Saturday, November 6, 2010

Preview Review: Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber: Chapter 1 *Spoilers*

What is Red Harvest?

Red Harvest is Joe Schreiber's follow up to last years Death Troopers.  It will be released December 28th in Hardcover and Unabridged audio CD.  Its a short hard cover novel coming in at only 272 pages.  It is available for pre-order on Amazon for $17.82. Blurb:

The era of the Old Republic is a dark and dangerous time, as Jedi Knights valiantly battle the Sith Lords and their ruthless armies. But the Sith have disturbing plans—and none more so than the fulfillment of Darth Scabrous’s fanatical dream, which is about to become nightmarish reality.

Unlike those other Jedi sidelined to the Agricultural Corps—young Jedi whose abilities have not proved up to snuff—Hestizo Trace possesses one extraordinary Force talent: a gift with plants. Suddenly her quiet existence among greenhouse and garden specimens is violently destroyed by the arrival of an emissary from Darth Scabrous. For the rare black orchid that she has nurtured and bonded with is the final ingredient in an ancient Sith formula that promises to grant Darth Scabrous his greatest desire.

But at the heart of the formula is a never-before-seen virus that’s worse than fatal—it doesn’t just kill, it transforms. Now the rotting, ravenous dead are rising, driven by a bloodthirsty hunger for all things living—and commanded by a Sith Master with an insatiable lust for power and the ultimate prize: immortality . . . no matter the cost.

Chapter 1: Preview Review  *SPOILERS*

Setting: 3645 BBY, Sith Academy on Odacer-Faustin,  Dueling Ring.

Chapter Dramatis Personae: Wim Nickter, Sith Acolyte;  Lord Shak'Weth, Sith Blademaster; Rance Lussk, Sith Acolyte.


In a scene familiar to those who have read Drew Karpyshyn's Darth Bane novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, in the first chapter we are taken to a Sith training academy.  We are introduced to a Sith Blademaster reminscent of Lord Kasim, in the person of Shak'Weth.  We have a duel between Lussk the undisputed strongest student at the academy, someone that has defeated and destroyed dueling opponents, and unassuming Sith Wim Nickter.  But this duel is not all it seems, and Lussk has ulterior motives in choosing Nickter as his dueling partner, as he tries some rare Sith mind control technique to dominate Nickter's will and leaves Nickter lucky to be alive.  At least alive for now....

Chapter Excerpt:

I own you, maggot, it said, the strength of the other cadet’s will booming through Nickter’s skull, and you will do as you’re told.  No. Nickter’s jaw clenched, summoning what remained of his resolve.
He understood now that his only hope lay in freeing himself, wresting his will away from Lussk’s authority. What the other acolyte was practicing on him now was obviously some advanced Force mind control technique learned from one of the Sith Lords at the academy, perhaps at the knee of Scabrous himself. Had the rumors of his secret tutelage been true after all? Whatever the case, for reasons known only to Lussk, he’d decided to try it out this morning on Nickter, and Nickter had nothing to counter with.


I purchased and enjoyed Mr. Schreiber's novel Death Troopers.  That being said, it didn't really have the feel of Star Wars to me. I gotta say this book has me much more excited.  Ancient Sith and Jedi are a lot more interesting then an Imperial Prison Barge.  I really enjoyed the Darth Bane novels, so the chance in this brief glimpse to see some more of Sith training and the ultra competitive nature of Sith academies is entertaining to read.  Is Nickter going to be our luck Sith Zombie survivor? Or an early victim?  Should be interesting to see.  The two characters I am most interested in don't appear in this excerpt.  The mysterious Lord Scabrous and failed Jedi Agricorps member Hestizo Trace.  Why does Trace help a Sith?  There is a ton of potential for interesting story telling with that character.

The chapter is only nine pages long, if most of the book follows a similar pace it could be a short novel with small chapters which makes for a very quick read.  There have been some good short SW novels, but much of the time with the sub-300 page books it seems like there was missed storytelling opportunities within the structure of the story.  The idea of Sith sorcery is not new, we have seen it a number of times including recently in Darth Bane: Rule of Two, with the technobeasts created by Sith Lord Belia Darzu. It will be interesting how far Schreiber goes with this zombie virus and whether this book feels like Star Wars. 

To read the full chapter excerpt in PDF click HERE.

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