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Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy #1)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  51,043 Ratings  ·  1,890 Reviews
It is a time of renewal, five years after the destruction of the Death Star and the defeat of Darth Vader and the Empire.

But with the war seemingly won, strains are beginning to show in the Rebel Alliance. New challenges to galactic peace have arisen. And Luke Skywalker hears a voice from his past. A voice with a warning. Beware the dark side….

Here is the science fiction p
Mass Market Paperback, 404 pages
Published June 1992 by Bantam Spectra (first published June 1991)
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John Pirillo I would have read it at his age and loved it. No sexual situations that I can remember.

Timothy Zahn sticks to the Lucas vision without throwing in a…more
I would have read it at his age and loved it. No sexual situations that I can remember.

Timothy Zahn sticks to the Lucas vision without throwing in a lot of trash to make it his own.(less)
Jake The Clone Wars Omnibus graphic novels are excellent, some of the movie characters, but a lot that aren't in there also. I also really enjoyed the…moreThe Clone Wars Omnibus graphic novels are excellent, some of the movie characters, but a lot that aren't in there also. I also really enjoyed the Darth Bane Series. (less)

Community Reviews

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A long time 20 years ago, in a galaxy publishing house far, far away looking to suck the monetary marrow out of a popular franchise and develop the next big income stream............

Episode IV Expanded Universe Novel I


It is a period of civil war declining profits and brand recognition. A revitalized Star Trek franchise Rebel spaceships, striking from a
hidden base
rival studio Paramount, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic LucasFilm Em
Unforgettable characters born and even a whole world too!


When you understand a species' art, you understand that species.

One of the strongest issues on this book are the creation of characters since it’s where Mara Jade was first introduced and only for that, it’s already an epic moment in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but also you have the introduction of other characters such as Talon Karrde, Gilad Pellaeon, Borsk Fey’lya, Joruus C’Baoth, Winter Celchu, and obviousl
Mar 07, 2016 Markus rated it really liked it
"History is on the move, Captain. Those who cannot keep up will be left behind, to watch from a distance. And those who stand in our way will not watch at all."

Five years have passed since the destruction of the second Death Star and the fall of the Emperor. The New Republic is rising from the ashes of the Galactic Empire. The old Imperial Starfleet is in complete disarray, and the greatest of the Emperor's warlords, the Grand Admirals, are all gone. Except for one. And that lone one will give t
Will M.
Jan 11, 2016 Will M. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Star Wars fans
Recommended to Will by: Ashley
Shelves: sci-fi, space, star-wars, 2016
"But you must never relax your guard. The Emperor is gone, but the dark side is still powerful. Never forget that."

As we all know, Episode VII came out a few weeks ago. I watched it a few days after the premiere and was amazed. I watched it for the second time a week ago, and was still amazed. I've been a Star Wars fan ever since I was a child, but my love for the series slowly degraded because no new movies came out. I'm back to loving the series now all thanks to the release of episode 7.
Feb 16, 2015 Evgeny rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
I hope I will not need to tell what happened in the original Star Wars trilogy. I also feel I do not need to use any visuals for my review as practically everybody knows what the main characters look like. So, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Five years after the evens of the Return of the Jedi things seems to go smooth for the Rebel Alliance. What remains of the Empire is driven farther to the remote parts of the space, the territory of the new Republic is expanding and war is repla
Oct 18, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“My word, Thrawn, do you mean … Skywalker??”

“Elementary, my dear Captain.”

Zahn’s Grand Admiral Thrawn channels Sherlock Holmes and steals the show in a 1991 Star Wars expanded universe novel set five years after the end of the canonical film Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

The Ewoks have finished dancing and singing, the fireworks over Coruscant have long since faded and the Darths Sidious and Vader are pushing up daisies. But all’s not yet well amongst the leaders of the New Republic. There is wo
Oct 16, 2015 Werner rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Science fiction (esp. Star Wars) fans
Recommended to Werner by: My brother-in-law, Nelson
Note, Oct. 16, 2015: I edited this just now to correct a misspelling.

Books that are spin-offs or sequels to movies or TV shows (or sometimes direct fictional adaptations, or "novelizations"), as the Thrawn trilogy is, often don't command much critical respect; it's taken for granted by critics that movies can be made by adapting books, and that the results can be great art, but any inspiration that's drawn in the other direction is automatically discounted and the results classified as hack garb
As a warning, the actual review doesn't start until halfway through this ridiculously large block of text. I felt I should warn you, I'm about to get self-indulgent up in here.

So you know how when you're sixteen, you're an idiot? Well, about some things. I like to think I was an abnormally stable teenager. I certainly gave my parents ZERO trouble, but I feel like that's a thing that happens when parents luck into having extremely geeky children who would rather stay home on a Saturday night and,
Mar 01, 2015 Gavin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This was my first foray into the Star Wars expanded universe and it did not disappoint. It reads like a sequel to the original movies.

Set five years after the happenings in Return of the Jedi this followed well loved Star Wars characters like Luke, Han, and Leia as they and the rest of the Rebel Alliance fought against the remains of the Imperial Empire. Darth Vader and the Emperor might be dead, but the Empire itself is not. A new leader has emerged in the form of the intelligent and ruthless
Dec 14, 2015 Terence rated it it was ok
Five years after Return of the Jedi, the leaders of the rebellion have formed the New Republic and are trying to establish it as well as they possibly can. The Empire is a shell of its former self, but not everyone considers it defeated. A Grand Admiral named Thrawn has become the leader of The Empire and he intends to crush the Rebellion for good.

Heir to the Empire wasn't very interesting. I wanted to stop reading it multiple times and now that I finished I realized I should have listened to my
Buddy read with my fellow Star Wars fanatics over at Fantasy Buddy Reads.

You guys have no idea how excited I was to read about my favorite Star Wars characters. I hyped myself up for two weeks in preparation for reading this book.'s absolutely crazy that I'm only able to give this three stars. I'm going to try my best to explain this unfortunate three star rating.

What I Liked
Obviously the characters. The new characters that I really enjoyed were Thrawn and Mara. I actually liked Mara'
Sep 30, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it
I am not going to try to objectively review this as I am a seventies kid so star wars is an immense part of my coming into adulthood.

Zahn has given fans a worthy successor to Vader as the big bad in thrawn.

if I was to nitpick Mars Jades hatred of Skywalker free a little annoying.

overall a great continuation of the mythology of the star wars universe I would give 3.5 stars rounded up.
Executive Summary: Mostly lived up to the hype for me. Certainly more enjoyable than the prequels that Lucas put out, but that's not hard.

Audio book: Do this in audio. Not only is Marc Thompson a great narrator who does a great job with almost all the voices, there is music and sound effects too that makes this more like a radio play than just an audiobook.

There was no way I was going to read this after seeing Marc Thompson did this series, and I was not disappointed.

Full Review
There is a lot
TS Chan
Aug 06, 2016 TS Chan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, audiobook
It's been so, so long since I've read these Star Wars tie-in novels. A friend of mine had been highly recommending the audiobook production of these novels and hence, gave me the impetus to reread them in the said medium.

In summary, it was really enjoyable! With the ability to make use of the library of sound effects from the movies, the audiobook almost sounds like a Graphic Audio production. Artoo, Threepio and Chewbacca sound exactly like in the movies! I especially love the scenes with Arto
Alex Ristea
Aug 13, 2014 Alex Ristea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, audiobook
I now understand the hype.

Not only why this trilogy is touted as the definitive Star Wars companion, but why it's an example for all tie-in novels. I'm not the most experienced guy in the world when it comes to this sort of fiction, but I've read enough to recognize when it works and when it doesn't.

Heir to the Empire works so, so well.

This is the Star Wars novel I have been waiting for. One that expands the mythos and makes me excited about the world. It raises more questions than it answers, a
Crystal Starr Light
"A Jedi can't get so caught up in matters of galactic importance that it interferes with his concern for individual people"
It's had a permanent space on my top books of all time, and there is a reason. Considered by most Star Wars fans to be the best Star Wars Expanded Universe novel and the birth of Expanded Universe itself, Heir to the Empire takes off about 5 years after Return of the Jedi.
Han and Leia are married and expecting twins. Luke is a Jedi Knight. And the New Republic is in its begi
Feb 15, 2015 JAIME rated it really liked it
This gets 4 stars just for being Star Wars.

Too much talk, not enough Lightsaber.
Nov 18, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
I still remember my excitement when, as a *cough*-year-old, I ran across Heir to the Empire at the bookstore. At last, some continuation to the Star Wars story!

I wasn't old enough at the time to be particularly discriminating - it was probably ten years later that I finally swore off the Extended Universe, what with all the Kevin J. Anderson garbage - but I knew I loved Timothy Zahn's work. Heir to the Empire is the first installment in Zahn's celebrated Thrawn Trilogy. Its primary strength is c
Nov 28, 2008 Ron rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ron by: Wendell Andrea
Fan fiction as it should be.

Working within established genre, ensemble, history and--to some extent--outcome, Timothy Zahn creates a fresh new story with a cast known and loved by his readers.

Old Star Wars movie cliches sprinkle the tale, but the fans would howl if they weren't. What makes Heir to the Empire worth reading is Zahn's ability to grow the characters and provide a satisfying new experience for the reader.

Of course, like all of its ilk, Heir is less a stand alone novel and more an o
Edward Guillaume
Mar 03, 2009 Edward Guillaume rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This was my first Star Wars Expanded Universe book I read, and I don't regret it. When I picked up the space sim "TIE Fighter" back in the 90s I was impressed with the character Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Galactic Empire. Little did I know he was part of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy books. So, I have to admit the only reason why I read this book, as well as the other two of the trilogy, was because of the character Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn comes across as a respected military commander, ca ...more
Chris Dietzel
Sep 09, 2015 Chris Dietzel rated it it was amazing
I was thinking again about Zahn's trilogy of books after reading that Disney and Lucasfilm have set an "official" canon for the Star Wars universe. (A truly absurd idea that some fictional stories are 'official' and some fictional stories are illegitimate). For me, these will always be the best three Star Wars books. It doesn't matter if they are 'canon' or not. If you liked the original trilogy of movies and haven't read these books, do yourself a favor and read them right now.
...Meh, it's alright. I expected more of this Thrawn-character, but overall the book was quite entertaining and I am sure I'll forget about it in a month or so. I guess I need to be a bigger Star Wars fan in order to enjoy it.
Oct 05, 2016 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I love these books in audio - Marc Thompson does such a good job with voices. And I can see why so many people have recommended this trilogy - the main characters are all there to enjoy, and Admiral Thrawn is a brilliant adversary.

Star Wars and the surrounding paraphernalia is a cultural icon so linked to the modern understanding of sci-fi that few people could recognise a world without its influence. It has been referenced in newspaper headlines and in the Ronald Reagan defence initiative called Star Wars, of the later part of the Cold War. However, few of the expanded universe novelisations or television works have ever lived up to the premise of the initial movies. Perhaps it is the overriding sense of the corrupting i
Mitch Sullivan
Oct 29, 2012 Mitch Sullivan rated it it was amazing
I don't care what anyone else thinks, I'm not ashamed to say that this book - and the books that followed it - are what got me into reading in the first place.

For that reason alone, I can't possibly do this justice with a star rating and a quick review. All I'll say is that thanks to Timothy Zahn and his Thrawn Trilogy, I came to love books and experienced a spike in my literacy levels that put me at the top of my class for the rest of my school and university life. Ever since, I've wanted to be
Mar 08, 2015 Nathan rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
So, after some thought, I think three stars is the correct rating for this book.

This book, set five years after the Return of the Jedi, brings back everyone's favorite group and tells their new adventures of setting up a New Republic and their troubles along the way. We also see a rise of Thrawn, the Grand Admiral of the Empire and military genius and a new group of thieves who take over after Jabba the Hut's death.

I love Star Wars. I'm a huge Star Wars nerd and would kill for a lightsaber. So I
Mar 17, 2011 Thom rated it did not like it
Heir to the Empire -

The last remaining Grand Admiral of the defeated Empire campaigning against the fragile New Republic? The premise is actually very intriguing, too bad Zahn was the first one to it.

I have to give this book a one-star rating with an "I hate it" stamp. Here's why:

The best of this book is in the plot which is complex (but not notably creative). The story winds through several characters, allowing for a fairly gripping read. There are some fun characters in the book that help to
Maik G.
Apr 20, 2010 Maik G. rated it it was amazing
Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, the first volume of a three-book cycle, was almost an instant phenomenon when it was published in hardcover. With its depiction of the continuing battle between what is left of the Galactic Empire and the fledgling New Republic, this novel cleverly mixes the characters from the Classic Trilogy with a cast of newly created heroes and villains, some of whom will make appearances in other authors' Star Wars works.

As Heir to the Empire begins, the New Republic has
May 23, 2013 Algernon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Welcome back to the Star Wars francise - one of the most financially succesful business enterprises. The impulse to write the Thrawn series may have come from a need to cash in on the popularity of the original movie series, and the quality of the prose may be pedestrian, but to a hardcore fan like me (I was 13 when I first saw A New Hope ) these considerations matter less than the curiosity about events after the Battle of Endor.

Starting the plot only a few years after said battle, Timot
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Timothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he bec ...more
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Other Books in the Series

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