By Christian Blauvelt
Updated January 06, 2012 at 10:13 PM EST

Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? No? Well, as Emperor Palpatine told young Anakin Skywalker, it’s not a story a Jedi would tell you. But veteran Star Wars author James Luceno will.

This Tuesday, Jan. 10, Del Rey Books is releasing Luceno’s Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, the long-awaited history of the Dark Lord of the Sith who trained none other than Palpatine himself. In Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, old Palpy seduced Anakin to the dark side with the tale of Plagueis, a Sith Lord who had found a way to use the Force to gain immortality and keep the people he loved from dying. Little did we know at the time that Palpatine was in fact talking about his own master, who he killed in his sleep after learning all his secrets. But Darth Plagueis is more than just an expansion of Star Wars lore only hinted at in the movies. It’s also the never-before-revealed history of Palpatine’s early years: how he came to be a Sith, how he entered politics, and how he first came to train a fearsome Zabrak Nightbrother of Dathomir who’d one day be known as Darth Maul. In this exclusive excerpt from the novel, Darth Plagueis and his disciple, Palpatine (a.k.a. Darth Sidious), discuss Maul’s Sithly potential.

Palpatine stranded young Maul on Hypori for a month? Worst. Mentor. Ever.

Okay, so I know what all of you are thinking: the idea of Plagueis and Sidious inviting Maul to join their ranks clearly violates Darth Bane’s storied Rule of Two: a master to embody power and an apprentice to crave it. But don’t worry! James Luceno has developed a reputation as a stickler for continuity in previous Star Wars novels like the Agents of Chaos duology, Labyrinth of Evil, and Millennium Falcon. The guy knows his Star Wars Expanded Universe arcana — just take a look at that Exar Kun mention in the excerpt, a reference to Kevin J. Anderson’s Tales of the Jedi series — and he’s woven a tale in which it’s implied Plagueis and Sidious’ violation of Sith tradition ensures their eventual downfall.

Though Luceno has reportedly been working on Darth Plagueis for years — it was initially going to compare and contrast Plagueis and Qui-Gon Jinn’s respective quests for immortality — Del Rey and Lucas Licensing decided to launch it now in time for the 3-D release of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace on Feb. 10 and the finale of the fourth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars this March (read our recaps here! and join us for live blog of tonight’s episode), in which we’ll learn that Darth Maul survived his vivisection at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Planning on picking up a copy?

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