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Cloak of Deception

(Star Wars Legends Universe)

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  4,985 ratings  ·  237 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author James Luceno comes an all-new Star Wars adventure that reveals the action and intrigue unfolding directly before Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Mired in greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation maintains a stranglehold on shipping routes, tensi
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published May 29th 2001 by The Ballantine Publishing Group (first published May 29th 2000)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  4,985 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, own, star-wars
Originally published at Bookwraiths.

A long time ago in a galaxy far,
far away . . . .


Cloak of Deception is a prequel story to Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and it is a political thriller. Yes, you read that right. This Star Wars novel breaks from the familiar action adventure formula of most Expanded Universe tales to focus on political corruption, trade wars, terror cells, and two familiar Jedi (Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan) mired in the whole mess. This setup book for Episode I a nice change of pa
Crystal Starr Light
The Trade Federation monopolizes trade to outer systems, a situation the Nebula Front doesn't like. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are out to hunt down Arwen Cohl, one such leader of the Nebula Front, as Palpatine rises to power, and Valorum sees his status crumble.
NOTE: Based on listening to the audiobook and previous reading of the novel

I Liked:
If there is one thing Luceno is good at, it's integrating all of Star Wars Expanded Universe. He makes references to characters like Tarkin (yay!) and Vergere (ya
Jan 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: Wendell Andrea
Perhaps it's me, but this book fell flat. Other authors have demonstrated that fan fiction can be done with imagination, but James Luceno didn't quite pull it off.

He tried. There are plot twists galore, but knowing who everyone is--it's hardly a spoiler to "out" Senator Palpatine--and where everything will end up for the start of the Episode One movie, didn't leave Luceno much wiggle room.

The only jarring error, which he repeated, was the instantaneous nature of his faster-than-light jumps. As
This novel is a political action thriller set in the Star Wars universe, in the period during the run-up to the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

It is no secret that I love the movie, and in particular I love the political machinations that form such an important part of the plot (I'd just finished an undergraduate degree in Economic History when the movie was released, and stuff like the history of the British East India Company was at the forefront of my mind, so the actions o
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Prequels Completists
Shelves: guerre-stellari
I enjoyed Star Wars: Darth Plagueis a lot, so I really wanted to give this one a chance however the incessant plotting and intriguing wore me down.

Due to the cover art I was really expecting a Star Wars novel focusing on the relationship between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but sadly they were marginal characters throughout at best.

Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't quite know what to think about this book. It's not good — passable at best — but I read it through instead of abandoning it. There are three story threads here: the first and least interesting follows Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi trying to unveil a conspiracy. The high point of that narrative is seeing the "maverick" side of Qui-Gon more intensely, and why he was still only a knight and not a master in the Jedi Order by the time of Star Wars: Episode I. But the entire Jedi arc of this ...more
Tony Evans
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book to get me started in the series. It covers the events before Episode 1. All the details, characters and scenes were exactly what I expected out of a Star Wars book. The book focuses on the reason why the Trade Federation has blockaded Naboo in Episode 1. I didn't give the book 5 stars because it was a little too predictable, but you already know the Jedi's are going to win. ...more
Interesting novel dealing with events just prior the Phantom Menace. And yet it can be read as a simple sci-fi thriller in any galaxy far away(in case you've been living in a cave for the last 42 years).

The style is easy to read, explaining the world around clearly and without redundancy for seasoned Star Wars fans.

Characters are correctly used when pertaining to the SW universe (Valorum, Jedis etc.) but secondary characters are a bit left on the side. On the other hand Luceno probably didn't ha
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-wars
The problem is that Cloak of Deception knows what it is. It’s a political thriller, and it is good at being a political thriller, chock full of deception, manipulation, and manoeuvring. But it can only go as far as the limitations set upon it. Yes, the political intrigue was alright, and one appreciates having some political intrigue thrown into the mix amongst Star Wars books of other styles... but without a little action, a little character drama, it was rather dry and a tad flat. Let's not fo ...more
Cloak of Deception is not only an exciting read, but it also nicely sets the stage for the events of TPM.

Most importantly for Star Wars fans, this book explains what the vague "dispute over taxation" at the beginning of Episode I is all about. Much of the information to be found here would have improved the film as well, by more fully explaining the motivations of key characters and more sharply setting the tension. For instance, the fact that the dispute isn't really about taxes, but rather abo
As a real Star Wars fan (I try to collect all books on the Star Wars Expanded Universe) I love this story. James Luceno is an awful good author to picture in writing devastating events and fights.

Over the years have bought Star Wars books almost immediately when they were released, but I never was able to read then. They take a large part of my TBR-list. Now that I'm retired I have plenty of time to start reading from the beginning and see how the stories about the Jedi and the Sith develop.

Daniel Kukwa
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-wars
Political intrigue and government bureaucracy might have made for a lousy movie in "The Phantom Menace", but given room to breathe in a novel -- and in the hands of a skilled Lucasverse novelist -- it forms the basis of a rewarding thriller. As both a prologue to Episode I and a story in its own right, it makes for a satisfying read...and it's nice to get some story time for the under-appreciated Qui-Gon Jin. ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was probably one of, if not THE, fastest Star Wars novel I've ever read.
But that's not a bad thing!

It was a good a story, likeable characters, some cool action.
The only downside is that I knew what is to come, since this novel takes place just before the evens of the Phantom Menace.

But, all in all, this was another cool Star Wars EU novel that I truly recommend! :)
Jan 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
BOOOORING! Got 150 pages into it, waiting for the story to begin. I put it aside, which I almost never do, no matter how bad the book. I just hate to leave a book unfinished. But in this case, I had to move on to something more stimulating. Life is too short to waste on crap.
Peter Hale
So far, this is my least favorite James Luceno novel. I adore his novels. Darth Plagueis and Catalyst both make it to the top of my favorites list. This novel wasn't chock-full of the beautiful style he concocted in his other stories. And a plot about a guy named Havac (havoc, I guess) that wants to kill (view spoiler) Overall, something felt...missing.

The onl
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-wars
The book started a little slow, but picked up pace. We learn from this novel, how suave Palpatine is. He plays several sides of the political arena, and as we know, to benefit his interests in the future. Poor Valorum does not have too many allies, mainly the Jedi. The book centers on the Trade Federation and the Nebula Front...and taxation on the outlying systems. The Nebula Front is a terrorist organization out to get Valorum, or so it seems and also to reduce the control of the Trade Federati ...more
Ashley Bogner
Cloak of Deception is an interesting look at the events leading up the The Phantom Menace . I enjoyed learning why the Trade Federation joined forces with Sidious, as well as what Qui-gon and Obi-wan were doing before being sent to negotiate the Naboo blockade issue. Like most Star Wars novels, it was clean, and we're introduced to a cast of new characters, and we get to learn more about the pre-existing characters like Qui-gon, Obi-wan, Palaptine, Vollorum, Queen Amidala, Viceroy Gunray, a ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-wars
It is not that I didn't like it, I just didn't like it per se.

The events are right before Phantom Menace where Palpatine gains power. It is more of a political book, but there is some action. The ending was good and clever, so that is a plus. It is one of those books that you really don't need to read. I liked Luceno's other SW books much better and they were written after this book. I got it from the library as pretty much all the other SW books that I wanted were checked out. So if you are in
Jeff Newman
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sw-hb-need
For those who aren't fans of The Phantom Menace, this book may not be for you. However, my take on it was that it was a very well-constructed prequel to The Phantom Menace and helps give more foundation to it. From the introduction of Viceroy Gunray's relationship with Darth Sideous to the introduction of Padme as the new queen of Naboo, I almost wish much of this had been included in Episode I. ...more
Holden Attradies
A pretty good little lead up to episode one. I really shows how well Palpitine was at having a hundred cons going at one time, how he was the master of deception. I also liked that even though Jedi were featured in here they didn't completely steal the show. ...more
Jordan Anderson
After reading Cloak of Deception, never has the age old maxim "Never judge a book by its cover" been so abundantly clear.

Let's look at this book for a moment shall we? That cover is awful. It's a flat out cheese fest of monumental proportions. So typical of late 90's, early 2000's Star Wars related merchandise. It's just so bad. I mean, look at Palpetine and Valorum's "dramatic" profiles, all juxtaposed with Qui-gon's "action" pose, all in the forefront of Coruscant. Yeah, it's awful.

Then ther
Star Wars Legends Project #64

Background: Cloak of Deception was published in May of 2001. It was written by James Luceno, one of several Star Wars novels he has written.

Cloak of Deception is set around 33 years before the Battle of Yavin, less than 1 year before The Phantom Menace. Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Senator Palpatine all play major roles, as does the planet Eriadu previously mentioned in Luceno's Darth Maul: Saboteur (my review). Actually, the cast of characters is one of the largest I'v
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-wars
This book isn't for the casual fan, but has some value to the more dedicated. It doesn't feel necessary at all, but it gave enough to justify reading for those doing a complete read through. The complaint I'm sure most people have about this book, and one that I share, is that a large focus of the plot is on trade disputes. This isn't really Luceno's fault since he is writing a prequel to the Phantom Menace. It still doesn't make for exciting reading though. The plot finally began to feel worth ...more
Mark Oppenlander
Set almost immediately before the events of The Phantom Menace, this novel depicts the political intrigue that led to the blockade of Naboo. A terrorist organization known as the Nebula Front has been harassing the Trade Federation and they want military protection from the Republic. Influenced by Senator Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor Valorum suggests that, in exchange for patrols of the Outer Rim, the trade routes become subject to taxation, thus allowing a means to pay for the additional suppo ...more
Don Brown
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-wars
"Cloak of Deception" get two out of five stars from me. It was a chore for me to "Force" (pun intended) my way through this book. I actually got halfway through it and gave up on my first read. But, I wanted to see what it adds to the Legends side of Star Wars and see how it ultimately ended.

Sadly, like "The Phantom Menace" movie, this book gets bogged down in boring pseudo-political minutia. Trade disputes are front-and-center. The machinations of the various and corrupt Galactic Senate player
Laney Rustin
A common complaint about this book is that there are way too many long descriptions of everything, which doesn't really bother me since I like to imagine things in as much detail as possible, but I can see how it might become tiresome to others. Another common complaint about it is that it's boring, particularly at the beginning, which I can agree with to a certain extent. There is a lot of political drama in this book, which can be complicated, confusing, and get dull fast. But the good news is ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-wars
Cloack of Deception is writting by Games Luceno, who has also wrote Darth Plagueis. The book stated that it would contain a fast pacing story about two of my favorite jedi’s: Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn.

This book is not an action book, but more about political intrigues. It is all about double motives, manipulation and political chatter. This is a writing style that Luceno does very well. You will read in detail how Palpatine manipulates his environment likes pawns on a chessboard. The Trade Federa
Roslyn K
While this is not the sort of Star Wars book I really like, I can definitely appreciate what it did for making sense of the taxation dispute that happened in The Phantom Menace. The entire blockade of Naboo and it's justification has always befuddled me, so having a book that gets into the background of tax legislation in the Galactic Senate and Palpatine's role in all that is helpful. Not super fun for me, because I've never been all that interested in political thrillers, but still a solid add ...more
Sean Haughton
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As ever, a James Luceno-written Star Wars novel hits the spot.

A political thriller preceding Episode 1, Cloak of Deception has countless highlights. The characterisations of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Palpatine & Valorum in particular are all superbly done, while the dynamic throughout the book between all characters is brilliantly written.

Easter Eggs include the appearances of Imperial-era and Post-ROTJ characters, which alongside other nods and tie-ins highlight Luceno's gift for knotting together the
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, star-wars
4/5 James Luceno. I don't understand for a second why he's not so loved on goodreads. In the EU community, he's undoubtedly one of the most respected authors of the franchise. This novel is far too underrated here. The only real criticism you can give Luceno is that he knows Star Wars so well that he sometimes gets a bit too complex and (but only in the beginning of chapters, very much like a Star Wars establishment shot) too descriptive, but that's precisely what I love about him.

As immediate p
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James Luceno co-wrote a lot of books with Brian Daley as Jack McKinney.

He is a New York Times Best-Selling author currently living in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and youngest child.

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“What Palpatine lacked in charisma, he made up for in candor, and it was that directness that had led to his widespread appeal in the senate. Here was Palpatine, with his ready smile; above corruption, above deception or duplicity, a kind of confessor, willing to hear the most banal confessions or the basest of misdeeds without passing judgment—aloud, at any rate. For in his heart he judged the universe on his own terms, with a clear sense of right and wrong.
He looked to no other guide than himself.”
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