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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  55,839 Ratings  ·  2,152 Reviews
Alternate Cover Edition can be found here.

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 th
Audio Cassette, 319 pages
Published October 23rd 1995 by HarperCollins Canada / UK Adult Audio (first published May 1st 1991)
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Jessica Hi! This book doesn't contain any 'inappropriate' material, by my standards. It isn't much more violent then the movies, but deaths are discribed.…moreHi! This book doesn't contain any 'inappropriate' material, by my standards. It isn't much more violent then the movies, but deaths are discribed. Princess Leia is Pregnant, and she does spend some time thinking about the Children she's carrying, but there is nothing graphic. It's a heavy read though, lots of details and new characters, if he is a good strong reader he'll do great! The characters do swear from time to time, but they are mostly made up 'in universe' swear words. I read these books when I was about 12-13 and found them fun! I was an advanced reader, but this is a great novel to start him on! There is also an Audio Book version of this book.

I would also suggest the 'Junior Jedi Knights' novels. It's a series that focuses on Han Solo and Princess Leia's Son Anakin as he goes through Jedi training and his adventures. These books are meant for younger readers, so a little easier to read. I read these when I was about 10 and loved them!

None of the Star Wars books I've read have anything other then some violence, a kiss or two and a few made up swear words. None are any worse than Episode 3 (the darkest and most violent Star Wars). I certainly haven't read all of them, but Lucas/Disney makes it a habit to keep things pretty family friendly.

Wookiepedia has a whole bunch of detailed plot descriptions about all of the books/characters. It's a good place to 'pre-skim' the books before he reads them.

BTW I would like to thank you for taking such an interest in your Son's reading! I had a parent like you who wanted to make sure I read things that would be wholesome/age appropriate. I can't thank them enough for that. Good luck!

May the force be with you!(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)
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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
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
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jan 08, 2016 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
Will M.
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
From the first paragraph of Heir To The Empire:
“It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights.”

Not a bad opening but it works much better when tilted like this:

Not easy reading a t
May 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jan 28, 2015 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
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
3.5 Stars



I must confess—I’ve never considered myself a huge Star Wars fan.

I watched all the movies multiple times as a child, (who didn't?) but usually only after prodding. But I’m young enough the prequels were already out by the time I was old enough to watch them, and I missed all that hype. I even saw The Force Awakens at a midnight premiere, due to the more zealous members of my family—but still didn’t consider myself a “fan.”

The Star Wars universe is huge. Filled with dozens of
Jul 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow was this a total abomination. As someone who was raised as a Star Wars kid in the late 70's, this book offended me. Where to start? The dialogue between my beloved characters from the movies is akin to daytime soap opera dialogue. Also, the fact that the author spells C3PO and R2D2's names as: Threepio and Artoo when they are speaking.....Ugh! I know it seems trivial but it bugged the crap out of me. I so hated this book as a Star Wars purist. Excuse me while I pop Empire Strikes Back in my ...more
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Alex Ristea
May 04, 2011 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
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I LOVE THESE AUDIOS. What fun they are. The fact that the narrator can do the iconic voices is such a bonus. This book, I think, has got to be one of my favorites so far but then I always think that after reading one and end up liking it. The personalities of these well known and well loved characters rang true. So 4 stars.
TS Chan
Mar 19, 2015 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
Emily (BellaGrace)
If it wasn't for Grand Admiral Thrawn, I might not have even finished this book. I just found it all so uninteresting. Not sure if I will finish this trilogy or not. Side note: the audio version of this is fantastic. It plays sound effects and Star Wars music and narrator does really great voices.
Chris Dietzel
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gets 4 stars just for being Star Wars.

Too much talk, not enough Lightsaber.
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
...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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maik G.
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy (3 books)
  • Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #2)
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“If you don't want to be noticed, you don't use a Star Destroyer.” 140 likes
“You're not the last of the old Jedi, Luke, you're the first of the new” 52 likes
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