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Jedi Apprentice #4
Jedi Apprentice #4: The Mark of the Crown
By Jude Watson
44 years before ANH
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This is the fourth book in an on-going series that shows us the "hows and wherefores" of the early years of the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn.


This fourth book in the Jedi Apprentice series picks up right where book #3, The Hidden Past, left off. In that book, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, on their way to a mission to monitor elections on the planet Gala, were kidnapped by the Phindians Guerra and Paxxi, and ended up participating voluntarily in the liberation of the planet Phindar from its opressive ruling Syndicat. Book #4, The Mark of the Crown, puts our favorite Jedi Master and apprentice back on track in their mission to Gala. It seems Queen Veda of Gala is dying, and her final wish is to convert her planet's rule from a monarchy to a democracy. This aim is complicated by any number of factions who benefit greatly from the status quo….including Queen Veda's son, Prince Baju. While Qui-Gon ventures from the capital city of Galu alone on a mission into the mountains of Gala to contact the leader of an isolationist tribe, Obi-Wan must cover for him back in Galu, and himself stay one step ahead of devious doings, and murky manipulations running rampant through the palace. And both Jedi find themselves in mortal danger sorting friend from foe, and plotter from those being plotted against.


These Jedi Apprentice reviews are starting to sound repetitive, but The Mark of the Crown is another A-plus effort by author Jude Watson. The writing is tight, albeit ever-so-slightly dumbed down for the juvenile-reader target audience, and the characters are fleshed out and internally consistent. This series, so far, is reading like one continuing book, told in installments. Each novel has snippets of info from the previous stories, making the total of the continuing saga even more than the sum of its individual parts. And each part just enriches the whole. Now that Qui-Gon has fully accepted Obi-Wan as his Padawan, (after struggling with that for the first couple of books), we get to watch as their relationship deepens and grows. There are several lovely passages of introspection and parallel musings on both Qui-Gon's and Obi-Wan's parts, highlighting the process of Jedi apprenticeship and what that Master/Apprentice symbiosis means to each of the participants. It is especially interesting to see the old ways of the Jedi Order, knowing in hind-sight how things will change in Luke Skywalker's time when all the teachings……and teachers……...have been lost to the Emperor's purges. And for the action junkies out there, there is a very nifty duel……..with old-fashioned swords! Obi-Wan must learn to adjust to the weapons at-hand, and we get some great insight into comparative fighting styles, lightsaber vs. broad-sword. These Jedi Apprentice books are like popcorn……..and just about as hard to resist!