The Babylon Project

The Shadow Within is the seventh book in the series of original Babylon 5 novels. It was written by Jeanne Cavelos, author of the The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy.

It was later re-released with a new cover that does not mention its status as #7 in the novel series, and calls it "a thrilling prequel to The Passing of the Techno-Mages".


The electrifying space epic continues as Anna
and John Sheridan battle deadly foes at
opposite ends of the universe.

The dedication of the new Babylon 5 Station is fast approaching, and desperate enemies intend to see it end in catastrophe. The fate of the fledgling space alliance lies in the hands of John Sheridan, newly appointed captain of the spaceship Agamemnon. His orders are to stop the attack. Unless he first gets to the bottom of the near-mutinous behaviour of the Agamemnon's unruly crew, Sheridan and spaceship will share Babylon 5's doom.

Time is also running out for his wife, Anna, headed to Z'ha'dum aboard Icarus. Young, beautiful, and brilliant, she was thrilled to be appointed chief science officer of the follow-ups mission to this mysterious planet on the edge of the known universe, where artifacts rumored to hold stupendous powers have been discovered. But the offer she could not resist threatens to become a dark destiny she cannot avoid, for an unimaginable horror lies somnolent on Z'ha'dum - and the monstrous consequences of disturbing the sleeping evil will haunt every living thing in the cosmos...


The events of the novel detail two nearly unrelated plotlines early in 2257, just prior to The Gathering. The main plot deals with the voyage of the Icarus to Z'ha'dum and the fate of Anna Sheridan, wife of future Babylon 5 commander John Sheridan. The secondary plot line deals with John Sheridan's command of an Earthforce ship and a Homeguard plot to destroy Babylon 5.

Original book cover for "The Shadow Within"

This novel details how Anna became involved with the IPX expedition to Z'ha'dum, how she met Morden and how she became the Shadow-infested shell of who she had once been who turned up in the final episode of season three of Babylon 5.

It also details how and why Morden chose to become an agent of the Shadows. He was a widower whose wife and daughter were killed in a terrorist attack on a jumpgate. The Shadows were able to tap into his guilt and terror that the people he had loved most were somehow still suffering, and he thus promised to serve them in return for their promise that they could end their suffering and the guilt that tormented him. It is an interesting subversion of one of the series' most enigmatic villains into a man who is essentially suffering in purgatory for those he loves most. This is particularly interesting given how the series portrayed not dissimilar changes of character and perspective on other main characters.

These details are referenced in Jeanne Cavelos's Technomage Trilogy, which is considered 100% canon.


According to Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski in 1997: "The story of the Icarus as presented in this book is considered canon."[1]. Events surrounding this plot-line are revisited in the novel Casting Shadows (also by Jeanne Cavelos) while the later chapters of Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant by J. Gregory Keyes depict Ms. Donne being sent on the Icarus mission by Alfred Bester, shortly after hearing of the incident with Terrence Hilliard.


Several possible mistakes and oversights with regards to Earthforce ships are made in the book:

  • After the lasers of the Agamemnon are sabotaged, the crew dismiss the suggestion to launch fighters against the heavy cruiser, despite the fact that fighters have been depicted in the TV series destroying or crippling much bigger ships.
  • The author seems to have neglected the fact that Omega-class destroyers are armed with heavy plasma cannons (among other weapons), which would also have been an effective weapon against the enemy cruiser.

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