April 13, 2016

Dynasty of Evil by Drew Karpyshyn

“Materialism—an attachment to physical goods beyond their practical value—was a trap; a chain to ensnare the foolish with their own greed.” -Drew Karpyshyn, Dynasty of Evil

Blurb: Twenty years have passed since Darth Bane, reigning Dark Lord of the Sith, demolished the ancient order devoted to the dark side and reinvented it as a circle of two: one Master to wield the power and pass on the wisdom, and one apprentice to learn, challenge, and ultimately usurp the Dark Lord in a duel to the death. But Bane’s acolyte, Zannah, has yet to engage her Master in mortal combat and prove herself a worthy successor. Determined that the Sith dream of galactic domination will not die with him, Bane vows to learn the secret of a forgotten Dark Lord that will assure the Sith’s immortality--and his own.

     A perfect opportunity arises when a Jedi emissary is assassinated on the troubled mining planet Doan, giving Bane an excuse to dispatch his apprentice on a fact-finding mission--while he himself sets out in secret to capture the ancient holocron of Darth Andeddu and its precious knowledge. But Zannah is no fool. She knows that her ruthless Master has begun to doubt her, and she senses that he is hiding something crucial to her future. If she is going to claim the power she craves, she must take action now.
     While Bane storms the remote stronghold of a fanatical Sith cult, Zannah prepares for her Master’s downfall by choosing an apprentice of her own: a rogue Jedi cunning and cold-blooded enough to embrace the Sith way and to stand beside her when she at last wrests from Bane the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith.
     But Zannah is not the only one with the desire and power to destroy Darth Bane. Princess Serra of the Doan royal family is haunted by memories of the monstrous Sith soldier who murdered her father and tortured her when she was a child. Bent on retribution, she hires a merciless assassin to find her tormentor--and bring him back alive to taste her wrath.
     Only a Sith who has taken down her own Master can become Dark Lord of the Sith. So when Bane suddenly vanishes, Zannah must find him--possibly even rescue him--before she can kill him. And so she pursues her quarry from the grim depths of a ravaged world on the brink of catastrophe to the barren reaches of a desert outpost, where the future of the dark side’s most powerful disciples will be decided, once and for all, by the final, fatal stroke of a lightsaber.

Format: Dynasty of Evil is the third and final novel in the Darth Bane trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn. I am reviewing the audio format of the novel which was 9 hours and 25 minutes in length. It was originally published in December 2009 by Random House Audio. The tale is told in limited 3rd person between multiple character's POVs.

Setting: The tale is told again across multiple worlds, with one of the worlds being a familiar setting. The primary action takes place on the mining planet Doan, and most of the major plot points are decided on the desolate planet that has been ringed dry of its resources. The worlds of this story once again play a role merely in the instrumentation of the tale and detail is not of a high order within the novel. Nevertheless, the settings are still interesting backdrops for the story to unfold.

Characters: Darth Bane is still the Master and main character of this tale, and he is accompanied still by Zannah, his apprentice. Much time is given to the thought processes of each character in this novel as one contemplates why the other hasn't yet tried to take his role of master, and the other seeks a way to claim it. The characters each deal with their share of some of the laziness wealth has brought them, but their power is more potent now then it ever has. Bane and Zannah are joined by a supporting cast of characters from the past as well as a dark Jedi and a ruthless assassin, each has their own moments of 'screen time' throughout the novel.

Plot: Bane is concerned that in the 10 years since the last novel he has seen his student grow to be of his own strength and she has still not challenged him. Fearing that she is no longer fit to become the master, Bane must seek a way to sustain his failing body and prolong his life as the dark side begins to take a toll on his physical form. He begins looking for this solution, and possibly a new apprentice. Meanwhile, Zannah is eager to take her place as Sith Lord yet she is hesitant to strike for fear of being played by her master and walking into a trap. She is sent away by Bane to fins out the cause of a murdered Jedi in a distant system. Anyone that can kill a Jedi could be useful to the two Sith. However, she soon finds that her trip to the distant system may have just been a distraction her master sent her on while he conducted her own business. But what business is he up to? She decides her time to strike must be now or it may never come.

My Thoughts:What a brilliant end to a trilogy I completely flew through! I saw the strings moving from the beginning, but the end remained a total mystery to me up until the final power of the dark side was cast. It was an exciting novel. It moved quickly and with every intention of building excitement to the inevitable conflict between the master and the apprentice. A cast of familiar characters that were somewhat obscure in their roles in previous novels become involved as well. These characters share some of the screen time. As with the previous novels, I was unsure as to why I was following the extra characters but I was rewarded when each plot line came together. This was a very well written story and the ending was satisfying. Very satisfying.

About the Author: Drew Karpyshyn is a Canadian author and game designer. After working at a credit union for some time, he eventually became a game developer. He joined BioWare towards the end of the Baldur's Gate series, and wrote the tie-in novel for Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. He stayed with BioWare, where he worked on Neverwinter Nights, and became the Senior Writer on the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
This Star Wars connection gave him the opportunity to write Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, his first hardcover. Karpyshyn still works for BioWare where he is the lead writer for the Mass Effect series.

Author's Website: Drew Karpyshyn's Website
Buy this Book: Dynasty of Evil on Amazon

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