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[This story occurs during The Old Republic era]
Events occurring between 5,000 and 67 years before the Battle of Yavin.

Paperback Novel
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Path of Destruction
Drew Karpyshyn
Del Rey
Story published as:
Hardback Novel (2006)
Paperback Novel (2007)
e-Book (2011)
Audio Book (2012)

If you have read this book, please rate it:
7 reviews [Average review score: 4.14 / 5]

Once the Sith order teemed with followers. But their rivalries divided them in endless battles for supremacy. Until one dark lord at last united the Sith in the quest to enslave the galaxy–and exterminate the Jedi. Yet it would fall to another, far more powerful than the entire Brotherhood of Darkness, to ultimately realize the full potential of the Sith, and wield the awesome power of the dark side as never before.
Since childhood, Dessel has known only the abuse of his hateful father and the dangerous, soul-crushing labor of a cortosis miner. Deep in the tunnels of the desolate planet Apatros, endlessly excavating the rare mineral valued throughout the galaxy, Dessel dreams of the day he can escape–a day he fears may never come. But when a high-stakes card game ends in deadly violence, Dessel suddenly finds himself a wanted man.
On the run from vengeful Republic forces, Dessel vanishes into the ranks of the Sith army, and ships out to join the bloody war against the Republic and its Jedi champions. There, Dessel’s brutality, cunning, and exceptional command of the Force swiftly win him renown as a warrior. But in the eyes of his watchful masters, he is destined for a far greater role in the ultimate Sith plan for the galaxy–if he can prove himself truly worthy.
As an acolyte in the Sith academy, studying the secrets and skills of the dark side at the feet of its greatest masters, Dessel embraces his new Sith identity: Bane. However the true test is yet to come. In order to gain acceptance into the Brotherhood of Darkness one must fully surrender to the dark side through a trial by fire that Bane, for all his unquenchable fury and lust for power, may not be strong enough to endure . . . especially since deception, treachery, and murder run rampant among the Sith disciples, and utter ruthlessness alone is the key to survival. Only by defying the most sacred traditions, rejecting all he has been taught, and drawing upon the long-forgotten wisdom of the very first Sith can Bane hope to triumph–and forge from the ashes of that which he must destroy a new era of absolute dark power.

This story occurs approximately 1,003 years before the Battle of Yavin.

Related Stories (in chronological order):


Review by Bones, UK, 2012:
Darth Bane, founder of the Sith Rule of Two, has his humble origins revealed as he starts his journey toward mastery of the Dark Side.
The opening of the book deals with Bane before his Sith training. He works as a miner, a profession that plausibly explains his frightening stature, as well as setting up a back story filled with the sorts of unpleasantness that would be expected in the life of one destined for great evil. Throughout the first section, Bane's future is hinted at through brief glimpses of his abilities. Karpyshyn takes his time in setting up a clear character for Bane, one who is determined and forthright, yet cunning.
As Bane starts his life as a Sith, this character develops well, from almost naďve to possibly enlightened, yet still retaining the trademarks of his character. The nature of the Dark Side is explored in some detail and very stark reminders are given throughout as to the true and inherent evil of the Sith way, including one particular scene in which Bane slaughters innocents in order to "recharge" his reservoir of power. Throughout the story, you find yourself rooting for the protagonist, but Karpyshyn never lets you forget that he is the consummate antihero. 
There are slight weaknesses, such as the mentioning of the seventh lightsabre form (the Vaapad) which won't be invented for another one thousand years or so (how that got past the checks is quite embarrassing) as well as brief references in the story to the Sith'ari, which appears to be some sort of antithesis of the Chosen One; whilst it makes sense for both Sith and Jedi to have prophecies that proclaim the existence of one who will champion their cause, the references still seem a little unnecessary and repetitive. There are also moments when the narrative switches to the Jedi on the other side of the war. Getting an opposing perspective is generally useful, but I felt that the Jedi passages were weaker than the rest of the book and in some small way distracted from Bane's story.
An exciting look at the Sith and the Dark Side, yet with enough abhorrent acts to remind us that these are evil people we're dealing with."
4 / 5

Review by Colton Jones, US, 2009:
I thought that this was a great book because it explains stuff you could not find out in the first episode and I like the character Darth Bane a lot and it told me more about the Sith and no I think I agree with the Sith more than the Jedi."
5 / 5

Review by Joshua Waskett, UK, 2008:
"I loved this book because it explains parts of the Dark Side that you didn't know about and how intoxicating the Dark Side is. And it shows you how the old Sith order was destroyed and tells you why there are only two Sith in the movies, which I always wondered especially in Episodes 1 - 3. It also shows you who came up with the plan to rule the galaxy and destroy the Jedi."
5 / 5

Review by Pee-W, UK, 2008:
"Path of Destruction charts the evolution of an antihero almost as chilling as Darth Vader. A thousand years before the Republic's collapse and Emperor Palpatine's rise to power, Des, the young Force-gifted son of an abusive miner, wins big in a high stakes game with some Republic soldiers, but kills a sore loser. To avoid imprisonment, Des joins the Sith's Brotherhood of Darkness that's battling the Jedi's Army of Light. Des becomes Lord Bane after his abilities earn him a place at the Sith Academy on the planet Korriban. Determined to excel, Bane secretly trains with the devious Githany, former Jedi turned Sith, but after she betrays him, he decides to fly solo and delve deeper into the Sith past.
"The intensity lets up on occasion, but on the whole the author delivers a solid space adventure sure to satisfy the faithful."
4 / 5

Review by Mark, UK, 2007:
"My first Star Wars book, I thought I'd start from the beginning. It was awesome, can't wait for the next one."
5 / 5

Review by S-Ash, UK, 2006:
"When a Star Wars novel's most frequently recurring word is 'corpses' it quickly becomes apparent that you're not dealing with the cozy continuing adventures of the family Skywalker here. Instead, Path of Destruction treads a much darker path, taking place in an Old Republic ruled by the Sith, in an atmosphere of almost unrelenting gloom. Our 'hero' is Dessel, a young labourer stuck on a desolate mining colony with his abusive father. Des dreams of another life, but is too poor to follow his dreams until a card game gets out of control and he finds a way out...
"That's only the beginning for Des, though. His story works almost as an exact inversion of Luke Skywalker's character arc. From his humble beginnings on a desert planet, stuck with a family he hates, a simple twist of fate takes Des across the universe, encountering a variety of bizarre characters, and throughout it's hard not to picture Mark Hamill on every page.
"That's not a criticism - the real strength of Path of Destruction is seeing Luke's story played out along a similar but more insidious path. There's a real darkness here, with passages such as, 'He relished their suffering and despair; even now he could sense it rising up like a stench from the broken corpses scattered about the valley', frequently appearing.
"Reading half like a William Gibson novel - the anti-hero lead is classic Gibson - and Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, this is as actively cool as Star Wars gets, making you long for a Sith film."
4 / 5

Review by Mark, UK, 2006:
"To me it seemed that the authors only exposure to Star Wars beyond the films was the game Knights of the Old Republic. The worst example of this is Bane learning Vaapad, even though it wasn't created by Mace Windu until centuries later [see Shatterpoint]. The character of Revan is also very different to the one which we learn about in Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords. Is this really the sort of writer that we want writing our novels? Star Wars has taken on a life of it's own with a vast and detailed history. Ignoring this is not the way forward and will lead to further conflicting storylines.
"Don't get me wrong- the story was good and seeing the Sith side of things is a welcome change, but glaring faults like this affect the enjoyment of the reader. Hopefully any future novels by Mr Karpshyn will be a little more informed."
2 / 5

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