Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories

"It was our destiny to land on this rock—and we are bound to our destiny. For a time, it looks like, we're also bound to this rock. So be it. We're Sith. Let's make it ours."―Yaru Korsin

In May of 2009, Del Rey and Lucasbooks launched the first in a series of ebook novellas detailing the story of a Sith starship's crew and their crash landing on the planet Kesh.

This series of ebooks detailed the exploits of what became known as the Lost Tribe, this group of Sith becomes marooned on a back-rocket planet circa 5,000 BBY.  While it began as a tie-in to the Fate of the Jedi series, the Lost Tribe of the Sith stories developed into a very compelling set of stories in their own right.

Publisher's Summary:

At last in one volume, the eight original installments of the epic Lost Tribe of the Sith eBook series . . . along with the explosive, never-before-published finale, Pandemonium—more than one hundred pages of new material! Five thousand years ago. After a Jedi ambush, the Sith mining ship Omen lies wrecked on a remote, unknown planet. Its commander, Yaru Korsin, battles the bloodshed of a mutinous faction led by his own brother. Marooned and facing death, the Sith crew have no choice but to venture into their desolate surroundings. They face any number of brutal challenges—vicious predators, lethal plagues, tribal people who worship vengeful gods—and like true Sith warriors, counter them with the dark side of the Force. The struggles are just beginning for the proud, uncompromising Sith, driven as they are to rule at all costs. They will vanquish the primitive natives, and they will find their way back to their true destiny as rulers of the galaxy. But as their legacy grows over thousands of years, the Sith ultimately find themselves tested by the most dangerous threat of all: the enemy within.

To be honest, on the whole I enjoyed the Lost Tribe much more than I enjoyed Lovecraftian villain Abeloth. What author and comic story writer John Jackson Miller does in this story is craft Dark Side Gilligan's Island or perhaps Lord of the Flies is a better comparison, either way we get a marooned crew of Sith which was a mixture of human and red skinned Sith (at least for a little while).  They crash on the planet Kesh, only two discover a native population with a mythology that is convenient and a lack of metal ore which is most inconvenient.

Without metal to build or repair their ship, the Omen, the Sith are faced with the fact that they have no choice but to remain on the planet.

This is where things get interesting, few in numbers the Sith must work together to wrestle control of the planet from the native population and in doing so create a very curious and unique Sith culture.

This volume is provided in trade paperback format (the same format that the Clone Wars Karen Miller books received).  This is purely personal preference but I detest this format.  I love hardcovers and like paperbacks, but I cannot get over the fact that my trade paperbacks do not stand up well to abuse.  The larger size of trade paperbacks makes them feel much flimsier then mass market paperbacks.  In addition to the different size, the trade paperback of this book carries a cover price of $12, while the recent Star Wars Mass Market Paperbacks are priced at $7.99. The book is also available as an ebook for the great price of $4.99.  Note: Amazon has not updated it's pre-order price and is still charging the $7.99 Mass Market price.

Note #2: Author John Jackson Miller points me to a new correct listing on that has the trade paperback edition for $7.80. Also if you are a Amazon Prime Member you can get 2 day shipping on the item for free. 

What we get in the book are the eight ebook stories, Precipice, Skyborn, Paragon, Savior, Purgatory, Sentinel, Pantheon and Secrets.  These amount to 255 pages of the book.  There is also an all new novella entitled, Pandemonium that weighs in at a meaty 128 pages.  The book also includes maps of two continents on Kesh, the continent that the Sith landed on Keshtah and a new continent that is introduced in Pandemonium, Alanciar. The last bit of added value is 19 page excerpt from Aaron Allston's upcoming novel X-Wing: Mercy Kill.

One of my favorite things about this series is that at times you can almost forget that the protagonists are evil, but then they display the callousness or casual brutality that can shock you out of liking these characters.  By crafting a rich Sith society and creating Sith characters of different types we get some very interesting story telling.

Pandemonium begins in 2,975 BBY and the over all effect of the series of stories is snap shots in history.  We get dropped in mid-story at momentous times in the history of the Lost Tribe, what happens in between is sometimes referred to but left to the imagination to fill in the dots.  By ending the story the way he does Miller also opens up some interesting story telling possibilities that he will continue in the new Dark Horse Comics which will debut on August 8th with Lost Tribe of the Sith #1. This continuation of the Lost Tribe tales represents the further integration of the Dark Horse comic and Del Rey novel lines and is a very positive thing for the Expanded Universe and fans of continuity.

I will admit I was a little worried about Pandemonium when I began reading it and started to wonder whether Nicholas Sparks had started writing Star Wars.  But the romantic story line involved is an interesting and humanizing way of introducing one of our main characters, Wardmaster Quarra Thayn.  I won't spoil the story for you, but it becomes a very interesting tale and we even get to see my favor "good" Sith Gand Master Varner Hilts return.

While I am not a fan of the format of this novel, if you like the Sith or simply like flawed and conflicted protagonists, John Jackson Miller has written a series of stories that are not to be missed.  Plus we get more maps, Star Wars maps are kriffing awesome.

For more on Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories visit Random House and for more from author John Jackson Miller visit, Faraway Press.

1 comment:

  1. The correct listing for the book at Amazon is this one -- (and at the moment it's cheaper than the mass market version would have been.)