Heir to the Empire
by Timothy Zahn
Published by Bantam Publishing
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This book, which takes place 5 years after Return of the Jedi, is the first in a trilogy by Timothy Zahn.
As the New Republic holds a fragile foothold in control, a new threat emerges from the far side of the Galaxy. Having been posted so far away from action, Admiral Thrawn, a cunning and intelligent alien commander, begins to gather his Imperial forces for a strategic attack on the New Republic. With the aid of Captain Pealleon and his personal bodyguard Rukh, they begin to set in motion an almost unbeatable plan. They enlist the aid of a mad clone of a powerful Jedi master and use the Emperor's hidden weapons vault which he guards.
Meanwhile, Luke encounters Talon Karrde and his gang of smugglers. Luke soon learns that Karrde's personal assistant, Mara Jade, hates him and wants to kill him, but will he find out why before it's too late?
As the mad clone Joruus C'boath, comes out of isolation and learns about the Skywalker twins and Leia's unborn children, he decides he will train them in the ways of the Force. Basically, they will join him or die. Thus, they are both pursued across the galaxy.
Also, there is a spy hidden amidst the New Republic. Who could it be?
The summary above does not do this story justice. There are so many plots and subplots that it is near impossible to describe. It is a well written and well told story. The characters Zahn describes to you come alive so vividly that you half expect to see them pop up when you go back and watch the old films. Zahn is really good with his action, too. You can tell he went back and watched the movies over and over, because he intertwines the films and his story so well. This novel seems to be the standard everyone judges the other novels against. I really liked the new cretures and the mad Jedi clone. Mara Jade is a very interesting character and the new ships and locations he created were really great. Admiral Thrawn is the best bad guy created by any of the novels. Zahn doesn't have to tell you why this guy is so bad because he shows you why.
The only thing I thought Zahn missed in his novels was humor. That is the only difference between his books and the films. If he would have added a few good laughs, it would be a perfect Star Wars story. Also, Thrawn's 'I knew you were going to do/say that because of your art' routine did get a little annoying toward the end. Still, overall a great story!
Trying to say vornskrs three times fast. Ugh.