"What I thought would be a year's work has since turned into a career." - James Luceno
It takes a gifted author to write in the Star Wars universe, and an even better one to pen projects from both Legends and Canon. By that measure, James Luceno is an incredible talent.
In the late 1990s, Luceno was first given the nod to work inStar Wars when he was brought on as a consultant for the New Jedi Order series. His work in other properties had convinced the higher ups at Del Rey that he was the right choice to craft the outline for the upcoming series. Luceno worked closely with other authors—and even George Lucas—to create the roadmap for the series, while also writing several of the installments himself.
However, Luceno’s impact goes far beyond the New Jedi Order. He has been entrusted with such important characters as Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, and Palpatine. He transformed Darth Plagueis’ story from one scene in Revenge of the Sith into a full-length novel. Not to mention, he helped one of his closest friends, Brian Daley, with many of the plot points in the Han Solo Adventures
James Luceno is, perhaps, one of the most underappreciated figures in Star Wars. His fingerprints are all over the written material from one end of the timeline to the other, and it’s all the better because of it.
Check out some of Luceno’s hand-picked works below!
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Books in this Collection
Two years have passed since Jacen Solo, seduced by the dark side and reanointed as the brutal Sith Lord Darth Caedus, died at the hands of his twin sister, Jaina, Sword of the Jedi. For a grieving Han and Leia, the shadow of their son’s tragic downfall still looms large. But Jacen’s own bright and loving daughter, Allana, offers a ray of hope for the future as she thrives in her grandparents’ care. And when the eager, inquisitive girl, in whom the Force grows ever stronger, makes a curious discovery aboard her grandfather’s beloved spacecraft–the much-overhauled but ever-dependable Millennium Falcon–the Solo family finds itself at a new turning point, about to set out on an odyssey into uncertain territory, untold adventure, and unexpected rewards.
To Han, who knows every bolt, weld, and sensor of the Falcon as if they were parts of himself, the strange device Allana shows him is utterly alien. But its confounding presence–and Allana’s infectious desire to unravel its mystery–are impossible to dismiss. The only answer lies in backtracking into the past on a fact-finding expedition to retrace the people, places, and events in the checkered history of the vessel that’s done everything from making the Kessel Run “in less than twelve parsecs” to helping topple an evil empire.
From the moment the Falcon broke loose from a Corellian assembly line like an untamed creature with a will of its own, it seemed destined to seek out trouble. It wasn’t long before the feisty YT-1300 freighter went from shuttling cargo to smuggling contraband. But it‘s a fateful rendezvous on Coruscant, at the explosive height of the Republic/Separatist uprising, that launches a galaxywide cat-and-mouse game whose newest players are Han, Leia, Allana, and C-3PO. And they’ re not alone: Crime lords, galactic pirates, rogue politicians, and fortune hunters alike loom at every turn of the quest–each with his or her own desperate stake in the Millennium Falcon’s most momentous mission. Through the years and across the stars, from the Rim worlds to unknown points beyond, the race will lead them all to a final standoff for a prize some will risk everything to find–and pay any cost to possess.
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!
Labyrinth of Evil
Darth Sidious has expertly hidden his existence from the Jedi for many years. In Labyrinth of Evil, his elusiveness shines towards the end of the Clone Wars as his identity is being chased by Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
While Anakin and Obi Wan are occupied with their intense mission, Count Dooku and General Grievous work on setting their master's next plans into motion. Author James Luceno uses this opportunity to offer us the backstories of these two villains before foreshadowing Anakin's fall to the dark side.
The war that erupted in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is nearing its boiling point, as the dauntless Separatist forces continue their assault on the teetering Republic–and the diabolical triumvirate of Count Dooku, General Grievous, and their Master, Darth Sidious, fine-tune their strategy for conquest. In Episode III Revenge of the Sith the fates of key players on both sides of the conflict will be sealed. But first, crucial events that pave the way to that time of reckoning unfold in a labyrinth of evil. . . .
Capturing Trade Federation Viceroy–and Separatist Councilmember–Nute Gunray is the mission that brings Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, with a squad of clones in tow, to Neimoidia. But the treacherous ally of the Sith proves as slippery as ever, evading his Jedi pursuers even as they narrowly avoid deadly disaster. Still, their daring efforts yield an unexpected prize: a unique holotransceiver that bears intelligence capable of leading the Republic forces to their ultimate quarry, the ever-elusive Darth Sidious.
Swiftly taking up the chase, Anakin and Obi-Wan follow clues from the droid factories of Charros IV to the far-flung worlds of the Outer Rim . . . every step bringing them closer to pinpointing the location of the Sith Lord–whom they suspect has been manipulating every aspect of the Separatist rebellion. Yet somehow, in the escalating galaxy-wide chess game of strikes, counterstrikes, ambushes, sabotage, and retaliations, Sidious stays constantly one move ahead.
Then the trail takes a shocking turn. For Sidious and his minions have set in motion a ruthlessly orchestrated campaign to divide and overwhelm the Jedi forces–and bring the Republic to its knees.
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
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.
The Unifying Force
The Galactic Alliance's hard-won success in combating the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong has proven all too brief—and the tide has turned again to the invader's advantage. The Yuuzhan Vong, having overcome the strategies of the Jedi and their allies, have pushed deeper into the galaxy and conquered more worlds. Coruscant has been remade into the capital of the extragalactic aliens and renamed Yuuzhan'tar. The remaining defenders of the galaxy are struggling to form a united front. Luke, Mara and Jacen are missing in action. Clearly the stage is set for endgame.
While Han and Leia receive the horrifying news that hundreds of high-ranking Alliance prisoners face death in a sacrifice to the alien invader's bloodthirsty gods, Luke and his team try to persuade Zonama Sekot to help in the war effort. Yet as they speak, the Alliance capital world Mon Calamari is under attack.
At the same time, the Jedi's alliances throughout the galaxy are being tested and the chances of an Alliance victory are being jeopardized by rogue factions determined to deploy the lethal Alpha Red that will exterminate the entire Yuuzhan Vong species. Also among the Yuuzhan Vong, there is a threat of revolt by the oppressed lower classes of their society. Oppressed Shamed Ones and high-ranking officials alike fear that their Supreme Overlord Shimrra's actions will provoke the wrath of their gods. Ultimately, for both opposing forces, too much has been sacrificed and too much is at stake. And now, the final battle between the Yuuzhan Vong and the Galactic Alliance.
Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial
Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived. A grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered soul back together before he loses everything: friends, family, and faith.
Refusing help from Leia or Luke, Han becomes the loner he once was, seeking to escape the pain of his partner's death in adventure...and revenge. When he learns that an old friend from his smuggling days is operating as a mercenary for the enemy, he sets out to expose the traitor. But Han's investigation uncovers an even greater evil: a sinister conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the New Republic's will and ability to fight.
Now Han must face down his inner demons and, with the help of a new and unexpected ally, honor Chewbacca's sacrifice in the only way that matters - by being worthy of it.
Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It's a sprawling tale that establishes several important origin stories for characters fans know well. Readers learn how Plagueis seduced Palpatine to the dark side and how their alliance led to the Sith apprentice’s ultimate betrayal of his master. This is how darkness truly began to rise.
Darth Plagueis: Like all Sith Lords before him, he craves absolute power. But like no Sith Lord ever, he possesses the ultimate power—over life and death.
Darth Sidious: In secret he masters the power of the dark side, while publicly climbing to the highest government office.
One desires to rule supreme; the other dreams of living forever. Together, they will destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy. Unless merciless Sith tradition becomes their undoing. . . .
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.
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
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.