FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
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Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
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Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
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Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
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Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
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Lewis, C. S.
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Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
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Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
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Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
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Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of Drew Karpyshyn

Drew Karpyshyn, as well as being a novelist, is also an award-winning writer/designer for the BioWare computer game company and was lead writer for the hugely popular 'Knights of the Old Republic' game.  He lives in Canada with his wife Jen and their cat.
Average Review Score: 4.5 out of 5

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path Of Destruction
Set 1000 years before 'A New Hope' this book tells the story of a time when the Republic and the Jedi were engaged in a devastating war with the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness.  More specifically it is the story of a miner named Dessel who goes on to rebuild the Sith Order according to his own design, as Darth Bane.  I will say first how pleased I was that Lucasfilm have finally decided to take the gamble of releasing a novel not directly tied to characters from the movies or from computer games.  It means Karpyshyn gets to explore almost entirely new territory for much of the book and what better setting than a huge war between the Jedi and the Sith.  I really enjoyed Dessel/Bane's story itself too.  He begins as a disillusioned and desperate miner with no love for the Republic which sanctions what is effectively slavery on his homeworld.  Then he becomes a soldier, before finally beginning his training as a Sith.  A Sith Academy was featured in 'KotOR' the game, but this is the first time we can read about the dark and deadly nature of the training of the Sith.  Ultimately, Bane breaks from the Academy and begins a quest on his own which will eventually lead him to the creation of the Rule of Two.  The author has also included the cataclysmic Battle of Ruusan, previously told (rather poorly) in the 'Jedi vs Sith' comics.  Arching across Bane's journey from uncertain apprentice to Dark Lord of the Sith is his relationship with the seductive and ruthless Githany.  I really enjoyed the fact that at times, despite themselves, they seem to be truly in love.  Another great element of this book is Karpyshyn's efforts to link his work on 'Knights of the Old Republic' into the larger Star Wars universe, returning us to the Unknown World and having Bane learn the teachings of Darth Revan.  I did find it odd (and perhaps a little petty) that the author studiously avoids any mention of 'KotOR II', which he and BioWare had no part in.  Perhaps I'm reading too much into it.  Basically this book is a tale of darkness and war that features all the essentials of a good Star Wars story (not least plenty of lightsaber action!).
5 out of 5
'In the last days of the Old Republic, the Sith - followers of the Force's dark side and ancient enemies of the Jedi Order - numbered only two: one Master and one apprentice.'
Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule Of Two
The sequel to 'Path Of Destruction' begins amid the ashes of the Battle of Ruusan.  It's there that we meet the four main protagonists of the story.  The first is Darovit, a young man whose failure as both a Jedi and a Sith have left him devastated.  Then there is Zannah, an angry young girl who is spellbound by the possibility of wielding the dark side to it's full potential.  Next we have Johun Othone, a headstrong Jedi Padawan obsessed with the destruction of the Sith.  Finally there is the implacable Darth Bane himself.  This mix of characters means that there's a variety of different perspectives and experiences to sink your teeth into here, which is a very good element.  A better element still is the fact that this book breaks into unexplored Star Wars territory, unlike the previous one whose ending was already established.  Here even Bane himself is a potential casualty, meaning that there is a real element of threat to story.  The best element of this book is Darth Zannah.  She starts off as simply an angry and confused child, struggling with the guilt of using the dark side.  However, when the book skips forwards ten years, we are introduced to a Sith Lord every bit as good as Bane, albeit very different.  Karpyshyn keeps us guessing as to which way Zannah will turn at various decision points and the fact that redemption is not outside the realms of possibility makes her easy to empathise with.  A final nod of the head should go to Johun Othone, who is a very different type of Jedi to those we're used to.  He's not exceptionally powerful, he isn't deeply wise or serene, he's not a master of lightsaber combat.  He's merely an average Jedi trying to live up to being a guardian of peace and justice.  The author also brushes on other elements of the Star Wars universe which will keep fans happy, be it the tomb of Freedon Nadd, the holocron of Belia Darzu or the Ruusan Reformations.  Why didn't I give the book full marks?  Simply because we know the Sith aren't exposed until 'The Phantom Menace', robbing the story of some of it's punch.
4 out of 5
'Darovit made his stumbling way through the bodies that littered the battlefield, his mind numb with grief and horror.'

If you enjoyed Karpyshyn:
Then I strongly recommend you play 'Knights of the Old Republic', his magnum opus.  You may also enjoy tales of the other Darths, such as 'Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter' by Michael Reaves or 'Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader' by James Luceno.

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