- "A labyrinth of evil, this war has become. But protect ourselves, we must. Safeguard the traditions the Jedi have upheld for one thousand generations."
Labyrinth of Evil is a Legends novel written by James Luceno. It was published by Del Rey on January 25, 2005. The novel is set near the end of the Clone Wars, directly before the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Labyrinth of Evil was later published in the collection The Dark Lord Trilogy.
The war that erupted in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is nearing its boiling point, as the dauntless Separatist forces continue their assault on the teetering Republic—and the diabolical triumvirate of Count Dooku, General Grievous, and their Master, Darth Sidious, fine-tune their strategy for conquest. In Episode III Revenge of the Sith the fates of key players on both sides of the conflict will be sealed. But first, crucial events that pave the way to that time of reckoning unfold in a labyrinth of evil…
Capturing Trade Federation Viceroy and Separatist Council Member Nute Gunray is the mission that brings Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, with a squad of clones in tow, to Cato Neimoidia. But the treacherous ally of the Sith proves as slippery as ever, evading his Jedi pursuers even as they narrowly avoid deadly disaster. Still, their daring efforts yield an unexpected prize: a unique holotransceiver that bears intelligence capable of leading the Republic forces to their ultimate quarry, the ever-elusive Darth Sidious.
Swiftly taking up the chase, Anakin and Obi-Wan follow clues from the droid factories of Charros IV to the far-flung worlds of the Outer Rim… every step bringing them closer to pinpointing the location of the Sith Lord—whom they suspect has been manipulating every aspect of the Separatist rebellion. Yet somehow, in the escalating galaxy-wide chess game of strikes, counterstrikes, ambushes, sabotage, and retaliations, Sidious stays constantly one move ahead.
Then the trail takes a shocking turn. For Sidious and his minions have set in motion a ruthlessly orchestrated campaign to divide and overwhelm the Jedi forces—and bring the Republic to its knees.
The war that erupted in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is nearing its boiling point. In Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the fates of key players on both sides of the conflict will be sealed. But first, crucial events that pave the way to that time of reckoning unfold in a labyrinth of evil....
On the planet Neimoidia, Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker set out to capture a treacherous ally of the Sith. Though they come up empty, their daring efforts yield an unexpected prize: intelligence capable of leading the Republic forces to their ultimate quarry, the ever-elusive Darth Sidious, whom they suspect has been manipulating every aspect of the Separatist rebellion. In the escalating galaxy-wide chess game of sabotage and retaliations, Sidious stays one move ahead. Then the trail takes a shocking turn. For Sidious and his minions have set in motion a ruthlessly orchestrated campaign to divide and overwhelm the Jedi forces—and bring the Republic to its knees.
The story begins with Anakin and Obi-Wan leading Squad Seven in an attack on Cato Neimoidia to capture Nute Gunray. After fighting Separatist forces outside Gunray's fortress the group uses harvester beetles as cover to enter through the underground. However one of the beetles startles and run over a mine in the ground causing more of the beetles to startle. Separatist forces then swarm the areas with STAPS laying fire on the clone forces. Droidekas attack from the fortress however Anakin orders an artillery strike on their position effectively destroying the majority of the droids.
Once inside the tunnels Anakin and Obi-Wan decide to split up, with Obi-Wan, Commander Cody, and the majority of Squad 7 going deeper into the fortress to act as bait for the battle droids inside, while Anakin and four commandos pursue Gunray. Kenobi engages Super Battle Droids with his clone forces and while deflecting blaster bolts accidentally burst a canister of spores which are said to have a "dislocating" effect. Upon reaching the fleeing Separatist leaders Anakin's forces position is revealed by a protocol droid, causing the Separatists to change course and send Super Battle Droids against them. Despite destroying the droids Anakin still loses Gunray but before he can pursue receives a transmission from Obi-Wan's force requesting assistance.
When he reaches the force though he finds that the enemies have been destroyed, with a "dislocated" Kenobi having defeated over fifty alone with his "new lightsaber form" as Anakin jokingly refers to it. After Kenobi recovers they learn that the commandos inspecting the items left behind by Gunray have discovered something that may be of interest.
Aboard Nute Gunray's ship Gunray and Rune Haako discuss the continual defeats of the Separatists and their evacuation. While reviewing the items he saved he realizes he has left behind his mechno-chair with a special transceiver for Sidious. He and Haako quickly decide to arm the chair so that it will set itself to self-destruct.
At the citadel Anakin and Obi-Wan discuss their find: the mechno-chair. Anakin is determined to examine the chair there but Obi-Wan insists that they wait for Republic Intelligence to show up. Anakin refuses to wait though and has R2-D2 try and run a diagnostic on the chair. While Anakin is talking with Obi-Wan though the chair receives Gunray's signal and goes off to arm itself to explode. Anakin is able to stop it before it does, though narrowly avoiding poison gas emitted from the chair. After stopping it though a recording of a conversation between Gunray and Sidious appears.
On Coruscant Bail Organa meets with fellow members of the Loyalist Committee for a meeting with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. They are delayed however by Sate Pestage. Back on Cato Neimoidia Republic Intelligence has arrived and is accompanied by Yoda. Yoda tells Obi-Wan that he and Anakin are to try and hunt down this Darth Sidious.
The Loyalist Committee members are finally granted their meeting with Palpatine who despite their insistence that the tide of the war is turning refuses to withdraw certain security measures that have been put into effect on Coruscant. Obi-Wan reflects again how Anakin would have fared had Qui-Gon survived and been his master but is saved from his musings by Yoda and the Intelligence captain. They have found something on the chair that could begin the Jedi's search: engravings by a Xi Charrian who signed his name on the chair.
Aboard the Invisible Hand Grievous watches as Nute Gunray's ship exits hyperspace, followed closely by Republic starfighters. He destroys part of Gunray's droid fighter escort as a punishment and considers letting the Republic troops achieve their kill. However he decides that Dooku and Sidious would be too upset with him were he to allow Gunray to die and thus destroys the starfighters.
Anakin and Obi-Wan go to Charros IV to find t'laalak-s'lalak-t'th'ak, the Xi Charrian who worked on the mechno-chair. With TC-16 acting as translator they convince the prelate to allow them to speak with t'laalak-s'lalak-t'th'ak. Upon questioning him however he becomes scared and attempts to flee. Anakin and Obi-Wan chase him down and cause a disruption in the workshop. The prelate arrives and demands that they leave but allows them to ask their questions first. They learn that the chair had come to Charros IV from Escarte and thus continue on with their search.
Republic Intelligence has used the mechno-chairs transceiver to finally crack the Separatist code and have learned that General Grievous is planning to attack Belderone next. They inform Mace Windu and Yoda who decide that they must try and stop the attack. Aboard the Invisible Hand Grievous reflects on his life as a Kaleesh warlord before his fatal crash and cyborg transformation. He is alerted to a problem in the Belderone invasion and finds Republic forces ambushing his ships and evacuating the people of Belderone. Anakin and Obi-Wan lead the Republic forces in the space battle and Anakin makes a bold attack on the Invisible Hand. Grievous realizes that the battle cannot be won and before retreating blasts the refugee ships, killing over ten thousand including twenty-seven Jedi.
Mace and Yoda decide that no matter what Darth Sidious must be rooted out. Grievous meets with Gunray and chastises him for the loss of the mechno-chair. On Kaon Count Dooku reflects on Grievous, his turn to the Sith, and his apprenticeship and service to Darth Sidious. Mace and Yoda meet with Palpatine to discuss the events at Belderone as well as what they have uncovered from the mechno-chair. Palpatine tells them to do whatever they must to hunt Sidious down.
Anakin and Obi-Wan arrive at Escarte and after being denied landing Anakin harasses the patrol ships until a tractor beam pulls them in. A captain of the base arrives and has them arrested but while leading them to their cell reveals himself as Travale, a Republic Intelligence agent. The Jedi are placed in a cell with Thal K'sar the Bith who designed the hyperwave transceiver for the chair. Travales cover is blown however and he is thrown in the cell with them, though not before setting up a power failure. When they escape the cell Anakin and K'sar get to the ship, after battling a dwarf spider droid in the tunnels, and Obi-wan and Travale deactivate the tractor beam. Anakin questions K'sar and by the time Obi-Wan and Travale arrive the Jedi have their next lead.
In "The Works" of Coruscant Count Dooku meets with Lord Sidious and discusses the events at Escarte and Anakin and Obi-Wan's search for Sidious. Sidious tells him not to worry and that they will set a trap for the Jedi at Naos III. He tells him to eliminate Kenobi but to allow Anakin to live for he has other plans for him. Palpatine makes an address to the Senate about his plans for taking the war to the Outer Rim specifically the "Triad of Evil".
Anakin and Obi-Wan search for their next source of info, a Lethan pilot on Naos III. After searching, and sampling, several taverns they finally find Fa'ale Leh, now going by Genne. Before having time to question her though they are ambushed and after a chase manage to escape their pursuers. Fa'ale is injured but is able to give them one piece of information. She delivered the ship to an area on Coruscant known as "The Works".
Back on Coruscant Mace leads a team consisting of troopers, Padawans, and Master Shaak Ti into the building they believe the courier was delivered to. Through Republic Intelligence research they are able to pick up a trail of Dooku's unknown visitor. A trail that leads through the tunnels to the senate district. Aboard Grievous's ship Dooku watches Grievous duel with his Magnaguards They soon receive a transmission from Sidious who discusses the events at Naos III, his plans for them to conquer Tythe, and his plans to accelerate the plan for the final stage of the war: regarding Coruscant.
Anakin and Obi-Wan are on Belderone while Fa'ale recovers. Obi-Wan informs them that they will not be returning to Coruscant soon, as they are needed at Tythe. Anakin argues that he wants to be home and Obi-Wan suspects that it is because of Padmé. He tells Anakin to discuss it with Palpatine. Mace and Shaak Ti are examining the tunnels and find a repulsorlift speeder bike which leads the search team to their next destination, 500 Republica. In the space battle over Tythe Anakin and Obi-Wan lead Red Squadron in destroying a Techno Union starship and then proceed to enter Tythes atmosphere to assault Dooku's stronghold. All of Red Squadron is lost along the way and the Jedi decide to enter through the facilities containment domes. Mace's team is getting close on finding the Dark Lord but are interrupted by a jolt to the building. Upon exiting Mace and Shaak Ti find a shocking sight. Coruscant is under attack.
On Tythe, Dooku sends battle droids to delay Anakin and Obi-Wan from reaching him, but his plans go awry when an angered Skywalker loses control of himself. In a surge of rage and power, Anakin howled, releasing a powerful wave of Force energy that collapsed the vast hall of the building, burying himself, Obi-Wan and Dooku beneath tons of debris.
Captain Dyne and his team had found a door in the tunnel that scans confirm to have one sentient being behind it as well as droids. Mace informs Yoda of the attack and Yoda decides to order all Jedi who can make it back to Coruscant for the battle.
In Germany, the novel was adapted into an audio-drama recorded with all of the German voice actors of the prequel trilogy.
On page 224 while Dooku is watching Grievous duel his Magnaguards Form IV: Ataru is misspelled as Ataro. This misspelling occurs in all three books of The Dark Lord Trilogy. On page 288 Stass Allie is referred to as Allie Stass. On the cover of the book, the scar on Anakin's face is missing.
During the fight with Grievous's guards Kit Fisto's lightsaber is falsely referred to as being blue as opposed to its confirmed green.
The events of this novel are referenced in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith when Obi-Wan tells Anakin that saving his life on Cato Neimoidia does not count in the running tally of Anakin's rescues.
The final three chapters of the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars were based on early plot outlines for this novel and there are several inconsistencies between the two finished works:
- In the novel, several different Jedi attempt to rescue the Supreme Chancellor. In the series, a trio of Jedi Masters made up of the Togruta Shaak Ti, the Ithorian Roron Corobb, and the Talz Foul Moudama, attempt to rescue him.
- In the novel, Mace Windu fights on a maglev train against General Grievous. In the series, Mace fights droids alongside Yoda.
- In the novel, Anakin and Obi-Wan search for Dooku. In the series, Anakin and Obi-Wan investigate a possible base for Grievous on frigid Nelvaan, and Anakin goes on a spiritual journey. This is cleared up in The New Essential Chronology, which states that the Nelvaan journey happens after the search for Dooku.
- In the novel, Roron Corobb and Foul Moudama are killed very quickly along with two other Jedi. In the series, they are shown in a long pursuit after Palpatine's abductors.
- ISBN 0345475720; January 25, 2005, Del Rey, 362-page hardcover
- ISBN 0739303252; January 25, 2005, Random House Audio, Abridged cassette
- ISBN 0739317350; January 25, 2005, Random House Audio, Abridged CD
- ISBN 0345475739; September 27, 2005, Del Rey, 384-page paperback
- ISBN 3442362261; April 1, 2005, Blanvalet, 350-page German hardcover (Labyrinth des Bösen).
- ISBN 8495070898; Alberto Santos Editor, 233-page Spanish hardcover (El Laberinto del Mal).
- ISBN 8324120890; 2005, Amber, 336-page Polish paperback (Labirynt zła).
- ISBN 9788025206249; 2007, EGMONT ČR, 284-page Czech paperback (Labyrint zla).
- ISBN 0345475720; 2007, Szukits Kiadó, 362-page Hungarian paperback (A gonosz útvesztője).
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