Babylon 5: The Shadow Within

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Babylon 5: The Shadow Within
AuthorJeanne Cavelos
CountryUnited States
SeriesBabylon 5
GenreScience fiction novel
PublisherDel Rey Books
Publication date
April 1997
Media typePrint (paperback)
Pages278 pp
Preceded byBabylon 5: Betrayals 
Followed byBabylon 5: Personal Agendas 

The Shadow Within is the seventh novel in the Babylon 5 series, written by Jeanne Cavelos, former editor of Dell Books and author of The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy. According to the Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, the book is "90% canonical", clarifying that the Anna Sheridan/Morden/Icarus plot line is canon. It was also published under ISBN 0-345-45218-6.


The events of the novel detail two nearly unrelated plotlines early in 2257, just prior to Babylon 5: The Gathering, the series pilot telefilm. 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 plotline deals with John Sheridan's command of an Earthforce ship and a Homeguard plot to destroy Babylon 5.

The 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 returned to the station 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 suffering still, 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' other novels, The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy, which is considered 100% canonical.

This novel discusses plot details of the third season of the series.


The book seems to contradict itself with regard to the relative strengths of Earthforce vessels. During the war game against the heavy cruiser Hyperion, the author states that the Agamemnon should have won due to its size and superior firepower. But whilst attempting to stop an Earth force heavy cruiser under home guard control, the author conveys that the Agamemnon would not stand a chance. Discounting its 24 starfuries (which the author erroneously dismisses) and its non functional lasers numerous episodes show destroyers also having Heavy Pulse Cannons which are never mentioned.[original research?]

The book makes the often repeated mistake of assuming no Earth force ship had ever destroyed a Minbari war cruiser (except the Black Star). This is contradicted by the TV movie "In The Beginning" in which several Minbari vessels are seen destroyed and the episode "Atonement" in which Earth pulse cannons cause heavy damage to a group of Minbari war cruisers.[original research?]