Thrawn's campaign (chronicled in the 1991-93 trilogy by Timothy Zahn) and subsequent events not only prolonged the continuing conflict between the New Republic and the dying Empire, but they also highlighted the Republic's biggest weakness -- the absence of a strong Jedi Order to help protect its values and its citizens. Where once there had been 10,000 Jedi Knights in the days before Palpatine's rise to power and the demise of the first Galactic Republic, only Luke Skywalker remains as a full-fledged Jedi.
Luke, of course, has been trying to train his twin sister Leia in the ways of the Force, but her duties as a member of the Provisional Council and her brother's recent experiences -- including a fall to the dark side and almost a repetition of their father Anakin's mistakes -- have impeded her progress as a Jedi apprentice. Leia's marriage to Han Solo and the birth of three potential Jedi children also demand her attention, so Luke must look elsewhere for Jedi apprentices.
Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Search is the first of a three-book cycle that chronicles Luke Skywalker's endeavors to set up a new Jedi Academy and to restore the order of Jedi Knights. With very few records left over after the Great Purge inflicted by the late Emperor and his own father, Darth Vader, Luke must not only scour the galaxy for data on the training of new Knights, but he also needs to find new candidates to teach.
Even as Luke gets approval from the New Republic to set up a Jedi academy, new challenges and old enemies arise. On Kessel, Han Solo and Chewbacca are captured by Moruth Doole, a cunning mine official who now runs the entire spice mine complex -- and the individual that had, several years before, tipped off the Imperial tariff authorities that Solo was hauling a load of spice destined for crime boss Jabba the Hutt. The Millennium Falcon had been boarded, but not before Han had jettisoned the spice...which had saved him and Chewbacca from a stint in Imperial detention blocks but not, unfortunately, from a debt to Jabba.
Elsewhere, a new threat emerges as Admiral Daala, the beautiful but ruthless woman (and only female flag officer in the Imperial fleet) in command of a squadron of Star Destroyers assigned to protect a top-secret research facility, prepares to unleash a new campaign against the Rebels who killed her paramour and destroyed her beloved Empire. With her four massive warships and several powerful super weapons at her disposal, Daala bides her time, waiting for the proper moment to start her devastating strike....
Anderson, a technical editor and writer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and author of other non-Star Wars novels, has become one of the most prolific authors of Star Wars Expanded Universe material. He loves the universe created by George Lucas in his five films (even though some of the Jedi concepts here are radically different from data established in the two prequels released in 1999 and 2002) and knows the characters and situations well enough to write interesting and entertaining "further adventures" novels, comic book series, and short stories set "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...."
I have also since read the Zahn trilogy and various other short stories in the Star Wars universe. Though some find Anderson's works inferior when compared to other Star Wars novels, I do not hold this opinion. Anderson keeps the story centered around characters that you already care about and, when new ones are introduced, he does an adequate job of developing them. He does tend to use some repetative phrasing but the basic story is well thought out. Though the trilogy does finally lose some emotional steam by the third book and ends with a bit of melodrama, still this trilogy is a fun read and I highly recommend it.
First off, I enjoyed the books. They were fast paced and fun. It will be well worth the time for a Star Wars fan. Read more