SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Dooku has always been an interesting character. He is our introduction to the idea that Jedi could leave the Order, he is a political beast and a master manipulator, he is also incredibly strong in the Force.
But not much was known about his life prior to the events of ‘Attack of the Clones’ other than he was once Qui-Gon’s Master and he in turn was Yoda’s Padawan. Which gives us some understanding of his power in the Force and he’s incredibly enigmatic. The scene where he tries to tell Obi-Wan about Darth Sidious being in control of the Senate only to reveal that he is Sidious’ Apprentice is pure genius.
So when it was announced that an Auido-only novel about Dooku’s past I couldn’t wait and thankfully my wife had a spare Audible credit.
Dooku’s Story is told through holograms, a journal and stories told to Asajj Ventress, who is sent on a mission by Dooku, prior to ‘Attack of the Clones’ to find Dooku’s sister who has been captured by Republic Spies.
Asajj learns of Dooku’s youth in the Jedi Temple and his friendship with another young Jedi, Sifo-Dyas as they visit the planet Serenno on Jedi business he becomes involved in a mild conflict and rescues a young girl, Jenza, and her brother, Ramil. Jenza takes Dooku on a tour of the city and in an Force related accident where Dooku accidentally brings a building down on top of them, they find out that Dooku is her brother. Their father Gora has abandoned Dooku as a baby because of his Force abilities.
As they get older, Dooku and Jenza remain in contact as intergalactic pen-pals, sending holo-messages to each other regularly.
We learn on Dooku’s and Sifo-Dyas’ exploits in the Temple and how they broke into a hidden chamber filled with Sith artefacts, and their interest in these is noticed by Jedi Master Lene Kostana and she takes the young Dooku under her wing, but eventually she chooses Sifo-Dyas as he Padawan whilst Yoda takes Dooku.
After years of learning from Yoda Dooku’s secret is revealed after receiving a message from Jenza saying their mother has died and she is asking him to come back. Master Kostanna takes Dooku and Sifo-Dyas to Serenno’s Funeral Moon. The planet is in turmoil after Count Gora had replaced many professions with Droids and there is an uprising. They attack the funeral and Dooku, under duress uses the Force to throw everyone back, including the casket.
Afterwards, Dooku, Sifo-Dyas and Master Kostanna visit a nearby planet which they discover is consumed with the Dark Side and the three of them have horrific visions of war.
Years pass, Dooku and Sifo-Dyas drift apart, the latter continues to have debilitating visions and Master Kostanna stays with him whilst Dooku takes Rael Averross and then later Qui-Gon Jinn as his Padawan learners.
During Qui-Gon’s training they manage to uncover deep plot which involves a corrupt member of the Jedi Council who’s criminal contacts have sabotaged a racing speeder that Dooku’s brother was piloting which left him severely injured, and once Qui-Gon had become a Jedi Knight, Dooku was elected to join the Jedi Council.
Again, years later, Dooku was becoming more and more disenfranchised with both the Senate and the Jedi Council when he received a message from Jenza asking for his help in fighting off Mercenaries from Serenno. After debating with both groups, Dooku is joined by Kostanna and Sifo-Dyas.
They reach Serenno and are shot down, they manage to crash land safely and are met by Jenza and some of the Resistance fighters and it soon leads to a full scale battle which is eventually won by Dooku visiting his brother who has become more machine than man, controlling a Droid Army. During their fight Dooku deactivates the Droids and manages to best Ramil, killing him.
During the battle, a valuable resource was discovered deep underground, and realising that the Republic would now leap to their aid, Dooku decides to leave the Jedi and rule Serenno as an independent system.
Ventress, through learning these ordeals, cons to understand her new Master well, and once Jenza is found and her and Dooku are reunited, Dooku has his assassin kill his sister so that none of his secrets could come out, especially now that he is being influenced by a ‘hooded man’.
The story is well paced and fantastically written, Cavan Scott really gets into the heads of Ventress and Dooku, and gives us a greater understanding of their characters and motivations. Ventress is struggling with her new role as Dooku’s assassin and, at what seems to be an early stage of her time working for him, is frequently punished by Dooku for lying to him about her thoughts and her desires to leave. We really develop a growing sense of sympathy for her, and after also reading ‘Dark Disciple’ we really get to know more of her life and her ongoing story arc that, in terms of the timeline, starts here and ends in Christie Golden’s novel.
Dooku, of course, is the main focus of this story, and his backstory is so rich. From his early years at the Temple to his leaving the Jedi Order we really get to know what drives him, what kind of a Jedi he was, how he broke the rules of the Order but remains devoted to them, right until the bitter end where he realises the Order is not what it once was, no longer are they the Galactic Peacekeeping force but a tool for the Senate to use at their will.
What we don’t fully get is his eventual turn to the Dark Side, through the story he brushes the Dark Side but doesn’t turn and we only get a hint at his association with Darth Sideous at the end. If I have one complaint, it’s that there seems to be more story to tell about the time he is no longer a part of the Order and becoming Sideous’ apprentice. Hopefully we will get a sequel to fill that part of the timeline.
The secondary characters are great. Sifo-Dyas plays a prominent role and we learn of his almost debilitating Force Visions, which would eventually lead him to build the Clone Army. His master, Lene Kostanna, a Jedi with an interest in the Sith, who believes before anyone else that the Sith would return is an interesting character. Her mentoring of Dooku in the early parts of the story really give us an insight into Dooku’s mindset towards the Force which will be passed on through his Apprentice, Qui-Gon.
Jenza and Ramil are excellent plot devices, one hive Dooku a tie to his home whilstvthe other gives him a reason to come back at the end and liberate his home. Dooku’s relationship with Jenza is sweet but filled with peril as his communication with her is essentially forbidden by the Jedi but the siblings have a connection that neither wish to ignore. It’s quite sad at the end when Dooku has Ventress kill Jenza but it’s understandable in his twisted mindset, essentially killing her to protect her from further capture and torture at the hands of his enemies.
As I write this I am two-thirds of the way through ‘Master and Apprentice’ by Claudia Grey and I have to say I am impressed at how well these two stories connect, even is subtle ways, with the character of Rael Averross crossing over to appear, even though briefly, in this story whilst he features prominently in the other. The two act as brilliant counterparts and tell an even greater story when consumed together, and they are both amazing on their own to begin with, and this compatibility really gives me hope for the upcoming ‘Project Luminous’ which both Authors are involved with.
Cavan Scott has done a fantastic job giving us a deep-dive into the history of one of the most intriguing characters to come out of the Prequel Trilogy and it does not disappoint one bit, if only there was more of the story. I really want to get another Volume about Dooku and how he joins Sideous, the betrayal of Sifo-Dyas and the eventual build-up to ‘Attack of the Clones’.
‘Dooku: Jedi Lost’ is available where Audiobooks are sold.
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