Heir to the Empire
Adult Novel

Heir to the Empire

Timothy Zahn

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.

New Republic

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.

Level 2
Coming Soon
Coming Soon

Our Synopsis

No Spoilers

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.

Publisher's Summary

Possible Spoilers

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.

Youtini Quick Notes

Definite Spoilers
Show Anyway

Our Review

Heir to the Empire



Very Good


This massive bestseller and absolute must-read ventures into uncharted waters for the Star Wars universe and captures the heart of the saga.







Complete Disaster

Not Yet Reviewed

Don't worry. A review is coming soon.
/ 100
/ 100
/ 100
/ 100
/ 100
Read the full review

Staff Comments

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!!

- Charles Hanckel

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.

- Eric Eilersen

- Heather Goldman

- Karl Sander

When it comes to foundational Star Wars books, this trilogy is said to be one of the most significant. Timothy Zahn told a story that showed what Star Wars books had the capacity to be. To say I'm reading this series for the very first time in 2020 may seem unbelievable, but I'm glad I've explored so much of the EU before diving into the first book here. Knowing where we are now, and how far we have come - having read the new Thrawn trilogy, and witnessed his character arc in Rebels - it's so interesting to go back and see where his origins began. And to have his story so masterfully intertwined with familiar characters from the original trilogy was an essential yet brilliant move at the time. Zahn showed readers and Star Wars fans that these characters could live on in other mediums even after the movies were over. If you haven't read this book yet, do it - and don't stop with this one. Keep going!

- Meg Dowell

- Stacey White

- Corey Helton

Look, this book kinda gets put on a pedestal. Everyone goes on and on about how great it is. Well guess what? THEY ARE RIGHT TO DO SO. I would wager that this book is more universally loved than any other Star Wars book and by all kinds of different Star Wars fan with varying opinions. While there are a few moments of what we refer to as "weird Legends stuff", it isn't nearly enough to distract from the awesome original characters and twisting plot. Kids, go read this book and get some culture.

- Andrew Bell

- Jared Mayes

- Wes Jenkins

- Nathan Emery

- Trevor Davey

Community Reviews

Technical Specs

Del Rey
Release Date:
May 1, 1991
Page Count:
Issues Collected:
Marc Thompson


Heir to the Empire
May 1, 1991
Heir to the Empire
May 1, 1992
Heir to the Empire
See more

Other Books In This Series

You May Also Like

Report a bug
There's a disturbance in the Force...
Noticed a bug or wish to report some inaccurate or missing information? Just fill out the form below!
Thank you! Your contribution is appreciated!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Report Error
Contact Us
Get Help
Help Center
What is thy Bidding?
Report Error
Contact Us
There's a disturbance in the Force...
Noticed a bug or wish to report some inaccurate or missing information? Just fill out the form below!
Thank you! Your contribution is appreciated!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
What is thy bidding?
Want to get in touch or have a question?Just fill out the form below! Or tweet at us!
Thank you! We will be in touch soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.