BBY/ABY is used to position items along the Star Wars Timeline. BBY refers to Before the Battle of Yavin. ABY refers to After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin in Episode IV: A New Hope occured in 0 BBY/ABY.
The Youtini Expanded Universe Ranking system is a 1-5 scale that ranks EU book quality, difficulty, and importance. Books closer to Level 1 are easier to read and understand, more important, and of higher quality.
After destroying the second Death Star and freeing the galaxy from the Emperor’s clutches, Luke, Han, and Leia find themselves trying to lead the fledgling New Republic into a new age. However, in the far reaches of space, a new threat rises from the ashes of the Empire in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Despite only having the remains of the Imperial military at his disposal, Thrawn’s intellectual prowess promises to push our heroes to their absolute limits.
Timothy Zahn changed Star Wars forever when he released Heir to the Empire in 1991, and it continues to have a profound impact on the fandom to this day. It proved that Star Wars could not only live beyond the story of the original films, but that it could thrive. All Expanded Universe books were born out of the spirit of this novel, making it essential reading for all fans.
It’s five years after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and drove 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.
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.
Heir to the Empire is some of Timothy Zahn's best work. It set the stage for what Star Wars could be—particularly in the written format—after the Original Trilogy. All of your favorite characters are back including Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca as they're thrown into a battle with the Empire they thought they had defeated. From the ashes of the Second Death Star rise a new villain who manages to be every bit as formidable as Darth Vader without any of the Force powers: Grand Admiral Thrawn!!
Heir to the Empire changed the Extended Universe forever by basically creating it. That cannot be overstated. The novel, itself, is tremendously entertaining, and Zahn proves himself to be an indisputable master of world building and character creation as he brings in multiple new (future fan favorite) characters that weave seamlessly with our established heroes. At times, I found myself yearning to go back to other storylines while in the midst of others that weren't quite as entertaining, but that's merely a testament to the strength of Zahn's creation.
The embattled Republic reels from the attacks of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has marshaled the remnants of the Imperial forces and driven the Rebels back with an abominable technology recovered from the Emperor's secret fortress: clone soldiers. As Thrawn mounts his final siege, Han and Chewbacca struggle to form a coalition of smugglers for a last-ditch attack against the empire, while Leia holds the Alliance together and prepares for the birth of her Jedi twins.
Overwhelmed by the ships and clones at Thrawn's command, the Republic has one last hope: sending a small force, led by Luke Skywalker, into the very stronghold that houses Thrawn's terrible cloning machines. There a final danger awaits, as the Dark Jedi C'baoth directs the battle against the Rebels and builds his strength to finish what he had already started: the destruction of Luke Skywalker.
The dying Empire's most cunning and ruthless warlord - Grand Admiral Thrawn - has taken command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet and launched a massive campaign aimed at the New Republic's destruction. With the aid of unimaginable weapons long hidden away by the Emperor on a backwater planet, Thrawn plans to turn the tide of battle, overwhelm the New Republic, and impose his iron rule throughout the galaxy.
Meanwhile, Han and Lando Calrissian race against time to find proof of treason inside the highest Republican Council - only to discover instead a ghostly fleet of warships that could bring doom to their friends and victory to their enemies.
Yet most dangerous of all is a new Dark Jedi, risen from the ashes of a shrouded past, consumed by bitterness...and scheming to corrupt Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side.