Sunday, December 26, 2010

Preview Review: The Old Republic: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp (Spoilers)


Lucasfilm continues a new book marketing strategy of early free chapter downloads with lawyer/author Paul S. Kemp's latest novel, The Old Republic: Deceived.

The novel stars Darth Malgus, the Dark Lord of the Sith who lead the sacking of Coruscant and destruction of the Jedi Temple.



The first three chapters are an action packed ride filled with swirling emotional termoil for the main characters.  The theme of love and attachment and how if effects our decisions appears to play heavily in this story set approximately 3,653 years BBY. 


The following reviews includes Spoilers from the first three Chapters of Deceived which have been released on-line for free. 

Chapters Dramatis Personae:

 Zeerid "Z-Man", smuggler/Captain of Fatman.
Darth Malgus/Veradun, Sith Lord.
Eleena, Twi'lek slave/lover of Darth Malgus
The Mandalorian, Female Bounty Hunter
Aryn Leneer, Female Jedi Knight
Syo, Male Jedi Knight
Dar'nala, Jedi Master
Satele Shan, Jedi Knight
Ven Zallow,  Male Jedi Master
Oren, Male Human, Handler for The Exchange
Darth Angral, Sith Lord, Sith Commander of Invasion.
Darth Adraas, Sith Lord, Drop-ship commander
Republic Senator Am-ris, Cerean Male.
Lord Baras, Sith Lord and negotiator.


Plot Summary:


Zeerid is a former Republic trooper turned smuggler, who is now working for a criminal syndicate called "The Exchange." Zeerid is the first character we meet in the story, a down-on-his-luck shipper who has a sick daughter Arra, who's existence he keeps a secret so that the Exchange cannot use her as leverage against him.

Zeerid's life is turned even more upside down when he is ambushed on a weapon drop off, and forced to blow up a case of the Exchanges grenades up to escape. This puts him even farther in the Exchanges debt and forces him to make a special drug run of Spice to Coruscant, that promises to pay off his debts but could cost him his life.

We also meet Darth Malgus who we have previously seen in the Old Republic Trailer "Hope," about the Battle of Alderaan when he had a grenade exploded in his face by a Republic Trooper. Leading to the breath-mask wearing monstrosity we see on the cover. We get hints from the relationship that Malgus has with his slave/lover Eleena, that he may have some internal conflict that will later boil to the surface.






Malgus answers to Lord Angral who waits in orbit above Coruscant in his command ship. Malgus is accompanied on his attack on the Jedi Temple by his political rival Lord Adraas who was given command of the drop ship and Sith warriors aboard.

With the help of the Mandalorian, the Sith are able to bring down Coruscant's defenses.  The few Jedi at the Temple are led in their defense by Master Ven Zallow, the former master of Jedi Knight of Aryn Leneer who is part of the Republic delegation to Alderaan.

With Eleena and her twin blaster pistols at his side, Malgus stages his attack on the Jedi Temple.  The battle for the Jedi temple opens with the Sith drop-ship crashing into the Temple behind Malgus and Aleena, as Lord Ardaas and 50 Sith warriors pour out and a melee ensues pitting Sith versus Jedi.  Ultimately concluding with a dramatic duel between Malgus and Zallow, passion vs. peace. 





Meanwhile Master Dar'nala and Senator Am-ris are leading the Republic delegation set to meet with the Sith to negotiate a peace treaty suddenly and surprisingly proposed by the Sith Emperor. Among the delegation are three Jedi Knights, Syo, Aryn Leneer, and future Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan.

The death of her former Master and surrogate father Zallow, causes Aryn to give in to her emotions and almost fall to the darkside before being calmed by her fellow Jedi. But Aryn has vowed to herself to learn the identity of the Sith who killed her Master and make him pay. 

Impressions:

Deceived is author Paul S. Kemp's second entrance into the GFFA, following last years Jaden Korr centered novel Crosscurrent.  In terms of novel time-line it precedes Sean Williams' The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance, in which we see Satele Shan as Jedi Grand Master. 

The first chapters of Deceived match pretty closely with what we have seen in the first Old Republic Teaser trailer posted above.   The "Hope" trailer tells the story about the events leading up to both The Old Republic MMORPG and the series of The Old Republic tie-in novels.

I really enjoyed Kemp's Crosscurrent novel which had some weird elements that aren't traditionally part of Star Wars novels, the Anzati "soup" drinker as well as the demented Dark Jedi clones.  It was like weaving some horror into the space opera without making it an overtly horror novel.  A nice touch.

Aside from Zeerid's self inflicted nickname "Z-Man," which annoys me beyond belief for some unknown reason, I really enjoyed the first three chapters of Deceived.  I get the feeling that Spice isn't the only thing Zeerid is going to be hauling into Sith Empire occupied Coruscant, somehow Aryn is going to find her way aboard in her search for answers in her Master's murder and the fall of Coruscant.

Of what has been released so far Aryn and Malgus are the most interesting characters to me.  Is Malgus a purely evil hearted Sith Lord, or does his relationship with Eleena expose some fatal flaw within him that will cause problems for him in the Empire's hierarchy?

Aryn gave into her emotions pretty hard in the chapters as well, can she avoid falling to the darkside, I am not sure but I really want to find out.

In these introductory chapters Kemp also succeeding in drawing emotional reactions to supporting characters, I already hate Lord Ardaas and cannot wait for someone to put a lightsaber through him.  I also have a very strong dislike for Jedi Master Dar'nala who appears to be the TOR equivalent of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

I really enjoy Kemp's style of writing and at 304 pages, Deceived is a pretty good sized hardcover novel.  It looks like this book is going to be well worth the price.  Pick it up Tuesday March 22, 2011 wherever books are sold. 

LINKS:

For more gorgeous KotorMMO videos the YouTube Channel


You can now download the first three chapters of Deceived:
Chapter 2: @ Star Wars.com 
Chapter 3: @ Rebel Scum

For direct download of the PDFs.
Chapter 1: PDF
Chapter 2: PDF
Chapter 3: PDF

You can follow author Paul S. Kemp:
 Twitter:  @Paulskemp
On the Web:  http://paulskemp.com/

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