Heir to the Empire

(1991) Timothy Zahn

Chapter 1

Five years after the Battle of Endor, aboard the Imperial Star Destroyer, Chimaera, Captain Pallaeon reminisces about the decline of the Empire. 

A raiding mission to retrieve data from the border system of Obroa-skai brings pursuers, and Pallaeon gets to see Grand Admiral Thrawn demonstrate his tactical superiority. 

Thrawn savours his progress in "the only puzzle with solving … the complete, total, and utter destruction of the Rebellion."


Chapter 2

On Coruscant, Luke is farewelled by an ostensibly distracted Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke is feeling depressed by the enormity of representing the mythological Jedi and rebuilding the Order on his own. 

Leia has begun her Jedi training but is also buried under political responsibility. We are introduced to her aide, Winter, who has an eidetic memory. 

Han and Chewie are on Tatooine trying to recruit smugglers to fulfil the logistical requirements of the New Republic. They're also accompanied by Wedge Antilles and a new character Page, who is described as completely unremarkable.


Chapter 3

On the planet of Myrkr, We are introduced to the smuggler Talon Karrde and one of his newest employees, Mara Jade. Talon invites Jade to dinner under the pretence of surprising her with a promotion, but he is covertly attempting to glean more about her mysterious past. 

During their dinner, the Chimaera arrives and sends a landing party to the surrounding forest. Karrde reaches out and is met with a stern Captain Pallaeon. Karrde deduces the Empire intends to collect ysalamiri, though he can only guess as to why. 


Chapter 4

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Captain Pallaeon travel to Wayland, a low-tech world hiding a storehouse of the late Emperor's personal treasures and technology salient to Thrawn’s grand plan. Expecting a Dark Jedi Guardian, Thrawn thwarts the usurping ruler Joruus C’baoth’s snare with a demonstration of the ysalamiri's unusual ability to vacate the Force. 

Thrawn bargains with C’baoth to secure his allegiance in exchange for the capture of Leia’s unborn Jedi twins, whom C’baoth would mould as he sees fit. Pallaeon believes C'baoth to be unstable and a dubious ally, despite Thrawn’s confidence. Thrawn reveals that C'baoth is a clone of a Jedi Master, whose assassination Thrawn was personally involved in before the Clone Wars and Great Jedi Purge. 


Chapter 5

Han delivers a report on his mission to recruit smugglers to facilitate trade within the New Republic. Its lack of progress fans the flames in the ongoing feud between the present Commander in Chief, Admiral Ackbar, and the ambitious Borsk Fey'lya, Council Member and an important leader of the Bothan faction. After a short quarrel, Mon Mothma deescalates the situation by adjourning the meeting. 

Han is told that Luke will be accompanying him and Leia on their diplomatic mission to Bimmisaari. Leia seems keen to sojourn away from the political capital. 


Chapter 6

Han and Leia travel with Luke and C-3PO to the planet Bimmisaari on a diplomatic mission to negotiate the terms of the Bimm joining the New Republic. Leaving Chewbacca and R2-D2 on the Millennium Falcon, the four are treated to a brief greeting ceremony. However, before they can arrive at the planetary government, news arrives that the key negotiator for the Bimm has suddenly taken ill. 

Luke and Han are invited to inspect relics of the Old Republic while Leia is shown around the market, but a suspicious Han decides to join Leia instead. His suspicions prove true when they find themselves encircled by numerous armed individuals of an alien species they don't recognise.


Chapter 7

Luke frees himself from an ambush in the Bim Tower and races to rescue Leia and Han in the marketplace. Safely aboard the Millennium Falcon, Han makes the jump to lightspeed. 

It seems that one of the Bims was paid off to lead the protagonists into the trap but have no other information about their assailants. Leia wants to resume negotiations, but Han first wants to rendezvous with tactical support before returning. 

After pressure from Luke and Han, Leia agrees that she needs to start lightsaber training sooner than later. 


Chapter 8

Captain Pellaeon reports to Grand Admiral Thrawn, detailing the failure of the Noghri to capture the Skywalkers and the recovery of the tech found on Wayland. Dark Jedi Master C'baoth expresses his impatience and a new plan is hatched to capture the Skywalkers; one that suits Thrawn's upcoming plans that necessitate C'baoth presence for a raid on the Sluis Van shipyard. 

Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, the New Republic are unable to identify the assailants at Bimmisaari, and as a result politics stall. While Leia Organa Solo is set to return to Bimmisaari to resume negotiations, she requests more space in her schedule to advance her Jedi studies, but finds no support within the Council, citing her expertise as indispensable.


Chapter 9

The Imperials conduct three concurrent hit-and-fade operations in the Suis Sector. While Grand Admiral Thrawn plays his cards close to his chest, Captain Pellaeon deduces that the exercise is as much to test Master C’Baoth’s mettle as to enforce the chain of command. Pellaeon is more than a little shaken at the display of power from C’Baoth. 

Meanwhile, the raid on Bpfassh has been observed by smugglers Talon Karrde and Marra Jade at a safe distance, Karrde seemingly having foreknowledge about the operation. To Jade’s chagrin, Karrde calls off his smuggling run, citing the New Republic's imminent relief effort as a situation they wish not be entangled in. 

The chapter closes with news of the raids reaching Coruscant while Leia is engaged in her new lightsaber lessons. Luke laments that, while the skills come easily to himself, he may not be the teacher that she needs. 


Chapter 10

Leia and Han survey the damage on Bpfassh under the protective detail of Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron. Leia's new Jedi senses alert them just-in-time to another ambush by the same alien species that ambushed them on Bimmisaari. 

Despite being able to repel their assailants, they are nonetheless closer to understanding the motives and origin of these mysterious aliens. 

After an unproductive call with Admiral Ackbar, Han decides it's time to take the matter of their safety into their own hands.