• Star Wars: Cloak of Deception

  • By: James Luceno
  • Narrated by: Alexander Adams
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (731 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling 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, tensions are boiling over - while back in the comfort of Coruscant, the hub of civilized space and seat of the Republic government, few senators seem inclined to investigate the problem. And those who suspect Supreme Chancellor Valorum of having a hand in the machinations are baffled - especially when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi foil an assassination attempt on the Chancellor. With the crisis escalating, Valorum calls for an emergency trade summit. As humans and aliens gather, conspiracies sealed with large sums of money run rampant, and no one is entirely above suspicion. But the greatest threat of all remains unknown to everyone except three members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with a dark overlord. While the trio will be content with more money and fewer problems, Darth Sidious has grander, far more terrifying plans.

It is a time that tests the mettle of all those who strive to hold the Republic together - none more so than the Jedi Knights, who have long been the galaxy's best hope for preserving peace and justice. Yet despite their most valiant efforts, the meeting will explode into fiery chaos beyond everyone's worst fears....

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Critic Reviews

"At last, what you've been waiting for: a prequel...that will explain why Chancellor Valorum fell from power." (Library Journal)
"Adams reads expertly and confidently, and his storytelling powers flow with Jedi force." (AudioFile)

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What listeners say about Star Wars: Cloak of Deception

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good Background to Episode 1

Would you consider the audio edition of Star Wars to be better than the print version?

A lot of SW audio books are abridged. So, the print versions give you more details, but the audio books allow me to listen in the car, and so get through the story faster. The sound effects on the audio add to the story. This book was not as abridged as some others, so it still had good details.

What did you like best about this story?

This story gave some good background to Episode 1, from a different angle than Darth Plageuis did. I liked seeing Qui Gon and Obi Wan in another story. The plot was intriguing, so you needed to pay attention. The story showed how the Trade Federation came to be under Darth Sidious' influence and why it blockaded Naboo. It also showed more of how Palpatine manipulated his way to the Chancellorship, and how the Republic was becoming corrupt.

What does Alexander Adams bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The sound effects, plus the voice characteristics add to the story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The Trade Federation Falls into Darthness.

Any additional comments?

I love SW anyway, but this was actually one of the more well-written books. It was less science fiction and more political intrigue, so it was more believable. The movies were written this way as well. The science should support the story, not be it. The better SW writers, like Timothy Zahn, know how to use the science at the service of the story. This book falls into that category.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Largely forgettable, with some redeeming qualities

While those of Star Wars fandom should listen to this book, I found it largely forgettable. The general paucity of true character development may be why. We don't get many good glimpses into the underlying characters, but merely observe them go through somewhat predictable motions. That said, there is some redemption in the fact that it does fill in some of the gaps in the timeline and we do see a little more of the various machinations leading up to Episode I.

7 people found this helpful

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Didn’t like narration.

I listened to Master and Apprentice just before this and the narration on that was great! Qui-Gon (especially) and Obi-Wan sounded very much like the actors in the film, but this guy didn’t even try and really there was very little difference between any voices which made it a little difficult to follow sometimes. I don’t really recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This book adds a lot of interesting background for Episode I, which made re-watching it (more) enjoyable. A must for any Star Wars fan.

4 people found this helpful

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  • ­
  • 03-14-21

Stunning insight into Nute Gunray's character.

This book gave me a lot to consider about the character of Nute Gunray, whom I would feel comfortable calling "underwritten" in the prequel trilogy proper. For example, in chapter 1, when Nute Gunray internally monologued about wishing to "crawl back into his hivemother's birthing chamber and pull the cloacal flap in after him", I considered whether or not he may have thinking these kinds of things during his appearance in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I can never unconsider that.

As for the main plot of the book, I was never really sure what was going on.

2 people found this helpful

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J. Luceno is a master at adding depth to Palpatine

This book dovetails nicely into episode l and really gives you an idea of whats going on with the trade federation and the struggle the Republic has found it's self in to keep order. I really enjoyed Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan working together as master and apprentice, Qui-Gon is one of my favorite characters of the entire saga and Luceno really gets how he felt about the Republics situation and the way the Jedi should act.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An exciting listen

I found this to be a very fun listen. I'm a bit of a Star Wars geek, so I'm a little biased, but I thought it was fun and well thought out. I wish Ep. 1 had incorporated some of the political info found in this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Serves Me Right, I Guess

That's what I get for reading a prequel to the infamous Star Wars prequel trilogy. I usually like James Luceno, which is why I gave this book a shot, but it didn't pay off. I can't remember the last time I've been so bored while reading listening to a novel.

I was expecting some deep exploration of characters like Palpatine and Qui-Gon, but this book spent about as much time investing in characters as The Phantom Menace. Other than character development, I really just wanted a fun romp through the Star Wars universe, but I couldn't even get that. This book is bogged down in page after page of politics and at no point does it really feel like a Star Wars story.

I can't recommend this book to anybody. It isn't good science fiction or fantasy and it really isn't much of a Star Wars novel. If Star Wars is what you crave, you can do much better than this.

7 people found this helpful

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Good, but not great.

For the most part, the story works. I'm always happy to see more Qui Gon, but sadly, the story itself is a bit lacking. The Jedi barely have any interaction with the antagonists and as such, build no real connection with their adversaries. Qui Gon, as usual does most of the leg work and comes closest to actually making a difference, while the council fails to accomplish anything. This book also made really dislike Yaddle for treating Qui Gon like certain events were his fault, even as she did far less to make an impact. That being said, we do see Palpatine's manipulations that set in motion his rise to Supreme Chancellor, and Arwhen Cole is an interesting character who manages to be engaging.

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Skip this book

There are many wonderful Star Wars books with compelling characters and riveting stories. This isn’t one of them.

The best that can be said about this book is that it feels like an extension of Episode 1. You are dropped in the middle of action and political maneuvers. Unfortunately, this type of plot would work better on screen where your eyes can make sense of rapid action and identify characters visually. There are numerous, flat characters that you never come to care about and I had a hard time keeping track of. Even Kenobi and his master get no character development. Strangely, you get to see some scenes from Palpatine’s perspective with no hint that he is anything but a mild mannered senator. In the last chapter there is some explanation for the logic behind putting a blockade on Naboo, but it was hardly worth the time reading the book.

Also, the reading of the audiobook leaves a lot to be desired. The reader has a good voice for 1950s SciFi, but can’t do voices. His Yoda is laughable and he doesn’t even try to give Master Windu a distinct voice. Palpatine and Velorum sound identical. These issues really detract from the enjoyment and comprehension of the book.

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  • Madasafish
  • 03-26-22

Great narrator

The story was underwhelming but the narrator's great performance is what kept me listening to the end.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jesper
  • 10-05-20

Long and uninteresting

Felt very long winded. I often lost focus on the narrator but often it would be possible to catch up because not a lot actually happened.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs N Smith
  • 01-02-20

Good

The book had a very good story and a additionally good way of letting you know how the characters are feeling. Although the start was a bit boring after a you engulf yourself with the story it becomes very exciting. over all a good book and money well spent

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  • Lex D
  • 08-18-19

Good lore

Great set up of the well known films, but gives enough in it to keep you guessing regardless of what you know is in the future (who lives, who’s who etc). Nice twists as well. Great performance, although the background “effects” can get annoying.

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  • Torsten Vestergaard
  • 04-01-21

Awesome book

I very much enjoyed the book. I recommend it to fans who want more Star Wars story and context before Episode 1.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-25-20

Average and Short

Not the best but passable, if you read the ones before dont bother, nothing new