Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE by Timothy Zahn

Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #1)Recently I watched the entire Star Wars movie saga for the first time in a while (episodes 1 through 6) and became interested in the expanded universe books. Knowing that this elaborate and painstakingly crafted library of Star Wars fiction had been made largely redundant due to the forthcoming movie I wasn't sure where to start nor was I convinced that the scifi material would be worth a read. My choice in Star Wars fiction certainly exceeded my expectations.
I chose to read HEIR TO THE EMPIRE, the first book in the acclaimed Thrawn trilogy set five years after the events of episode VI. Here,  author Timothy Zahn sets the well known cast at the forefront of yet another conflict, though one not as easily discernable as battling the Emperor and Darth Vader.
The heavy and sometimes overbearing natrue of cut throat politicking that was omnipresent through episodes 1 to 3 is prevalent in HEIR TO THE EMPIRE though not without justification; if anything Leia's involvement and almost forced attachment to a new intergalactic government compliments the plot and provides context to the Rebellion state of play by adding a hint of civil war in the air.
With so many memorable characters killed off in the movies, (core cast aside),  I thought Zahn brought together a complex group of characters that are both unique and entertaining to read. None moreso than the clone Jedi C'baoth, and Rebellion chief adversaries Captain Pallaeon, and General Admiral Thrawn. I also liked the way Solo, despite being a father-to-be with Leia due to have twins, didn't deviate far from his criminal origins. It's this link with his past that ultimately leads to a new Jabba type underworld figure making an appearance alongside the interesting Mara Jade, an assassin with one name on her list: Luke Skywalker.
Despite the formulaic trappings, HEIR TO THE EMPIRE adds another element to the Star Wars saga that fans have, and, will continue to enjoy for a time to come. Additionally, HEIR TO THE EMPIRE works well as a sci-fi in its own right. Next up: book #2, DARK FORCE RISING.


  1. I remember reading this series when it came out, and still have all 3 hardcovers packed away somewhere. Episode I was still just a rumor, so this was (for all intents and purposes) the only sequel it seemed we'd ever get. I thought the trilogy was fantastic and really added some great new characters to the mix - Thrawn and Mara Jade especially.

    1. Agree - Thrawn and Mara Jade are what really make this work (also the fact that these books feel part of the original movie trilogy universe)