Darksaber is a 1995 bestselling novel written by Kevin J. Anderson and published by Bantam Spectra. The novel is set immediately after Children of the Jedi in the Expanded Universe timeline. Narration for the audio version was performed by Anthony Heald.
- ISBN 0553099744, ISBN 0593037677, ISBN 0614154898; Bantam Spectra, November 2, 1995, 399-page hardcover
- ISBN 0553746723; Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, November 2, 1995, Audio cassette
- ISBN 0553474235; Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, November 2, 1995, Abridged cassette
- ISBN 0001050907; HarperCollins Publishers, August 19, 1996, Audio cassette
- ISBN 0553408801, ISBN 0553576119, ISBN 0553840118; Bantam Spectra, November 7, 1996, 430-page paperback
- ISBN 3453131045; Heyne-Verlag, January 1998, German paperback
- ISBN 0739316729; Random House Audio, March 2005, Abridged cassette
Luke returns home with Han Solo, hoping to make contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Instead, what they find is disturbing news: the Hutts, criminal warlords of the galaxy, are building a secret superweapon, a reconstruction of the original Death Star superlaser, to be called Darksaber. This planet-crushing power will be in the ruthless hands of Durga, a creature without conscience or mercy. And there is trouble on another front: Admiral Daala is very much alive and, in league with Pellaeon, is marshaling forces to destroy the Rebels. Soon they and Luke will face the ultimate test of their power—one in which all the temptations of the dark side of the Force beckon…
Background and setting
In the Jedi Academy trilogy, Admiral Daala was forced to retreat to the Core Worlds, where some of the remaining Imperial warlords bicker over the Empire's remaining forces in the region. Immediately thereafter, Luke Skywalker encounters Callista, a former Jedi who was trapped in the Eye of Palpatine. After being rescued, Callista is forced to take the form of one of Luke's former students. Luke and Callista immediately fall in love and work on building the Jedi Academy, though Callista still cannot use the Force. Meanwhile, Bevel Lemelisk is searching for a new assignment, which is given to him by Durga the Hutt.
Darksaber was set eight years after the Battle of Endor, a time in which both Grand Admiral Thrawn and the resurrected Emperor were defeated, and the New Republic experienced a brief lull in conflict after the events in Children of the Jedi.
While searching Jabba the Hutt's palace on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo learn that the Hutts are planning to build another superweapon. Meanwhile, in the Hoth Asteroid Belt, Durga the Hutt is planning a diplomatic mission to Coruscant, where he will secretly obtain the plans for the Death Star superlaser for Bevel Lemelisk, the Death Star's designer. Skywalker and Solo reveal their discoveries, but not before Durga's subordinates steal the plans from the Imperial Palace. In order to find out the location of the superweapon, the New Republic launches a covert operation to Nal Hutta, disguised as a diplomatic summit. Back at the Hoth asteroid belt, Lemelisk starts construction on the cylindrical superlaser, which he calls the "Darksaber" for its shape is similar to the hilt of a lightsaber.
Luke and Callista embark on a journey to help Callista regain her Force powers. They discover that Callista can only tap into the Dark Side of the Force after they were attacked by some strange flying creatures on Dagobah. Their journey continues to the Hoth system where they encounter a group of stranded refugees. The group is attacked by a pack of Wampas, led by the same Wampa Luke dismembered several years ago. The refugees are killed in the attack, Luke and Callista try to escape only to find their ship wrecked. They lift off, but have little power and become stranded in the asteroid belt surrounding Hoth. They are rescued by Han and Leia Organa Solo, who just returned from the successful mission on Nal Hutta. However, Luke and Callista's rescue is mainly thanks to the Republic fleet, who arrived to launch Crix Madine and his squad to locate the Darksaber reported to be under construction in the region. While Madine succeeds in relaying the location to the fleet, he is captured and killed by Durga. However, Durga's triumph is short-lived when the Republic fleet spots the Darksaber and begins pursuit. The Darksaber attempts to fire its superlaser and make an escape, but the weapon fails and the ship is destroyed by two large asteroids.
Meanwhile, Admiral Daala succeeds in uniting the remains of the Empire in the core systems by terminating the bickering Warlords during a conference. With the help of Pellaeon, she plans a strike force against a series of New Republic targets, including the Jedi academy on Yavin 4. They also attack Khomm, after Jedi trainees Kyp Durron and Dorsk 81 are caught infiltrating an Imperial summit and escape to Khomm. The pair of Jedi succeed in warning the Republic and the academy of the attack. Using the combined powers of the Force of the Jedi trainees back at Yavin 4, Dorsk 81 manages to physically throw Pellaeon and his fleet out of the Yavin system. Daala is forced to retreat when her Super Star Destroyer, the Knight Hammer, is destroyed. After the failed attack, Daala transfers control over the Imperial forces to Pellaeon. Meanwhile, Callista decides to temporarily leave Luke and venture on a journey to regain her powers. Luke is heartbroken, but decides to move on and continue to build the Jedi academy.
Darksaber was published worldwide in November 1995, a time in which Bantam Spectra was releasing several bestselling Star Wars novels a year. Although it was not as successful as the Jedi Academy trilogy, Darksaber peaked at number three on the New York Times Bestseller list. Nevertheless, fans in TheForce.net consider it it to be one of the worst Star Wars novels ever, giving it a 5.97 average rating.
According to the back cover of Darksaber, Starlog claimed that "Anderson has all but assumed the title of chancellor of the Star Wars University."
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Behind the scenes
Crix Madine's death in Darksaber made him the first Rebel film character with a speaking role to be killed in the Expanded Universe. The distinction of first overall belongs to Maximilian Veers, who was killed in Dark Empire II 1: Operation Shadow Hand almost a year prior to Darksaber's publication.
Darksaber was the last appearance of a unified Empire as a major threat until the Hand of Thrawn Duology.
Kevin Anderson told AlternativeNation.net that the novel was an allegory for the real-life proliferation of nuclear weapons.
This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Darksaber.
- Barbara Hambly, Children of the Jedi (1995). ISBN 0553572938
- Kevin J. Anderson, Darksaber (1995). ISBN 0553576119
- Interview with Kevin J. Anderson. URL accessed on March 4, 2006.
- Blindreaders: Star Wars. URL accessed on March 4, 2006.