Darth Bane: Path of Destruction – Book Review

Darth Bane Path of Destruction title coverAll right ladies and gentlemen, time to review some heavy stuff . I’ll be reviewing the entire Bane trilogy, starting with the first book, Path of Destruction. Note that this book is considered a Legend book. Darth Bane: Path of Destruction was written in 2006 by Drew Karpyshyn, a great author of today’s sci-fi & fantasy publications.

My notes will be written in Italic and Bold after each section’s summary, so let’s get right to it.

1000 BBY

Darth Bane’s story takes place approximately 1000 years (precisely from 1003 BBY to 1000 BBY) before the Battle of Yavin, where Sith are in thousands, bearing the name Brotherhood of Darkness, led by a Sith Lord Kaan.

Apatros

Darth Bane, back then known as Dessel, was born on the outer-rim planet called Apatros. A small desolated planet, not much to it, except one thing; a very rare ore called cortosis, which is known to be very durable and primarily used in battle armors and space ship materials.

Dessel lives on Apatros and works the mines with his abusive father, Hurst, until he subconsciously and unknowingly kills him with his hidden Force abilities by stopping his heart in his sleep. After years of working the mines, he became physically strong and with his two-meters-even height, he was an imposing figure. Soon afterwards, Dessel is forced to leave Apatros after killing a republic officer when he outplays him in the card game Sabacc, by using his precognitive Force abilities. With the help of the cantina owner Groshik, Dessel is smuggled off-world and joins the Sith military unit called the Gloom Walkers.

In the first section of the book, I was quite surprised how hard Dessel’s life was. His father was a cruel man and other miners were giving him a hard time as well. Dessel will definitely earn respect in the reader’s eyes.

Gloom Walkers

Dessel proves himself to be a great soldier and leads the Gloom Walkers to many victories over the republic forces. While technically, the Gloom Walkers are led by the officer Ulabore, everyone in the unit knows that when it came to battle, Dessel is really in charge. While Ulabore receives all the commendations, at least he has the decency to promote Dessel to Sergeant.

After the battle of Phaseera, Dessel mutinies against Ulabore to prevent the unit deployment on a suicide mission. Under Dessel’s leadership, the mission is a success, but shortly afterwards Dessel is arrested by the Sith military and taken into custody by a Sith Lord Kopecz.

During his Sith military career we can clearly see how his Force abilities are manifesting in a greater deal. Sci-fi military fans will enjoy this part of the book.

Sith Academy on Korriban

Kopecz reviews Dessel’s mission logs and senses a great potential in him and an uncommonly strong connection to the force. Kopecz offers Dessel to take a new name and start a new life here, in the Sith Academy on Korriban as a Sith apprentice, to study under Qordis, current Head of the Sith Academy on Korriban, Kas’im, Orilltha, Shenayag and other Sith masters.

Thus, Bane is born. While other students studied for much longer in the academy, with Bane’s extremely strong connection to the force, he quickly catches up with them, even surpassing most of them. Unlike most of the students, besides learning from the current Sith masters, Bane frequently visits the Sith archives, seeking knowledge in the ancient texts and manuscripts of the long-dead Sith lords.

Bane also excels at lightsaber combat, training in the fifth form of Djem So, an aggressive lightsaber combat form where he can utilize his physical strength with strong, brutal attacks.

After killing one of the prominent students, Fohargh, in the dueling ring by using a powerful force attack, Bane’s reputation raises. While technically, killing another student is forbidden in the Academy, Bane is pardoned by Qordis due to his enormous potential. He also receives special treatment and individual lessons from other Sith masters.

My favorite part of the book. For me, Bane’s training in the Academy is something I would look forward to as well (considering that I’m be a Force-sensitive and the Jedi would reject my application). Sith training is explained in quite a detail with all it’s highs and downs. For the Dark Side fans, this is a must read.

Lost in the Force

However, due to Bane’s own fear and incomprehension of the Dark Side, his connection to the Force falters, which eventually prevents him to keep up with other students. With only one option left to maintain his reputation, Bane challenges Sirak – the strongest student of the Academy – in the dueling ring. Sirak defeats Bane, breaking his ribs and nose, sending him to a bacta tank for weeks.

When his injures are healed, Bane continues to train in the shadows, not making any contact with other students. Sith masters do not bother to give him any individual lessons anymore. Bane frequently visits the Sith archives due to two reasons: The archives are rarely visited by other students, which suits Bane just fine, while he can study various philosophies of the ancient Sith lords.

Later, Githany, a former Jedi and traitor arrives at the Academy. She quickly draws attention of the Sith masters and other students due to her extreme physical attractiveness and strong connection to the Force. Githany quickly identifies Sirak as her only real rival. Knowing that she cannot eliminate him herself, she seeks out Bane and helps him understand himself and his connection to the Force, while manipulating him to kill Sirak for her.

In the meantime, Bane secretly studies lightsaber combat techniques under Kas’im, who agrees to give Bane individual lessons because of his desire to crush Sirak.

This part of the book brilliantly illustrates that while Bane’s impression is that one of a brute, he is very smart, intuitive and patient. I grew fonder of Bane with each page. This is also the first time when the term ‘Darth’ is brought to light. Bane reads about the Darth title in the ancient Sith texts and asks Kas’im about it. He merely responds that the term represented rivalry and individual authority, that it divided the Sith.

Valley of the Dark Lords

Bane, however, quickly uncovers Githany’s intentions. He challenges Sirak and defeats him in the dueling ring, breaking his body and sending him to a bacta tank, thus returning the favor.

Bane questions the current Sith teachings, more inclined to the philosophies of the ancient Sith lords. When Qordis forbids him to visit the Sith archives, Bane refuses, telling Qordis that his teachings are flawed and departs for the Valley of the Dark Lords, seeking wisdom from the long-dead Sith Masters.

Even though Bane was just a student, he was already so powerful that even the Head of the Sith Academy, Qordis did not dare to stop him.

Return to the Academy

Finding nothing of value, Bane returns to the Academy and pretends acceptance of the current Sith teachings, while secretly despising them and believing there is only one place where he can learn more. In the meantime, Sith students are ordered to depart for Ruusan to fight Jedi Army of Light, led by the Jedi General Hoth. At the same time, Githany allies with Sirak and lures Bane to the Sith archives, where Sirak hides with his companions, Yevra and Llokay. Githany, however, allies with Bane at the last moment and together they kill Yevra and Llokay and bring Sirak to his knees. When Sirak pleads Bane to let him live, Bane shows no mercy and ends his life by severing his head.

Bane refuses to come with Githany and other Sith students to Ruusan and steals Qordis’ personal shuttle, the Valcyn and departs for the long-forgotten planet Lehon, also known as the Unknown World, home to a long-dead force-sensitive race called Rakata, who once dominated the galaxy. Kas’im tries to stop Bane from leaving, only to be shoved away while telling him that his name is Darth Bane.

Bane spent 13 days in the Valley, fighting Tuk’ata and Pelko bugs, seeking ancient wisdom while not sleeping at all, resting his mind only by using simple meditation techniques. Now that is what I call determination. Would be useful, sometimes (or all times).

Rule of Two

From his readings at the Sith archives, Darth Bane believes Lehon is the place where Darth Revan hid his holocron. Upon his arrival, Bane discovers the location of the Temple of the Ancients and finds Revan’s holocron.

With everything he learns from the holocron, Bane begins to understand that Sith can never live in thousands. Due to the nature of the Dark Side, they would eventually turn on one another, removing their place from the galaxy.

Thus, Bane creates the Rule of Two, which states that only two most powerful Sith individuals can coexist, master and apprentice, one to embody the power, the other to crave it.

In the meantime, Lord Kaan determines that it’s too risky to let Bane wander the galaxy and sends Kas’im to kill him. Bane overpowers Kas’im, killing him with the Force.

There you have it, a hidden planet, Sith holocron, ancient Sith lord, forbidden teachings, what more could a read want from a Star Wars book, am I right?

Ambria

Githany tells Kaan of the force premonition she had, seeing Bane destroying the Brotherhood of Darkness. Bane leaves for Ruusan, sending a message to Kaan that he wants to rejoin the Brotherhood and that he feels regret and guilt about killing Kas’im. Bane sends him offering in a form of Thought Bomb, a long-forgotten Sith Force technique. Kaan uses the opportunity and sends Githany to kill Bane. They meet on the planet Ambria, where Githany uses treachery and deception in the form of poison on her lips, while she herself uses an antidote. She kisses Bane and he immediately detects the poison, smiling at the fact that she behaved like a true Sith lord, considering her as his new apprentice. Confident that his newly discovered abilities from Revan’s holocron will allow him to counter the poison’s effects, he pretends not to notice and kisses her three times. However, eventually, he begins to feel the effects of Synox, a deadly poison he did not feel during the kiss. Finally, he understands that Githany used two poisons against him, one covering the presence of the other.

Bane, barely alive, tracks down a local healer named Caleb. Caleb refuses to cure Bane, showing him that he does not fear pain by shoving his hand into a pot with boiling water. Bane uses the Force and detects Caleb’s daughter, hiding in a tent nearby and threatens to kill the girl. Eventually, Caleb agrees to cure him. Bane decides not to kill Caleb and his daughter, as they might prove useful in the future and leaves for Ruusan.

The Githany’s deception was a big surprise. I loved that fact that she acted like an envoy, while trying to kill Bane. A true Sith, indeed.  

Ruusan

Bane heads for the Sith camp on Ruusan, finding Jedi fleet in the orbit and Sith battle ships blocking their reinforcements to land on the planet. When Bane joins the meeting in the Sith camp, both Kaan and Githany are shocked to see him alive. After hearing the battle plan, Banes chastises Kaan for thinking like a common general and not like a Sith lord. Bane presents his plan to create a massive Force Storm, one of the rituals he learned from Revan’s holocron, which the Sith lords agree to.

After burning down the forest where the Jedi were hiding and wiping out most of their forces, Kaan ends the ritual prematurely, deciding to engage the remaining Jedi hand to hand.

Bane returns to the empty Sith camp, where Qordis meets him. Qordis, recognizing Bane’s potential to lead the Brotherhood, offers him his loyalty. Bane tells Qordis that he intends to destroy the Brotherhood and force-chokes him. Soon after, Bane contacts the Sith fleet to stand down and break the blockade. This allows the Jedi fleet to send down reinforcements and gain the upper hand in the battle. Lord Kaan, desperate and on the edge of insanity, agrees with Bane that the only permanent solution is to use the Thought Bomb to wipe out the Jedi army once and for all. Kaan gathers the remaining Sith lords and together they move to the caves, preparing to create a Though Bomb ritual that would annihilate every force-user on the surface within the caves, including them. Lord Kopecz, seeing the madness of the plan, decides to leave the caves, only to be killed by a Jedi Master Farfalla. When general Hoth discovers Kaan’s intentions, he gathers one hundred Jedi and confronts the Sith in the caves. Kaan detonates the Thought Bomb, killing all the Sith and Jedi in the Cave system.

Githany, upon discovering the utter insanity of the plan, decides to leave the planet, only to me annihilated by the unleashed Though Bomb as well.

Bane, the last remaining Sith on Ruusan, finds an abandoned force-sensitive girl named Rain. Seeing her potential and strength in the Force, Bane considers training her in the ways of the Sith, so she could become the first apprentice of the new Order of the Sith Lords, following the Rule of Two.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I love this book so much that I read it three times, two of which in English and once in Czech. I also purchased an audio book version, which is great as well. The book offers everything a Star Wars fan could possibly want, perhaps except for politics. It covers Sith philosophies, lightsaber duels, Jedi vs. Sith battles, various Force techniques and manipulation, while focusing on the main character and his emotional and mental state throughout the book. There is no other way but to give this book 5 of 5 stars.

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