Galactic Empire
A Youtini Collection

Star Wars books you should read if you like
Galactic Empire

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Galactic Empire
"Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design."

“Execute Order 66.”

With these words, and the unspeakable actions they commanded, the Galactic Republic began to fall. In its place, something much more sinister took form.

The Galactic Empire rose as all dark forces do: Slowly, in the shadows so that only those who were meant to know of it were told, until the moment came for it to reign supreme.

For years, the galaxy had no choice but to bend to its will … sometimes until parts of it broke apart. Stormtroopers showed no mercy to civilians. Governors restrained every system, forcing it to obey the Emperor it now, by default, served.

Eventually, a force would rise against and defeat the darkness -- or rather, one rebellion made up of forces that could not be stopped. Though Palpatine always had a plan in place in case his Empire fell, he never thought his greatest enemy could rise from within the very man he believed to be destroyed.

Whether you want to see the Empire’s ruthless impact on the galaxy at large or you’re itching for a glimpse at its terror from someone on the inside, the characters and narratives surrounding this era of the galaxy far, far away has something to satisfy everyone’s curiosity.

Witness the rise, tyranny, and fall of the Empire through the many stories told in the Star Wars expanded universe.

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Books in this Collection

The Youtini Collections team has hand-selected the books in this collection
Legends
Legends
Adult Novel

Death Star

Written by
Michael Reaves, Steve Perry
Artwork by
This standalone novel is a fan favorite. It covers the construction of the first Death Star from the unique point of view of one of the numerous mechanics who worked on it. As it focuses on the lower level characters we generally overlook, the author does not vilify the Rebels or the Empire. The story telling is fantastic and you find yourself hoping the characters of the novel are able to make it off the ship before its inevitable destruction.

The untold story of the ultimate weapon—created to annihilate worlds…and enslave a galaxy!

The Death Star's name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself—equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destruction, at the hands of Luke Skywalker, is the stuff of legend. But what is the whole story, and who are the players, behind the creation of this world-killing satellite of doom?

The near extermination of the Jedi Order cleared the way for Palpatine—power-hungry Senator and Sith Lord—to seize control of the Republic, declare himself Emperor, and usher in a fearsome, totalitarian regime. But even with the dreaded Darth Vader to enforce his sinister will, the threat of rebellion still looms. And the Emperor knows that only abject fear—and the ability to punish dissent with devastating consequences—can ensure his unchallenged control of the galaxy. Enter ambitious and ruthless government official Wilhuff Tarkin, architect of the Emperor's terrifying dream come true.

But from inception to completion, construction of the unprecedented Death Star is awash in the intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and daring gambits of those involved on every level. The brightest minds and boldest egos, the most ambitious and corrupt, the desperate and the devious, all have a stake in the Death Star and its potential to control the fate of the galaxy.

Soldiers and slaves, loyalists and Rebels, spies and avengers, the innocent and the evil—all their paths and fates will cross and intertwine as the Death Star moves from its maiden voyage to its final showdown and a shadowy chapter of Star Wars history is stunningly illuminated in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure.

Legends
Legends
Adult Novel

Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader

Written by
James Luceno
Artwork by
A tie-in to the Star Wars: Dark Forces and Star Wars: Jedi Knight games, this novella kicks off a trilogy and features notable characters like Thrawn, Lando Calrissian, and Mon Mothma while providing an early EU example of the plot to steal the Death Star plans.

Throughout the galaxy, it was believed that Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker–the Chosen One–had died on Coruscant during the siege of the Jedi Temple. And, to some extent, that was true. Anakin was dead.

From the site of Anakin Skywalker’s last stand–on the molten surface of the planet Mustafar, where he sought to destroy his friend and former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi–a fearsome specter in black has risen. Once the most powerful Knight ever known to the Jedi Order, he is now a disciple of the dark side, a lord of the dreaded Sith, and the avenging right hand of the galaxy’s ruthless new Emperor. Seduced, deranged, and destroyed by the machinations of the Dark Lord Sidious, Anakin Skywalker is dead . . . and Darth Vader lives.

Word of the events that created him–the Jedi Council’s failed mutiny against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the self-crowned Emperor’s retaliatory command to exterminate the Jedi Order, and Anakin’s massacre of his comrades and Masters in the Jedi Temple–has yet to reach all quarters. On the Outer Rim world of Murkhana, Jedi Masters Roan Shryne and Bol Chatak and Padawan Olee Starstone are leading a charge on a Separatist stronghold, unaware that the tide, red with Jedi blood, has turned suddenly against them.

When the three narrowly elude execution–and become the desperate prey in a hunt across space–it’s neither clone soldiers, nor the newly deployed stormtroopers, nor even the wrath of the power-hungry Emperor himself they must fear most. The deadliest threat rests in the hideously swift and lethal crimson lightsaber of Darth Vader–behind whose brooding mask lies a shattered heart, a poisoned soul, and a cunning, twisted mind hell-bent on vengeance.

For the handful of scattered Jedi, survival is imperative if the light side of the Force is to be protected and the galaxy somehow, someday reclaimed. Yet more important still is the well-being of the twin infants, Leia and Luke Skywalker, the children of Anakin and his doomed bride, Padmé Amidala. Separated after Padmé’s death, they must be made safe at all costs, lest the hope they represent for the future be turned to horror by the new Sith regime–and the unspeakable power of the dark side.

Legends
Legends
Adult Novel

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Written by
Matthew Stover
Artwork by

Every Star Wars movie has an accompanying novelization, but none so impressive as Revenge of the Sith. While it expertly tells the story of the film, it also manages to add to it in unexpected ways. Not only is it the best novelization, it’s a fantastic work of fiction in and of itself.

Matthew Stover outdoes himself in this novelization by painting Obi Wan, Anakin, and the rest of the Jedi as glorified super heroes in the eyes of the common man in the Star Wars universe. Somehow, this raises the stakes of one of the most intense episodes of the saga and makes Anakin’s ultimate fate even more impactful.

The turning point for the entire Star Wars saga is at hand

After years of civil war, the Separatists have battered the already faltering Republic nearly to the point of collapse. On Coruscant, the Senate watches anxiously as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine aggressively strips away more and more constitutional liberties in the name of safeguarding the Republic. Yoda, Mace Windu, and their fellow Masters grapple with the Chancellor’ s disturbing move to assume control of the Jedi Council. And Anakin Skywalker, the prophesied Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force, is increasingly consumed by his fear that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die.

As the combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader General Grievous. Palpatine, eager to secure even greater control, subtly influences public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin–tormented by unspeakable visions– edges dangerously closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious, whose shadow looms ever larger, to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic . . . and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.

Legends
Legends
Adult Novel

Heir to the Empire

Written by
Timothy Zahn
Artwork by

Heir to the Empire is essential reading material because without it, the rest of the Expanded Universe might not exist. In this book, Zahn manages to construct a new type of Star Wars villain in Grand Admiral Thrawn who defeats his enemies with superior intellect that is every bit as overwhelming as Vader’s Force choke. Luke, Han, Leia, and the entire cast of the Original Trilogy make their triumphant return and must find a way to deal with this new threat who is poised to bring back the Empire even stronger than it was before.

Timothy Zahn has arguably crafted some of the most important books in the Expanded Universe and they all started with Heir to the Empire.

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.
Canon
Canon
Adult Novel

Aftermath

Written by
Chuck Wendig
Artwork by

What many still don't know about the Empire is that it did not instantly crumble with the destruction of the second Death Star. For a long time, those who remained loyal to the Emperor held on, refusing to surrender and accept defeat. In the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, there is still a war to be won. And it's not just up to the high-profile heroes we know and love to get the job done.

Follow an unlikely team of rebel heroes, from old heroes like Wedge Antilles to new ones like Temmin Wexley, as they struggle against what remains of Palpatine's forces and try to save the galaxy from coming undone again.

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance—now a fledgling New Republic—presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy's scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy's strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but is taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet's surface, former Rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles's urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn't know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire's power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit—to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven't reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies—her technical genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector—who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire's oppressive reign once and for all.

Canon
Canon
Adult Novel

Tarkin

Written by
James Luceno
Artwork by

Compared with other villainous characters in the Star Wars universe, very little is known about Grand Moff Tarkin. Yet he remains one of the most hated Imperials of all time. He’s the one who gave the command that left Alderaan in ruins. He is unsympathetic and menacing. A man of true evil.

Leave it to James Luceno to craft a Wilhuff Tarkin origin story audiences never knew they needed. Five years after the birth of the Empire, we meet a man who has yet to rise through the ranks to become the tyrant we know he will become. Tarkin’s refusal to let anyone or anything stand in his path will get him exactly where he wants to go … but not without cost.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction.

Canon
Canon
Adult Novel

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

Written by
James Luceno
Artwork by

When Director Krennic arrives on Lah'mu to bring Galen Erso back into the arms of the Empire, he greets him as an old friend. While his nefarious motivations are clear to any viewer, we can't help but wonder...did this friendship truly exist?

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel answers this question by introducing us to the two men as they both attempt to climb the professional ladder in their respective fields. Galen's obsession with kyber crystals proves to be an irresistible draw to Krennic as well as a distinct hindrance to the family life that Galen and Lyra are trying to create.

If you ever wondered how the most brilliant scientist in the galaxy could walk away from his life's dream in order to hide on a farm at the edges of the universe, this is exactly the place to start.

War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before the Republic’s enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.

Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.

Canon
Canon
Adult Novel

Lords of the Sith

Written by
Paul S. Kemp
Artwork by

The most iconic Sith duo is that of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. When it comes to the films, the immense power of their strengths combined remains to be seen. Lords of the Sith offers the display of unrivaled power that we deserve, and Paul S. Kemp delivers those brutal moments in vivid detail.

The magnitude of chaos and destruction unleashed by the Sith Lords is emphasized alongside the sheer terror and hopelessness of the rebels attempting to fight against them. Their despair is even more apparent through the eyes of Cham Syndulla, Hera Syndulla’s father and rebel leader of Ryloth, showing that even the most courageous minds are no match for the dark side.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.