I began re-reading Timothy Zahn's three book cycle, commonly called the Thrawn Trilogy, in an effort to educate myself on how the good Science Fiction novels are put together. I learned that, though I can't say I can do the same yet. But, I also learned more.
Probably the best thing about HEIR TO THE EMPIRE is that it's so multi-dimensional that my husband and I can both enjoy it.
The story goes that it's five years after RETURN OF THE JEDI. Han and Leia are married and expecting their twins. Luke is continuing his Jedi growth. And they're all working hard to build the New Republic while keeping remnants of the old Empire at bay.
A mysterious new foe arises. This is the part my husband likes. He thinks Thrawn is just awesome - super intelligent, super confident. Like the boy in 101 DALMATIONS said, "It's not hatred that matters. It's the desire to annihilate!" I thought he was great too, but I wasn't gripped like HH was.
Thrawn and an old dark Jedi join forces. Thrawn promises the Dark Jedi to get Luke and Leia and Leia's unborn twins for him. The Dark Jedi wants to turn them all to the Dark Side of the Force and train them to do his will. Luke goes to investigate things. After two failed attempts to abduct pregnant Leia, Han hides her on the Wookie homeworld.
By the way, the Wookie homeworld is just sooooo cool! Loved it.
Meanwhile, Luke gets captured and comes face-to-face with a hot young woman who inexplicibly hates his guts and wants to kill him. She works for Thrawn though, which makes it tough to find an excuse to off him right away.
I'll leave the storytelling off right there. I don't want to spoil it for you. This is a three-book story, so don't expect things to be tied up neatly at the end of this one.
Besides what I mentioned above, I also learned about one of the big obstacles for any author writing in an established franchise like STAR WARS. The characters are so well-established by the movies that they easily overwhelm any new characters brought. An author really has to know his or her stuff and put the work into creating the new characters or they get lost in the shuffle and the reader is left frustrated. Also, the established characters are so well-loved that the author must keep them the center of the story, or the readers will be especially ticked off. I think Timothy Zahn is called the Dean of the Expanded Star Wars Universe because he accomplishes these tasks so well.
Happy reading, All. The next book in the series comes up next Thursday.