When casting about for an author to novelize the script for The Phantom Menace--the first in a series of three prequels to the eternally popular Star Wars saga--it's no surprise that creator George Lucas called on Terry Brooks to novelize the biggest science fiction movie of all time. After all, Brooks is a perennially bestselling epic fantasy author whose Sword of Shannara is a classic adventure story, not far removed from the swashbuckling exploits of our favorite Star Wars heroes. |
Brooks handles the job of modern mythmaker well. He deftly juggles a hodgepodge of characters: a young stately queen (Amidala) and her handmaidens; a pair of Jedi knights (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn); a bumbling amphibious sidekick (Jar Jar Binks); two Sith Lords (Darths Maul and Sidious) who add more than enough menace to the mix; a couple of familiar robots (C-3P0 and R2-D2); a teeming host of Senators, Chancellors, diplomats, warrior droids, and spies; and one young slave boy who aspires to be a Jedi knight (Anakin Skywalker). With cinematic prose, Brooks brings to life a number of epic battles, skirmishes, and dogfights in space--all the elements that we've come to expect from a rousing Star Wars installment. The Phantom Menace doesn't stray far from those expectations: there is a clear division between the good guys and the bad; good things come in small (and surprising) packages; and heroes lose battles only to emerge victorious on another day. But Phantom does illuminate in ways the other installments didn't. For the first time, we get a glimpse at the whys and wherefores behind the curtain; at times the book reads almost like a sociopolitical thriller as the emerging Federation shuffles for power with the waning democracy of the Republic. The Force is also further illuminated. Turns out it has something to do with "midi-chlorians"--microscopic life forms that live in the cells of all creatures.
The Phantom Menace is a fun read, sure to satisfy Star Wars junkies young and old. And don't forget: turn your light saber off before you enter the swamp or you'll fry your energy pack.
Source: Tod Nelson, Amazon.com
In barren desert lands and seedy spaceports . . . in vast underwater cities and in the blackest depths of space . . . unfolds a tale of good and evil, of myth and magic, of innocence and power. At last the saga that captured the imagination of millions turns back in time to reveal its cloaked origins--the start of a legend--the story of STAR WARS. Based on the screenplay by George Lucas, this novel by master storyteller Terry Brooks probes the depths of one of the greatest tales of our time, providing rich detail and insight into the minds and motives of the characters--and shedding bold new light on Lucas' brilliant creation. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an evil legacy long believed dead is stirring. Even the Jedi are caught by surprise, their attentions focused on the political unrest between the Trade Federation and the Republic. Now the dark side of the Force threatens to overwhelm the light, and only an ancient Jedi prophecy stands between hope and doom for the entire galaxy. On the desert world of Tatooine, far from the concerns of the Republic, a slave boy works by day and dreams by night--of being a Jedi Knight and one day traveling the stars to worlds he's only heard of in stories . . . of finding a way to win freedom from enslavement for himself and his beloved mother. His only hope lies in his extraordinary instincts and his strange gift for understanding the "rightness" of things, talents that allow him to be one of the best pod racers on the planet. In another part of the galaxy, the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, young Obi-Wan Kenobi, are charged with the protection of Amidala, the young Queen of Naboo, as she seeks to end the siege of her planet by Trade Federation warships. It is this quest that brings Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and the Queen's beautiful young handmaiden to the sand-swept streets of Tatooine and the shop where the slave boy Anakin Skywalker toils and dreams. And it is this unexpected meeting that marks the beginning of the drama that will become legend . . . An incredible audio production complete with original Star Wars music and sound effects.