*So, here’s the third book in the Lost Tribe of the Sith Series. As we catch up to our Sith friends on Kesh, it is worth noting that they have been marooned on Kesh for fifteen years now. Naga Sadow’s defeat and retreat to Yavin 4 happened around that long ago now. Our Sith friends, of course, don’t have a clue about how The Great Hyperspace War turned out.
*This one starts with Seelah, Devore’s widow. In the intervening years, she’s taken up with Yaru, though she knows that Yaru is the cause of her widowhood in the first place. The Sith have become completely secure in their status as Skyborn, Gods and Goddesses that walk the earth.
*Seelah spends a little quality time with her assistant Tilden, strutting around naked in front of him. “It was Tilden’s job to worship her. . . Tilden lived to follow her everywhere. She rather enjoyed torturing him like this in the mornings. She was the sacrilege that started his day.”
*Move along, move along, obviously nothing twisted going on here, nothing strange and perverted to see, move along, move along.
*There’s a good line to drop on your girlfriend: “Sweetheart, you are the sacrilege that starts my day.”
*So, the central gist of this story, which is only thirty pages, is the contest between Ravilan, the Red Sith, and Seelah, to control the bloodlines of the Sith. This story is told almost entirely from Seelah’s perspective and it’s a truly gripping look into the mind of a complete . . . well, racist, I guess you could call it.
*So, in the fifteen years since the crash, while the humans have prospered, none of the Red Sith children have survived their infancy. Yaru believes this to be the same problem that killed off all the Massassi. Anyone with half a head will instantly realize that Seelah is carrying out a brutal and particularly wicked form of genetics.
*There’s a great bit where Ravilan doesn’t call Yaru “Grand Lord,” which is his official title. And Yaru broaches it to him, but in a perfect detail, Yaru both brings it up and softens it, by saying that Seelah wants Ravilan to use the title.
*So, this story really develops Seelah, which is great, since she was pretty well just a side character in the first two. One of the ways it does this is to give us some information about her childhood.
*And when I talk about Jackson’s wit and eye for detail, well, let me just quote this bit about Seelah’s past:
“At thirteen, Seelah was already a talented healer, drawing both on the Force and the medical knowledge of her forebears. Devotion had already borne fruit.
‘We are advancing in this movement,’ her father had said. ‘You have done well, and it has been rewarded. Glory in the honor, Seelah – it is the greatest that can befall such as us.’
She had been charged with the care of Lord Kressh’s feet.”
*I mean, that is simultaneously hysterically funny and incredibly pained.
*Great lines about romance: “Korsin’s seduction of Seelah had not taken long at all, once she’d convinced him he’d be met with something other than a dagger.”
*Tell. Me. About. It.
*More great prose:
“Korsin was looking at himself – or, rather, at a pretty bad replica. Crafters from Tahv had just delivered a four-meter-tall not-very-likeness of their savior, sculpted from an enormous slab of glass.
‘It’s . . . a first pass,’ Korsin said, sensing her arrival.
‘Clearly.’ Seelah thought it would befoul the killing fields of Ashas Ree.”
*God, I have not read Star Wars this funny since Starfighters of Adumar. Welcome back, humor. You have been missed.
*Sweetheart, you would befoul the killing fields of Ashas Ree.
*More: “And now, Seelah saw, the Keshiri were showing their respect with bug-eyed slabs of glass. They’d better learn to get our faces right before they ‘respect’ me, Seelah thought.”
*So, at the end of chapter two, we get the introduction of a horrific plot twist. A horrendous plague begins sweeping through the Keshiri. Ravilan visits the city of Tetsubal and finds everyone there dead.
*There’s a great flashback to Seelah’s service with Ludo Kressh that sums up the theme of this section of the story. Kressh beats Seelah in a drunken rage and tells her why: “My son looks like me – and so does the future of the Sith. But only as long as we’re here. Out there . . . out there, the future looks like you.”
*This obviously gives Kressh much more motivation for the way he acts in Golden Age of the Sith. He foresees that Sadow’s plans will end, one way or the other, in the dilution of the Sith’s pure blood. It strikes me that this should be made explicit in my fantasy film version of The Great Hyperspace War. It would make Kressh more of a real character instead of just a stock character.
*I said before this story was gripping. I hate to say it again, but there’s no other word for this story, for any story entirely taken up with racial purity. I think we all know why that is.
*So, Ravilan tries to argue that the plague in Tetsubal is a warning from the Dark Side. It’s time for the Sith to give up the charade of the Skyborn and retreat, leaving the Keshiri alone. Seelah argues vociferously against this.
*So, then there’s this great scene that sort of echoes the first couple of chapters of Job where riders just keep showing up with news of the plague hitting another town, just one right after the other.
*This story is less than thirty pages, but you want to go body count, this is about the most epic story in the timeline.
*So, as chapter three ends, Seelah informs Yaru that she’s discovered the cause of the plague; Ravilan has poisoned a water table with a poison that affects only Keshiri. He’s done this to push his political agenda.
*Then chapter four begins with an astonishing image of Seelah walking the walls of the magnificent temple the Sith and Keshiri have built, walking along a row of fifty-seven staked heads. Yaru’s vengeance has been swift; the Red Sith are now extinct. The future, as Ludo Kressh always knew, looks human.
*Our climax is a chilling, horrible scene. Of Seelah and her son, Jariad, now in his teens, confronting a captive Ravilan.
*Ravilan admits to her that he poisoned Tetsubal but not the other towns. Seelah says that she knows; once Ravilan hit Tetsubal, she figured out what he’d done and decided to up the ante.
*There’s a wonderful moment here when the captive, defeated Ravilan has a moment of genuine humor; this is, he says, the first time Seelah has ever liked one of his ideas.
*But this is brutal stuff. Ravilan finally understands that Seelah has been orchestrating the wholesale murder of Red Sith children for the past fifteen years.
*“Younglings – infants! What . . . what kind of mother are you?” “The mother of a people.”
*So, Jeriad executes Ravilan and Seelah tells him he has changed the world. Jariad remarks that it’s Yaru he wants to kill. Seelah cautions patience; patience has worked for her to this point.
*And then a final scene where Adari Vaal and a cadre of Keshiri patriots meet to discuss the resistance against the Sith.
*Adari notes that she was the one who loosed the plague of the Sith on her people. And it will be she who ends it.
*I think this story is really the best of the four that I’ve read from this series. It’s got that magnificent hook of genocide, ethnic cleansing and racial purity. And in Seelah, the great villainess of the series has finally arrived. Her final scene with Ravilan here is beyond chilling.
*If you’re like me, this one closes with you on the edge of your seat for the final chapter. Yaru Korsin is in a bad place; two different women want him dead. Brothers, that is a bad place to be.
*CANONICAL STATUS: The histories of the Sith on Kesh are surprisingly accurate. This text is, of the entire group, probably the most accurate, being, as near as we can tell, totally precise in its truthfulness. This work is RECOMMENDED as a historical resource.
**** out of **** stars.
John Jackson Miller
*Next time, we’ll finish up with Lost Tribe of the Sith by looking at the final installment of this quartet: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Savior! You don’t want to miss this. Trust me!