of the new canon, but at this point there is nothing published that straight out contradicts this book. Even more so, Luceno’s Tarkin might very well be considered a sequel to this book, as it references quite a lot of what happened in the beginning of Dark Lord. Maybe Tarkin was almost finished, when the new canon was announced and was only aligned with the new universe, not completely rewritten. I believe one would require small editorial changes, very few ones at that, to transform this book into new canon. Another such book would be Shatterpoint which is almost directly referenced in the Kanan comic books.
But regardless of its present status, we get to witness to rise of the empire, the ruthlessness with which it takes peoples liberties as well as lives and we get to see the birth of Vader's legend.
And this is the key word here. Maybe events did not play out exactly as described, maybe some things did not happen at all, but in the end this is a Legends book. And legends have truth at their core, even now in the discontinued old EU. And boy! What a legend this is!"
5 / 5

Review by Russell M. Hossain, UK, 2014:
"First off a minor criticism that may be leveled by some readers is that for a book entitled 'The Rise Of Darth Vader', he doesn't appear nearly as much as one might expect (to be fair, he is in at least half the book, but if you're a Darth Vader-phile, you may wish for more).
"That said, when he is present, the author goes to great lengths to convey Vader's inner turmoil and the repercussions of his new state as someone now "more machine than man". There is some extraordinarily vivid writing by Luceno that really encapsulates the horror of Vader's new cyborg body, stripped of his flesh and blood self - his humanity. It's probably this part of the book that has stayed with me the most aside from the excellent climactic battle on Chewbacca's home planet).
"Whilst initially I was not particularity enamored with some of the new characters created especially for the novel, their story was eventually woven deftly into to the bigger plot. Appearances from characters such as Bail Organa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca and others also added to the excitement and authenticity, and felt integral to the story, not just shoehorned in.
"Indeed with Bail Organa's introduction, I felt more engaged and invested with the novel, and the dramatic tension Luceno had built up developed nicely as the story progressed (I would have actually preferred it if Bail Organa had been the primary foil to Vader in this story instead of jedis I have never encountered before, but that would have defeated the point of the book I guess).
"The novel culminates in the impressively action-packed battle on Kashyyyk, which was handled far more deftly than the other battle we saw onscreen in the lackluster 'Revenge of the Sith' movie.
"This being my first James Luceno STAR WARS novel, I shall certainly be exploring some of his other works. An excellent and engaging read."
4 / 5

Review by Ozmon, UK, 2006:
"Extending the Star Wars prequels storyline directly from when Revenge of the Sith left off, James Luceno serves up a bitty but serviceable book that’s strong on Vader but doesn’t put him as centre-stage as fans might have hoped.
"As it is, the book juggles too many planets and characters, including an excess number of “star” cameos, though at least these are handled well enough. And the Darth stuff is cracking: you get a real sense of his torture, shock, devastation and above all humiliation following his mutilation by Kenobi and Frankenstein rebirth, as well as his newfound bitterness towards his master Palpatine, who hasn’t exactly survived unscathed himself. “Look at us… Are these the faces of victory?” Darth asks angrily at one point, a turn of phrase it’s hard to imagine coming from Hayden Christensen.
"It’s a shame that the plot, which concerns a small group of Jedi survivors, is on the insubstantial side, as are the Jedi themselves, though they raise an interesting question about whether heroes can ever accept that they have lost the day. There are many bombastic set-pieces, including more carnage on the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk, although Luceno’s efforts to describe the action are sometimes awkward. The end sets up any number of prequel-sequel books to come."
3 / 5

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