Here's another Star Wars spinoff novel, a brisk and extremely uncomplicated action-adventure romp set on planet Coruscant immediately before the events of The Phantom Menace. After a few setting-up exercises, it's essentially a prolonged chase sequence whose implacable pursuer is Darth Maul--the almost absurdly villainous-looking Sith Lord with the biggest lightsaber and worst makeup job in the entire saga to date.|
The plot? Insidiously evil Darth Sidious is poised to launch the Naboo trade blockade featured in The Phantom Menace. But one of his alien henchmen has sneaked away to betray this scheme and must die. So must the traitor's contacts, smalltime crook Lorn Pavan and his uppity droid, I-Five. Likewise Darsha Assant, the female Jedi Knight apprentice who gets entangled with Pavan through either mind-boggling coincidence or the mysterious ways of the Force.
Michael Reaves makes a reasonably slick job of all this nonsense and is not afraid of clichés. Plenty of characters have wooden lines like "I've got a bad feeling about this," and "Too many questions, and not enough answers." Meanwhile in the Jedi council, Yoda makes characteristic remarks: "A good choice he would be... No accident this was."
Unfortunately, the well-known story line of The Phantom Menace defuses suspense in Shadow Hunter. That trade blockade has to happen despite the good folks' doomed heroics, and horrible Darth Maul (already far more powerful and deadly than the puny opposition he faces here) is fated to win out. This novel is for dedicated fans only.
Source: David Langford, Amazon.com.