Cloak of Deception is a novel by James Luceno that takes place less than a year before Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. Narration for the audio version was performed by Alexander Adams. The paperback version included a 15-page excerpt of The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream.
Mired in greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation maintains a stranglehold on shipping routes, tensions are boiling over—while back in the comfort of Coruscant, the hub of civilized space and seat of Republic government, few senators seem inclined to investigate the problem. And those who suspect Supreme Chancellor Valorum of having a hand in the machinations are baffled—especially when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi foil an assassination attempt on the Chancellor.
With the crisis escalating, Valorum calls for an emergency trade summit. As Humans and aliens gather, conspiracies sealed with large sums of money run rampant, and no one is entirely above suspicion. But the greatest threat of all remains unknown to everyone except three members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with a dark overlord. While the trio will be content with more money and fewer problems, Darth Sidious has grander, far more terrifying plans.
It is a time that tests the mettle of all those who strive to hold the Republic together—none more so than the Jedi Knights, who have long been the galaxy's best hope for preserving peace and justice. Yet despite their most valiant efforts, the meeting will explode into fiery chaos beyond everyone's worst fears…
Mired in greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation maintains a stranglehold on shipping routes, tensions are boiling over—and now even the comfort of Coruscant is being invaded, as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi foil an assassination attempt on Supreme Chancellor Valorum.
As Humans and aliens gather for an emergency trade summit, conspiracies sealed with large sums of money run rampant, and no one is entirely above suspicion. But the greatest threat of all remains unknown to everyone except three members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with a dark overlord. While the trio will be content with more money and fewer problems, Darth Sidious has grander, far more terrifying plans.
Cloak of Deception is told in four parts: Dorvalla, Coruscant, The Outlying Systems, and The Inner Circle.
Shortly before the Battle of Naboo (33 BBY), Darth Sidious is in the middle of his plans. As Senator Palpatine, he manipulates Supreme Chancellor Valorum and other senators. As the Sith Master, he begins to slowly put the Neimoidians and the Trade Federation in position for his blockade of Naboo.
A terrorist group known as the Nebula Front threatens the activities of the Trade Federation. They are protesting the actions of the group and will resort to any means necessary to disrupt the Trade Federation. They have hired Captain Arwen Cohl to carry out terrorist acts against their business, including robbing a Trade Federation ship of aurodium ingots, worth billions in orbit of the planet Dorvalla. However, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are hot on the trail of the terrorists. Though Cohl escapes, he is forced to crash-land and all but him and two of his crew members, Rella and Boiny, perish. He later flees in his ship, the Hawk-Bat.
Fearing more trouble, the Trade Federation petitions the Galactic Senate to allow them to increase their number of droid fighters, battle droids, and other defenses. Valorum considers this, but only if he can tax some of the trade routes they hold (on advice from Palpatine). This sparks a debate and a summit on Eriadu is scheduled to be held on the matter.
Taking extreme measures, the Nebula Front sets plans in motion to assassinate Supreme Chancellor Valorum at the summit to prevent the taxation. Cohl has been hired by a mysterious being known only as Havac. He travels throughout the Outer Rim, hiring several experienced assassins. Unknown to him however, Havac (secretly in league with Darth Sidious) has another plan. Meanwhile, the Jedi Council, along with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, steps in to track down Captain Cohl and the would-be assassins.
On Eriadu, Cohl dispatches his helpers throughout the capital city. He is ambushed by Havac after realizing the true target. Most of the assassins are captured by the Jedi outside the summit building, but one remains inside. A sniper, he has been given the order to fire at, but miss, Valorum. The Jedi find Cohl and his partner Boiny, who, wounded, agrees to help them. They discover the sniper a second too late, but are surprised when he misses Valorum. Then Cohl remembers the true intent of Havac: to assassinate the Trade Federation Directorate. Cohl tackles Havac and kills him, though he and Boiny are mortally wounded in the attempt. Suddenly, the battle droids draw their blasters, influenced by the single droid present that didn't require a Central Control Computer to act. With a shield activated for safety, the members of the Trade Federation are trapped. The droids kill them all while the crowd watches, stunned. The only survivors were the Neimoidian members, who were away to their ship which had been tampered with. In the ensuing shock, the bill to tax is passed by the Senate. Later, the leading members of the Federation are named. They are all Neimoidians. Darth Sidious later meets Nute Gunray on the bridge of his ship, suggesting they invade Naboo for revenge against Palpatine, who helped pass the bill. Little do they know that it is just part of the Sith Lord's plan for control of the galaxy.
James Luceno was able to read the script of the unreleased Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones while writing Cloak of Deception and was specifically asked by George Lucas to include one of the characters that would appear in the film. As the first Star Wars novel written after the completion of the Attack of the Clones script, Cloak of Deception was the first appearance of many characters and concepts that would make their on screen debut in the film, including the Techno Union, Passel Argente, and other Separatists.
Cloak of Deception was originally titled Vengeance: Cloak of Deception. Since the event of The Phantom Menace occur after Deception, Luceno compared The Hobbit's relationship with The Lord of the Rings trilogy to Deception's relationship with the rest of the Star Wars saga. Luceno made a conscious effort to fully introduce and explain the Jedi Order, the Galactic Republic, Lightsabers, the Galactic Senate and many other things.
|ISBN 0345442989||May 29, 2001||Del Rey||342||Hardcover||English||Cloak of Deception|
|ISBN 0375418407||May 29, 2001||Random House Audio||Cassette||English||Cloak of Deception|
|ISBN 0375418466||May 29, 2001||Random House Audio||CD||English||Cloak of Deception|
|ISBN 0345442970||July 4, 2002||Del Rey||344||Paperback||English||Cloak of Deception|
|ISBN 9022533824||January 2003||Uitgeverij M||Paperback||Dutch||De Dreiging van de Sith|
|2002||Eksmo||480||Hardcover||Russian||Звездные Войны: Под покровом лжи|
|ISBN 849507026X||February 2002||Alberto Santos Editor||254||Hardcover||Spanish||Velo de Traiciones|
|ISBN 0099439972||July 4, 2002||Arrow Publishing||368||Paperback||English (UK)||Cloak of Deception|
|ISBN 8025205843||2007||EGMONT ČR||266||Paperback||Czech||Háv klamu|
|Presses de la Cité||Hardcover||French||Vent de trahison|
|Fleuve Noir||Paperback||French||Vent de trahison|
|ISBN 8372459193||2002||Amber||285||Paperback||Polish||Maska kłamstw|
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|