To my parents, Ron and Viv, and my younger sister, Dawn
This book came together in the space of only six months-an unbelievably short time to transform an idea into a finished work on the shelves. I’d like to thank everyone at Lucas Licensing Ltd. and Del Rey Books who was part of this incredible accomplishment, along with a special thanks to my wife, Jennifer. Without her help and understanding I don’t think this would have been possible given the deadlines I was working under. But most of all, I’d like to thank all the fans who bought Darth Bane: Path of Destruction. Without your support, this sequel never would have happened. You have my sincere and humble gratitude.
Darovit made his stumbling way through the bodies that littered the battlefield, his mind numb with grief and horror. He recognized many of the dead: some were servants of the light side, allies of the Jedi; others were followers of the dark side,
minions of the Sith. And even in his dazed stupor, Darovit couldn’t help but wonder which side he belonged with.
A few months earlier he’d still gone by his childhood name, Tomcat. Back then he’d been nothing more than a thin, dark-haired boy of thirteen living with his cousins Rain and Bug back on the small world of Somov Rit. They had heard rumblings of the never-ending war between the Jedi and the Sith, but they never thought it would touch their quiet, ordinary lives… until the Jedi scout had come to see Root, their appointed guardian.
General Hoth, leader of the Jedi Army of Light, was desperate for more Jedi, the scout had explained. The fate of the entire galaxy hung in the balance. And the children under Root’s care had shown an affinity for the Force.
At first Root had refused. He claimed his charges were too young to go off to war. But the scout had persisted. Finally, realizing that if the children did not go to the Jedi, the Sith might come and take them forcibly, Root had relented. Darovit and his cousins had left Somov Rit with the Jedi scout and headed for Ruusan. At the time, the children had thought it was the beginning of a grand adventure. Now Darovit knew better.
Too much had happened since they’d all arrived on Ruusan. Everything had changed. And the youth-for he had lived through too much in the past weeks to be called a boy anymore-didn’t understand any of it.
He’d come to Ruusan full of hope and ambition, dreaming of the glory that would be his when he helped General Hoth and the Jedi Army of Light defeat the Sith serving in Lord Kaan’s Brotherhood of Darkness. But there was no glory to be found on Ruusan; not for him. And not for his cousins.
Rain had died even before their ship touched down on Ruusan. They’d been ambushed by a squadron of Sith Buzzards only seconds after they broke atmosphere, the tail of their vessel shorn off in the attack. Darovit had watched in horror as Rain was swept away by the blast, literally ripped from his arms before plunging to an unseen death hundreds of meters below.
His other cousin, Bug, had died only a few minutes ago, a victim of the thought bomb, his spirit consumed by the terrible power of Lord Kaan’s final, suicidal weapon. Now he was gone. Like all the Jedi and all the Sith. The thought bomb had destroyed every living being strong enough to wield the power of the Force. Everyone except Darovit. And this he couldn’t understand.
In fact, nothing on Ruusan made any sense to him. Nothing!