The Empire Strikes Back was a big hit, as was Return of the Jedi. But many fans wondered what our heroes were up to in preparation for Han’s rescue at Jabba’s palace. Shadows of the Empire fills the blanks in between the two films and gained enough popularity to be released in various media like comic adaptations, video games, and action figures.
His name is Xizor, Underlord of a galaxywide criminal organization called Black Sun. He seeks to displace Darth Vader as Emperor Palpatine's right hand. To do so, he will hatch a brilliantly evil plan to discredit Vader in the Emperor's eyes. But in the meantime he will join the Dark Lord in an unholy alliance whose common target is the young Rebel hero, Luke Skywalker.
While Vader and Xizor bait their trap for Luke, Han Solo is being held captive, flash-frozen in a carbonite slab. Mourning the loss of the man she loves, Princess Leia mounts a rescue mission to free Han. She enlists the aid of Luke, who is sharpening his skill in the Force at Ben Kenobi's home on the edge of Tatooine's Western Dune Sea. Skywalker organizes a crack fighting force, including Wedge Antilles and his famous X-wing squadron; Lando Calrissian; and the mercenary Dash Rendar. Yet the fierce battle that ensues to rescue Han will not go according to plan. For the Empire's spies are everywhere.
What's worse, though he is cold and reptilian, Xizor has a certain predatory charisma that not even Leia can totally resist. Against the judgment of Chewbacca, who has promised Han to keep her from harm, Leia walks willingly into Xizor's lair in a dangerous play of passion and willpower to get the information she needs to defeat him. At the same time, Luke stands in the crosshairs of a conspiracy of assassins and bounty hunters recruited by Xizor's lieutenant, the beautiful but lethal Human replicant Guri. As the struggle between Xizor and Vader intensifies, Luke finds himself the potential prize of the two most evil entities in the galaxy — one who wants him alive, and one who wants him dead.
In a final, explosive showdown, the Rebels must infiltrate Xizor's impregnable stronghold and fight the combined forces of Black Sun and the Empire in deep space. With death and betrayal looming on every side, Luke, Leia, Lando, and Chewie must use every weapon and resource at their disposal, including the Rebel fleet and some intriguing new allies, if they are to prove victorious. In Shadows of the Empire, Steve Perry adds an exciting new chapter to the Star Wars saga and introduces important new characters and situations no Star Wars fan will want to miss.