Maik G.'s Reviews > Heir to the Empire

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
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Apr 20, 10


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 been engaged in a long campaign to mop up the remnants of the once-mighty Empire. The once dreaded Imperial Fleet is in disarray, political and military control of the late Emperor Palpatine's New Order has changed hands several times, yet the former Rebels have reduced Imperial dominion to one quarter of its former size. Yet even as Mon Mothma and the New Republic government establish democratic rule from Coruscant (former capital of both the Old Republic and the Galactic Empire), a new dark force has arisen in the form of one of the Empire's most cunning warriors.

His name is Thrawn, and his tactical and intellectual gifts are so great that the racist and sexist Palpatine had promoted him to be the only non-human to wear the white uniform of Grand Admiral. For several years after the Battle of Endor (where the Rebels destroyed the second Death Star and both the Emperor and Darth Vader died), Thrawn was pacifying the Unknown Regions until his return to Imperial territory. Now, with a small but powerful Imperial fleet at his command, the mysterious Grand Admiral believes he holds the key to the undoing of the New Republic and the restoration of the Empire.

A professional reviewer, at the time of the book's first appearance in 1991, wrote that Heir to the Empire "captures the spirit of the movie trilogy so well, you can almost hear John Williams' soundtrack." Indeed, Zahn does a superb job rendering the personalities from George Lucas' films that one can almost hear Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels when reading their characters' dialogue. The pace of the book is brisk and the action sequences are so well done that one can swear they are cinematic. Although there are many Star Wars authors whose novels are spellbinding, Zahn stands head and shoulders above the crowd.
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