The Master of Disguise is the fourth in a series of young reader novels that chronicle the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker between Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Narration for the audio version was performed by Jonathan Davis.
- ISBN 0439339200; November 1, 2002, Scholastic, Paperback
- ISBN 0807210447; February 25, 2003, Random House Audio, Abridged CD
- ISBN 061358855X; July 2003, Tandem Library Books, 144-page school/library binding
- ISBN 0606291237; September 2003, Sagebrush Corporation, School/library binding
- ISBN 3897486989; August 2003, Dino Entertainment, 173-page German paperback
Master and apprentice.
Chosen by fate. Destined for conflict.
How do you defeat an enemy whose riches buy unlimited power?
How do you defeat an enemy who is a master of disguise?
How do you defeat an enemy you cannot find?
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are facing a very real threat from a very elusive adversary, who is as cunning as he is evil. He will stop at nothing to draw others to the dark side and undermine the Republic. If the Jedi do not stop him, it will mean danger for the whole galaxy.
An excerpt from Scholastic.comEdit
Civil war had raged on the planet Haariden for ten years, and even the ground showed the scars. It was pockmarked with deep holes left by laser cannonfire and grenade mortars. Ion mines had blown hip-deep craters into the roads. Along the sides of the pitted road, blackened fields burned down to stubble.
The Jedi had heard the explosions from cannonfire all afternoon, echoing off the bare hills. The battle was twenty kilometers away. The wind tore across the fields and whipped up the dirt on the road. It brought the smell of smoke and burning. The gritty sand and ash settled in the Jedi's hair and clothes. It was cold. A watery sun hid behind clouds stacked in thick, gray layers.
To Anakin Skywalker, it looked like something out of his nightmares. Visions of a world of devastation, where a cold wind numbed his face and fingers, and he trudged endlessly without arriving at his destination. He gave no outward sign of fatigue or discomfort, however. He was training to be a Jedi, and being a Jedi was all about focus. A Jedi did not notice the pelting grit, the razor-edge of the wind. A Jedi did not flinch when a proton torpedo's blast split the air. A Jedi focused on the mission.
But Anakin was not yet a Jedi Knight, merely a Padawan. So though his pace never flagged, his mind kept slipping away to brood at his own discomfort. He was cold and hungry and there was a small pebble in his boot that was driving him crazy. The sky seemed to grow lower and lower, pressing on him. He would be glad when this mission was over and he was back in space again, shooting bright stars.
He could take the cold and danger and the empty stomach. But he had grown up on the Outer Rim planet of Tatooine, and he hated the sand. He hated swallowing and tasting it. He hated how it found every opening, every gap in his tunic and leggings. He hated how a stray speck always managed to lodge in his eye.
Ahead of him walked his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, with another Jedi Knight, Soara Antana. The two Jedi kept their gazes sweeping the road ahead, alert for the telltale sheen of a life-form sensor half-buried in the dirt--a trigger for an ionite mine. Next to Anakin trudged Darra Thel-Tanis, a fellow Padawan.
He glanced sideways at Darra. Her bright copper and gold hair was dulled with dust. He could no longer tell the color of the bright ribbons she had woven through her slender Padawan braid. Her eyes were on the road ahead. Her pace hadn't lagged since they'd begun this mission. They had been walking for three days. She did not seem to register the fatigue Anakin was feeling. She must have felt his eyes on her for she leaned closer to mutter under her breath.
"What I would give for a bath."
"And a cold glass of juma juice," Anakin added. Darra sighed. "Whatever you do, don't say that again."
Anakin would have grinned, but he didn't want to get sand between his teeth.
Ahead Obi-Wan and Soara walked at the same steady pace. The focus of their concentration was complete. Not a stray pebble or slight disturbance in the dirt missed their notice. One wrong step and a mine could blow them into the leaden gray sky. Although Anakin and Darra had received some training in minespotting at the Temple, there was nothing as good as experience to alert the unwary to the danger.
The Jedi had been called to Haaridan on a mission to rescue five scientists who were on a Senate-sponsored mapping mission. They had been caught on the planet when hostilities suddenly erupted after a cease-fire. The scientists had pinned down in the countryside. Unable to get to their space cruiser, they had sent an urgent distress signal to the Senate. The two forces on Haariden had agreed three times to a cease-fire in order to give the scientists safe passage, only to erupt into violence again before the scientists could get to their vessel and leave. Finally, the Senate had appealed to the Jedi for help.
It was feared that the scientists would be held as hostages or bargaining chips in the battle. Outsiders had not been welcome on Haariden, and the political climate was volatile. Each side thought the Senate was in league with the other--and thus all visitors were vulnerable to attack. Afraid of being captured, the scientists had moved from deserted village to deserted village, just ahead of the soldiers. The last communication the Jedi had received was three days ago. They could only hope that the scientists were still somewhere in the area. Time was running out. Roving patrols posed a constant danger. They had been walking since daybreak, searching one abandoned village after another. Some had been almost completely destroyed, others intact but eerily empty of life. The population had moved beyond the mountains and had set up refugee camps there.
"Tenuuri is ahead," Soara said, consulting the map on her datapad. "Let's hope we find them there." She scanned the far distance, her keen gaze analyzing the puffs of smoke from the grenade mortars. "The battle is getting closer."
"It will be dark in an hour," Obi-Wan said. "That will be better for us." Soara grimaced. "Maybe. Haariden may be low on large-scale weapons, but they have plenty of nightscopes. They fight anywhere, anytime."
Through the wind and dust, Anakin saw shapes ahead. Small buildings, built close to the ground. The village. On one side he saw trees stretching to the hills. The trees looked strange, and with a jolt he realized why. The trees had leaves. All of the trees he had seen since landing on Haariden had been bare, their branches blasted by battles fought weeks or days ago.
"After we find them, we can double back through the forest to the transport," Obi-Wan said. "We'll cut three kilometers off our route."
"At least they left some trees standing," Darra said. "I don't understand how two forces can destroy everything beautiful on their home planet and just keep on fighting. What is left to fight for? Have you ever seen anything like this?" she asked, waving at the ruined fields and deserted village ahead.
"Yes," Obi-Wan and Soara said together. They exchanged a glance full of a knowledge Anakin did not understand.
The shadows were long on the road now. They walked into the empty village. Heavy shelling had taken place here. None of the houses or businesses were intact. The wood had burned and the rocks lay in piles, some of them as tall as Obi-Wan.
If the scientists were here, they had hidden well. The Jedi did not want to call out. There was always a danger of snipers in this area--snipers who did not distinguish between visitors and enemies.
They searched methodically through the half-destroyed buildings. Anakin's heart grew heavy as he kicked through the debris of ordinary lives. A pot, battered and black. A boot. A scorched roll of bedding. A toy.
There's not much to a life, when you think about it, Anakin considered. As a boy on Tatooine he had longed for nice things, expensive things, for his mother. Once a space merchant had come through the slave hovels with fabric for sale. He remembered how Shmi's hand had lingered on a rich piece of cloth. He remembered the color, a luxurious ruby. He remembered how it burned inside him that he was unable to buy it for her. How he had vowed that someday he would...
I won't think of it. Focus.
Darra stood frozen. She gazed down at a tiny crib. A scorched piece of linen trailed on the floor.
"Darra." Soara's usually brusque voice was soft. "Come along."
They moved through to the next house. It had suffered a direct hit. There was only rubble. Anakin could hear Darra's slow, even breaths beside him. He knew she was concentrating on her breath, slowing it down, trying to focus. Anakin also felt disturbed. It was as though his nightmare went on.
They walked back onto the street and stopped in front of the next building. Obi-Wan and Soara exchanged a glance. Anakin reached out to the Force. It always took him just a beat slower than Obi-Wan to feel it. The Living Force was here.
Obi-Wan headed left, Soara to the right. With a glance, they ordered their Padawans to follow.
Soara went first, headed through the doorway like shimmersilk. She was known for her grace and flowing movements. Obi-Wan followed, keeping to Soara's left. Anakin and Darra stepped through.
The building had once been a café. A long counter was charred and blackened. Some tables and chairs remained, but most had been splintered and blown apart. A very large round oven sat in the middle of the room, the size of a small landspeeder. It had been vented through the roof by a stone chimney. The chimney lay in ruins around them.
A rusty metal door swung on one hinge on the oven. Soara and Obi-Wan fanned out on either side, motioning to their Padawans to do the same.
Soara bent over and gently moved the oven door. There was a muffled gasp. A small rustle of movement.
"Don't be afraid," Soara said. "We are Jedi."
"Prove it." The voice was male and wobbled a bit, fear disguised as bravado.
In a movement so fast Anakin could have blinked and missed it, Soara unsheathed her lightsaber, activated it, and held up the glowing beam in front of the open oven door.
"Thank the stars and galaxies," the voice breathed.
A face smeared with ashes poked out from the open door. "Needless to say, it is good to see you. I am Dr. Fort Turan. Space geologist. Head of the mission. Objective is the study of the effects of volcanic activity..." A shoulder poked out and then an arm. "…on planetary atmospherics...oof..." Dr. Fort Turan tried to wiggle his ample body through the small space. "...within a scale three system." The rest of Dr. Fort Turan popped out. Despite a torn tunic and a nasty scrape on one cheek, he beamed at the Jedi. "Now, meet my team."
A blue-skinned arm poked out, followed by a face. "Joveh D'a Alin, at your service. Degree in tectonics with an emphasis on mineralogy."
Joveh D'a Alin slid out. Another face appeared. It was another Human male, this one smiling broadly. His hair was caked with dirt and stuck straight up, and his brown eyes were warm. "Dr. Tic Verdun. Practical theorist, planetary origins. Very glad to make your acquaintance. For a moment we feared we would be roasted alive."
Dr. Fort Turan rubbed his hands together. "So. Shall we retire to your transport? The sooner we're off this planet the better."
"We can leave right away," Obi-Wan said. "We're about eight kilometers away." Dr. Fort Turan's face fell. "Eight kilometers? So far?"
"You have speeders?" Reug Yucon asked.
"No," Obi-Wan said. "Speeders would attract too much attention. We have to walk.
"That will take a long time," Joveh D'a Alin said, concerned. "We had hoped..."
Tic Verdun looked at his fellow scientists. He tried to appear cheerful. "Not so far. And we have the protection of the Jedi now. It's a fine night for a walk, I'd say."
Talie Heathe picked up on Tic Verdun's attempt to cheer them. "But let the Jedi lead, Tic. You've done enough for us."
"Tic has saved our lives many times over," Fort Turan said. "He's scouted ahead and kept us moving away from the soldiers."
"He did a good job," Obi-Wan said. "You stayed alive. But the battle is close now. We'll be walking in the opposite direction. We should be able to make good time."
"We have provisions for you," Soara said, reaching into her survival pack.
Quickly, the Jedi shared water and protein cubes with the scientists. They looked a little better when they had finished.
A pale pink moon was rising as they left the village and entered the forest. The shelling had stopped, and the area was eerily quiet. The faint hazy light of the moon barely penetrated the thick trees. They did not dare risk a glow rod.
They walked for several hours. Soara kept track of their progress with her datapad map. "We're making good time," she murmured to Obi-Wan. "Another kilometer and we can turn and head south."
Anakin smelled the battle before he sensed it. He breathed in and smelled smoke and fire and death. Ahead, Obi-Wan and Soara had stopped. Darra drew a ragged breath.
The scientists had smelled and sensed nothing. They continued to walk until Obi-Wan held up a hand to stop them.
"Slowly," he murmured.
They walked, making no sound. In a few minutes Anakin could see that the light through the trees ahead had changed slightly. The smell was worse now. The wind brought it to him, and it smelled like something in a dark dream.
"The forest ahead," Soara said. "It's gone. Burned."
"They must have fought closer than we'd thought," Obi-Wan observed.
"Which means there could be patrols nearby."
They exchanged a glance. "We have no choice," Obi-Wan said.
"Padawans, we must surround the scientists," Soara said. "Keep close and alert."
They left the shelter of the trees. Around them were blackened stumps. A laserfight had taken place here. They hurried through the eerie landscape, the pink moon tinting the devastated forest with a rosy light that made everything seem even more dreamlike to Anakin.
There was no longer a path. They stumbled over branches and stumps. They kicked through spent shells. They were losing time. The scientists were exhausted. Their footsteps lagged.
Then Anakin felt what he had hoped not to feel on this long night: the dark side of the Force. It was around them, somewhere in the night. He knew Obi-Wan and Soara felt it, too. It took another minute for Darra to frown and place her hand on her lightsaber hilt.
"What-—" she began, but the night suddenly exploded into spasms of light.
Anakin felt the impact of a shell hit him like a wall of air, and he went flying.
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Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Jedi Quest: The Master of Disguise.