Book Review: Darth Maul Shadow Hunter Audiobook
Darth Maul Shadow Hunter
After years of waiting in the shadows, Darth Sidious takes the first step in his master plan to bring the Republic to its knees. Key to his plan are the Neimoidians of the Trade Federation. Then one of his Neimoidian contacts disappears, and Sidious doesn’t need his Force-honed instincts to suspect treachery. He orders his apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt down the traitor.
But it’s too late. The secret has already passed through the hands of information broker Lorn Pavan, which puts it at the very top of Darth Maul’s blacklist. Then, in the labyrinthine alleys and sewers of Coruscant, capital of the Republic, Lorn crosses paths with Darsha Assant, a Padawan Jedi on a mission to earn her title of Knight.
Now the future of the Republic depends on Darsha and Lorn. But how can an inexperienced Jedi and an ordinary man, unfamiliar with the mighty ways of the Force, hope to triumph over one of the deadliest killers in the galaxy?
Author: Michael Reaves
Cover artist: ToK
Narrated by: Sam Wiwer
Release date: August 2, 2022
Length: 601 minutes
Set just before the events of The Phantom MenaceDarth Maul: Shadow Hunter was a highly anticipated book when it was released on January 30, 2001. With Episode 2 coming at just the right time and Maul’s character already firmly entrenched in the pantheon of greats. star wars characters, any details of his past were eagerly welcomed, and the story at hand – Maul sent on a mission to resolve issues regarding the identity of the Sith by means of a holocron sold to an information broker by a Neimiodian official – is as relevant today as it was then, especially in light of the recent episode of Tales of the Jedi’The Sith Lord‘ and the era of Episode 1 and the blockade of Naboo, also prescient given the blockade of Ghorman mentioned in Andor.
It should be noted that in 2001 Darth Maul had only been – and at the time probably still would be – voiced by Peter Serafinowicz, but as the story shows the arrival of The Clone Wars in 2008 and later Maul himself in season four in 2012 saw Sam Witwer take on the role, something he would continue to do for Star Wars: Rebels where he attempted the death of the Dathomirian Zabrak by the hand of Obi-Wan Kenobi and backed up the timeline again in 2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story where he led the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. Therefore, the opportunity to have Witwer record the full audio version of Michael Reeves’ novel (after the 2007 abridged version read by Michael Cumpsty) was too good an opportunity to pass up, and while never wanting to divert the work from the stellar team that typically make these audiobooks, it gives us a unique opportunity to hear the character’s on-screen voice dive deep into the mind and deliver something truly special.
To be placed before the events of Phantom, we know the result. Despite numerous attempts to escape the powerful Sith apprentice, Maul eventually tracks down all of his careers and ends them, most poignantly at the end of the book when he finds information broker Lorn Pavan and in action as close to mercy as you find of any Sith, grants him a quick kill. The book is fast-paced, action-packed, adds an extra dimension to the relationship between Maul and Sidious while laying the groundwork for other authors to continue in book and comic form (Darth Plagueis and the Race Numbers Dark Horse return to that nicely) and even removed from Canon as a book removed from Legends status reinforces why the decision to bring Maul back (despite devolving his upper and lower halves) was a good one. Well worth a read and a listen.