Luke Skywalker expected trouble when he volunteered to follow Princess Leia on her mission to Circarpous to enlist their Rebel underground in the battle against the Empire. But the farm boy from Tatooine hadn’t counted on an unscheduled landing in the swamplands of Mimban…hadn’t counted on any of the things they would find on that strange planet.
Hidden on this planet was the Kaiburr crystal, a mysterious gem that would give the one who possessed it such powers over the Force that he would be all but invincible. In the wrong hands, the crystal could be deadly. So Luke had to find this treasure and find it fast.
Accompanied by Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio—his two faithful droids—Luke and the Princess set out for the Temple of Pomojema…and a confrontation deep beneath the surface of an alien world with the most fearsome villain in the galaxy!
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Cover artist: Ralph McQuarrie
Release date: February 12, 1978
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye has had a bad shake in the years following its release, but in this classic Star Wars tale you’ll find a lot you can take away and, in the spirit of Brian Daley and his iconic Han Solo trilogy, a stand-alone story unencumbered by tight chronology and outside influences.
Clearly for many readers looking back at Splinter of the Mind’s Eye there’s a big bantha in the room – the budding romance between Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Released in 1978 and written with the possibility of being filmed as a low budget sequel to Star Wars had it not been a success, the book is purposely low-key, utilising elements from an early draft of Star Wars. Obviously Lucas had not yet fully nailed down the relationship between Luke and Leia, bt from a story point of view, if they hadn’t known there was a familial relationship then an attraction was always possible.
The story is simple. Luke and Leia are en route to Circarpous IV for a Rebel meeting in an attempt to bring the Circarpousians into the Rebel Alliance. Leia’s ship hits problems and they are forced to land on Mimban, the fifth planet in the system. While seeking help they stumble upon a town and to divert attention away from themselves, Luke claims Leia is his servant girl. They meet an old woman, hall, clearly knowledgeable in the ways of the force, who enlists their help in finding the rest of a crystal shard she owns, part of the Kaiburr crystal.
Luke and Leia playfight and are arrested, thrown into the brig and have their belongings, including Luke’s lightsaber and the crystal shard confiscated. With the help of two Yuzzem and Halla they escape, heading out for the Temple of Pomojema. Evading creatures native to the area they are hunted down by Imperials, including Darth Vader who loses a huge number of troops to the native tribe in the area. The two groups head on the for temple, with Luke and co arriving before Vader. But Vader isn’t far behind and he engages Luke in a lightsaber battle that fights to a stalemate, only ending when Vader falls down a deep, dark pit. Luke, Leia and the droids end the story driving off into the mists of Mimban with Halla.
As the plot for a modern, integrated Expanded Universe story it might not have passed muster, but as the novel that started the Expanded Universe back in 1978 it’s a classic. Filled with action, adventure and character development by the man who wrote the original Star Wars novel, this is a treasure. Essential reading.