|Events that occur between 19 and 2
years before the Battle of Yavin.
|John Jackson Miller
|Del Rey [US]
Arrow Books [UK]
|Story published as:
Hardback Novel (2013)
Audio Book (2013)
Paperback Novel (2014)
If you have read this book, please
2 reviews [Review
score: 4.25 / 5]
The Republic has fallen.
Sith Lords rule the galaxy.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan
Kenobi has lost everything...
Everything but hope.
Tatooine, a harsh desert world where farmers toil in
the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves
and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders.
A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And
an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an
orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the
future of a galaxy.
Known to locals only as “Ben,”
the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic
stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his
past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But
as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of
Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds
himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very
mission that brought him to Tatooine.
Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor
to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope,
can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his
Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled,
innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent
unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of
the Jedi and the formidable power of the Force in his
never-ending fight for justice.
This story occurs just after Revenge
of the Sith (19 years before the Battle
Related Stories (in
|Review by Darth Kondorr, Poland,
I am not a fan of Miller’s yet, he really is quite consistent in
delivering good to great books. Kenobi might be among the
best now, especially as it is the one most down to earth... or
rather down to Tatooine.
Telling the tale of the early days of
Obi-Wan’s presence on the desert planet it uses almost exclusively
other people’s point of views to shed some light into this part of
his life, while keeping the mystery around him intact. I have seen
this way of storytelling in other Star Wars books, and while it is
an effective tool of showing the impact of the legendary and
overpowered titular characters on the lives of more regular people,
it does carry the weight of disappointment, which comes from the
expectation, that we would spent most of the 400 pages with Obi-Wan.
Instead we spent those mostly with the deserts inhabitants, which is
still compelling mind you.
The other negative is how Obi Wan
faces his challenge of not getting involved. His goal is to stay low
and watch over Luke, yet he never takes the hard choice, he never
sits back and simply witnesses other people’s tragedies. I
understand, that him becoming the crazy and reclusive hermit is the
overall character development that takes years, but still this is
rather an “Obi-Wan - the Jedi” tale, not a “Ben - the crazy old
Other than that, there is a lot of detail to like in this
book, be it the everyday problems of moisture farmers or their
adversaries, the Tusken. Especially the Tuskens portrayal was very
I might be complaining more than I wanted to, but in
the end this is a really great book and even though it is not canon,
it is rather non-invasive into the new canon, except for some
|Review by Ewan, Star Wars
Books & Comics, 2013:
is essentially billed as a Star Wars western with frontier settler
people who, in their eternal struggles with the elements and native
peoples, are distrustful of outsiders and in the case of Obi-Wan
Kenobi, outsiders don't come much bigger. However, Miller takes this
established genre and flips it as he examines Kenobi's internal
conflict to hide himself from the galaxy at large while his Jedi
heritage argues he should always help those in need. To wit, on his
first real encounter with the locals, where he saves the daughter of
the local store with surreptitious use of the Force, Obi-Wan assumes
the pseudonym 'Ben'. And this is the essence of Miller's story: the
split persona of Obi-Wan, former Jedi Master and hero of The Clone
Wars, and Ben, an outsider come to live as a hermit.
this story stand out is that Miller chooses to examine Kenobi's
personality conflict through the eyes of those he is forced to come
into contact with. And here we have a small but strong cadre of
characters: Annileen Calwell, a local storekeeper and mother to
teenagers Kallie and Jabe; Orrin Gault, a moisture farmer and
entrepreneur; and A'Yark, a Tusken war leader. Although this core
group of characters each see Ben differently, their lives are
forever changed by their contact with him. Interestingly, Miller
takes certain preconceptions of protagonist/antagonist roles and
twists them so that we are unclear of role definitions and builds on
this giving us controlled revelations throughout the story. The
reader cannot take anything at face value.
Since Kenobi must
hide his Jedi heritage from all those around him, Miller creates
some imaginative solutions for Ben when situations become too
dangerous that only Obi-Wan can resolve: when Tuskens attack the
local store he rushes in and sets off an extinguisher as a smoke
screen to hide the use of his lightsaber; or when he rescues Orrin
from nefarious money-lenders by using methods even the Dark Knight
would have been proud to have used. It is therefore not surprising
that after just a few such exploits he is nicknamed "crazy Ben". Not
quickly enough Obi-Wan understands that it is very difficult to keep
to oneself and preserve personal secrets in a small town, especially
when Kallie, who idolises Ben for saving her, discovers Ben's
Miller also examines Kenobi's transformation from
Obi-Wan to Ben through the eyes of the native Tuskens' war leader,
A'Yark. First dismissive of Kenobi as yet another "invading"
settler, A'Yark soon begins to learn that there is more to this new
arrival than initial observations led them to believe. Kenobi
further cements his "crazy Ben" name when he approaches and
converses with A'Yark and the Tuskens - something no other settler
Fan-boys will enjoy how Miller expands A'Yark and the
Tusken Raiders' story by incorporating the shared history from
Timothy Truman's Outlander
comic book story and the Episode II Tusken raid that
resulted in Shmi Skywalker's death and Anakin's vengeful slaughter
of the Raiders. However, not so cleverly done was Kenobi's
recollection of Zayne Carrick and Kerra Holt, characters Miller
created in his "Knights
of the Old Republic" and "Knight
Errant" comic stories. That such individuals from so far back on
the Star Wars timeline would have any connection for Kenobi felt
tenuous to say the least.
Not forgetting that Kenobi's mission on
Tatooine was two-fold: one, to look over and protect the infant
Luke; and two, learn to converse with his former master, Qui-Gon
Jinn; Miller's telling of the latter at the end of each day on
Tatooine does at times feel like exposition by Kenobi, but on the
whole, it is carried off with serenity. Especially as the days
unfold and Kenobi reflects on his individual encounters he begins to
slowly accept that he is no longer Obi-Wan.
As in Miller's comic
book story, "Knights
of the Old Republic", comedy has it part to play in the story:
whether it is Annileen's almost daily struggles with her children's
antics; or Kenobi's recollection of Yoda's teachings at what would
appear to be inappropriate occasions; or when Kenobi's surname is
revealed and his fears of Imperial attentions are alleviated when he
discovers that Kenobi is actually a common name on Tatooine!
Kenobi's near two-decade long exile on Tatooine begins here and
Miller's examination of his adjustment from Jedi Master and hero of
The Clone Wars to hermit is wonderfully told. The pacing is
spot on as we are introduced to the various characters and learn all
that motivates them, their fears and their hopes. Miller reveals
just enough at each turn so that we must read on and in doing so he
never fails to pique our interest in all the characters. This is a
story all will enjoy: whether you've seen only the six films or have
a greater interest in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
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