Star Wars Shadows of the Empire

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire

4.5 89
by Steve Perry

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Shadows of the Empire illuminates the shadowy outlines of a criminal conspiracy that exists in the background of the events in the movies, ruled by a character new to us. Prince Xizor is a mastermind of evil who dares to oppose one of the best-known fictional villains of all time: Darth Vader. The story involves all the featured Star Wars movie…  See more details below


Shadows of the Empire illuminates the shadowy outlines of a criminal conspiracy that exists in the background of the events in the movies, ruled by a character new to us. Prince Xizor is a mastermind of evil who dares to oppose one of the best-known fictional villains of all time: Darth Vader. The story involves all the featured Star Wars movie characters, plus Emperor Palpatine and, of course, Lord Vader himself.

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi entr'acte spent six weeks on PW's bestseller list. (Apr.)
Library Journal
For legal reasons, the previous installments in this best-selling series concentrated on the events following the three popular Lucasfilm movies. Now, thanks to an agreement between the parties, Perry's tale bridges the gap between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Roland Green
Yet another prolific action-sf writer has been recruited to labor on the Star Wars series, George Lucas' stupendous mingled-media creation. The results are something of a mixed bag but, on the whole, more agreeable than not. The story takes place between the events of "The Empire Strikes Back" and those of "Return of the Jedi", with Luke continuing his self-training as a Jedi knight and everybody else trying to track down and unfreeze Han Solo before Boba Fett delivers him to Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is looking for his son (Luke--remember?), to turn him to the dark side of the Force, and a nonhuman criminal mastermind who makes Jabba look like a shoplifter--Prince Xizor of the Black Sun--is also after Luke, to take vengeance on Darth Vader for killing his family. We see a good deal of Vader's ambivalence toward both his son and his emperor, which led to the conclusion of "Return", and Perry handles the multitudinous details of the increasingly complex Star Wars universe as competently as he deals with characters and pacing. A solid rather than an outstanding effort in the reliably popular SW canon.

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Random House Publishing Group
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Star Wars Series
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He looks like a walking corpse, Xizor thought.  Like a mummified body dead a thousand years.  Amazing he is still alive, much less the most powerful man in the galaxy.  He isn't even that old; it is more as if something is slowly eating him.

Xizor stood four meters away from the Emperor, watching as the man who had long ago been Senator Palpatine moved to stand in the holocam field.  He imagined he could smell the decay in the Emperor's worn body.  Likely that was just some trick of the recycled air, run through dozens of filters to ensure that there was no chance of any poison gas being introduced into it. Filtered the life out of it, perhaps, giving it that dead smell.

The viewer on the other end of the holo-link would see a close-up of the Emperor's head and shoulders, of an age-ravaged face shrouded in the cowl of his dark zeyd-cloth robe.  The man on the other end of the transmission, light-years away, would not see Xizor, though Xizor would be able to see him.  It was a measure of the Emperor's trust that Xizor was allowed to be here while the conversation took place.

The man on the other end of the transmission--if he could still be called that--

The air swirled inside the Imperial chamber in front of the Emperor, coalesced, and blossomed into the image of a figure down on one knee.  A caped humanoid biped dressed in jet black, face hidden under a full helmet and breathing mask:

Darth Vader.

Vader spoke: "What is thy bidding, my master?"

If Xizor could have hurled a power bolt through time and space to strike Vader dead, he would have done it without blinking.  Wishful thinking: Vader was too powerful to attack directly.

"There is a great disturbance in the Force," the Emperor said.

"I have felt it," Vader said.

"We have a new enemy.  Luke Skywalker."

Skywalker? That had been Vader's name, a long time ago.  Who was this person with the same name, someone so powerful as to be worth a conversation between the Emperor and his most loathsome creation? More importantly, why had Xizor's agents not uncovered this before now? Xizor's ire was instant--but cold.  No sign of his surprise or anger would show on his imperturbable features.  The Falleen did not allow their emotions to burst forth as did many of the inferior species; no, the Falleen ancestry was not fur but scales, not mammalian but reptilian.  Not wild but coolly calculating.  Such was much better.  Much safer.

"Yes, my master," Vader continued.

"He could destroy us," the Emperor said.

Xizor's attention was riveted upon the Emperor and the holographic image of Vader kneeling on the deck of a ship far away.  Here was interesting news indeed.  Something the Emperor perceived as a danger to himself? Something the Emperor feared?

"He's just a boy," Vader said, "Obi-Wan can no longer help him."

Obi-Wan.  That name Xizor knew.  He was among the last of the Jedi Knights, a general.  But he'd been dead for decades, hadn't he?

Apparently Xizor's information was wrong if Obi-Wan had been helping someone who was still a boy.  His agents were going to be sorry.

Even as Xizor took in the distant image of Vader and the nearness of the Emperor, even as he was aware of the luxury of the Emperor's private and protected chamber at the core of the giant pyramidal palace, he was also able to make a mental note to himself: Somebody's head would roll for the failure to make him aware of all this.  Knowledge was power; lack of knowledge was weakness.  This was something he could not permit.

The Emperor continued.  "The Force is strong with him.  The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi."

Son of Skywalker?

Vader's son! Amazing!

"If he could be turned he would become a powerful ally," Vader said.

There was something in Vader's voice when he said this, something Xizor could not quite put his finger on.  Longing? Worry?


"Yes...yes.  He would be a great asset," the Emperor said.  "Can it be done?"

There was the briefest of pauses.  "He will join us or die, Master."

Xizor felt the smile, though he did not allow it to show any more than he had allowed his anger play.  Ah.  Vader wanted Skywalker alive, that was what had been in his tone.  Yes, he had said that the boy would join them or die, but this latter part was obviously meant only to placate the Emperor.  Vader had no intention of killing Skywalker, his own son; that was obvious to one as skilled in reading voices as was Xizor.  He had not gotten to be the Dark Prince, Underlord of Black Sun, the largest criminal organization in the galaxy, merely on his formidable good looks.  Xizor didn't truly understand the Force that sustained the Emperor and made him and Vader so powerful, save to know that it certainly worked somehow.  But he did know that it was something the extinct Jedi had supposedly mastered.  And now, apparently, this new player had tapped into it.  Vader wanted Skywalker alive, had practically promised the Emperor that he would deliver him alive--and converted.

This was most interesting.

Most interesting indeed.

The Emperor finished his communication and turned back to face him.  "Now, where were we, Prince Xizor?"

The Dark Prince smiled.  He would attend to the business at hand, but he would not forget the name of Luke Skywalker.

From the Paperback edition.

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Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
GregCastro More than 1 year ago
The "Shadows of the Empire" project in 1997 was simple enough; release a wide range of merchandise surrounding a Star Wars film, but don't actually make the film. This novel is but a piece of that project, which included a video game, comic book, toy line, and soundtrack. Attempting to explain what occurred in the year between episodes five and six, Shadows is an ultimately forgettable effort. Though two new great characters are introduced - the assassin Guri and crime lord Prince Xizor - they're quickly written out by story's end. Side characters that one might've thought to see, such as Boba Fett and Yoda, are merely alluded to. Probably the most interesting aspect of the story is entering into Vader's mindset, something that never happens in the films. However, in the vast array of Star Wars novels, a tale has to stand out in all aspects. After finishing Shadows, you'll find yourself glad that they skipped this median year in the timeline, as apparently nothing of significance went down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is some lore in here about what it's like to use the force and "artificing" -- making lightsabers -- and some neat connections to the movies that makes it worth a look if you are into the SW world. Other good parts are about Vader and the Emperor, and get more into the way they fit into the galaxy at large on a day-to-day basis. Xizor, a character not known in the movies, is a compelling figure in theory, in implementation he's rather one-dimensional, but he sparks the imagination and has an interesting relationship to the Empire. At its heart it's a high-flying adventure that much imitates A New Hope. Pound for pound I don't regret reading it, but there were parts I had to skim.
SCEmperor More than 1 year ago
Evil seems to always be hanging about our heads where ever we go. Good likes to stay in our hearts everyday. There are some moments in life that require you go into the shadows to defeat that evil, but sometimes it sucks you in. Such was the case in the Shadows of the Empire. Not only was the Dark Side coming to consume Luke Skywalker dead or alive, but it also tried to get his friends. Even after all the troubles they suffered at the hands of the Empire in the Empire Strikes Back, Leia, Lando, Chewie, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Luke keep getting pestered and chased around the galaxy has they are hunted down. But their is more than just the Empire after them, and they have only one goal in mind--kill Skywalker. It was a three-way battle between father (Vader), son (Luke), and the leader of the biggest crime syndicate in the galaxy, Prince Xizor. Across many beautiful and stinking worlds they all fought each other, but it always seem that good prevailed... sometimes all thanks to the Force. Quite literally this book takes off right after Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, but in a much less terrifying way then the movie did. The defeat of the Rebels on Hoth to the Empire and their AT-AT walkers was exciting but horrible to watch the good guys lose, so this book had to start things better. Han Solo has just been frozen in carbonite and shipped away by the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett, but the gang has the bright idea to stop Fett and save Han before he gets away. They end of locating Han, sadly do not get him back quite yet, but that is not where this story shines. A chain of events start happening that all lead down to one thing--someone was trying to kill Luke. With the help of Lando's good mercenary friend Dash Rendar the motley crew takes it upon themselves to try and figure out who would want to kill him, and they have suspicions it's not Darth Vader. Although the main characters don't know what or how things are going on, the reader gets to enjoy seeing both sides of the story. Prince Xizor may be an evil man, maybe even as much as the Emperor himself, but he can get hard to hate. His cool swagger and his ability to intelligently get whatever he wants is amazing to witness, but then you start to remember which side he's really on--his own. He feels that his only way to gain the most favor in the Emperor's eyes over Vader--and to exact revenge as well--is to kill Vader's own flesh and blood. With all his connections and galactic power, it would seem easy for someone like Xizor to eliminate the pest, but it turns out he's a harder target then he originally thought. Xizor is relaxed and cool, giving a calm yet sinister feel to the book, but you can't forget about the wild and angry feel that is fun to see, Darth Vader. Vader is infuriated by how his own son is being hunted by another as well as himself, so it takes it personal and puts everything else out of the way until he is satisfied. Luke had just become the most valuable commodity in the universe. Shadows of the Empire deserves to be a movie. It would fit PERFECTLY between Episodes V and VI, adding to the story more than the average Star Wars fan knows but giving them alot more excitement just like they want. While reading it you can picture each character and scene, wishing George Lucas could use his camera to make it all real. It is worthy of the Star Wars universe and of any library. Just seeing its title gives you a feeling that sounds like this --"May the Force be with
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all the 'Expanded Universe' novels that have been written, and that I have personally read, taking from the beloved 'Star Wars' saga, 'Shadows of the Empire' ranks among the best, if not the best. 'Shadows' explores the rivalries that Darth Vader would face as the right-hand man to the Emperor. This rivalry comes in the form of Prince Xizor, leader of the galaxy's most deadly criminal syndicate Black Sun. Xizor aims to destroy Luke Skywalker to cause Vader to lose favor in the Emperor's eyes, while Vader wants his son alive so he and his master may focus on persuading him to the dark side. The rivalry between the villains is intriguing on the highest of levels, and other subplots including the race for Boba Fett to find Han Solo and the discovery of the Death Star II plans, and additional exploration of the characters of Luke and Leia, not to mention the introduction of new likeable characters, keep the reader turning the pages. I would recommend this book to any person interested in reading a 'Star Wars' novel or getting into the Expanded Universe as the first one to read. Steve Perry captures the adventure and imagination of 'Star Wars' in a way that just a couple of other authors who have been lucky enough to write a 'Star Wars' novel have been able to do.
SLCJedi More than 1 year ago
Xizor makes another good calculating villain.
Revan97 More than 1 year ago
Star Wars Shadows Of The Empire is one of only two books that take place between Star Wars V and VI. The plot is highly engaging and all the classic characters feel right. Luke, Leia, Lando and Chewbacca are out to save Han Solo in this rip roaring adventure that starts good and gets better. There are some new characters introduced as well as one especially great rivalry between Darth Vader and Prince Xizor. Over all, it's a fun read with never a dull moment. If you like classic Star Wars, you'll have to try this novel.
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rdcoon More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Was great for a bridge between Episodes 5 and 6.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read At the end of Empire Strikes Back Luke has no light saber and his skills are not mastered. Leia and Lando had just saved him. At the beginning of Return of the Jedi, Luke's skill are formidable, he is calm, confident and has a new light saber. Leia, Lando, Chewie, Artoo, and Threepio all look to Luke for leadership and strength. Time had passed between movies This book is the events between movies. This show's Luke building and wielding his new blade. Leia, , Luke, Chewie and the droids bonding with Lando through shared adventure and danger. Luke saving the others and then planning Han's rescue. This is a Star Wars masterpiece.
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MickFoleyCactusJack More than 1 year ago
awesome from the very begining to the very end i read this book in one sitting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!