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1. Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary:
$15.96 list($19.95)
2. Superman/Batman: Supergirl - Volume
$6.29 $4.44 list($6.99)
3. Heir to the Empire (Star Wars:
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4. Batman: Year One Deluxe Edition
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5. The Last Command (Star Wars: The
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6. The Visual Dictionary (Star Wars,
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7. Dark Force Rising (Star Wars:
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8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
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9. Titan, Book One : Taking Wing
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10. Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom
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11. Batman: The Killing Joke
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12. Hollow Men (Star Trek: Deep Space
13. The Art of Star Wars: Episode
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14. Fall of the Sith Empire (Star
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15. I Was Poisoned By My Body: The
16. The Golden Age of the Sith (Star
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17. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
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18. Batman: The Long Halloween
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19. Batman: Cover to Cover : The Greatest
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20. Star Wars Chronicles

1. Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary: The Ultimate Guide to Star Wars Characters and Creatures
by David West Reynolds, Alexander Ivanov
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789434814
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 1430
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Watch the Star Wars trilogy enough times and you'llfind yourself straining to catch all the little details. Not thesubtle plot points (Darth is Luke's dad, check; Luke and Leia arebrother and sister, check), but all the cool gear and gadgets thatkeep flashing in front of the camera. Like what are those pointythings on Boba Fett's kneepads? And what's with all that ammo onChewie's bandolier? And does an Imperial Probe really need thatmany legs? Finally, we've got some answers.

David West Reynolds, a boyish Ph.D. in archaeology who lookslike he just rode in on the last Bantha, has catalogued theartifacts and inhabitants of the Star Wars universe withthe same clinical thoroughness one typically reserves for studyingMesopotamia. His oversized, eye-pleasing picture book is packedwith scrutinizing photos of actual props and characters from themovies, complete with systematic, scientific labels. AndReynolds's friendly, pseudo-academic style seamlessly blends newinformation with old. (In the Sand People description, you can'thelp but hear Alec Guinness's voice when Reynolds reveals that"Sand People ride in single file to hide their numbers.") In a fewinstances, the book shines an embarrassing light on the movies(Max Rebo is clearly no alien lifeform, just a poofy, blueelephant muppet), but the countless close-ups of thermaldetonators, imperial blasters, and gaffi sticks more than make upthe difference. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must for Fans of the Original Star Wars Trilogy
This is an excellent guide for anyone who has seen and liked the trilogy set in a galaxy far, far away. The book is written like a non fiction dictionary as if the Star Wars planets and creatures were actually real. This is a must for die hard Star Wars fans and even those who are not huge fans will still get something out of this book. This book was also written before the terrible prequel movies so it only covers the three classics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty cool book chalk full of the props
This book shows just about every prop that they could have or did use in the Star Wars film. While parts of it are cheesy, it is a pretty solid book on those who want to know a little more information behind the scenes of Star Wars. The dictionary offers both fictional references and also references to how the movies were made. I recommend this to all Star Wars fans and maybe even to fans of movies in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very nice job
It is an amazing book related to Lucas' trilogy. It depicts all hardware used in the films. I have only a missing point: the starships are not all in the book and it would be better have them, but it is not a problem for a very nice illustrated book.

4-0 out of 5 stars You May Fire When Ready...
The Visual Directory complements the Pictorial Directory and really gets into the characters of this famous trilogy.

My only bickbat is the lack of information on Peter Cushing's villianous charcter, Grand Moff Willif Tarken. He was the main central player in the orginal Star Wars but because of his demise in this movie he dosen't get the full coverage he deserves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!!!
This is a superb book from the original and the special edtions of the Star Wars triogy! It has great details on every major character and everything else! This is great for beginners and and hardcore fans of the first three films is the Star Wars saga! ... Read more

2. Superman/Batman: Supergirl - Volume 2
by Jeph Loeb
list price: $19.95
our price: $15.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401203477
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 54400
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3. Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1)
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553296124
Catlog: Book (1992-05-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 14005
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars. ... Read more

Reviews (322)

4-0 out of 5 stars Decent follow up to the classic movies.
Frankly, Mr. Zahn did not have an enviable task ahead of him when he was to write the followup trilogy to Star Wars. I opened this book tentatively, fearing the worst. After all, with Luke as the New Jedi, Leia and Han itemized together, Chewbacca still as hairy as ever, and the Emperor and Darth dusty particles in space, what could any writer possibly do to continue the line?

Happily, though, I found Heir to the Empire nowhere near the disaster that normal logic would foretell. The characters of old SW films were believably drawn, although curiously timeless (I mean, come's five years after Endor, and the only change is that Leia's pregnancy!), and Zahn's new people were either suitably grey in the background, or very colorfully developed indeed.

The plot seems very much Lucasian fare; shootouts, rescue missions, daring raids, and harrowing escapes. However, I became increasingly aware of an inexplicable flaw in the otherwise strong storytelling; that concerned the big baddie, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Thrawn is touted as a genius who can divine enemies' innermost psyches with nothing but examples of their artwork. That's okay; Zahn makes this seem convincing enough so that our disbelief is suspended. Thrawn is presented as an enigmatic leader who is feared but more importantly respected by his people. This too is okay; Zahn shows enough strategy and tactics to convince us that his character really deserves this. Many seemingly-impossible victories are pulled out of thin air, and Thrawn continues to win and win and win a little more.

Fine. We can accept could we otherwise, with such skill expended in making him believable? By the time the book is over, Zahn even implies Thrawn's superiority over great villains like Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine (wonderful name, don't you agree?) - and we can readily believe this, because Zahn has given us the goods and not been found wanting.

So, the big question and flaw of the story: why does Thrawn lose? Zahn falls prey to the same trap that ensnares many writers of all genres; he has presented a full-bodied, fleshed-out character, made the reader love to hate him, shown this man to be utterly brilliant and utterly amazing and God-like...then kills him off.

No replay, no reset. Game over. Dead.

The 'God' syndrome, I think it's called, where the enemy is really powerful, but for an unsatisfactory reason is defeated. Without a doubt, Zahn is one of the best space-fantasy writers I have read, and his style is engrossing and engaging, but I could not help but feel that at the end of the tale, I was somehow cheated by the unconvincing and accelerated death of his Thrawn character.

The only reason I can think of for writing such an unappetising ending to an otherwise excellent trilogy, is that Zahn was pressured into it for reasons of PR. Certainly, the way is paved for a "Return of Thrawn" episode, as Thrawn dropped many hints of cloning facilities, etc. (qv Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future) but I thought it would have been better to just keep the guy and conclude the trilogy otherwise.

Also slightly problematic is the question of repetition: Thrawn is a purely tactical guy, so he needs a force-user to help him. Working together, Thrawn and the crazed Jedi Master named Joruus can just about equal Vader's total effectiveness (tactics + force). One cannot help but feel that Zahn is fighting a losing battle here regarding his villains; Lucas just made his ones too darn good.

Apart from those two (not immediately obvious) points, the books are all a great ride through Lucas' galaxy once again. If you liked the movies at all and don't mind reading good sci-fi, then these are the books for you. Certainly they are better than any later Star Wars efforts I have read (ah - K J Anderson - hem!).

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Star Wars Continuation
This book is the first novel in Timothy Zahn's trilogy. This excellently written book takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, and is the authorized continuation to the original trilogy.

In this first book in the series, we are introduced to Grand Admiral Thrawn, the sole surviving member of the Emperor's vicious staff. He has resumed control over the Imperial Starfleet as he prepares for a suprise attack on the New Republic. Thrawn is a supreme villian. He exemplifies patience, tenacity, and extreme poise in all of the story's crucial situations.

In his campaign for domination, he employs the powers of a long-lost dark Jedi Knight, which later leads to several conflicts. All of the original characters are back in Heir to the Empire, as well as some interesting new ones.

Zahn writes with incredible detail that makes for a descriptive plot. He develops the storyline and teases you just enough to make you want to read the next book in the trilogy.

This book is action-packed and Zahn mixes the characters together nicely. He cohesively loads the book with mystery and suspense, and the character development is fabulous.

The underlying conflict of good vs. evil is interesting because it is hard to tell who is good and who is evil. All in all, this was a nice, easy-flowing book and an entertaining read. You will enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spoiler alert. Some comments.

I would like to start out by saying that the book was very good but some things made me dissapointed (Maybe I had to high expectations to start with). I have a few comments I'd like to share. First of all it seems odd to me that Luke, as the big hero he is, only because he's out of Force he can't disarm Mara Jade when she holds him prisoner on the ysalamari planet. I mean, come on, he has the lightsaber in his hand, she points a blaster at him and he surrenders. Even without the force he should be a quite adept warrior shouldn't he?
Why doesn't he do anything when she puts her blaster away on the ground?
I get the overall sense of Luke as being quite naiv and going around the galaxy not really knowing whats he's doing.
Then there's a time in the beginning of the book when Thrawn uses C'Baot to sense Luke presence and he talks to him a little. Then later in the book, Tnrawn and Pelleon is wondering if Luke is with the reps at a certain time and they wait to see. Why don't they just use the old Jedi to find out?
There's a phrase in the book that goes something like: a Jedi can't be too caught up in events regarding galactic safety that he forgets about individuals. Isn't the motto supposed to be the other way around?
Well, well. These small things made the book a little less entertaining than i'd hoped, but overall it's a good read.

(Ps: Anyone know of a good place to discuss star wars litterature?)

1-0 out of 5 stars Awful!
I very, very rarely put a book down once I commit to it, but 200 pages into this thing and the story's going nowhere. Zahn took the characters we loved and turned them into one dimensional bores. No one in the book has any tension with any other characters, and none of them go anywhere. The whole book revolves around a "defeat the bad guy" plot. Don't get me wrong, I love books that offer nothing but entertainment, but I have to care about the characters to be entertained by their battles and struggles. "Luke flipped away from the blaster shots" just doesn't cut it with me. This book was boring, the characters were all turned into one dimensional bores, and 200 pages into the book I couldn't have cared less whether the characters I loved just died right then. If you love the movies, stay away from this low brow garbage.

5-0 out of 5 stars great fro star wars fans
this book continues the story of the Star Wars characters 5 years after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star. It was interesting to see how far the New Republic has advanced in that time and it was also cool to see what our favorite characters were up to. A good book for all Star Wars fans ... Read more

4. Batman: Year One Deluxe Edition
by Frank Miller
list price: $19.99
our price: $13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401206905
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 3172
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great retelling of Batman's origin
Batman is a character I've always enjoyed, but I've only recently started getting into the Batman comics.After reading Frank Miller's exceptional "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" graphic novel, I really wanted to acquire more Batman comics that depicted the characters in a similar manner:as deep, well-thought-out characters that you really feel emotionally attached to by the end of the story.The problem was that, being new to comics, I was tossed into a sea of nearly endless Batman comics, and I didn't really know where to begin.

Well, where better to start than at the very beginning?

Batman: Year One is the story of Batman's first year in Gotham City after returning from training abroad, making it the perfect book for someone unfamiliar with Batman's origins, or just looking for a fresh take on the classic story.But the book is as much about the origins of Jim Gordon, who will later become the famed police commissioner of Gotham City, as it is about Batman's beginning.The story hinges on Gordon's attempts to clean up a police force that is corrupt to its very core, and his encounters with the Batman that finally lead up to a climactic confrontation that brings both men together in their fight against crime.

Firse of all, the packaging and presentation of the story is top-notch.The book is hard bound and comes with a very nice partial sleeve that makes it look very classy.The cover itself depicts a simple black and white drawing of Batman that is quite effective for portraying what the book is about.Each chapter of the story opens with the origin comic book cover from each issue, and they are very vivid and clean.There are many extras, from an amusing illustrated afterword by the artist, David Mazzuccelli, and many pages of preliminary and promotional artwork.In the end, I felt that some of these features could have probably been dropped in favor of a slightly lower price tag, but they are nice additions that give the book a more "deluxe edition" feel.

The artwork in the story is very good.I really like David Mazzuccelli's style.He's really not entirely different from Miller himself in that his artwork isn't terribly elaborate, but is supremely effective in telling a story.Mazzuccelli really has a strength when it comes to facial expressions.You can really see how the characters feel by the looks on their faces, particularly in the more emotional spots of the book.The backgrounds and characters are beautiful, though, and the colors are very nice and vivid.The artwork brilliantly aids in telling the dark story of Batman's birth and Gordon's struggles.

The storyline is nothing short of superb as well.I've held Frank Miller in high regard ever since reading "The Dark Knight Returns", and this book is written in a very similar style.You can tell that Miller really likes using internal monologues to convey the thoughts and feelings of the characters, and they are very effective and give the story a depth that other comics don't have.The story progresses logically and is very readable.It's a great retelling of the familiar story of Batman's beginning infused with an almost literary style.

Miller is an expert at characterization.I was amazed at how much depth and likeability he could give even minor characters.A character that I found myself sympathizing with and surprisingly liking is Gordon's wife Barbara.With only powerful artwork and a few lines, I felt that she was portrayed very powerfully and believably, making her a great character that further enhances the personality and depth of Gordon.You can tell that Miller really likes Jim Gordon, as he is given more characterization than anyone else in the story.I really felt connected to the character by the end of the story, because he is so remarkably human, and not totally unlike myself.He makes mistakes, but he is in the end a good person, and I think this is what makes him so appealing, perhaps even more than Batman himself.This is not to say that the characterization of Batman is lacking in the story; quite the contrary, in fact. Bruce Wayne is also portrayed as a man who has his fair share of problems that he is trying to overcome in his never-ending fight to purge Gotham of corruption.The deep characterizations are what really make this book shine.

The only gripe I have with the storyline and characterizations is a subplot involving Catwoman in the story.While she is brilliantly portrayed, I ended up feeling as if her role in the story didn't have much meaning other than to set her up as a potential romantic interest of Batman in the future as well as a recognized rogue and thief.But her actions have relatively little bearing on where the story goes.The subplot is still enjoyable, and in the end it doesn't detract from the overall greatness of the storyline.

Some may be disappointed by the utter lack of classic Batman villains in the story.There is no Joker, no Two-Face, no Riddler, no Scarecrow, no one.Instead, Batman fights criminals that don't seem very different from the ones we find in real life.He is combating thugs and the corruption at the heart of the Gotham City:the politicians and police officers that are on the take and are part of the problem instead of the solution.I felt this gave the comic more credibility, but some will undoubtedly be disappointed that Batman isn't fighting one of his famous and colorful enemies.In fact, the only mention of one such villain in the entire book is in the very last panel on the very last page of the very last chapter.

The only major problem I have with the overall graphic novel is that it is short.The story itself is only around ninety pages.But they are a great ninety pages, and you won't be disappointed with them.But you will be left wishing that the story wouldn't end, making the length of the story the comic's greatest shortcoming.

This graphic novel is definitely a must-have for Batman fanatics, and I would heartily recommend it to people who are new to the world of Batman.After all, what better way is there to get into the world of the Dark Knight than by reading the story of where it all began?

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally a fitting publication for this great story
When this miniseries first came out back in the eighties it left everyone breathless. David Mazzucchelli's art is some of the finest I've ever seen. It moves like a motion picture yet every stillis ready to be framed (nice homage to the famous Hopper painting on the side: Gorden and Sgt. Essen having a late night coffee in a cafe called ... Hopper)
Frank Miller tells a story right from the beginning of the Batman saga. Bruce Wayne and Lieutenant Gordon discover they are both fighting on the same side to clean Gotham from the human filth. The only way to survive in the mess is as a team. They become friends.
On top of the fantastic graphic novel this book includes over 40 pages of sketches, layouts and script pages. Every Batman fan should have it, what do I say, this is one for you. Buy it. You won't be disappointed, I swear.

5-0 out of 5 stars batman is awesome
This is one of the best pieces on Batman I have ever read. It really has some awesome action and great character development of Bruce Wayne and Lt. Gordon. This is right up there with "The Dark Knight Returns" and I personally think its better. Thank you Frank Miller. You are awesome. ... Read more

5. The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 3)
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553564927
Catlog: Book (1994-01-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 19126
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (129)

5-0 out of 5 stars A stunning conclusion to a spectacular trilogy
Timothy Zahn gave it his best when he wrote The Last Command. Out of the entire trilogy, this is by far the best. The book is the longest of the three, but it is by far the fastest read. The storylines are so intense that it would be hard to even consider putting the book down until the last page. In the book, Grand Admiral Thrawn must anticipate the movement of the old republic while confronted with conflict on how to deal with the insane jedi master C'baoth, who has become as tyrannical as the Emperor himself. As this storyline progresses, Luke and Mara also must decide their fate, which could destroy or save the republic.

Fear blankets the New Republic under Thrawn's new special weapon. While under this fear, Leia's future jedi children are born, and Mara must attempt to resolve the Emperor's Last Command. All the storylines come together with such perfect emotion, action, and spectacular epic space battles. The Thrawn Trilogy is a good example of what defines the authentic good quality of the Star Wars universe - love, mythology, action, and fantasy. I honestly believe that these three novels are Episodes 7, 8, and 9. If you haven't read the Thrawn trilogy, you are missing out on one of the best science fiction gems of our time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fitting finale worthy of the "Star Wars" name
Timothy Zahn's third and final novel in the Thrawn Trilogy is so faithful to the spirit of George Lucas' original movie trilogy that many fans consider these novels to be Episodes VII, VIII and IX. And if you read this seminal three-book cycle, you'll see why, even though novels published later (such as Shadows of the Empire or Tatooine Ghost) go backwards in the "Star Wars" timeline.

Here, of course, all the plot threads started in the previous two novels are wrapped up, though some of them will continue to develop in other Star Wars novels. As in the movie series that inspired it, there are space battles and lightsaber duels galore, and the mixture of adventure, romance, and drama that made Star Wars such a popular movie series is vividly recreated in Zahn's crisp and lively writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars the series that revived the Star Wars empire [no spoilers]
"The Last Command" is the third and final novel in The Thrawn Trilogy approximately five years following "Return of the Jedi". The originality and creativity in the series is deep, filled with strange creatures and compelling heroes and villains.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is an ingenious, calculating and efficient villain, someone the New Republic should fear. The creative ways he uses items at his disposal are amazing. Although he is with the Empire, his charisma and composure has me cheering to succeed whenever engaged in combat. Conversely, the spontaneous ravings of insane Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth form a scary image compared with the serene Emperor. Smuggler Talon Karrde reminds me of a pre-Rebellion Han Solo but with a Jabba the Hutt sphere of influence. While Star Wars hasn't been overly political, politics play a minor part in the developments and brings more depth to an otherwise action oriented plot.

Action fills the concluding novel, with surprises and well-timed heroics. I highly recommend this series above all others to any fan of the Star Wars universe.

Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zahn's Best!
Timothy Zahn has written many books, yet his most powerful, most captivating, and most brilliant book would have to be The Last Command. This is the 3rd book in the Thrawn Trilogy.

An important factor of the Thrawn Trilogy is that the remaining Grand Admiral, Grand Admiral Thrawn, hopes to amass an army from the shattered remnants of the Imperial fleet, and with this army crush the young, vulnerable New Republic. The trilogy takes place five years after ROTJ.

Thrawn is a strategic genius. The Emperor wanted to keep him secret, so he was never discovered. Thrawn is so brilliant that the rebels would have been pulverized in the space battle taking place above the moon of Endor.

The whole trilogy brings you through breath-taking moments, with so much action it's unbelievable. Zahn brings the world of Star Wars back so beautifully that you could see this as a movie.

There are many awesome moments in the book. I don't want to give away too much, but Leia gives birth, and a clone of Luke is produced. It is just as powerful as him, maybe even more. Luke's severed hand from ESB is found, and it's used to reconstruct him with clone pods found and exploited by Thrawn. The cloning pods are from AOTC, having been hidden by the Emperor.

This book is absolutely wonderful. I will say that some characters meet untimely demises. Timothy Zahn reconstructed the whole story with a better, more malevolent villain. Read these books, AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Final Chapter in a Fantastic Trilogy
In The Last Command, Hugo-award winning author Timothy Zahn pulls out all the stops. Clones, super-weapons, smuggler alliances, alien warriors, Jedi confrontations, it's all here in the brialliant conclusion to the trilogy that arguable matches Lucas's own original in terms of endearing characters, fantastic action, and pure Star Wars feel.

Talon Kardde, Mara Jade's smuggler employer, is working to create a coalition between rivals in an attempt to create another unified front on which to fight the expanding forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Mara lies wounded in battle on Coruscaunt, her alliances and hatreds torn by old memories and new suspicions. Han, Leia, and Luke, learning of a secret weapons facility on a remote planet, mount a daring operation to take it down, and to make a stand against the insane Jedi Master, Joruus C'baoth.

Thrawn's plans, which we see parts of in the first two novels, come to fruition in this third installment, cementing the Grand Admiral's place in the Star Wars pantheon of fantastic villians. A genius and a ruthless commander, he also manages to make us geniunely wonder what would happen should he succeed in bringing the galaxy under his rule.

Zahn's talent is incredibly obvious in this. There are moments while reading where you'll notice an event or character development, and remember from two or three books ago when the whole thing was set in motion. Seemingly unimportant events from the first two books suddenly become very relavent showcasing Zahn's genius in both spectacle and subtlety. The entire trilogy really deserves multiple reads, as you're likely to catch something more each time you finish it.

And what a finish it is. There is truly no better way to end the wonderful trilogy than with this installment. It's chock-full of all the lightsaber duels and epic space battles you'd expect from a Star Wars story, but also delivers in terms of characters both large and small. Of note is Mara Jade, one of the most complex and entertaining in the SW universe, and a cahracter that has a conclusion that sets up events years in the future.

If you are a Star Wars fan and haven't read the Thrawn Trilogy, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you've read the first two novels, rest assured that this is necessary to complete a wonderful story. And really, above anything else, it's just more fun than you can imagine to pass up. ... Read more

6. The Visual Dictionary (Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
by David West Reynolds, Hans Jenssen, Richard Chasemore
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789447010
Catlog: Book (1999-05)
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 18041
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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No matter what you thought of Phantom Menace, you just have to love its visual effects and props. Episode I was absolutely radiant with special effects, making use of some 2,000 of them, dwarfing that of previous Star Wars installments and even the CGI-happy Titanic with its now-paltry 500. And the low-tech effects, the physical props of Star Wars, have always been unbelievably detailed, from Luke's scuffed-up speeder to Vader's slightly dinged-up helmet (don't pretend you didn't notice). Phantom Menace continues this tradition proudly, whether it's with Amidala's baroque headgear or the intricately machined (and deadly) armament on a droideka.

A page-turning droolfest, Episode I: The Visual Dictionary stops the film and zooms in on all this eye candy. As he did with the first trilogy in Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, author-archaeologist David West Reynolds once again elucidates and itemizes with glee, combining witty, pseudo-scholarly prose with clear movie stills and excellent closeup photos of actual props and characters. Every personality and group of note gets its due in this well-labeled, picture-packed book, from the Jedi High Council to the podrace crowd to the sea monsters of Naboo. Craving a closer look at Maul's double lightsaber? Wish you could tell a Neimoidian's rank by the hat on its head? Need some ideas for filling out your podracer toolkit? This is the book for you. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars A visual treat for Star Wars fans
"Star Wars, Episode I: The Visual Dictionary" combines text by David West Reynolds with a wealth of excellent full-color photographs. Rather than rely on shots from the film, the book primarily uses still shots that appear to have been purposefully taken for a project like this. This was, in my opinion, a wise choice, since I have noticed that the photos in other movie tie-in books can sometimes be a bit murky. The photos here are crisp and colorful, and really allow you to analyze and enjoy the details.

The text comes in the form of easy-to-digest nuggets. The book covers characters, ships, weapons, clothing, robots, animals, and other elements from the movie. The text offers intriguing little tidbits of info about the SW universe (although I imagine that more devoted fans may argue about how "canonical" this info is).

A nice aspect of the book is the fact that barely glimpsed elements in the film are given loving attention here. For example, you can "meet" the members of the Jedi Council more intimately. I liked the comparative size chart of Naboo sea monsters. And the fashion-oriented will have a great time exploring the ornate costumes worn by Queen Amidala and others. Overall, this book is a lot of fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars DK Strikes Back!
The Dorling-Kindersley Visual Dictionaries are all top-notch products, fascinating not only for children, but for adults, as well. The STAR WARS, EPISODE I addition to this line does not disappoint, with page after page of wonderful, detailed photographs of the people, things and places featured in the film. Everything, from lightsabers to battle droids to Darth Maul, is examined closely and exhaustively labeled.

The fun doesn't stop with the photographs, however. Written in close concert with Lucasfilm, the book provides greater insight into the film by providing information about even minor characters with little screen time. As a result, the next time readers watch EPISODE I, they'll find themselves recalling these tidbits, and enjoying the movie even more than they did before.

Readers, adults and children alike, will find this Visual Dictionary a delight, and it will rarely stay on the shelf. Fun to read cover-to-cover, or just to leaf through, the book is an excellent addition to any STAR WARS fan's collection, and comes very close to being a must-have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Also a good book
This book likewise its similar for the classic Trilogy, is a good buy for a Star Wars Fan. Depicts everything that appears in the movie, except the starships, the only thing I missed, but it is not a major problem.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jar Jar Okiday!
The comprehensive dictionary of the first prequil is full of detail that even the movie didn't cover. Big, bright and easy on the eye, we are introduced to nthe characters that would be and influence in this up and coming prequil series.

A better read than the original Star Wars dictionary as that edition had to compress down into one volume all three of the trilogy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Visual Treat!
This slim volume, published in 1999 to coincide with the release of Episode I, is actually a treasure for Star Wars fans who are interested in the details of the characters, lifeforms, and technology from that "galaxy far, far away...." Lavishly illustrated and wonderfully written by David West Reynolds. Also worth getting are The Star Wars Visual Dictionary and the Star Wars Episode II Visual Dictionary. ... Read more

7. Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 2)
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553560719
Catlog: Book (1993-02-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 23833
Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Empire is dying; but like a dog near death, the Empire is at its most dangerous, ready to lash out with nothing to lose. Grand Admiral Thrawn may have found just the firepower needed to take a bite out of the New Republic: some two hundred Dreadnaught heavy cruisers, lost to hyperspace in the days of the Old Republic. Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca may be up against more than they bargained for, but it`s not the first time the odds have been stacked against them! ... Read more

Reviews (92)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Trilogy just gets better and better
Dark Force Rising is the second book in Tim Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy. OUr heroes, on the run from assasins after Leia's unborn twins, as well as Luke and Leia themselves, run through the book at a frantic pace. Leia decides that the best place to hide is amongst the enemy, so along with Chewbacca she embarks on a quest to the world of Honogar, the homeworld of the Empire's best assasins. Luke after spending time with the insane Dark Jedi C'Boath is off on a mission to rescue smuggler chief Talon Karrde from Grand Admiral Thrawn's personal Star Destroyer with the help of Mara Jade, who wants to kill him once the rescue is complete. Han Solo finds himself swept off to a secret meeting with a soldier who may or may not help the fragile New Republic against the victorious Empire and Thrawn. Added to this is a frantic race to discover the location of the Katana Fleet or Dark Force. A mysterious fleet of warships designed after the Clone Wars that could tip the victory in the laps of those who find it first. Add in political intrigue, an Alliance commander accused of treason and clones and you have one heck of a good novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Middle Section To The Thrawn Trillogy
Cases may be made, and not without justification, that Dark Force Rising suffers a bit from being the middle book in the trilogy. Maybe so, but that certainly doesn't stop it from being a very excellent book, with more than its share of merits.

Picking up right after Heir, Dark Force Rising takes what Zahn started with in the previous book and begins to build on his ideas. Leia visits the Noghri homeworld, Luke sets out to encounter C'boath and we are given an explination to many of the oblique refrences Grand Admiral Thrawn made about his master plan in Heir.

Very simply, Zahn blows away all other Star Wars authors in terms of his characterization of the majors players in the story. Thrawn is such a great opponent because he has a great deal of deapth (he is not just 'evil' like many other villians of the Star Wars Univese). He became my favorite Star Wars character almost right away. Karrde's gentleman smuggler quality makes him very different from other fringe characters in the universe. And who can ignore Mara Jade? Her bitter, cynical nature is a wonderful counter to the excessive optimism displayed by many Star Wars characters.

The only fault I have with Zahn is that he makes other Star Wars literature seem weak for comparison. Oh well, not everybody can be the best (though, we could afford to ban a few folks from writing Star Wars). Overall (if, somehow, you haven't figured it out by now) I highly reccomend this. After you read Heir To The Empire, of course.

5-0 out of 5 stars the series that revived the Star Wars empire [no spoilers]
"Dark Force Rising" is the second novel in The Thrawn Trilogy approximately five years following "Return of the Jedi". The originality and creativity in the series is deep, filled with strange creatures and compelling heroes and villains.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is an ingenious, calculating and efficient villain, someone the New Republic should fear. The patient approach Grand Admiral Thrawn employs by building a formidable force with the Empire to challenge the New Republic is clever. While Star Wars hasn't been overly political, politics play a part in the developments and brings more depth to an otherwise action oriented plot. The author wisely invested sufficient time developing character and cultural histories to tie nicely with the existing history thereby enriching an already compelling genre.

I highly recommend this series above all others to any fan of the Star Wars universe.

Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Adventure Continues. . .
In Dark Force Rising, Timothy Zahn continues the spectacular story he began in Heir to the Empire, while upping both the intrigue and action of the incredible story arc.

The stakes are higher than ever. Grand Admiral Thrawn's first puch against the New Republic was unsuccessful, but the victory wasn't nearly one-sided. Treachery and political infighting threatens to tear the government apart. As Han and Lando fight to clear Admiral Ackbar's name of treason, Leia races to an alien planet to try to bring a dangerous and proud alien race into the fight against the Empire. Luke, feeling the call of Joruus C'baoth, the mad Jedi master, must team up with Mara Jade once again, to free her employer and comrade from Thrawn's own ship.

The threads of the plot, while becoming more numerous and complex, never get tangled. Zahn juggles the huge cast of characters with talent that few have ever shown in the series. The action is larger, the characters are more complex, creating tension on both sides of the war. The clashing between Joruus C'baoth and his uneasy ally, Thrawn, becomes more apparent, and threatens to disrupt the Empire's plans, and C'baoth himself makse a move to corrupt Luke, Leia, and her unborn children for his own twisted desires.

This is one of the rare sequels that doesn't suffer from sequelitis. True, you really have to have read the first book to understand what's going on, but the book has a definite beginning and end, and more than enough excitement and interesting characters to fill the 400 plus pages. But, aside from the quality, which is exceptional, this is just a plain fun read. Like the first novel in the Thrawn Trilogy, this captures the essence of the Star Wars mythos, while building on its wonderful history and story.

If you're looking for a fantastic literary saga in the Star Wars universe, you can't do better than the Trawn Trilogy, and the second book proves that Zahn's writing and grasp of the SW universe just keeps getting better and better.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolutely PERFECT sequel to Heir to the Empire
Timothy Zahn's incredible 'Heir To The Empire' remains one of the 3 greatest Star Wars novels written (the other 2 would be the immediate sequels, of course) and 'Dark Force Rising' picks up shortly after, with a slightly misleading title. When you are dealing with anything that has the Star Wars name on the front, when you read 'Dark Force' what comes to YOUR mind? Well my opinion had something to do with the Dark Jedi that was introduced in 'Heir' but you may as well drop that idea right up front. The fabled Dark Force is a fleet of Dreadnaught ships with a Dark Coloring that were all networked together (or in this case, Slave Rigged) to one ship called the Katana, and one day (as the story goes) the Katana's crew goes nuts and trips them all into Hyperspace and instantly an entire fleet of ships disappear, never to be seen from again. As events from 'DFR' pick up, smuggler Talon Karrde apparently believes that he knows exactly where the Katana Fleet is located, and since the Alliance AND the Empire are in desperate need of new ships, finding the Dark Force suddenly becomes Priority #1. Who will get to the ships first, and also, does either the Empire OR the Alliance have enough men to crew the fleet if and when the ships are found in the first place?

We delve deeper into the corrupted mind of the cloned dark Jedi, Joruus and what plans Grand Admiral Thrawn has for him and we see a little more of what his grand scheme is for defeating the Rebels. The depth of character development in 'Dark Force Rising' is more apparent and we get into the mind of Thrawn even more. Zahn's evil creation marks him as an even greater 3-dimensional character than either Vader or the Emperor ever was on the big screen. More depth. More ambition, and most of all, more brains. Where Vader & the Emperor ruled by fear, Thrawn rules by simply making the best decisions based on solid research and the brilliant deductions from the mind of the only alien Palpatine ever allowed to rise in major rank within the confines of the Empire. Zahn never gives us too much info too quickly, always leaving some detail out of the picture until just the right moment when he opens the curtain of your mind and reveals a little more of what we have in store for the last book, 'The Last Command'. Just as the bombshell was dropped at the end of 'The Empire Strikes Back' with the revelation from Vader that he is Luke's Father, Zahn leaves us hanging at the end of 'Dark Force Rising' with quite a nailbiter of an ending, too.

Once again, I can find nothing wrong with this 2nd installment in this trilogy. I have yet to read ANY Star Wars novels that are as well drawn out and all-out entertaining as this series was and is--with the possible exception of the 'Hand of Thrawn' duo that Zahn wrote several years later (although still excellent, they were not as good as his original trilogy). 'The Last Command' is simply put a grand ending to this incredibly well told series of books. Many have wondered how well these 3 books would've turned out had they been put up on the big screen...well, if they could've done it, my personal opinion is if they would have closely followed the novels, they would most certainly have been MUCH better than Episode's I & II have turned out to be. Run out and buy this series if you haven't yet. Absolutely the best of the best in the Star Wars Universe in print, and they simply should NOT be missed. Bravo, Mr. Zahn. ... Read more

8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
by DC Comics
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563893428
Catlog: Book (1997-05-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 6427
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (199)

5-0 out of 5 stars Batman at his best
I've always been a fan of Batman, but I've never been in to comic books that much. Recently I stumbled on to Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and I was really impressed. The four book saga, now combined into a graphic novel, tells the story of an aging Batman who has been retired for 10 years. Still tortured by the death of his parents, and by the growing rampant crime in the streets of Gotham, Bruce Wayne once again unleashes the Batman on Gotham's underworld. However, Batman finds himself returning into a world where super heroes are unwanted and have all but vanished.

Miller's portrayal of an overly polictically correct world with little room for Batman, is compelling and original. The book's dark portrayal of a brooding, violent, Batman who has lost his faith in the justice system's ability to rehabilitate criminals set the stage for the modern portrayal of Batman in both comics and film. In my opinion, this is a story of Batman the way he should be portrayed, as the tortured punisher of evil not the friendly neighborhood super hero. We can leave that to Superman, and if you've ever wanted to see Superman get brought down a few pegs, this is the book for you.

The artwork is gritty, intriguing and fits in perfectly with the story. This book inspired me to check out more graphic novels, and works by Frank Miller.

5-0 out of 5 stars a comic book work unlike any other
I've been a comic book reader for many years, and to this day I cannot recall another single work of comic book art that is quite so brilliant as Frank Miller's Dark Knight. Certainly Cerebus, Sandman, Cages and From Hell are to be lauded for their genuine genius, but Dark Knight remains my all-time favourite creation. Frank Miller has written a gripping story of tragic heroism and bitter social commentary. His Batman is truly a larger-than-life, tormented hero, brilliantly conceived with his many flaws and perverse obsessions intact. Miller plays with the comic book universe beautifully, realising a world wherein the so-called "super-hero" does exist, and exploring the ramifications of this fact. Batman's final confrontation with Superman at the end of this graphic novel is bar-none the most cunningly conceived battle in comic book history. It is achingly poignant to see the two old warriors confront one another at last: Superman with his compromised good-guy! agenda and Batman with his twisted, demoniac fixation. Batman loathes the figure that Superman has become, while Clark Kent pities the poor, lost soul who has sacrificed his very existence for that which he pursues with a vengeance. "You Bruce, with your obsession..." Miller has created in Dark Knight a vividly real and passionately affecting tale of Heroes and Madmen, riveting from start to finish.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Best Laid Graphic Novels of Mice and Men Often Go Astray
"In MY opinion..." Ankurpanchbudhe said in his list. Well I know for a fact that this is not a graphic novel, -- Ankurpanchbudhe's opinion is stupid -- and so is Ankurpanchbudhe. I'm going to write a criticism of the review that Ankurpanchebudhe started his list with. It never pleases me more than when someone calls a reprint collection in a thick softcover comic book form all in one a graphic novel. I bet if you went to a book store and looked at the "graphic novel" section and got a price guide that you would not find any graphic novels there at all. It's kind of like what we called a oneshot back when I lived in California. Kids that thought they were comic collectors would throw around the word oneshot because it made them sound smart. I got a oneshot! You got a oneshot? I have a oneshot! They have a oneshot. He has a oneshot. She has a oneshot. We have a oneshot. Everbody has a one shot. They would say. Longshot. Deadshot. Shattershot. Bloodshot. Sunspot. Blindspot. Grimlock. Shotshot. (Wouldn't that make a great super hero? Two shots on his name? Put him in a comic book and you could make a million!) Just because it has the word "shot" in it doesn't mean it's good. Don't call something a graphic novel unless you look it up in the price guide and it says GN next to it. Buy this book for what it is and you'll be a lot happier. One of these days I'm going to finish a list that has all of the things that Ankurpanchbudhe's list has criticising each criticisim blow-by-blow. None of the things on Ankurpanchbudhe's list is a graphic novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best graphic novel ever done, period.
Best character (Batman), best writing, cool drawings, and, importantly, Miller does not deviate from the legend like most other comic (and Hollywood) writers seem to have a proclivity for doing. Just watch the recently released "Troy" movie to see how little regard the average writer has in keeping the mythology intact (Hector does NOT kill Meneleus in the texts, Achilles was NOT in the Trojan horse with Odysseus in the texts). Jeph Loeb, in the critically acclaimed "A Superman for All Seasons," tells us that Lex Luthor did not grow up with Clark Kent in Smallville. Why would anyone weed that out of the legend? This is a major peeve of mine. Show some respect for the legend, for Crissakes. Ironically, Loeb now produces the "Smallville" TV series, which is entirely based on the fact that the two rivals were childhood friends before their falling out.

This is the brilliance of "The Dark Night Returns." Miller completely respects the legend, while creating something entirely new at the same time.

2-0 out of 5 stars poisonous
I'm a pretty big fan of comics; but I got something of a late start, with Sandman about 7 years ago. So there's a lot of stuff I just haven't got around to reading. I'd heard of Frank Miller, naturally -- he's one of the "big names" that you hear about, if you make even a cursory exploration into comics -- but for one reason or another I hadn't actually read any of his stuff. Without knowing anything about his work, there was something about him that didn't appeal to me, viscerally. But I was nosing around the comics section at the library the other day, and I saw his Dark Knight Returns; and it's supposed to be this seminal work, and I thought, "Hey! Finally I'll get to read some Frank Miller!"

My conclusion? Frank Miller is a fine writer, but has absolutely *no business writing superheroes.* He comes from that self-satisfied stratum of hipster, who thinks that if you aren't injecting Politics and Current Events into your art, then it's not Real Art. And it's not even well thought out politics, either. I read as much as I could. You get used to reading leftist politics, when you enjoy things like comics and fantasy and science-fiction, so I figured I could just tune it out and focus on the story. The last straw, though, was when he trots out the old saw of portraying Reagan (this was written in the '80s) as an aw-shucks idiot who is sumultaneously a somnambulist bungler and a sinister mastermind. And maybe another time I would have been able to ignore it. But I think it was just too fresh, too soon.

So I picked up the other comic I got from the library: a volume of Kurt Busiek's Astro City. What a breath of fresh air, after reading Miller's poison! The more I read, the more I just fell in love. I mean, he has superheroes who fight for god.. and they *aren't* jokes. They aren't the bad guys! How novel is that? Busiek takes superheroes seriously. He takes good and evil seriously, while still leaving room for humor, for human frailty, for both despair and hope, for real emotion. This is what superheroes are supposed to be.

So that's my endorsement for Kurt Busiek. He reminds me quite a lot of Gaiman, in the way that he constructs his stories. If you're interested in comics at all, you need to read Astro City. ... Read more

9. Titan, Book One : Taking Wing (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
by Michael A. Martin, Andy Mangels
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743496272
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Star Trek
Sales Rank: 89951
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10. Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace
list price: $150.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375407448
Catlog: Book (1999-06)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 447094
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When casting about for an author to novelize the script for The Phantom Menace--the first in a series of three prequels to the eternally popular Star Wars saga--it's no surprise that creator George Lucas called on Terry Brooks to novelize the biggest science fiction movie of all time. After all, Brooks is a perennially bestselling epic fantasy author whose Sword of Shannara is a classic adventure story, not far removed from the swashbuckling exploits of our favorite Star Wars heroes.

Brooks handles the job of modern mythmaker well. He deftly juggles a hodgepodge of characters: a young stately queen (Amidala) and her handmaidens; a pair of Jedi knights (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn); a bumbling amphibious sidekick (Jar Jar Binks); two Sith Lords (Darths Maul and Sidious) who add more than enough menace to the mix; a couple of familiar robots (C-3P0 and R2-D2); a teeming host of Senators, Chancellors, diplomats, warrior droids, and spies; and one young slave boy who aspires to be a Jedi knight (Anakin Skywalker). With cinematic prose, Brooks brings to life a number of epic battles, skirmishes, and dogfights in space--all the elements that we've come to expect from a rousing Star Wars installment. The Phantom Menace doesn't stray far from those expectations: there is a clear division between the good guys and the bad; good things come in small (and surprising) packages; and heroes lose battles only to emerge victorious on another day. But Phantom does illuminate in ways the other installments didn't. For the first time, we get a glimpse at the whys and wherefores behind the curtain; at times the book reads almost like a sociopolitical thriller as the emerging Federation shuffles for power with the waning democracy of the Republic. The Force is also further illuminated. Turns out it has something to do with "midi-chlorians"--microscopic life forms that live in the cells of all creatures.

The Phantom Menace is a fun read, sure to satisfy Star Wars junkies young and old. And don't forget: turn your light saber off before you enter the swamp or you'll fry your energy pack. --Tod Nelson ... Read more

Reviews (413)

4-0 out of 5 stars pretty good
the best thing you can say about this book is it's better than the movie and makes the story more interesting with some added parts not in the film. if you read this you will really think that if the acting hadn't been so outstandingly poor in the prequels (anakins, padme, mace, etc.) and the story more fleshed out it really could have been great.

5-0 out of 5 stars If only the movie had been like the book!
Terry Brooks did a lot with the story handed to him by Lucas.In fact, I'd say he did so well that he made the original story idea look pretty good.At its essence, it's a story about how a youngster with strong emotions, a particularly strong connection to the Force, and an affinity for machines is "found" and improbably added to the Jedi.This comes about largely through the work of maverick Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn, and it happens during a crisis within the Old Republic, actually manufactured by the Sith (the 'phantom menace').Jar Jar and even Queen Amidala are thus minor characters, and don't dominate the story unduly (as they do in the movie).Brooks weights the material well.Anakin and Qui-Gon, as seen in the book, are good characters and Brooks develops them well.

Also, there are quite a few insights in the novelization that we don't see in the movie -- and so I have to disagree with reviewer Daniel Jolley.For example, Anakin's trip to the desert where he assists a wounded Tusken Raider, and the accompanying vision/nightmare he has that night (you'll have to read it).Did Lucas clue Brooks in as to the basic plot of Episode II?Also, Anakin flies off the handle and gets in a wild fight with a bigger Rodian kid who accuses him of cheating in the Boonta Eve podrace.Why?Deep down, Anakin is afraid of losing Padme, with whom he already feels a strong attachment.There are also some valuable insights as to exactly how Qui-Gon is a maverick Jedi -- to Obi-Wan's displeasure - expressing itself strongly on the flight back to Naboo.Sone good stuff here.

It's written at a good clip and Jar Jar isn't as annoying as he is in the movie.It's really not a bad story and I found myself really enjoying the characters of Anakin and Qui-Gon.That in itself made it worthwhile.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected
The Phantom Menace, the first prequel in the Star Wars universe, is an enigma.There are some great things happening in the story, coupled with some really pointless things as well.The story, with all the political intrigue and manipulation by Palpatine, is really great.Also the Qui-Gon Jinn character is an amazing addition to the Star Wars lore.For a more full effect, read Cloak of Deception which occurs before this book.

But Brooks, though a great writer, was harnessed by an uneven script and some very unfortunate characters.He was able to correct a lot of that through his writing, especially the flow of the story by adding extra stories about Anakin.The one involving the old spacer telling stories was probably the most moving part of the book.Even Jar-Jar, who is probably the most despised character to ever grace the Star Wars universe, is a bit more tolerable and "real".The movie allowed him to be too cartoonish of a character.Anakin also recieved a better presentation in the book, presenting his thoughts to the reader.

Overall, I would suggest reading the book, as it makes the movie more enjoyable.But expect some of the same poorly written dialogue as was in the movie.Congrats Brooks, you turned a not so great movie into an entertaining book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Balancing the Force.. well, er, the story
Brooks knows what he's doing. He's been doing this novelist thing for awhile now and knows how to write a story. So when he takes Lucas' script and balances and adds to it, you'd think Lucas would have looked at what he had done and maybe said to himself, "that's not a bad idea. I'll just do some of what Terry has done." But he didn't and, alas, we were left with Phantom Menace - a disjointed film at best.

The novel is very good in that it gives us the story in a brisk pace and it's characters in interesting ways. It also gives it in a balanced manner - starting with Anakin in the beginning and not just introducing him halfway through the story. We get some back-story of characters and scenes of interest like Anakin's care of a hurt Tusken Raider and the previous podrace against Sebulba when he "flashed his vents." There are parts where we can see Brooks trying to do what he can with Lucas' script when the writing is just plain bad. Not Brook's fault - it's the source material.

On the overall, this is a good book that gives you plenty of Star Wars action and tries to make up for what eventually ended up on the screen. Brook's portrayal of Anakin and Qui Gonn are very good. They have a better dynamic than in the movie and I found myself very moved (much like I was when I first read this book - a little bit on that: I'm reading the books over again in preparation of Episode III. I read this book the day it came out and loved it. I was very disappointed when I saw the movie and saw that much of what Brooks had accomplished was lost on the screen or wasn't attempted at all) when Qui Gonn was cut down. I would still like a little more on Obi-Wann's drawing on the force to leap out of the pit, over Darth Maul, and then killing him. I would have liked to get in his head a little more and find out what was going on. It doesn't seem like that monumental a thing in the book or on the screen however it's enough to get him made a Jedi Master. Also, I want to know why the hell Maul didn't react but stood there like he was glued to the frigging floor! But I digress...

Brooks is a great writer and this is a good book. The best complement I can give is this: it's better than the movie.

3-0 out of 5 stars More bland fair than fanfar
A commendable attempt at insubstantial writing, but if you're not used to it by now, the stimcaf needs a higher dose.

The opening chapter is exciting and explains just how the kid busts up his racer, which is about the only good writing you'll see in the book. Once the movie's opening scene kicks in, the parameters of restrictive writing closes in, limiting attention to detail, depth and casual flow till the back cover.

And the simple, easy style of writing certainly doesn't impress. Numerous occasions he'll begin a scene saying "Qui-Gon, Padme, See-Threepio and Jar Jar Binks returned to Watto's shop, or something to that effect. These lists of character names strung out one after another is about as boring as you can get. How about "Qui-Gon was the first to enter Watto's shop, Padme at his back; Jar Jar trailing her wake."

He falls into the same robotic writing that Luceno, Zahn and certain others have; repeating the same descriptive features, repetitive wordage and other annoying facets. While we didn't get Denning's infamous efflux word 30 times a book, I don't want to see Qui-Gon's "leonine" face described as such even half as much, or the kid's "pug face."

It was almost as if you just went through the motions, you didn't quite feel the real emotions and thoughts of the characters. A rather detached style, all too common nowadays with Star Wars. And don't say the book was based off a rigid manuscript and a few available movie shots---you don't need them to deeper decriptive surroundings, emotive thoughts and flow of action. Dialogue was equally stiff and I really don't see why characters just can't speak whatever extra they want, so long as the movie lines are of course used.

And when your career evolved around outright and unpunished LOTR plagurism, it's insurmountably challenging to take Brooksie seriously.

It was rare for a character to actually be wrtitten without their full names; I think saying Bibble instead of Sio Bibble would have sufficed, what do you think? And though Brookes' book had to specially cater to a global audience new to a SW book, having seen the movie, just why was a major name like Obi-Wan write so rigidly and awkwardly? Was he ever not seething with impatience, anger, impetuous?

The final showdown almost saves this light pancake, and it was apparent how awkward it would be if Qui-Gon and McGreggor could only call Maul "dark warrior" or Sith Lord" every time, so he gives in and just says Darth Maul, despite the fact Qui-Gon's pov couldn't know his name.

One of the rare books whose paperback came out mere months after its debut hardcover, but like Cloak of Deception, it's not catering to dedicated fans.

Of course, just how Maulie tracked them to Tatooine is still a mystery. ... Read more

11. Batman: The Killing Joke
by Alan Moore
list price: $5.95
our price: $5.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0930289455
Catlog: Book (1995-12-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 6861
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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The Killing Joke, one of my favorite Batman stories ever, stirred a bit of controversy because the story involves the Joker brutally, pointlessly shooting Commissioner Gordon's daughter in the spine. This is a no-holds-barred take on a truly insane criminal mind, masterfully written by British comics writer Alan Moore. The art by Brian Bolland is so appealing that his depiction of the Joker became a standard and was imitated by many artists to follow. ... Read more

Reviews (83)

5-0 out of 5 stars Moody and Tragic story of the Joker and Batman
A comic nearing perfection in both its graphic and story construction. The art, empasising sickly greens, oranges and reds (especially during Gordon's torture sequence) works brilliantly at evoking a sense of the deranged and desperate mind of the Joker. That this tale is only one brutal cycle in the continuing, and perhaps endless, Joker/Batman confrontation is made all-too clear by the same, full-page panel of rain falling in muddy water being shown at both the beginning and the end. The story itself is also spectacular, from Batman's initial attampt to reason with his archnemesis ("There once were two guys in a lunatic asylum...")Joker's merciless attack and humiliation of Barbara Gordon, to Joker's hideous claim that the only difference between him and the rest of the world is "one bad day." One of the most bizarre and horrifying moments in Batman history must be achieved in the two foes final confrontation...that one brief moment when the Joker turns-halfway to he considering accepting the Dark Night's help? the final scene when both men laugh uncontollably in the killing rain; a single moment when the both the Batman and Joker get the same Joke: that they are together, forever, until they destroy each other. Perhaps this is the "Killing Joke" of the title?

5-0 out of 5 stars More than just a comic - True Literature
This is the most in-depth Batman comic I have ever read, and has become my favourite Batman story of all time. The story deals with Joker escaping, paralyzing Barbara Gordon, kidnapping Commissoner Gordon, and trying to prove that any man can go crazy in a single, bad day. As Batman hunts the Joker, the reader is treated to the Joker's origin story, and sees how thin the line is that seperates Batman from the Joker.

I won't try to get into the psychological aspects of this story -suffice it to say that other reviews have covered it throughly and any attempt on my part would only make me look foolish. However, I will say that the most chilling part about this book is how, if you replace Batman and the Joker with two everyday people, the events still feel horribly real. This is not escapist reading as all comic books have been labeled, in fact, this is the book to show people who don't believe that powerful stories can be told in this medium. Both Batman and the Joker had a single bad day - so why didn't Batman go insane like the Joker did? The reader wants to know the fine line that seperates these two characters, partly so they can realize how close to crossing that line they are in their own lives. The art is truly amazing -detailed, moody, and brilliantly inked - the scenes in the Joker's funhouse scare the reader as much as they scare Gordon. The flashbacks are also impressively tied into the present, with similiar situations bookending each scene. The story begins and ends on the same note, like a vicious, never-ending cycle. Plus, you know you have something special when, after all the vicious, sadistic things the Joker has done, you still feel sorry for him.

"The Killing Joke" is a true masterpiece, and earns its place as one of the best comics of all time, and a true work of fiction.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Worst Alan Moore Work - Even He Says So!
As you can see from nearly every other review here, this work is generally considered a classic - if not one of the all-time best Batman stories, up there with those Frank Miller ones. I disagree. And I disagree reluctantly because Alan Moore's writing is actually very clever and Brian Bolland's artwork is simply gorgeous. Why? Simple. I disagree with nearly everything about Alan Moore's "Batman". Frank Miller mentioned something like that in an interview also. Even Alan Moore has stated countless times that this is his weakest work. But fans still clamour after this book...

Five reasons I dislike this book:

[1] Batman is totally wrong. It seemed like the pet-peeve of every cynical Brit writer in the 80s and 90s to portray Batman as equally insane compared to his foes [check out Grant Morrison's "Arkham Asylum" for more of the same].

[2] The hopeless ending. Agreed, this book has the Joker at his most evil and the book ends with Batman and Joker laughing in the rain?

[3] The level of *sick* shocks in this book. From Barbara Gordon's crippling to Jim Gordon's "circus" experience. This was written at a period where shocking violence in comics is considered a prerequisite in crafting a "mature" work. Granted, I actually prefer Barbara as Oracle than the cheesy Batgirl but I absolutely detest the way Alan Moore did it in this book.

[4] The totally unnecessary "origin" of Joker. Joker is one of those characters in comics who really can do without an origin. He is a sicko, and that's all you need to know. We do not need to see him from a more compassionate perspective by having a "tragic origin".

[5] The use of "Watchmen-transitions". Alan Moore is justly famous for the use of clever transitions between panels. But in this book, we have transitions such as a poster of a fat woman freak in a circus leading to the next panel of Joker's pregnant wife. Where's the catch? This is the real problem of the whole work - clever but ultimately pointless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside The Mind Of The Killer Clown Of Gotham
The Killing Joke, first published in the late 1980's is an atypical Batman story and yet, remains, one of the best ever written. Back in print since the 90's I was happy to relive the tale after losing my original copy of the book.

As regular readers and followers of the Batman mythology already know, the Joker, is the Dark Knight's most well known and popular adversary. Talented comic book scribe Alan Moore broke with tradition. He decided this story would not just be about the Joker having some demented plan and our hero has to find a way to foil those plans, rather, he chose to examine what makes the villian tick. The story has Joker shooting and crippling Barbra Gordon, then kiddnaping her father Police Commissioner James Gordon taunting him, to see if a man can truly go insane within a short period of time. While the Joker awaits the inevitable confrontation with Batman, he allows himself to reflect on his early days, and thus, the reader learns his origin. The book focuses less on typical "superhero action" and more on the psychology of these characters. Mr Moore weaves his story with such effortless ease that it never gets bogged down. It's all about the choices that a person makes and how much these two mortal foes really do mirror each other.

The artistic talents of Brian Bolland and John Higgins really shine in the book. Their rendition of The Joker is quite spectacular and among the best ever produced in a Bat story...Really. The "dynamic duo (sorry I couldn't help myself)" set a standard for the way Joker is now drawn today. Batman doesn't look too bad either. The artwork is a nice mix of subtlty and some broad strokes-matching the story perfectly.

I have read a lot of Batman stories over the years, The Killing Joke may not be what you would expect for these icons, but it is worth reading for sure. It is one of the best. The book has 48 pages

5-0 out of 5 stars a story you will go back to, time and again
I brought this as a 1st addition when it came out and it's one of the few stories i've re-read time and time again. It's a story of two men who take different paths when their lives hit bottom but find they have a lot in common. I loved seeing the Jokers' life before he turned to crime and evil though he is, you see the events that turn him into the man he is now (with a small contribution from batman - read and find out). Reading this comic is what made is difficult from me to enjoy the first batman movie. Well, how could the joker have killed batman's parents if they are roughly the same age and batman was there when he changed? Read this great comic-novel and enjoy it much as I did, you won't be sorry. ... Read more

12. Hollow Men (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
by Una McCormack
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743491513
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Star Trek
Sales Rank: 338480
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13. The Art of Star Wars: Episode 6: Return of the Jedi (The Art of Star Wars Series , No 6)
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345410890
Catlog: Book (1997-01-14)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 501402
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Artwork, But Lacks Descriptions and Organization
I really give this book 3 and a half stars only for the artwork.

Primarily, this book is rather disappointing. The pictures, and artwork are great, and I must say it is quite amazing to see the matte paintings that were used in the film. The book contains numerous paintings, sketches, and pictures, but they are very poorly organized. I often found that if I saw a picture I liked and wanted to look at it again, I would have to literally flip through almost every page to find it again. The pictures aren't organized into "sections" as were the ones in THE ART OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. But that is because the script for the movie is included in this book.

The script takes up a lot of space, but is often spaced apart by maybe 2-3 pages of artwork. So for example, once you're done reading the portion of script on page 9, you'd have to skip up to page 12 to continue reading it. It ruins the continuity of the script, but that is not that much of a deal. The script is nice to have, but then again, why would you really want the script? And besides that, why would you find a script in an art book to begin with?

Returning to the pictures, the main disappointment is the lack of descriptions for the artwork. They have little sentences like: ABOVE RIGHT, painting done by Ralph McQuarrie, and so on, but I had expected more descriptions, and rightfully so because this is an art book...isn't it?

If you are interested in the art AND the script, then you should get it. But keep in mind that there aren't many descriptions for the pictures. In my opinion, this book is a clash of script and fabulous art, and the script doesn't allow for the splendour of the artwork to come out in its full "capacity". But I don't regret getting this book simply because of the artwork, and really, this is the only book out there that has THE ART OF RETURN OF THE JEDI.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but lack of descriptions disappointing
This is a great book, but it doesn't have the descriptions for the artwork that the Episode 1 edition had. Putting the script in no doubt took up the space required to have the descriptions in. Still, the art is amazing and I am overwhelmed every time I look at one of these books. If you are a die-hard Star Wars fan, or are even curious about these movies, the "Art of.." series is great and a must-have.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW
This was an awesome book if you have any arguments shove it up your @$

2-0 out of 5 stars not nearly as good as the Empire "Art of"
In brief, this is NOT an "Art of" book. It's a script with a lot of pretty pictures. I can buy the script in several other different formats, but this is the only chance for me to find anything out about the artwork, and this book simply does not do it. Lucasfilm seems to alternate between so-called "Art of" books with the script shoved in (New Hope, Jedi), and actual, quality ART books (Phantom Menace, Empire) that recognize that the script can be found elsewhere. Hopefully the remaining books in the series will leave the script OUT.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for fans of the original triolgy
If you enjoy seeing how the classic stories developed, this is definately going to be a book you wont regret getting, and is a MUST for your collection, allong with the other two art books. ... Read more

14. Fall of the Sith Empire (Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi)
by Kevin J. Anderson, Dario Carrasco, Dario Carrasco Jr., Bill Black, David Jacob Beckett, Ray Murtaugh
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1569713200
Catlog: Book (1998-05-06)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Sales Rank: 105806
Average Customer Review: 3.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Sith Empire has rallied its forces for an all-out battle for control of the galaxy. Its goal: Crush the Republic. And with so many Sith Masters among them, the goal is not unachievable. As Naga Sadow readies his fleet to attack, one lone person threatens to undermine the entire campaign -- Jori Daragon. She isn`t a Jedi. She`s an explorer, a mapper of hyperspace who stumbled on the plans of the Sith. And she just may be the savior of the Republic. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I do not agree with any of the negative past reviews given here. I thought Fall of the Sith Empire was a fitting conclusion to the setup in The Golden Age of the Sith. The information within and its events lead up to other comic and Star Wars storylines. It is told more like a story passed down for generations, a feeling I think the author wanted. In actuallity it is a story told from the events known to a young jedi who is now a master. He is later seen, much older, in the Dark lords of the Sith series (the story of Exar Kun).So there is not great detail in points that do not need more info. You are getting the basic story as to what happened and why, and that is great. No one else has tried to tackle this era in the Star Wars history. Also, i think the art work is justified in its rought style. The setting is in the SW past, and the story is not overly detailed; these characteristics lead to a rough look that was very satisfying. It would not be perfect like the Star Wars present and future time periods. People are entitled to their opinions, but I think some missed the point when actually figuring out why elements of the comic where done in certain ways.

2-0 out of 5 stars Now we take we back to ancient egypt...
This is the conclusion of the Golden Age of the Sith. The Fall is also set 5,000 years before NEW HOPE. While the art work also improves, yes I said improves, the story seems to disintegrate into itself. Since I like some of KJA's work, I am assuming that he was not the lead writer, just placed first alphabetically. Nothing important happens here so don't feel you need to waste your money buying this book, unless you want to buy mine!

1-0 out of 5 stars Isn't there supposed to be a point?
Once again, I state that I've never been an Anderson fan. 'Golden Age of the Sith' had some streong points, like a decent plot and beautiful art. Alas, the art quality drops a bit here and the story goes into a nosedive. There's almost no plot, save for a big battle. Granted, it can be pretty visually complex and interesting, drawing back to an old style of combat, but overall its quite lacking.

I've gotten out a fine-toothed comb, but cannot find any cohesive story, unfortunately. Read it only as a conclusion for 'Golden Age', but don't expect a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars WoW it is Exar Kun!
This is a cool book that is about the Sith and moast of all Sith Lord Exar Kun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Action packed conclusion to The Golden Age of the Sith
If you liked The Golden Age of the Sith but wanted much more action, this is the perfect addition for you to read. It concludes the events in its predecessor with great storytelling and it's jam-packed with action. This is one of the best stories in the Star Wars universe, with several conflicts occurring at once. You'll also discover an age where everything was primitive by Star Wars standards and Coruscant looked like a large Egyptian city. This TPB continues Dark Horse's tradition of classic action-packed stories combined with descriptive and entertaining illustrations. A must-have, but make sure you read The Golden Age of the Sith first! ... Read more

15. I Was Poisoned By My Body: The Odyssey of a Doctor Who Reversed Fibromyalgia, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - Naturally!
by Gloria Gilbere, Gloria Gilbere PhD, Beata Golau, Tama Bergstrand, Janice Phelps
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967605091
Catlog: Book (2000-09-16)
Publisher: Lucky Press
Sales Rank: 25506
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book is the first of its kind to directly connect the causes of autoimmune disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and multiple chemical sensitivities with colon and digestive disorders. It offers safe, alternative, natural choices to drug therapy.

A personal note from Dr. Gilbère:

Dear Reader,
My book will assist you in natural non-drug solutions to heal and repair damage from prescription drugs, years of health depleting dietary choices, and chemically induced immune system disorders. It’s surprising how many symptoms stem from leaky gut and toxic liver syndromes. No, leaky gut is not a dinner table topic, but will soon become a household word. This increasingly common disorder is not well known in traditional medicine, rarely tested for, and much less understood. Leaky gut syndrome is the disease of the 21st century. The gut houses over half the body's immune and detoxification system, therefore, an unhealthy gut is what holds back many people from ever getting well. It doesn’t matter what your diagnostic label is, if your gut isn’t healthy, your body cannot repair. This syndrome will soon be as widely discussed and written about as colon cancer, menopause, prostate disorders and arthritis.
—Dr. Gloria Gilbère, June 1, 2000

Take charge of your health... get to the gut causes... read this book! "We have become a society that expects instant results instead of taking full responsibility for our health. Doctors and health-care professionals are physicians, not magicians. The information provided in this book will assist you in making informed decisions, because, after all, it’s you who must live with the consequences of your choices." ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Saved my life!
I have had MCS, fibromyalgia, leaky gut for over twenty years. I have read a plethoria of books and have been to the most notable in this field without relief. After reading this book and following Dr,. Gloria Gilbere's program I am, for the first time in years, experiencing less symptoms, and am feeling healthier than I thought possible. Dr Gilbere works closely with me, has the patience of a saint, considering how complicated and overwhelming this illness can be, and I get a sense that she not only cares about me but have found her to go above and beyound the call of duty. This book will change your life but one needs to work hard by sticking diligently with teh program. It then will transform your life. good luck and happy reading. Jennifer Millett New York

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book
This book has allot of information on how your gut, colon and intestines and how important they are to your health. This book is an easy read- not a medical textbook but a very easy to read and understand book. It details out how the gut, colon and intestines can affect your overall health. I got the book for Chemical Sensitivity and I feel she is "Right on the money" when she discusses the causes and how to go about treatment.

She is a wonderful person and does truly care about the wellness of her patients. Check out this book and for more in-depth information on this subject get her other book "Invisible Illnesses" it is even better!
** Be Well **

4-0 out of 5 stars Good info, needs a good editor
This is a frustrating book to write a review about. This subject really needs a book like this; professionally published, nicely formatted, attractively done, well advertised - something that the general public can latch onto and absorb. The information is important and advanced in a simple and easy to read fashion.... But who edited this book? It either appears to have been written rapidly with little concern for sentence structure or perhaps Dr. Gilbere is originally a foreign speaker? This is one of the poorest written book I have come across. Alot of work went into producing, formatting, and advertising this book. Maybe next time they will put some into editing. Not really a big problem given that theres alot of good info and this is a subject crying out for alternative points of view.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ammo for health
Shame on the medical profession for ommitting this most valuable diagnostic and treatment information from the training of doctors. Again, it comes down to the fact that no pharmaceutical company or patent holder stands to become rich from such simple health care. Instead, millions of people grope desperately as their lives disolve around them, all because no one has understood the effective diagnosis and treatment as outlined in this book. I spent 25 years trying to find these answers - and when I did - reading this book gave me the personal and medical ammunition to turn my health around immediately. Although it will be several months before I completely recover - (whats a couple of months after 25 years!) - I feel better after less than a few weeks.
I read the book at one sitting. The next morning my husband read it in one sitting and immediately had the vocabulary and understanding to explain to weary and unsupportive relatives that I was not a hypocondriac. That was worth the price of the book alone. Although I have a Doctor who will oversee the treatment for me - I have insisted on using Dr. Gilbere's plan. She has tested and found the best products - I don't have to be my own Dr. anymore - finally - someone who knows more than I do. I look forward to the sequel. which is due shortly.

5-0 out of 5 stars My clients want to continue reading this book....
Being a Colon Therapist and Holistic Practitioner, this book is in our reception room. Clients come in and start reading this book and don't want to put it down. My clients, as well as I relate to what Dr. Gilbere has so astutely put into words. This is informational and practical. Fortunately Dr. Gilbere has listed not only many problems, but also a number of solutions to environmental and food caused illnesses that a lot of us can identify with. ... Read more

16. The Golden Age of the Sith (Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi)
by Kevin J. Anderson, Chris Gossett, Dario Carrasco Jr., Bill Black, David Jacob Beckett, Stan Woch
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1569712298
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Sales Rank: 301251
Average Customer Review: 3.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Fair Book
Golden Age of the Sith is not the best Star Wars comic I have read. I recomend it to any Star Wars fan who wants to learn more about the Sith.

3-0 out of 5 stars Confusing start for the Old Republic Jedi
On the SW time line this is the first of the OLD REPUBLIC ERA stories released Aug 1997. Written by Kevin j Anderson, author of the JEDI ACADEMY TRILOGY (1994), KJA is one of the more important writers in the SW universe, or at least he was. He wrote the young jedi series, and those kids are now the heart of the jedi in the NJO series of books. He also wrote the Essential chronology with Daniel Wallace released in 2000. These old republic are comics have been criticized as almost unrecognizable from the jedi that luke is training.
It is not my job to defend KJA and his story, but times were different. What I can't explain away is the poor editing. All the ORE comics are confusing as heck. Most of them have no importance to the Skywalker era. The art work that gets a C grade, but Darkhorse has made tremendous strides in later comics. Comics produced in 2002 and 2003 have stunning artwork! I'll give this comic a 3 star review for starting things off.

4-0 out of 5 stars 5,000 years before Anakin and Luke
This is actually the first STAR WARS story in the entire chronology. Although be advised that it was published by Dark Horse Comics later in the TALES OF THE JEDI (TOTJ) run, in 1996-1997, as 5 issues and one #0 issue.

If you're going to read the TOTJ series, I recommend you start with this one. It's a great introduction to the Old Republic and the hidden Sith empire.

Kevin J. Anderson does a good job with the story and the characters. Some backstory on the origin of the Sith is provided. It is very cool to see the Sith and their manipulations, the conflict among themselves. The art is very good, with impressive planets and character designs. There is a nice level of detail and the coloring is above average.

I really like TOTJ because it is so far removed from all other incarnations of SW. There is so much to explore, and the history of the Sith is something that has always been of keen interest to me.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE SITH is a fast-paced read that entertains all the way through.

This story is concluded in TALES OF THE JEDI: THE FALL OF THE SITH EMPIRE.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting SW history, but hard to like
'Golden Age of the Sith', as the other Tales of the Jedi books, is a bit of a hard sell for fans and non fans. Fans of Star Wars will buy this book to complete their collections, and just might enjoy it for it's historic tale set in the far past of the Star Wars continuity. However, the tale is so bizarre that it bears almost no resemblance to the current Star Wars universe. For some it might be a drawing point, but I think others will be turned off by this. Non fans will turn away, as the story isn't particularly intriguing and the art is sub-par. The rest of the 'Tales of the jedi' stories are much better.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hardly the best of Star Wars
I found this to be a mixed package. Once again, I state that I've never been a Kevin J. Anderson fan. His earlier novels and comics were pretty good, but after his first few the quality virtually vanished.

The story of Gav and Jori is a bit of a bore, and even though you're supposed to feel sympathetic toward these two, I just didn't feel it. The Sith, meanwhile, turn out to be a bunch of squabling fools. The only character who is really worth a dime is Naga Shadow.

The art by Carrasco was good, though. His art style is well-fitted for the ancient 'Tales of the Jedi' series. (Any attempts to transplant him into 'modern' Star Wars, though, don't prove very fortunate, as 'Leviathan' proved.) The Sith architecture and garb is well-done, with beautiful vistas and the Egyptian-style tombs and architecture. Even the warships have a certain flair to them.

Overall, the art's about as good as the story is lackluster. Insight into the ancient Sith is unfortunately little. Flip through it, take a look at the nice, old-style art, and then I reccomend putting it back on the shelf. ... Read more

17. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553574132
Catlog: Book (1997-03-03)
Publisher: Spectra
Sales Rank: 89284
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Shadows of the Empire illuminates the shadowy outlines of a criminal conspiracy that exists in the background of the events in the movies, ruled by a character new to us. Prince Xizor is a mastermind of evil who dares to oppose one of the best-known fictional villains of all time: Darth Vader. The story involves all the featured Star Wars movie characters, plus Emperor Palpatine and, of course, Lord Vader himself. ... Read more

Reviews (314)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Star Wars books
I've read other Star Wars Expanded Universe books (like the Thrawn Trilogy) and been less than impressed. Some of them are [unsatisfactory] (like the Jedi Academy trilogy and The Crystal Star) and some are good (like Dark Force Rising). That being said, I wasn't sure what to expect of Shadows. It had a huge multimedia push (toys, books, games) which makes you wonder about the quality of the source material. So I picked it up feeling somewhat jaded.

All this time later, I've read Shadows at least three times and each time I like it even more.

The book takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. While Luke works on his Jedi skills (and building a new lightsaber) on Tatooine, Prince Xizor plots to destroy Darth Vader's influence over the Emperor by having Luke killed. Meanwhile, Leia and Lando attempt to recover Han Solo's carbonite-frozen body from Boba Fett with the help of Dash Rendar, a smuggler like Solo.

The main reason why I like Shadows so much is because of Prince Xizor: he has much more depth to him as a villian than Darth Vader does. At times I liked the character so much I wanted his plans to actually succeed; unfortunately, if they did, most of Return of the Jedi wouldn't have been able to happen. Xizor's character I found to be one of the most interesting I'd ever encountered in a novel. Perry developed him to be much more than a simple villain with a simple plan; he's infitely more realistic a character than Perry's other creation, Dash Rendar (to whom I thought was a low-rent Han Solo clone). The only real fault with the novel is that it doesn't do much with Boba Fett, but, then again, I've never got the appeal behind Boba so it wasn't that much of a fault.

Shadows of the Empire might be my favorite of the Expanded Universe novels, and Prince Xizor might be one of my favorite Star Wars characters. So, it's pretty obvious that I liked this book a lot and would highly recommend it. It's vastly superior to the other Star Wars novels out there.

4-0 out of 5 stars Recaptures the spirit of the original movie.
Shadows was probably the most-hyped book in the whole Star Wars line, which I consider unfortunate. Many people went in believing all the spins, and came out disappointed. What they missed was that it's a very solid action novel which is very much in the same spirit that Lucas created. All of our heroes are here, except for Han Solo, who is encased in carbonite and en transit to Jabba's Palace. Much of the story revolves around their unsuccessful attempts to rescue him. These adventures also resolve many of the questions raised by Return of the Jedi, such as where Leia got her Boussh disguise, or exactly how those Bothans died getting the Death Star information. The other main plotline involves a previously unseen foe, Prince Xizor (she-zor), who leads the criminal empire called the Black Sun. Much of the book is concerned with the power struggles between him, the Emperor, and Darth Vader within the Imperial Capital of Coruscant. It is these political games which were the most facina

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
This was my first venture into Star Wars books, and being a longtime fan of the movies I decided to read some of the books.

The plot was decent, and I enjoyed reading what happened in between Empire and Jedi(and it answered some questions about things in Jedi).

Well, I dont think I can say anything positive that hasnt been said before about this book, so I'll explain why I gave it 4 starts instead of 5.

There are parts in the book that borrow lines from the movies, and its hard to picture Xizor there with the Emperor. Vader also seems weak in parts of this book, and like he's Xivors puppet(which ruined my vision of Vader as being powerful and only bowing to the Emperors will).

After reading this book, I will most certainly continue to read Star Wars books.

3-0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still entertaining.
The most interesting thing about "Shadows of the Empire" and what makes it most valuable to read is the fact that its an attempt to describe the events between the far superior "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" and succeeds in explaining a few things that a die hard Star Wars fan might have mused upon after many viewings of the movies themselves. The fact that "Shadows of the Empire" sadly falls short of expectations isn't so much the ideas contained within the plot, but more because of the clumsy writing style of the author, as well as his introduction of new, but unoriginal and lukewarm characters that overall do nothing to add to the totality of this most noble creation of science fiction.
For instance, two of the most notable of the new characters failed to achieve the lofty ambitions the author evidently held for them. Xisor, the head of the largest interstellar criminal organization in the Star Wars mythos, tries too hard to be as evil and dominating as Lord Vader; instead, ending up being the stereotypical "bad guy" engulfed in a sea of self conceit while frustratingly pining away over Princess Leia. And then there is Dash, a carbon copy plagarism of the inimitable Han Solo; enough said.
I think this book had a lot of potential and could have even come off as at least a decent addition to the flourishing genre of Star Wars literature if only the author spent more time with character and plot development. Too clumsy and far too unoriginal for anyone but a diehard Star Wars fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Starwars:Shadows of the Empire
wrote by : Jim Bayes#
#Star Wars
Shadows of the Empire
This book is between "Empire strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi ." The book is about Luke Skywalker being hunted down by Darth Vader (which we know is Anakin Skywalker ) and during the time Luke is constructing a new lightsaber and also training to become a Jedi Master . With him is Leia , Chewie , Lando and the two droids named R2-D2 and C-3p0. Alongside his companions they are trying to spring a plan to get Han Solo back and out of Frozen Carbonite . Which they are distracted by a character named Prince Xizor , which he is very wealthy and the boss of the Black Sun . He is also trying to get Luke but he wants to kill him . This book is very impressive which shows what they did between the sequels . I give this book a 10 out 10 and I would advise this book to anyone with a good since of adventure .

Publisher- Lucas film LTD Author- Steve Perry
Year- 1996
Pages- 384 pgs.
Price- $5.99
Isbn- 0-553-57413-2 ... Read more

18. Batman: The Long Halloween
by Jeph Loeb
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563894696
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 9089
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (50)

3-0 out of 5 stars Solid, but ultimately disappointing, Batman murder mystery
This graphic novel gathers together all 13 issues of "Batman: The Long Halloween", written and drawn, respectively, by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The story revolves around Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, the ruthless head of Gotham's fiercest gangster empire. The Roman is responsible for countless murders, hijackings, and crimes throughout Gotham, but authorities have never been able to convict him (most of the graft-ridden city is either on his payroll or bribable). Batman, along with a young Captain Gordon and headstrong District Attorney Harvey Dent, is determined to rid Gotham of Falcone's corruption, but he soon learns that a mysterious figure may have already beaten him to the punch: a serial killer, known only as "Holiday", is currently on the loose in Gotham and preying on members of Falcone's extended "family". Batman, Gordon, and Dent now face a combined problem: bringing Falcone to justice, while also ending Holiday's deadly spree.

One of "The Long Halloween"'s primary goals is to provide backstory on Gotham's crime lord past, and this is where the novel truly shines. Readers finally get to see the crime organizations that controlled much of Gotham in the early days (this dark past was hinted at in other Batman stories, but it's more fully explored here). In addition, "The Long Halloween" contains a fascinating retelling of Harvey Dent's past, which will be warmly welcomed by fans of this sometimes morally-dubious friend of Batman's. Unfortunately, readers hoping for a significant glimpse into Batman's own psyche will be sorely disappointed; Batman remains a cipher throughout most of the novel, speaking always in a terse, stacatto rhythm and providing little in the way of a glimpse into his mind's inner workings.

While "The Long Halloween" is competently written, it suffers from a lack of originality and a workman-like narrative drive. The ideas explored here (Italian gangsters and serial killers) are mildly intriguing within the larger context of Gotham, but Loeb doesn't infuse them with many new twists, so they remain tired cliches in this story. Also, in an attempt to give an "epic" feel to this saga, Loeb introduces many of Batman's most infamous foes into the mix (The Joker, The Riddler, The Scarecrow, and The Mad Hatter are just some of the villains on display here). However, the characters are introduced and then dispatched so quickly by Batman, that they don't provide any real sense of drama (in fact, at times, they almost seem to be there for comic relief, which doesn't seem quite right). I think this story would have benefitted from focusing on a much smaller handful of villains, rather than the scattershot approach it takes.

I similarly found the ending of the story and the mystery to be somewhat unsatisfying, although I acknowledge that this is a matter of individual tastes. While it's interesting to see Batman (and Gordon and Dent) involved in such a bizarre murder mystery, the story doesn't play fair with the standard "rules" of the genre--some may say this makes for a breath of fresh air in the Batman universe (and the mystery genre itself), but I think it amounts to a bit of a cheat for trusting readers. In the end, it's difficult to tell just how ambiguous Loeb intended certain elements of the mystery to be; in fact, there's a convincing argument to be made that some of the ambiguity is merely due to sloppy storytelling. Gotham and the larger Batman universe provide fertile ground for this style of mystery, but "The Long Halloween" ultimately fails to deliver on that promise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic early-career Batman story
Long Halloween works on so many levels. I went into this book knowing how it was going to end and it still captivated me. It is both a murder mystery and a story of a fall from grace. The main plotline-the mystery of the identity of a serial killer who murders members of the Falcone and Maroni crime families every major holiday-almost takes a back seat to the tragic transformation of Harvey Dent, who starts out as Batman and Captain Gordon's partner and friend and becomes one of their greatest foes by the end of the story. This series ranks alongside the Killing Joke as an important piece of Batman continuity as well as examining Batman's relationship with his enemies. Loeb's writing is good minimalism, packing so much power into so little dialouge. Tim Sale's artwork is just beautiful. He is one of the most talented pencilers ever, and breaths new visual life to several Batman characters. The series is lenghty but it is also fast paced and can be read in a relatively short amount of time. The pacing of the artwork is near-perfect, save for the unsettling abundance of splash pages. This series also well balances Batman's foes between pyschologically and physically deformed supercriminals and regular human gansters. After reading this and the first issue of its follow-up Dark Victory, one can only wonder why team Long Halloween does not work on a regular Batman title.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite Batman book, part 1
This is the book that got me back into graphic novels/comics. A lush, noir-esque story with great twists and turns as well as a new take on a classic villian that retains the basic origin while expanding it slightly.

It's set early in Batman's career, before Robin and before his role was clear in the eyes of police. The only person who believes in him and what he's doing is Jim Gordon, at this point only a lieutenant in the police force.

Fantastic art and a brilliantly written story. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have quickly become my favorite tandem in graphic novels. Brilliant work! Brilliant!

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Two-Face Story, Terrible Batman Story!
Here's another offering from the kings of retro, Jeph Loeb (writer) and Tim Sale (artist), reexamining Batman during his mythical "Year One" period. If you believe the intro to this volume, this story was meant to be a sequel to Frank Miller's classic retelling of the Dark Knight's early days in "Batman: Year One" (1986/7). As a story, this work is pretty weak in many areas; as a sequel, is simply falls short of the tight, mature storytelling of Frank Miller's original.

The story centers on the Roman family (originally introduced in "Batman: Year One"), a serial killer who offs people in creative ways during holiday seasons and the trio out to stop the crimes - Batman, Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent. Tim Sale is especially suitable for a work like this - his moody, atmospheric and splash-pages art are truly a sight to behold. You feel yourself being sucked into Batman's Gotham. My primary complaint is with Jeph Loeb's writing. Like my previous review of "Superman for All Seasons", my views of the man's writing hasn't changed. I like HOW he writes - I just dislike WHAT he writes! He's a great scripter, providing witty, timely and simply apt dialogues and caption boxes that the whole thing read very smoothly even though it runs into 300+ pages. The problem is with his insipid plotting. He should have someone else plot his tales and script over them. For example, in order to maintain the novelty of "holiday-themed killings", the story is stretched across THIRTEEN months and countless murders - and finally Batman catches the killer (but we are told that he got the wrong guy). And this is the "World's Greatest Detective"? Meanwhile, Batman consults a Hannibal-Lecter-like Calendar Man who is incapacitated in prison but seemingly knows the identity of the killer (?!?). See the problem? Batman, Gordon and Harvey are supposedly super-cops and they run around like madmen without a clue to the killer and you have this locked-up guy knowing the truth behind everything? Granted, Loeb was trying to set up a "Silence of the Lambs" scene with Calendar Man but therein lies the weakness of the whole thing. It is a scene set up for its own sake and doesn't contribute anything to the STORY. We live in times wherein comic writers are a lot more influenced by TV and movies than literature. And Loeb, former screenwriter, epitomize this new breed of writers who set up cool scenes, writes clever dialogue, provides the atmosphere with the right artistic collaboration but ultimately delivers something very hollow and shallow. "The Long Halloween" is often compared to the pulp classics of Chandler and Hammett. I disagree vehemently. Loeb and Sale gave us "mood" and "cool scenes" but ultimately the story is without gusto, the characters lack the machismo and grit of true noirish anti-heroes, and though the atmosphere is there, it lacks the tight, all-encompassing claustrophobia of the great noirish works.

The only redeeming factor in this work is the retelling of Two-Face's origin. Loeb is especially great in the quiet "character" moments and here, the tragic story of Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face is beautifully retold. But Loeb's strength is often his most-glaring fault at the same time. For example the book begins with a full-page drawing of a grim-looking Bruce Wayne muttering, "I believe in Gotham City" - a scene I found to be laughably out-of-character for the flamboyant playboy persona of Bruce Wayne! This kinds of out-of-character scenes abound throughout the story. All in all, this story should have been better written by a more gritty writer like Greg Rucka or Ed Brubaker (both of them have written far better Batman stories than Loeb here).

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite Batman book, part 1
This is the book that got me back into comics! I've been a Batman fan for years but these two guys reeled me in to the comics.

This story takes place early in Batman's career. How early? No Robin, Harvey is still "Apollo" Harvey Dent, and James Gordon is still married to his wife. It's essentialy a murder mystery involving the Falcone crime family, back when there were REAL criminals running Gotham as opposed to the classic Bond-villians-on-acid criminals! Members of this family are being hit and the killer leaves macabe souveniers related to the holiday on which the murder occurs. Everyone is suspect, the conclusion is startling; everything I love in film noir murder mystery!

The art is more realistic than other Batman books. My only quip is the way catwoman was designed. They reached the design apex on the animated series. But in this book she has large eye holes, large ears, and whiskers in a attempt to make her more cat-like. Selina Kyle is WONDERFULLY done! The best drawn character is the Joker, he's my favorite anyway!

This is my favorite book because it's back to the essentials: Batman kicks the crap out of criminals, no supernatural stuff, and a great emotional comples for our hero! Bravo! ... Read more

19. Batman: Cover to Cover : The Greatest Comic Book Covers of the Dark Knight (Batman)
by Various
list price: $39.99
our price: $26.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140120659X
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: DC Comics
Sales Rank: 138522
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book!! A Tribute To The Dark Knight!!!
I just recently received this book,and I can tell you it is well worth having. True, there are definitely some covers that are missing (in my opinion all of Jim Lee's covers should have been here from the Hush series. OUTSTANDING!!!) A beautifully done book to add to your Batman collection. This book does not cover all of Batman's many comic book covers, but this was not to be expected. Instead they point out some of his most daring and bold covers. Batman has had the benefit of being drawn by some of the greatest comic book artist ever. I beleive you will find it truly amazing how each one has their own distinctive style on creating the Dark Knight. So make sure you own this one. You won't be sorry. Hey, maybe they'll make a volume 2.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's about time, for someone like Batman
Well first, it's Batman; that might be enough reason to buy it, even for the price. (I'm a collector anyway, so what's some bucks?) Anyway, it features a number of cool and "forgotten" covers done over the 65+ years of Batman being in comics. I was even surprised some of the covers of War Games got in, really nice. There are some well-written commentaries too, by artists and editors and the like, and what cover they picked.

The cover of the book itself is great. I thought it was just a hardbound book; it turns out, the dust jacket reveals some more to it. I was in awe when I opened it, well done.

My only rant, not all of the covers I wished to be there was not there. Well, that's how it is. Tec#700 and Strange Apparitons, I think, should've been in the list. Well, all in all if you have the money and would really have something to keep for a number of years, get this. Well, if not, I hope you can browse through it when you get a chance. It would be great.

... Read more

20. Star Wars Chronicles
by Deborah Fine, Aeon Inc.
list price: $150.00
our price: $94.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081181498X
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 182251
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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This is the ultimate must-have for the Star Wars fanatic. Spendy, but definitely worth it, the Star Wars Chronicles is a big, beautiful book that comes in a gold and black box--it will look great on your coffee table next to your Star Wars Logbook. The Chronicles cover the beloved trilogy of movies in thousands of behind-the-scenes and up-close photographs, many you've never seen before. From the creation of all the aliens to the details of Boba Fett's jet pack, you'll find fascinating facts, drawings, paintings, and photos to pore over endlessly. Each detail is lovingly presented for the appreciation of serious fans, and the whole package will be a delight to collectors. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great if you can afford it, thankfully there's alternatives
Star Wars Chronicles may be the best single Star Wars photo reference out there, but nearly the same thing can be accomplished for much cheaper by getting a few other books: DK's Star Wars Visual Dictionary in combination with Sansweet's Action Figure Archive (as good of a movie photo-reference as it is a toy one). Add to this From Star Wars to Indiana Jones and the Magic of Myth and you have little reason left to crack open an expensive copy of Chronicles.

That being said, here's where this book earns high marks:
1) Cantina Aliens (the best photos anywhere)
2) The Holo-Chess pieces
3) Boba Fett (6 pgs)
4) Vehicle models, including many prototypes & the Tauntaun
5) Jabba's palace aliens

And here is where I find it lacking:
1) Imperial Troop Costumes
2) Costumes of the main characters after Star Wars: ANH
3) Set photos (including the Falcon interior)
4) The Bounty Hunters (aside from Fett)

A fantastic book if you can afford it; but had I not purchased mine used for half price, I doubt I'd be willing to shell out $150 or even $100 for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb photo history but lacking in dialogue strength
... What it lacks in reading material it more than makes up for in photographs. The detail shown makes you appreciate even more, if it were possible, the skill that went into the model making. I spent many happy hours admiring the finite details that this book highlights brilliantly. Also the opportunity to see prototype models as well is more than welcome, giving an insight to the creative process. Overall, I would say that this is an essential purchase for SW fans. But, until we get a book that combines both in depth narrative AND crisp photographs then the ultimate Star Wars book is still waiting to be written.Oh, and it's size and weight makes it murder to read in bed!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Props for the Props
If you want to read in depth articles, skip it.
But if you want superior photos of all things Star Wars, this is the best! Prop builders, costumers, and model builders should all own at least one copy of this book. Well worth the price!

4-0 out of 5 stars Of course it's thebest book about pictures, but...
I must say there were translation problems.First I borrowed a Japanese copy from library and decided to get a English version,because it's already out of print here in Japan.What I found out after camparing both version was very shocking!Author Deborah Fine is eliminating every single mechanial data(about size,weapons and materials etc.)and few columns.This book was first published in Japan about 1995 and translated to English 1997.What the hell this author was doing for two years?If this book had different name,it's absoulutely OK,but once you put the title of "Star Wars Chronicles"that will mean totally different book here in Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!
If you're ever gonna buy a Star Wars book, this is IT!! Amazing details, great pictures and some cute inside stories behing the legendary trilogy...Just save all your money and buy it if you're a fan!!!..I'm speechless and i just cant tell you enough amazing stuff about this will not regret it, that's for sure!!! ... Read more

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