Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

First off: this is one of the best Star Wars books I have ever read… and I have gone through dozens and dozens.

After a quick and hairy escape from an angry Hutt, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan head back to Coruscant to await a new mission from the Jedi council. Each spends a bit of time contemplating the nature of their relationship. They are an odd couple: Obi-Wan is looking for clear succinct answers and Qui-Gon has a tendency to be obtuse and cryptic.

Two actions occur quickly in succession: Qui-Gon is offered a seat on the Jedi Council and the pair is immediately given a mission to help a planet in the midst of dangerous terrorist attacks. Two things are causing friction on the planet of Pijal. They are close to a change of government from a monarchy to a representative democracy and they are about to open of a new hyperspace lane that will connect them more readily to the greater galaxy. The pair of Jedi enter these conflicts with the future of their partnership at risk if Qui-Gon joins the council. This knowledge hangs over their heads as they try to find a way to help this world to a peaceful resolution.

Yes. This is a book about a Jedi mission in the days of The Republic. But at its core, Master & Apprentice focuses on the line of Jedis, from Dooku to Qui-Gon to Obi-Won and the Skywalkers. The nature of the relationship between teacher and student is explored like no other Star Wars book I have read. Gray introduces a controversial new Jedi named Rael Averross, who was given the position of regent on Pijal after an incident with his padawan and incidentally, he was Dooku’s apprentice before Qui-Gon. Besides a few episodes of Clone Wars and some scenes in the Prequels, I don’t know much about Dooku’s character, yet this book elevates him to a Jedi who had a lot to offer his apprentices before he turned to The Dark Side.

The mission is filled with palace intrigue, a great mystery to solve, and several unforeseeable twists. The Jedis have to wade through several moral ambiguities; they continually ask the questions: What is the true nature of the Jedi mission?

Side note: There’s one small bit about riding an animal and force-bonding that I found awesome.

Highly recommended for any Star Wars fan. This is an incredible work that looks at a place in the timeline not nearly explored enough. The prospect of “filling in the blanks” would be a hard task for any writer, but Gray does it with perfection in this novel.

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