Timothy Zahn
A Youtini Reading Guide
"Without trust, there can be no genuine peace. Neither in politics, nor in the quiet individuality of the heart and spirit."

Star Wars Books You Should Read If You Like
Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn is often credited with the revival and, frankly, the survival of Star Wars after the Original Trilogy films left theaters. While most of the public, including hardcore fans, expected Star Wars to slowly fade away, Zahn surprised everyone with his 1991 novel Heir to the Empire that quickly found its way to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list. However, he didn't stop there. Since that time, Zahn has been a consistent contributor to the Expanded Universe and has crafted some of the most compelling characters and stories across the pages he has penned.

Undoubtedly, Zahn's biggest contribution to the EU (as well as the foundation for nearly all of his work) is the villainous Grand Admiral Thrawn. In Zahn's work, Thrawn essentially becomes the head of the Empire following the Emperor's death aboard the second Death Star. Thrawns genius intellect and ruthless cunning serve as a challenge that is every bit as formidable as the Emperor's Force powers. If you doubt the importance of the character, take note that Thrawn is one of the only characters to make the jump from Legends to Canon material. Not only has he been the subject of several Canon novels in recent years, but he can even be seen on the screen as a major antagonist in the Rebels television series.

While Thrawn reigns supreme among Zahn's creations, he is not the only beloved character that has come out of his work. Many other fan-favorites including Mara Jade, Jorus C'baoth, and Rukh the Noghri can be found in these stories.

Few authors have done as much for the Expanded Universe as Timothy Zahn. Luckily for fans, as well as the future of Star Wars, Zahn doesn't seem to be slowing up any time soon. Surely, any choice from this collection is one that promises a great adventure.

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Books in this Collection

The team at Youtini has hand-selected these books because they fit this theme.
Heir to the Empireamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Heir to the Empire

Timothy Zahn
9 ABY

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.

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Dark Force Risingamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Dark Force Rising

Timothy Zahn
9 ABY

The New Republic is already on the brink of collapse with Grand Admiral Thrawn’s plight to re-conquer the galaxy, but its problems are far from over. A traitor has found its way into the highest level of its leadership at the same time as Luke Skywalker has been lured away by the promises of the long-forgotten, unstable Jedi Jorus C’baoth. Just as things seem as dark as they can get, Han and Lando learn that Thrawn is on the brink of making a discovery that could bring an end to the New Republic altogether.

The second installment of the Thrawn trilogy manages to raise the stakes even higher than the first. Timothy Zahn—like Grand Admiral Thrawn himself—is in top form in this novel.

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The Last Commandamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

The Last Command

Timothy Zahn
9 ABY

Grand Admiral Thrawn and his Imperial remnants make their final push to regain control of the galaxy with a strike at the very heart of the New Republic. As Leia struggles to hold government—and her family—together, Han and Chewbacca go on a mission to rally their fellow smugglers to the cause. As Luke returns to lend his help, it quickly becomes apparent that his most daunting challenge still lies ahead: confronting the darkness in himself.

Zahn rounds out this triumphant trilogy with a final chapter that worthy of its predecessors. Readers who have followed Thrawn’s story to this point will be riveted until the final pages that give a fitting end to one of the most formidable villains Star Wars fans have ever known.

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Specter of the Past amazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Specter of the Past

Timothy Zahn
19 ABY

Horror comes in many forms. For Leia and Han, it takes the form of a conspiracy that threatens to topple the galaxy’s new government before it ever has a chance to truly start. For Luke and Lando, it takes the form of a cluster of attacks from clone-crewed pirate ships. For the New Republic as a whole, it takes the form of an evil believed to be long dead: Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Against readers’ expectations, Timothy Zahn picks up the story of Grand Admiral Thrawn right where he left it to spin a brand new tale of intrigue. With plenty of twists and turns, you won’t have this story figured out until its final chapters.

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Vision of the Future amazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Vision of the Future

Timothy Zahn
19 ABY

The New Republic, born of fire and chaos, remains fragile. Its renowned spies, the Bothans, find themselves accused of several horrendous attacks around the galaxy. If rumors can be trusted, their next attack will strike right at the heart of the New Republic. Luke, Mara Jade, Han, and Leia must not only uncover the truth of the accusations, but also their source. Unfortunately, all signs seem to point towards one man whose very name makes their blood run cold: Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Vision of the Future is the second half of the Hand of Thrawn duology, taking place directly after Specter of the Past. In this book, Zahn manages to expertly weave together several subplots on a journey that ultimately answers the question on every reader’s mind: just what happened to Grand Admiral Thrawn?

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Outbound Flightamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Outbound Flight

Timothy Zahn
27 BBY

The Outbound Flight Project—Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth’s plan to discover new planets and species in the Unknown Regions—has been approved. However, Darth Sidious knows that the project could lead to the downfall of the entire Republic if the ship carrying C’baoth and his followers happens across a mysterious threat he has long sensed in the far reaches of space. When Sidious’ operatives discover Thrawn and the Chiss Ascendency directly in the ship’s path, a deal must be struck to stop C’baoth at any cost.

Zahn delivers another powerful chapter of Thrawn’s story in this novel that depicts one of his earliest confrontations with the Republic. Not only does it flesh out details of the Chiss Ascendency, but it also sets the stage for the eventual arrival of what lurks in the Unknown Regions.

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Survivor's Quest amazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Survivor's Quest

Timothy Zahn
22 ABY

Luke and Mara Jade believed Thrawn's evils were in their past...until the wreckage of The Outbound Flight was discovered.

Desperate to uncover the secrets stowed aboard the destroyed ship, Luke and Mara Jade set out with a team including an Imperial officer and a team of stormtroopers on a recovery mission. However, it soon becomes clear that the answers to their many questions will shake Luke and Mara Jade's faith in their relationship, the Jedi Order, and everything they thought they knew about the fall of Thrawn.

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Allegianceamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Allegiance

Timothy Zahn
0.5 ABY

Sometimes allies are found in the most unexpected places. New heroes of the Rebellion, Luke, Han, and Leia learn this lesson when they team up Daric LaRone and his group of defecting stormtroopers to take on pirates who are threatening supply lines of both the Empire and the Rebellion. However, the unlikely allies are not the only ones on the trail of the pirates. Mara Jade, Hand of the Emperor, is also on the way and may have a very different opinion about how things should turn out once the pirates are caught...

Once again, Zahn delivers a rollicking adventure that not only brings back the original cast of heroes and other fan-favorites like Mara Jade, but also makes readers question if they know what truly lies underneath a stormtrooper's helmet.

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Choices of Oneamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Choices of One

Timothy Zahn
0.5 ABY

After being forced to evacuate its base on Yavin, the Rebellion is in turmoil. Its pledge to overthrow the Empire's iron-fisted rule is dependent upon finding a new headquarters for their operations. So, when an unlikely source approaches Rebel leadership offering the perfect location in exchange for Rebel protection from an invading alien war force, it seems the Force may be working in the Rebels' favor.


Unbeknownst to Luke, Han, Leia, and the rest of the fledgling Rebellion, Mara Jade, the Hand of the Emperor, and five stormtroopers called the Hand of Judgement, are on their way to that exact prospective base location, looking to destroy the Rebellion once and for all.

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Scoundrelsamazon button
Adult Novel
Legends

Scoundrels

Timothy Zahn
0 ABY

Scoundrels is a classic heist story involving none other than Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian.

After Han’s reward for helping the Rebellion at the Battle of Yavin is stolen, he finds himself in desperate need of credits. So, when he is approached about a job stealing back hundreds of millions of credits from a crime lord on the planet Wukkar, he jumps at the chance. However, more than a few twists and turns along the way threaten to derail the entire operation and leave Han wondering which of the people standing by his side can be trusted…

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Winner Lose Allamazon button
Short Story
Legends

Winner Lose All

Timothy Zahn
0 ABY

When a card tournament is held with a prize worth a staggering amount of credits, it’s no surprise that Lando Calrissian finds himself at the table. Determined to walk away victorious, he’s prepared to use every ounce of swagger, charm, and cunning at his disposal. However, other players are quite determined as well, and when a pair of master thieves approach Lando with concerns about the authenticity of the prize, it becomes clear that someone is working behind-the-scenes and that Lando may be gambling with his life instead of just credits.

This novella was initially released as a e-book, but was included in later editions of Zahn’s full-length novel Scoundrels because it serves as a direct prequel to that story. Even in this shortened format, Zahn remains a powerful story teller, and at only 62 pages, there’s really no reason not to check this out.

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Thrawnamazon button
Adult Novel
Canon

Thrawn

Timothy Zahn
11 - 2 BBY

After stumbling upon an exiled Chiss on an abandoned planet, the Empire quickly realizes they may have found a new weapon. With his powerful intellect and devastating cunning, Thrawn is soon enrolled in the Imperial Academy on Coruscant along with Eli Vanto, new cadet for the Empire, serving as his translator. Despite mounting unhappiness with the unusual pair’s success, Thrawn and Eli climb the ranks in the Imperial military, just in time for a clash with a mysterious adversary known only as Nightswan…

Any villain as monumental as Grand Admiral Thrawn deserves an equally prodigious origin story, and this book delivers. With a healthy serving of mysteries to be solved, this tale of an unlikely alien’s climb to the zenith of the Empire is one of the Zahn’s most intriguing yet.

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Thrawn: Alliancesamazon button
Adult Novel
Canon

Thrawn: Alliances

Timothy Zahn
2 BBY

Throughout all Star Wars stories, you’d be hard-pressed to find two villains held in higher regard than Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Though they operate entirely differently, both are incredibly effective tools of the Emperor. When they’re sent to the planet Batuu on the same mission, they must find a way to work together. However, sparks fly as memories of a mission long past involving a younger Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker resurface…

Timothy Zahn weaves together the prequel era with the rebellion era in this novel that manages to pull together some of the biggest names that Star Wars has to offer. While attempting to balance the prowess of Vader with the intellect of Thrawn, it manages to offer a glimpse in the characters’ futures as well as their pasts.

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Thrawn: Treasonamazon button
Adult Novel
Canon

Thrawn: Treason

Timothy Zahn
1 BBY

The newest edition to the Thrawn Saga, Thrawn: Treason reunites the Grand Admiral with some old allies as he attempts to shield the galaxy from its biggest threat yet.

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