Pretty much everyone who knows me knows I like "Star Wars", but what some of them may be surprised to hear is that "The Phantom Menace" was pretty much my introduction to George Lucas' space opera. Oh, sure, I'd been hearing references to it for years prior, and I even had a primitive (by today's standards, anyway) Jedi pilot game on my Commodore 64, but "Episode I" was what really opened my eyes to the saga. You've probably heard that "TPM" is coming out in 3-D next week; people will probably flock to the theaters in droves to see it, as usual. If you're going to see it, and you're a fan of the "Star Wars" novels as well as the films, "Darth Plagueis" is worth checking out. Not only does it take place around the time of "Phantom Menace", but it also gives an excellent window into the events of the movie as well as what led up to them. Jar Jar haters, don't worry; that despised Gungan is nowhere to be found in this novel. Even Warsies who aren't interested in seeing the upcoming 3-D release will find plenty to like about "Darth Plagueis", unless they absolutely hate the prequel trilogy. Check it out!