Prequel to 'Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace'.
In 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace', Palpatine tells Amidala that "the Chancellor has little real power . . . he is mired down by baseless accusations of corruption. A manufactured scandal surrounds him". In this prequel novel, which takes place shortly before the events of 'The Phantom Menace', Valorum struggles with his fall from power. As part of this struggle, he has the Jedi Council send some Jedi Knights to a political hotspot, in the hopes of solving a problem and reconsolidating his power.
Mired by greed and corruption, tangled in bureaucracy, the Galactic Republic is crumbling. In the outlying systems, where the Trade Federation maintains a stranglehold on shipping routes, tensions are boiling over - and now even the comfort of Coruscant is being invaded, as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi foil an assassination attempt on Supreme Chancellor Valorum.
As humans and aliens gather for an emergency trade summit, conspiracies sealed with large sums of money run rampant, and no one is entirely above suspicion. But the greatest threat of all remains unknown to everyone except three members of the Trade Federation who have entered into a shadowy alliance with a dark overlord. While the trio will be content without money and fewer problems, Darth Sidious has grander, far more terrifying plans.