I finished this two days ago and have been absorbing it. It's been a long time. Not since Mindor I think (and honestly, in my opinion this blows that away too) since I've been excited to read a Star Wars book. This book was literally with me everywhere too. On my Iphone, on my ereader and on my laptop. I read it every time I had a free moment because it was incredibly hard to put down. Unlike many recent works which felt like a chore to read, I actually dreaded reaching the end of this masterfully written novel. The attention to detail and the way things just fit without much issue makes me wish ALL authors and writers had to adhere to the same process Mr. Luceno used. Certainly would help in the cartoon. Having read so many of these old preTPM works referenced, to me it was a treat to read. I loved the backstory of Palpatine, the gungans war over plasma (is that the first time plasma has been mentioned. I'm assuming plasma = the weapons the gungans use?), the rise and fall of Veruna and the references to so many characters. And all the little things like remembering Jocasta Nu was on the council at one point, the details surrounding Valorum's fall etc... All of it was very tight from what I could see. I also loved how some characters were mentioned, but never spoke. Padme for example does not speak until she's Queen (Though I am curious why Pablo wasn't used instead of that other guy's son). Bringing in Dorianna and fleshing out Pestage was also fantastic. I also enjoyed how Luceno left many scenes mostly to our imagination. One detail that did interest me was that two members of the council investigated after the attack on Demask but were never mentioned by name. Something else that seems curious- has it ever been outright stated that Sifo-Dyas was not on the council? Dooku states specifically that he turned a seat down. But Sifo-Dyas, while he seems to imply not being on the same level, I don't recall if it has been outright stated that Sifo-Dyas was NOT a leading member of the Jedi Council. One does feel sorry for Maul. He's pretty much a tool to do Sidious' bidding. I saw others mention that Plagueis feels a bit like the godfather the way he interacts with others and the favors Demask Holdings does for some beings. I can definitely see that. But it seems like Plagueis lives three lives: the Sith Lord, the crime boss Damask and the upstanding citizen Demask. Otherwise I think more people would have been upset with Palpatine being seen near Hego Demask. As for Sidious not technically being the master in TPM. I see it like Jedi. It seems that around the time Sidious rescued Demask, he ceased being the apprentice and passed his trials if you will (slaughter of Pax Teem). From there, he was a Sith Lord equivalent to Jedi Knight. Around the time of TPM he appears to have hit Jedi Master level status and is Plagueis equal and partner (in Plagueis' mind at least). But, much like Yoda tells Dooku "Much to learn you still have" decades after Dooku became a knight, there are things Plagueis knows that Palpatine still has to learn. Also, it's been a while since I've read Cloak of Deception, but is this the first time they mention Valorum's assistant being his lover?