Summary: On Dorvalla, a pair of rival ore mining companies compete for business. One company, Lommite Limited, has been suffering from "accidents" – sabotage – and plans to retaliate. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious dispatches Darth Maul to Dorvalla: he needs the Neimoidians to gain control of the shipping, so he can proceed with his own dark plans. The story sets the stage for the events in James Luceno’s Cloak of Deception.
Review: Darth Maul’s part of this story is mostly peripheral. However, his actions dictate the rest of the characters actions. He easily sabotages everyone else’s sabotage plans. In the end, the Trade Federation gets their contract. Luceno sets the stage for the events in the beginning of Cloak. It’s just as good as the novel, written with the same humor and unfolding plot.
Tarkin makes an appearance in this story.
"Compassionate and Neimoidian don’t belong in the same sentence, Monchar." – Jurnel Arrant.
"How is it that whenever tragedy strikes, the first ones I hear from are the Neimoidians?" – Jurnel Arrant
"The Neimoidians are greedy and weak-willed. I find them unworthy."
"You left out duplicitous and sniveling."
– Darth Maul, Darth Sidious
Note: I read this prior 2006, which was before I kept a formalized book journal, so I don't have a "read" date. Though I used the e-book cover, I actually read the paper version included in Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter (Michael Reaves). Also, I have a thing for Neimoidians. They're so absurd, I love them. :-)