Book Review | Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp

If you're a Star Wars fan and looking for a fun piece of the history between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, pick up Lords of the Sith for an interesting and well paced diversion into the relationship between Vader and Sidious.Star Wars is on the brain…of everyone. After the supreme disappointment of the prequels (okay, they weren’t that bad, and we probably all had our hopes set too high, anyway), the hype and the excitement and the energy and the shear cultural force of Star Wars + JJ Abrams + the biggest fandom in the Universe is leading to anticipation unmatched in this generation.

So, naturally, I picked up a random piece of Star Wars universe fiction–Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp–and blew through it on a weekend.

And I do mean that I “blew through it.” By way of comparison, I started reading Lords of the Sith directly after finishing David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. One does not read Dickens without a serious commitment of time (and that thousand page tomb took me a good month to consume). The dip into Star Wars was a slightly, shall we say, quicker read.

Lords of the Sith is focused on the two Sith we know best: Darth Vader and the Emperor (aka Lord Sidious, but I think we know him better as the Emperor) as seen during an uprising on Ryloth, home of the Twi’leck. Led by Cham Syndulah, the Twi’leck Resistence and the Free Ryloth movement are looking for a way to up the ante against the Empire, to break its hold on Ryloth, and finally be free. When information reaches them that Darth Vader and the Emperor will both be visiting, it’s an opportunity too big to pass up.

I didn’t expect much going in to the story, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Kemp manages to take a story about two villains and insert other more naturally sympathetic characters, as well as to add depth, competence, and sympathy to the villains, as well. Although dubious at first, it didn’t take long to draw me in.

To be clear, Lords of the Sith fits better in the context of the entire Star Wars saga, especially as it relates to the Skywalkers and the Rebels versus the Empire piece. While there are some novels and stories that could stand alone, Lords is entirely dependent on the greater context to make sense.

If you’re a Star Wars fan and looking for a fun piece of the history between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, pick up Lords of the Sith for an interesting and well paced diversion into the relationship between Vader and Sidious.

Lords of the Sith Book Cover Lords of the Sith
Paul S. Kemp
Science fiction
April 28, 2015

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.