The Legendary Adventures should have started with the Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void. But let me tell you upfront: This review series is not going to be strict about order. If anything, I’ll be strict about buying novels with the Legends banner. With that in mind, we start with The Lost Tribe of the Sith! And, let me tell you: I wish I started with Dawn of the Jedi.
I’m not sure who decided that we, as the collective Star Wars fandom, were this interested in Old Republic era Sith. The movies gave us Maul, Tyrannus, Sidious, and Vader. Okay, not too many. Even the early Legends didn’t seem to invent new Sith. Then Kevin J. Anderson rolled around and we started to hear about The Tales of the Jedi. Nowadays, if you attach Darth to a vaguely mean sounding word, you’re almost guaranteed to have accidentally guessed the name of a Legends Sith. Talk about overload. Not only that, but the first five books in the Legends timeline are all about Sith in The Old Republic and Red Harvest, the prequel to the zombie-Deathtroopers novels. The Sith were literally never my favorite part of the Star Wars mythology. I was enamoured more with Thrawn and Daala and the more military aspects of the stories than the excess of Sith. I knew this would be a long slump for me, and boy was I right.
For what it’s worth, John Jackson Miller is one of my favorite Legends authors. I usually trust him with concepts that I wouldn’t dig otherwise. His work in the canon has been extraordinary, I loved Knight Errant, and the Knights of the Old Republic era. He, Drew Karpyshyn, and Claudia Gray compose the top three authors. (When will we see Drew in the canon novels?) That being said, I feel like, personally, John got handed a project I would be predisposed to not like a lot.
Originally released as a smattering of free eBooks, the Lost Tribe of the Sith covers a wide berth of Legends events. The series of eBooks was originally developed as a backdrop to the Sith group that Ben and Luke Skywalker encounter in Fate of the Jedi (Remember: this is the series that created Vestara Khai, may she rest in peace). In the eBooks, you get to read about the history of this Sith group and how they survived without any knowledge of Bane or Vader. The concept itself is….sketchy. Honestly, it feels like an extra piece rather than a complete story. The FotJ series needed a villain, and they wanted to start to connect the New Jedi Order with Legacy, so they brought in the Sith that would pave the way for Krayt’s group to become the One Sith. I never really liked that idea, so I was predisposed to not like this book (I repeat myself profusely to make sure you know: this isn’t as much a critique of the book rather than my reaction). This books is the only novel that features any events that took place during the Great Hyperspace War: the war in which the Jedi almost decimated the entire Sith Order. It even features a character from The Covenant of Knights of the Old Republic Dark Horse series fame! Unfortunately, that the eBooks covered so many timelines means that each story is brief, and you don’t really stay too long in any given story. By the time the book ends, they are all woven into a sort of grand tapestry, but it doesn’t seem to bring any finality to any story for me. Let me explain.
The first story focuses on the title of the book: why is this group of Sith called the LOST Tribe? Well, on a mission for Naga Sadow, a group of miners and Sith are shot down by a lone Jedi. Naga Sadow sends these Sith in the middle of the war with the purpose of finding more resources for the Sith Empire and to carry the ones that they already have found. Essentially, these Sith are slaves to Sadow rather than their own autonomous unit. Their ship, The Omen, crashes on a mountain in the Keshiri system. The Sith have no way to leave the system without a functioning ship, so they touch down and start to make their living on Kesh, starting at the top of the mountain and moving down. As they travel down the mountain, the Sith discover the Keshiri people. The Kesh expect a group of people named the Skyborn to come from the sky and save them. The Sith take this idea and try to show they are the messianic fulfillment of Keshiri myth. In the first story, setting the context for the rest of the stories, Korsin, the head of the Sith, fights and kills his brother because…well, to be honest, the motivation seems to be “because that’s what Sith do.” Korsin then marries his sister-in-law and becomes a step-parent. This creates a dynasty that the rest of the Sith on Kesh follow.
Does this sound like Game of Thrones to you? It did to me. Reading this after the Game of Thrones series has become so big, I can’t see anything but GoT in these books. From killing brothers, to backstabbing and betrayal, to attempts at power, this book emulates every talking point from the massive series. Maybe my biggest gripe with early The Clone Wars was that it was too concerned with making Aliens or Godzilla, but Star Wars style! than telling wholly original stories. (I soon learned to love and appreciate them, so don’t hate me!) Lost Tribe never seems to make it uniquely Star Wars, though, but maybe I am too saturated in GoT. It could be aiming for more of a fantasy vibe, which I would appreciate, but I didn’t feel too connected to the format.
Maybe my biggest personal problem with the series was that I just don’t like the concept of the Sith. Sometimes someone is betrayed because…the other was bored, it feels like. After speaking with Ryan a bit, I realized that this is what the Sith are. That’s what they do and that might be as much characterization as you’re going to get. I’m pretty sure that this works for other people, but I can’t say that I was much of a fan of this type of fiction.
The fact that no heroic foil is ever developed to fight the Sith is also a disappointment, personally. When I turn to a Star Wars story, I usually expect the epic tale of good vs evil. I didn’t get that here, and I wasn’t a huge fan because of that. The first potential challenge to the Sith takeover of the planet, Adari Vaal, is declared a heretic by the high council of Keshiri elders. The council believes that the gods created Kesh, both the planet and every continent on the planet, but Adari believes that it and the continents were created by volcanic activity. This “naturalism” makes her an enemy to the religious beliefs of the council, but because she is not as deeply affected by Keshiri myths, she is able to keep a safe distance from the Sith who molded the Keshiri ideology around them to become their gods. Adari, in an effort to take down the Sith, joins their ranks and gets close to Korsin. We later learn that she was super tempted by Korsin’s teachings and thought the Dark Side was pretty cool every once in a while. Huh. Who would have seen that coming? In the end, she manages to come up with a rebellion that sort of hampers the Sith, but ends up not doing much.
The second potential foil is a Jedi from The Covenant named Jelph Marrian. Jelph, though he also crashlanded, convinces a Sith Lady that he is basically an outcast Sith even with no records to back it up. The Sith Lady, Orielle, banished from society because of a botched rebellion orchestrated by her mother, starts to fall in love with the supposed exile. She eventually finds out he’s hiding a ship, and she betrays him to try and steal it. The plan to escape the planet with his ship fails when the ship is stolen by a Dark Lord from the high council of Sith. When their plan of escape fails, Ori convinces Jelph to be selfish and basically adopt the Sith way. In an act that would make Lucien, the head of the Covenant to hunt the Sith, cringe, Jelph says, “ah, screw it”, and adopts the Sith philosophies.
There was one character that was alright in my eyes: Dark Lord Hilts, a historian of the Sith, is able to find legend after legend that eventually unites all of these different warring Sith factions into one under his rule. Hilts is probably unique, as far as I can tell, in the Sith. He’s an archivist rather than a fighter. He works to control the history of the Sith who have lived on Kesh so far. I liked this because he seemed to be a derivation from a pretty set pattern. I also have a soft spot for any librarian after my stint as a librarian. He’s still kind of a d-bag, but he is probably the most cunning. Rather than resorting to violence as a means to end his problems, he uses the Sith holidays to bring the now warring factions of the Sith in line.
Every 25 years, the Sith are to read Korsin’s final will and testimony detailing the history of their Tribe. Hilts accidentally goes deeper in the recording of the testament, finding out that the Sith on Kesh were basically slaves to Naga Sadow. The Sith are horrified, since they are mostly human and Sadow is not. Shocked, they accept that they were slaves and start to hate themselves. They then find maps hidden in Korsin’s throne room detailing the rest of Kesh, including continents that they have never visited before. In an effort to regain their previous glory, Hilts is able to lead the Sith in an age of exploration, and they go farther into the planet than they had before. This story finds a sequel in the Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral comic series from Dark Horse. I don’t plan on reading that. Way down at the end of the chronology, the Lost Tribe makes an appearance again in the Fate of the Jedi series. Luke and Ben, in an effort to find out why Jacen Solo turned to the Dark Side, comes in contact with the descendants of the Lost Tribe and are forced to team up to face an even greater threat. Very far into the future, when my memory is jogged by re-reading the series, we will return to this.
What may be an interesting concept to some: Game of Thrones, but with a lightsaber throne doesn’t connect with me due to either the characters or plot points. The stories reads like supplementary material, designed with something else in mind (the Fate of the Jedi series). Because of that, these stories have little finality and little re-readability for me. If you’re interested in the Sith culture, this would be a must-read.
You can follow the site at @MynockManor.
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Reviews:
“A Hero Discovered” 1×01 | “The Mines of Gabralla” 1×02 | “Zander’s Joyride” 1×03 | “The Lost Treasure of Cloud City” 1×04 | “Peril on Kashyyyk” 1×05 | “Crossing Paths” 1×06