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STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE BY TIMOTHY ZAHN
[ Timothy Zahn | 1991 ]

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Heir to the Empire - Click to view!Venturing beyond the familiar worlds of Tatooine, Endor and the like, Heir to the Empire shuttles readers from the dizzying heights of Kashyyyk, to the prestigious proceedings of Coruscant's Grand Council as it tracks the infancy of the New Republic. The latest threat facing it is not one to be scoffed at. The only remaining of Emperor Palpatine's trusted Grand Admirals, the half human Thrawn is bent on destroying the newly established democracy to restore the Empire. Thrawn has a gift of determining the weakness of every alien race by studying its art.

His power is strengthened by the insane clone of a Jedi Master, Joruus C'baoth, who is enlisted to coordinate the Empire's space battles, a tactic once used successfully by the late Emperor. For his services, however, C'baoth demands that the last of the Jedi - Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, and the twins developing in her womb - be given to him for dark side apprenticeship. Luke is gravely troubled from hearing the call of another prospective Jedi Master (C'baoth), and is eventually captured by the smuggler Talon Karrde. Facing strained relations with either Thrawn's Imperial forces or the New Republic if he submits Luke to either faction, Karrde confines Skywalker on his home base of Myrkh, a planet distinguished by Force-repellent creatures that render Jedi vision and reflexes useless.

Meanwhile, on Coruscant, Han Solo devises a scheme to give his pregnant wife a much-need break from her over-burdened schedule as Councilor. Han's wookie co-pilot, Chewbacca, whisks her off to his home world of Kashyyyk. In a singular series of events, Solo and Lando Calrissian arrive on the very world where Luke is imprisoned, only to learn of their friend's attempted escape and subsequent crash in Myrkh's dense, dangerous jungles. Worse, he is followed by an associate of Karrde's who desperately wants him dead. She is Mara Jade.

Escaping unhurt from their gunboats, Jade and Skywalker realize it'll be a three-day walk back to civilization. Their arduous trek reveals a little of Mara's past-withholding some details for the next two books-and eventually ends in an explosive ambush set by Han, Lando and their new ally Karrde. Concluding with an electrifying, against-all-odds space conflict, Heir to the Empire not only brings back the rich and cataclysmic Star Wars universe but also possesses a decided depth of thought and action, which is far more than what is possible in any two-hour movie.
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