“Dark Force Rising” is the second volume of the Thrawn Trilogy written by Timothy Zahn. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are working to discover the identity of the intelligence leak within the New Republic High Council. As they work on this they learn of the leak they learn of the existence of the legendary Katana fleet which disappeared decades before. Leia Organa Solo is seeking to convince the Noghiri race to stop hunting her and to abandon their servitude to the Empire. Luke Skywalker, on the other hand, feels a call of a long lost Jedi Master named Joruus C’Boath. Joruus is quite insane and also happens to be a clone of the real Jedi Jorus C’Boath who was lost during the Clone Wars. The Grand Admiral Thrawn seeks to claim the Katana Fleet for his own and to crush the Rebellion, as he still sees it.
There is a lot of plot in this book, and while there is a slow start and I felt for at least half of this book that “Heir to the Empire” was far better, “Dark Force Rising” picks up midway through the book and by the end I was just as impressed as I had hoped to be. It is very easy to see why Timothy Zahn’s trilogy provided the spark which led to so many more Star Wars novels. These are well told tales featuring our favorite characters from the movies and they are brand new adventures. In the midst of the hundred or so Star Wars novels it is easy to forget that these books here really set the stage and while there were Star Wars novels written before “Heir to the Empire”, nothing really compares to this series and this is really the standard for all future Star Wars novels.
Not a perfect book, by any means. “Dark Force Rising” is definitely a middle novel with all the flaws therein, but in the realm of Star Wars this remains one of the better novels even a decade later.