Ever since seeing Attack of the Clones in 2002, Star Wars fans have been curious as to what led Count Dooku to leave the Jedi Order and turn to the dark side. We have had hints over the years, but we had never gotten the real, complete story of what led Dooku to leave the Jedi – until now.
Dooku: Jedi Lost was recently released as an audio drama, written by Cavan Scott and narrated by a full cast. I am not a big listener of audio books and would much rather have a hard copy in my hands, and that was further affirmed while listening to this; it was at times hard to track with what was going on, especially at the start – since there were new voice actors for Dooku and Asajj Ventress from what we heard in The Clone Wars. But while I wish this also had been released as a physical book, I will say this: the audiobook was so incredibly well done (as Star Wars audiobooks tend to be), complete with the voice actors, music, sound effects, etc.
And the story by Scott was absolutely terrific. I’ll get into more spoiler stuff in another article, but it’s safe to say that this is the Dooku story that many have been waiting for, and the wait was worth it. Be aware that this book doesn’t detail Dooku’s fall to the dark side exactly (though it does include his first meeting with a certain senator named Sheev Palpatine!), but it does tell us the full story of why Dooku left the Jedi Order. And, much like Anakin in the decades to come, Dooku’s reasoning for leaving the Order had much to do with his family.
The story is told through a series of flashbacks, put together from Dooku himself telling stories, his journals, recorded messages, etc. The foundation for this all is that Dooku tasks his new apprentice, Asajj Ventress, to track down his sister. So as Asajj does this, she learns about the history of her new master. Though the focus is absolutely on Dooku, we do get a deeper dive into Asajj’s character too, as she is ‘haunted’ by the voice of her former master, Ky Narec. And as Asajj learns more about Dooku, she learns about him as a Jedi youngling in the Temple, awaiting a master. She learns of him training with Master Yoda. She learns of his relationship with the Jedi Lene Kostana and her apprentice Sifo-Dyas, both good friends of Dooku. She learns of Dooku discovering he had a family, and his subsequent relationship with them (in particular, his sister Jenza). She learns of Dooku training two apprentices – Rael Aveross and Qui-Gon Jinn – and becoming a member of the Jedi Council. And then she learns about the events that caused him to leave the Jedi Order to instead return to his home world of Serenno to rule as Count.
I found that this version of storytelling was more effective than if it had just been a straightforward reading of Dooku’s biography, because this allowed us to have the contrast between Dooku as a Sith and Dooku as a Jedi – and that contrast is highlighted in a pretty chilling way at the end of the book. Plus, we also get to explore a bit of Asajj’s history as well as she wrestles with her allegiances. It’s a very effectively told story, and it’s quite entertaining. It’s not so much an action thriller as it is a character study, and that’s exactly what it needed to be. We trace Dooku’s important moments, experience his emotions, and see what led him on the journey to becoming one of the Lost Twenty.
Whether you’re a fan of audiobooks or not, I think that this one is definitely worth getting in to. It’s a terrific story told through a well done production, and it answers questions and tells stories that fans have wondered about for years. I always thought that Dooku was an interesting character who had a ton of interesting backstory to delve in to, and I’m glad that we’re getting that now, with Dooku: Jedi Lost and with Claudia Gray’s recent novel “Master and Apprentice.” The two go together nicely (and the authors confirmed at Celebration that they collaborated), and they begin filling in the gaps of what Dooku’s life was like before we meet him in Attack of the Clones. This is a story I highly, highly recommend.
My grade: 9.5/10