Star Wars

Star Wars

Heir to the Empire

Book - 1992
Average Rating:
Rate this:
It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1992
Edition: Bantam pbk. ed
Copyright Date: ©1991
ISBN: 9780553296129
Branch Call Number: Science Fiction F Zah
Alternative Title: Heir to the empire


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 26, 2016

I was told from a friend that I should read this trilogy starting with "The Heir to the Empire." I'm glad I did. I enjoyed this book, as it introduces you to Grand Admiral Thrawn. I was able to read "Darth Plageuis" and this book helped in understanding a few things in that book. I can't wait to start the 2nd book in the series! I recommend this story to Star Wars fans... as it may help you to understand a few things that will be coming up in future Star Wars movies.

Jul 19, 2016

This book would have been absolutely perfect if Timothy Zahn had left out one thing: Mara Jade. This being her first ever appearance in the now non-cannon universe, I found it impossible to find her likable at all as a character. The only thing she ever thought about through out the entire course novel was about the opportunity of finally being able to murder Luke Skywalker for "ruining" her life. Her reasoning for this seemed pretty faulty and lame. The fact that she was supposedly some hand for Palpatine didn't exactly sit very well with me either. I don't think he needed "Hands" to carry out secret missions, he had Darth Vader to do all his work for him. There was also one bad word which was pretty irritating because it could have been easily taken out and replaced with a better word.

But besides the issues above, I did enjoy this book. Zahn introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn, who is now a cannon character. I admired how Thrawn managed to keep a sense of calm in whatever he did. His fascination with art is something I found interesting for villain like him. Zahn also stayed true to the original series characters, (Luke, Lando, Leia, Han...). They acted and spoke the same way they did in the movies; their personalities weren't changed at all. The plot made sense and was easy to follow. There was not any continuity errors about the Prequel era when it was mentioned, which surprised me due to the novel being released eight years before The Phantom Menace.

JRock15 Dec 04, 2015

I want to read this so bad after reading known Unknown_User's comment.

Feb 21, 2015

Outstanding! This was even better than the movies! You can hear John Williams soundtrack even as you read. This is true, classic, and epic star wars. Must read the magic is back in full blast!

Sep 17, 2014

Just as good as I remember it being the first time I read it as a child almost twenty years ago.

Jun 07, 2014

In our house the book recommendations are a little one sided. Basically because single thing I like I tell Ryan, "You have to read this" or "You'd love this book." Ryan apparently is a little more selective in his book recommendations to me. Since our recommendation rate was running at about 50 to 1, I thought I bester at lest try out the book he has been telling me about.

I was very hesitant, after all it is a Star Wars book. I've never been a fan of the movie-to-book progression, plus this particular story series seemed very teenage boy (which happens to be the last time Ryan read the series himself). However, I was very glad I finally read it. The story line is fun and draws on the movies that nearly everyone has seen. We did have to watch the movies again since a knowledge of some of the lesser characters and place names is helpful (although not required) to enjoy this book.

As much as I hate to say he was right, I will be continuing on wight the series and reading the next two books.

Aug 19, 2013

This author takes you right back to the movies and breathes life into the characters we all grew up watching....just amazing!!

Aug 28, 2012

I loved this book and the rest of the trilogy!

Sep 27, 2011

Great novel, the beginning of the trilogy that is by far the best release in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Introduces several new players into the battle between the Rebellion (Galactic Alliance) and Imperial Remnant. A can't-miss title for all Star Wars fans!


Add a Quote

Oct 31, 2017

LUKE: "I understand. I guess we're ready to go then."
MARA: "Not quite. There's still that face of yours."
LUKE: "I don't think Artoo's got anywhere to hide that."

Oct 31, 2017

"I said thanks already. What do you want, a medal?" -Mara Jade

Oct 31, 2017

HAN: "I already told you. We need to find someone we can trust who has his own list of illegals."
LEIA: "You don't mean...Lando?"
HAN: "Who else? Upstanding citizen, former war hero, honest businessman. Of course he'll have slicer contacts."

Oct 31, 2017

DRAVIS: "Or at least we used to be. But I hear you've gone respectable."
HAN: "Respectable is such a vague word."

Oct 31, 2017

PELLAEON: "I congratulate you. May I ask just what exactly this puzzle is?"
THRAWN: "Why the only puzzle worth solving, of course. The complete, total, and utter destruction of the Rebellion."

Oct 31, 2017

"Learn about art, Captain. When you understand a species' art, you understand the species."
-Grand Admiral Thrawn


Add Age Suitability

Dec 26, 2016

BigBooks000 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 19, 2016

Chinderixx thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

Oct 31, 2017

Grand Admiral Thrawn, the new supreme commander of the remaining Imperial forces, conducts a successful information raid on the Obroa-skai system, and easily defeats a retaliatory strike.

On Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi approaches Luke Skywalker in his sleep to say farewell.

On Myrkr, smuggler Talon Karrde and his subordinate Mara Jade help Thrawn obtain several creatures called ysalamiri. Afterward, the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera travels to the Emperor's hidden storehouse on the planet Wayland, where Thrawn encounters Joruus C'baoth. In addition to gaining access to the storehouse, Thrawn persuades C'baoth to offer his services in exchange for Luke and Leia.

Leia, three months pregnant with twins, is sent on a diplomatic mission where a squad of Noghri try to capture her and Luke without success. They suspend the negotiations and return to Coruscant.

After another failed kidnapping, Han and Leia decide to visit Lando Calrissian on Nkllon.
Luke discovers an electronic devise and decides to see if Lando can identify it. The protagonists' visit to Nkllon coincides with an Imperial raid that steals fifty-one of Lando's "mole miner" machines.

The Chimaera intercepts a message in Leia's voice from the Millennium Falcon, but Thrawn knows it is merely a recording; through logical reasoning, he determines that Han and Lando are the only ones aboard, while Leia and Chewbacca are seeking refuge on Kashyyyk. Thrawn nearly captures Luke in a space ambush; Luke escapes but becomes stranded in his X-wing fighter with R2-D2 until Karrde's ship discovers them.

After taking Luke aboard, Karrde neutralizes him with ysalamiri and takes him back to Myrkr as a prisoner. Meanwhile, Han and Lando meet another smuggler whose information leads them to Karrde's base on Myrkr.

Before Han and Lando's arrival, Karrde has Luke moved to a more remote area of the base. Their discussion of the New Republic's offer is interrupted by a return visit from Thrawn, who is interested in acquiring capital ships.

Luke escapes his cell and flies off in a ship, with Mara in pursuit. Despite knowing of the bounties placed by the Empire on Luke, Han and Lando, Karrde feels bound by rules of hospitality to keep their presence a secret.

Mara corners Luke in the Myrkr forest, and reveals that she used to be an undercover agent of the Emperor, who lost everything when Luke killed him at Endor, and wants to kill Luke in revenge, even though she needs him alive to help evade the Imperials. Posing as a bounty hunter, Luke surrenders Mara to an Imperial patrol that brings them all to Hyllard city. There, Han, Lando, and Karrde's men ambush the Imperial soldiers and rescue Luke and R2 before leaving the planet. Karrde, no longer able to remain neutral, evacuates his base.

On Kashyyyk, Leia is attacked by another Noghri kidnapping team. She kills all but one of the commandos with her lightsaber, but the last manages to seize her, before mysteriously letting her go and letting himself be captured. The commando, Khabarakh, explains that he recognized her by scent as the daughter of Darth Vader, whom the Noghri revere as the savior of their world.
After leaving Myrkr, Thrawn launches an attack on the Sluis Van shipyards, using a cloaking device acquired from the Emperor's storehouse to sneak a squadron of TIE Fighters through the outer defenses and Lando's stolen mole miners as boarding capsules, hoping to steal a large number of Republic warships for the Imperial fleet.
The Falcon arrives in the middle of the battle and Lando activates them all by remote control, causing them to burrow even deeper into the hulls, killing the boarding parties and disabling most or all of the captured ships. Believing that the sudden reversal is merely a temporary setback, Thrawn orders a retreat.
As Han and Luke rest after the battle, Leia calls from Coruscant to tell them that Admiral Ackbar has been arrested on charges of treason.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at PPL

To Top