Heir to the EmpirePaperback - 1992
But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor's warlords, Grand Admiral Thrawn, 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.
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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."
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."
DRAVIS: "Or at least we used to be. But I hear you've gone respectable."
HAN: "Respectable is such a vague word."
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."
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SummaryAdd a Summary
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.
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