Delve into the history of the sinister Count Dooku in this audio original set in a galaxy far far away....
Darth Tyranus. Count of Serenno. Leader of the Separatists. A red saber, unsheathed in the dark. But who was he, before he became the right hand of the Sith? As Dooku courts a new apprentice, the hidden truth of the Sith Lord's past begins to come to light.
Dooku's life began as one privilege-born within the stony walls of his family's estate, orbited by the Funeral Moon where the bones of his ancestors lie interred. But soon his Jedi abilities are recognized and he is taken from home to be trained in the ways of the Force by the legendary Master Yoda. As he hones his power, Dooku rises through the ranks, befriending fellow Jedi Sifo-Dyas and taking a Padawan of his own, the promising Qui-Gon Jinn—and tries to forget the life that he once led. But he finds himself drawn by a strange fascination with the Jedi Master Lene Kostana, and the mission she undertakes for the Order: finding and studying ancient relics of the Sith, in preparation for the eventual return of the deadliest enemies the Jedi have ever faced.
Caught between the world of the Jedi, the ancient responsibilities of his lost home, and the alluring power of the relics, Dooku struggles to stay in the light-even as the darkness begins to fall.
This publisher’s summary for Cavan Scott’s newest entry into the Star Wars canon universe, the audio book “Dooku: Jedi Lost” really tells you everything you need to know going into this 382 minute Dooku deep dive.
Dooku, Sith Lord, the Count of Serenno, Darth Tyranus, Head of State of the C.I.S., the man goes by many names but up until this point we knew very little about one of the more enigmatic characters from the galaxy. With the recent interest in expounding on earlier chunks of the timeline, particularly the years prior to the Invasion of Naboo, it’s been a wonderful couple of months for fans of this era. Starting off with Claudia Gray’s “Master & Apprentice”, we are being gifted with incredible backstory’s for characters such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and now Count Dooku.
Cavan Scott (Adventures in Wild Space, Choose Your Destiny) is looking to fill in even more of those blanks and provide us with many of the answers to the questions we’ve been asking for years. Dooku’s full name, his lineage, his relationship with his family, what drove him to the dark side, and why he ultimately chose to leave the Jedi Order. I’m happy to say Scott not only gives us those answers, but also spins an interesting enough yarn around them that makes this a worthy entry into the recent string of successes for the publishing group.
While it doesn't hit the emotional highs of the aforementioned “Master & Apprentice”, it definitely gives us a very clear picture of the inner workings of not only the Jedi Temple, but also many of the interpersonal relationships that would go on to define the years to follow. So much of what we now take for granted, can be traced back to these days when the seeds of doubt were planted and fear was creeping into those hallowed halls.
But most of what makes this book distinct, and separate's itself from the rest, is Cavan’s use of language, particularly when it concerns Dooku. He speaks with authority and pomp that only someone born into royalty could possess, and Scott meticulously delivers each line with a razor sharp wit and focus.
Playing around in this timeline, roughly 39 BBY and earlier, where there’s plenty of room for creativity, Cavan makes the most of it and introduces us to a handful of interesting locations and faces. We meet Jedi’s Lene Kostana and Yula Braylon, Naboo Queen Ekay, who came after Queen Réillata’s first term and of course Dooku’s birth family. It’s his family that is the foundation for this story and what ultimately drives him to make the decisions he makes, with the help of the dark side of course.
I’ll steer away from talking about his family specifically for those reasons so as not to spoil too much. But them and their planet are at the root of many of Dooku’s anxieties and fears, two things that as we know lead to the dark side.
And speaking of the dark side, we know Dooku has long been fixated with the mystics and archives, specifically Sith artifacts. And it’s here where we learn about his introduction to those dangerous and forbidden practices. Turns out it was his best friend and fellow Jedi Sifo-Dyas that first introduced him to the idea, and Sifo’s master, Jedi Lene Kostana would be his mentor concerning most things, but more on that in a bit.
I think this audiobook will be difficult for many at the onset for one very big reason, the voice cast. Gone are Nika Futterman and Corey Burton who voiced Asajj Ventress and Count Dooku respectively in The Clone Wars TV series, with great success. And for many, like it or not, they ARE those characters.
In their place are Orlagh Cassidy (Ventress) and Euan Morton (Dooku) who do a very fine job, but it may have been an impossible task to replace such iconic voice overs in the first place. Additionally, this version of Dooku is not only younger, but emotionally and intellectually still growing, so the timber, tone and, inflection in his voice should match accordingly.
The good news is that once you get going and start to feel immersed in the story, your brain tells you everything will be fine and you move on. Same goes for the rest of the cast who are mostly well-known and very talented VO artists in their own right, but had more freedom voicing new characters.
But, that’s kind of where the bad news ends as Scott’s journey into the unknown with one of the more sinister Force wielders, is right on the money. Darth Tyranus fans have been waiting for the backstory of the Serenno native to be told and their patience has paid off I’m happy to say.
The book plays more like a psychological profile then adventure as we take a look at Dooku over different stages in his life. We first meet up with him during his initiate phase, then his Padawan phase where he is chosen by Yoda to be his apprentice, and then finally when Dooku himself is a Master Jedi and picking up apprentices of his own.
It’s during the last period where we experience a bit of a cross-over with Gray’s novel, running into Rael Averross as he’s representing Pijal at the Senate. It’s also here Sheev Palpatine, still a Senator, and Dooku first meet, thanks to an introduction by Rael.
But each step of the way, we are slowly and methodically given indications that Dooku isn’t like the other Jedi. He thinks differently, acts differently, and interprets differently. And when he is inexplicably brought back to Serenno for a grand occasion, he meets his biological family and things take off from there. His sister Jenza becomes the most cherished thing in his life and he begins a secret relationship with her, hiding it from everyone except his friend Sifo-Dyas. We know having a relationship with your biological family was forbidden according to Jedi rules, and is a sign of Dooku’s rebellious nature and of things to come.
This connection to Jenza would also provide the motivation for this story to be told and brings us to the co-star of this tale, Asajj Ventress. The book starts with Dooku putting Asajj through the paces of becoming his apprentice, where physical, mental, and emotional pain are part and parcel.
And unbeknownst to her, Dooku sends her on a mission to retrieve his sister who has been taken by Republic security forces, but in reality is a final test of her loyalty and devotion. This is how the story unfolds, through Ventress who while on her quest, is retelling the fall of Dooku through a series of holo-journals.
What’s also interesting is that we are learning much more about Ventress at the same time. The voice of her former master, Jedi Ky Narec, still haunts her and that death hangs over her like a dark cloud. And part of Dooku’s manipulation involves telling Asajj that she and her master were betrayed by the Jedi, deepening her hatred of them.
Because Dooku, Dyas, and Kostana are exploring ancient secrets and the dark side of the Force, the book definitely employs a fantastical approach to many of the scenes. Cryptic voices from the past, present, and future, along with visions involving strange phenomena and even a Tirra’Taka Dragon are all part of Dooku’s descent into madness. Deciphering the messages and deciding what’s real and what isn’t becomes less irregular as time goes on, as Dooku hopes to continue his path to becoming a great Jedi.
And while Cavan definitely takes you on what for some might resemble an acid trip, like the Force itself, he wisely balances that with some familiarity. Master Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn both make appearances and contribute to the story in important ways, and known alien species such as Jenet’s and Abyssin’s both show up.
Yoda in particular, voiced by Marc Thompson, is a voice you’ll hear quite a lot of, especially as Dooku’s Master. The relationship between a Jedi and his/her Padawan is examined in a similar fashion to “Master & Apprentice”, and this pairing of course is of particular significance to the galaxy.
Dooku’s departure from the Jedi and his ensuing conversion to the dark side, not only shapes the galaxy at large, but Yoda as well. Although he would unofficially train many more Jedi, Dooku would be Yoda’s last Padawan learner and be a source of great disappoint for the Jedi Master.
Besides Yoda, Dooku has a few other important relationships that we are made privy to, none perhaps more so than fellow Jedi Sifo-Dyas. Their paths ran parallel for the most part, arriving at the Jedi Temple around the same time, and naturally as outsiders, they found each other. It was Dyas who introduced Dooku to the journal of disgraced Jedi, Padawan Teradine, where they learn about the Bogan collection.
The Bogan collection contained information about the Sith archives and many of their artifacts. Sifo-Dyas and Dooku would sneak into the library at night and go to the Bogan collection, seeking out artifacts such as Darth Kruhl’s lightsaber and ancient scrolls. They of course believed there was great knowledge to be found there and if the Sith were to return, better to know your enemy.
This was Dooku’s introduction into this mystical universe and creates an obsession that would forever change him. Dyas, along with his master Lene Kostana, herself obsessed with such things, would influence the type of Jedi, and later Sith, which Dooku would become. While Lene and Sifo would manage to walk that fine line between the light and dark sides, Dooku’s visions and voices inside his head would prove to be too much.
On one such occasion they encounter the Presagers of Hakotei, a strange group of dark side acolytes near Serenno, and are captured. The Hakotei begin a strange ritual and are looking to sacrifice Dooku, someone who they refer to as a “conduit” of the Force, when dark forces appear. The dark side reveals itself to Dooku who begins to experience visions and hear strange voices from the past, present, and future.
He sees and hears everything we know that happens in the prequels and beyond from The Clone Wars, Order 66, Darth Sidious, and the return of the Sith. He sees all the death that is coming his way. Just before he “wakes” up we hear lightning and find out that he used this new Force ability to destroy the Hakotei. This marks a turning point for Dooku and while his transformation to Darth Tyranus is still a ways away, his path is now set and almost irreversible.
I won’t really say how the rest of the book goes but decisions are made by both Dooku and Asajj that determines their fates for good. Of course we know so much about these two, but to see them reach the point of no return is definitely a worthwhile experience.
I didn’t cover the big reveals here, the details of Dooku’s family, why he ultimately leaves the Jedi, his fragile relationships with his friends. And the book does have political intrigue, monarchial upheavals, and crime and corruption to round out the narrative. But all these journeys are best discovered on your own, and Cavan isn't simply checking boxes here or offering up simple fan service. You can tell his deep love and appreciation for this character, and he handles these big moments with the perfect balance of empathy and fear.
Whether you find the resolution you're looking for will depend on how much you have invested in Dooku overall. Cavan’s book does add a dynamic quality and richness to a character who typically says very little, but whose actions have always spoken loudly. What Scott has done here is make an already interesting character, that much more so in my opinion.
Like I said, Asajj plays a vital role in this story and we also learn more about her own path to dark side. The death of Ky Narec deeply impacted her, more than we originally thought, and Cavan explores that in a not so nuanced way. Narec's voice is a constant presence in her head, almost like an invisible companion, injecting her thoughts with doubt, fear, and guilt. It’s also a function of her conscience, desperately trying to hold onto whatever "humanity" she has left before ultimately giving herself to dark side and Dooku.
I’m a big fan of Ventress so this exploration of her psyche was a welcome one and executed very well. She’s one of those extremely complex characters that Star Wars is so good at creating, and even though redemption is indeed in her future, it’s a rough road ahead. Cavan seems to have a knack for exploring the psychological profile of characters, peering into what makes them tick and analyzing their decision making process.
Apart from Serenno, we do spend quite a bit of time on Coruscant at the Jedi Temple. We get close-up look at the inner workings of the Temple, the libraries, and training facilities. We are even given a front row seat to initiate dueling ceremonies, where potential Palawan’s show off their lightsaber skills to would be Masters. Indeed, between “Dooku” and “Master & Apprentice” we now know more about what goes on behind those walls than ever before.
And this is really the gift we are being given with this and other books. There are unexplored parts of the timeline that are now being opened up, and some of the best character writers from the Star Wars universe are giving us grand adventures and awesome new characters.
“Dooku: Jedi Lost” isn’t my favorite Star Wars book, mostly because Dooku isn’t one of my favorite Star Wars characters. But Cavan Scott manages to surprise us in unexpected ways and provides a satisfying path to a character who manages to be captivating to this day.
Since I’ve mentioned it several times already, it’s obvious Claudia Gray’s “Master & Apprentice” pairs very well with this book. They both really do give us a realistic world view of that time period. Even questions raised in that book are answered in “Dooku”, and mostly in profound ways, making Dooku damn near essential reading…or should I say listening.
Order your copy of "Dooku: Jedi Lost" by clicking HERE.
Cover art by Aaron McBride.
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