This book, which takes place 5 years after Return of the Jedi, is the first in a trilogy by Timothy Zahn. As the New Republic holds a fragile foothold in control, a new threat emerges from the far side of the Galaxy. Having been posted so far away from action, Admiral Thrawn, a cunning and intelligent alien commander, begins to gather his Imperial forces for a strategic attack on the New Republic. With the aid of Captain Pealleon and his personal bodyguard Rukh, they begin to set in motion an almost unbeatable plan. They enlist the aid of a mad clone of a powerful Jedi master and use the Emperor's hidden weapons vault which he guards. Meanwhile, Luke encounters Talon Karrde and his gang of smugglers. Luke soon learns that Karrde's personal assistant, Mara Jade, hates him and wants to kill him, but will he find out why before it's too late? As the mad clone Joruus C'boath, comes out of isolation and learns about the Skywalker twins and Leia's unborn children, he decides he will train them in the ways of the Force. Basically, they will join him or die. Thus, they are both pursued across the galaxy. Also, there is a spy hidden amidst the New Republic. Who could it be?
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.
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.
Sleek, swift and deadly, the famed X-Wing fighters have earned their reputation as the Rebel Alliance's ultimate strike force the hard way--first in battle, the last line of defense. Now they must make a deal with the devil herself--an enemy whose ultimate goal is their total annihilation. It's the kind of mission only Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron would dare to undertake. Against impossible odds they will stage a daring raid into an enemy stronghold--only to be rescued from certain destruction by an unexpected ally. Ysanne Isard, the ruthless Imperial commander, has appeared on the scene seemingly from out of nowhere. Now she proposes a most unusual alliance, offering to help Wedge rescue his captured comrades from Imperial Warlord Admiral Krennel's sadistic prison camp. But her offer is not without a price. Wedge must lead Rogue Squadron in Isard's deadly struggle against an enemy made in her own image. It's an offer Wedge would love to refuse, for Isard is certain to betray them. But how can they leave their comrades at Krennel's mercy? The answer is: they can't--even if it means being caught between Krennel's ruthlessness and Isard's treachery.