The Unifying Force: Star Wars Legends (the New Jedi Order) by James LucenoThe Unifying Force: Star Wars Legends (the New Jedi Order) by James Luceno

The Unifying Force: Star Wars Legends (the New Jedi Order)

byJames Luceno

Mass Market Paperback | August 3, 2004

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At long last, the New York Times bestselling series that launched the Star Wars saga into the next generation and into thrilling new territory reaches its spectacular finale. Side by side, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, their children, and their comrades in the Galactic Alliance rally for their last stand against the enemy that threatens not only the galaxy, but the Force itself.

The Galactic Alliance’s hard-won success in countering the Yuuzhan Vong onslaught has proven all too brief—and the tide has turned once more to the invaders’ advantage. Having overcome the sabotage strategies of the Jedi and their allies, the marauding aliens have pushed deeper into the galaxy and subjugated more worlds in their ruthless quest for domination. Coruscant has been remade into a Yuuzhan Vong stronghold. The remnants of the resistance are struggling to form a united front. Luke, Mara, and Jacen are missing in action. Clearly the stage is set for endgame.

Now, as Han and Leia receive the chilling news that hundreds of high-ranking Galactic Alliance prisoners face slaughter in a sacrifice to the enemy’s bloodthirsty gods, Luke and his team try desperately to convince the living world of Zonama Sekot to join the Jedi’s final campaign against the Yuuzhan Vong. Yet even as they speak, a lone space station is all that stands between Alliance headquarters on Mon Calamari . . . and wave after wave of ferocious enemy forces waging their most decisive assault.

At the same time, the Jedi’s alliances throughout the galaxy are being tested—and the chances of victory jeopardized—by rogue factions determined to deploy the lethal weapon that will exterminate the Yuuzhan Vong . . . and perhaps countless other species. And among the Yuuzhan Vong themselves, the threat of revolt has reached a boiling point—as the oppressed underclass and powerful officials alike fear their Supreme Overlord’s mad actions will provoke the wrath of the gods.

Ultimately, for both the forces of invasion and resistance, too much has been sacrificed —and too much is at stake—to ever turn back. And now, nothing can stand in the way of seizing victory . . . or facing annihilation.
James Luceno is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novels Millennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil, as well as the New Jedi Order novels Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial and Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force, and the eBook Darth Maul: Saboteur. He...
Title:The Unifying Force: Star Wars Legends (the New Jedi Order)Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:576 pages, 6.84 × 4.21 × 1.25 inPublished:August 3, 2004Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345428536

ISBN - 13:9780345428530

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A strong finish to a very good series Outside of a few missteps (the momentum killing Force Heretic trilogy and Dark Journey), the New Jedi Order was a great read. The finale wraps up the series in a satisfying way and sets the stage for the Legacy of the Force. The Yuuhzon Vong are given a proper send off and the heretics revolution is one of the highlights of the series. A gritter Star Wars series that was much needed. *Major Spoliers* My biggest issue with the NJO is that they killed off the wrong Solo kid. Anakin was a significantly more interesting lead character than Jacen. Anakin was much more believable and grew more in the first half of the series than Jacen did from the start of the series to the end. Anakin was basically Han Solo with a lightsaber. A missed opportunity.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great conclusion to the series Satisfying conclusion to a long complex story arc.
Date published: 2014-01-16

Read from the Book

“Cakhmaim’s getting to be a pretty good shot,” Han said over the sound of the reciprocating quad laser cannon. “Remind me to up his pay—or at least promote him.”Leia glanced at him from the copilot’s chair. “From bodyguard towhat—butler?”Han pictured the Noghri in formal attire, setting meals in front ofHan and Leia in the Falcon’s forward cabin. His upper lip curled indelight, and he laughed shortly. “Maybe we should see how he doeswith the rest of these skips.”The YT-1300 was just coming out of her long turn, with Selvaris’sdouble suns off to starboard and an active volcano dominating the forwardview. Below, green-capped, sheer-sided islands reached up intothe planet’s deep blue sky, and the aquamarine sea seemed to go onforever. Two coralskippers were still glued to the Falcon’s tail, choppingat it and holding position through all the insane turns and evasions,but so far the deflector shields were holding.His large hands gripped on the control yoke, Han glanced at theconsole’s locator display, where only one bezel was pulsing.“Where’d the other swoop go?”“We lost it,” Leia said.Han leaned toward the viewport to survey the undulating sea.“How could we lose—”“No, I mean it’s gone. One of the coralskippers took it out.”Han’s eyes blazed. “Why, that—which one of ’em?”Before Leia could answer, two plasma missiles streaked past thecockpit, bright as meteors and barely missing the starboard mandible.“Does it matter?”Han shook his head. “Where’s the other swoop?”Leia studied the locator display, then called up a map from theterrain sensor, which showed everything from the mouth of theestuary clear to the volcano. Her left forefinger tapped the screen.“Far side of that island.”“Any skips after it?”A loud explosion buffeted the Falcon from behind.“We seem to be the popular target,” Leia said. “Just the way youlike it.”Han narrowed his eyes. “You bet I do.”Determined to lure their pair of pursuers away from the swoop, hethrew the freighter into a sudden ascent. When they had climbedhalfway to the stars, he dropped the ship into a stomach-churningcorkscrew. Pulling out sharply, he twisted the ship through a loopingrollover, emerging from the combo headed in the opposite direction,with the two coralskippers in front of him.He grinned at Leia. “Now who’s in charge?”She blew out her breath. “Was there ever any doubt?”Han focused his attention on the two enemy craft. Over the longyears, Yuuzhan Vong pilots faced with impossible odds had surrenderedsome of the suicidal resolve they had displayed during the earlydays of the war. Maybe word had come down from Supreme OverlordShimrra or someone that discretion really was the better part of valor.Whatever the case, the pilots of the two skips Han was stalkling apparentlysaw some advantage to fleeing rather than reengaging the shiptheir plasma missiles had failed to bring down. But Han wasn’t contentto send them home with their tails tucked between their legs—especially not after they had killed an unarmed swoop pilot he hadcome halfway across the galaxy to rescue.“Cakhmaim, listen up,” he said into his headset mike. “I’ll fire thebelly gun from here. We’ll put ’em in the Money Lane and be donewith them.”Money Lane was Han’s term for the area where the quad lasers’firing fields overlapped. In emergency situations, both cannons couldbe fired from the cockpit, but the present situation didn’t call for that.What’s more, Han wanted to give Cakhmaim the chance to hone hisfiring technique. All Han and Leia had to do was help line up theshots.From the way the coralskippers reacted to the Falcon’s suddenturnabout, Han could almost believe that the enemy pilots had beeneavesdropping on his communication with the Noghri. The firstskip—the more battered of the pair, showing charred blotches anddeep pockmarks—poured on all speed, separating from his wingmateat a sharp angle. Smaller and faster, and seemingly helmed by a betterpilot, the second skip shed velocity in an attempt to trick the Falconinto coming across his vector.That was the skip that had taken out the swoop, Han decided,sentencing the pilot to be the first to feel the Falcon’s wrath.Leia guessed as much, and immediately plotted an interceptcourse.Exposed, the skip pilot went evasive, moving into the gunsightsand out again, but with mounting panic as the Falcon settled calmlyinto kill position. The dorsal laser cannon was programmed to firethree-beam bursts that, all these years later, still had the ability tooutwit the dovin basals of the older, perhaps more dim-witted coralskippers.While the enemy craft was quick to deploy a gravitic anomalythat engulfed the first and second beams, the third got through,blowing a huge chunk of yorik coral from the vessel’s fantail. Hantweaked the yoke to place the skip in the Money Lane, and his lefthand tightened on the trigger of the belly gun’s remote firing mechanism.Sustained bursts from the twin cannons whittled the skip tohalf its size; then it blew, throwing pieces of coral wreckage in everydirection.“That’s for the swoop pilot,” Han said soberly. He turned hisattention to the second skip, which, desperate to avoid a similar fate,was jinking and juking all over the sky.Zipping through the showering remains of the first kill, the Falconquickened up and pounced on the wildly maneuvering skip fromabove. The targeting reticle went red, and a target-lock tone filled thecockpit. Again the quad lasers rallied, catching the vessel with burstafter burst until it disappeared in a nimbus of coral dust and whitehotgas.Han and Leia hooted. “Nice shooting, Cakhmaim!” he said intothe headset. “Score two more for the good guys.”Leia watched him for a moment. “Happy now?”Instead of replying, Han pushed the yoke away from him, droppingthe Falcon to within meters of the surging waves. “Where’s theswoop?” he asked finally.Leia was ready with the answer. “Come around sixty degrees, andit should be right in front of us.”Han adjusted course, and the swoop came into view, streakingover the surface, bearing two seriously dissimilar riders. In pursuit,and just visible beneath the surface, moved an enormous olive-drabtriangle, trailing what appeared to be a lengthy tail.Han’s jaw dropped.“What is that thing?” Leia said.“Threepio, get in here!” Han yelled, without taking his eyes fromthe creature.C-3PO staggered into the cockpit, clamping his hands on thehigh-backed navigator’s chair to keep from being thrown off balance,as had too often happened.Han raised his right hand to the viewport and pointed. “What isthat?” he asked, enunciating every word.“Oh, my,” the droid began. “I believe that what we’re looking atis a kind of boat creature. The Yuuzhan Vong term for it is vangaak,which derives from the verb ‘to submerge.’ Although in this case theverb has been modified to suggest—”“Skip the language lesson and just tell me how to kill it!”“Well, I would suggest targeting the flat dome, clearly visible onits dorsal surface.”“A head shot.”“Precisely. A head shot.”“Han,” Leia interrupted. “Four more coralskippers headed ourway.”Han manipulated levers on the console, and the Falcon accelerated.“We gotta work fast. Threepio, tell Meewalh to activate themanual release for the landing ramp. I’ll be there in a flash.”Leia watched him undo the clasps of the crash webbing. “I take ityou’re not planning to land.”He kissed her on the cheek as he stood up. “Not if I can help it.”The swoop fought to maintain an altitude of eight meters, butthat was enough to keep it from the snapping jaws of the YuuzhanVong vangaak that had almost snagged it on surfacing.Thorsh might have opted to head inland if the Yuuzhan Vongsearch parties and their snarling beasts hadn’t reached the marshyshore. Worse, four specks in the northern sky were almost certainlycoralskippers, soaring in to reinforce the pair the YT-1300 was chasing.Instead, the Jenet had the swoop aimed for deeper water, outtoward the volcano, where the waves mounded to a height of tenmeters.Thorsh and his rider could feel the sting of the saline spray ontheir scratched and bruised faces and hands. Behind them, the vangaakwas rapidly closing the gap, but if it had weapons other than tor-pedo analogs it wasn’t bringing them to bear. An unsettling vociferationfrom the Bith broke Thorsh’s concentration.“The vangaak’s gone! It submerged!”Thorsh didn’t know whether to worry or celebrate. The vangaakput a quick end to his indecision. Breaching the surface in front of theswoop, the dull olive triangle spiked straight up out of the waves,venting seawater from blowholes on its dorsal side, and opening itstooth-filled mouth.Thorsh demanded all he could from the swoop, climbing atmaximum boost, but there was no escaping the reach of the creature.He heard a surprised scream, then felt his flight jacket rip away.Lightened, the swoop ascended at greater speed, only to stall. Thorshthrew a distraught glance over his shoulder. The Bith was pinnedbetween the vangaak’s teeth, mouth wide in a silent scream, black eyesdull, Thorsh’s jacket still clutched in his dexterous hands. But therewasn’t time for despair or anger. The repulsorlift came back to life,and Thorsh veered away, even as he was falling.A roar battered his eardrums, and suddenly the YT-1300 was practicallyalongside him, skimming the waves not fifty meters away. Thequartet of coralskippers began firing from extreme range, their plasmaprojectiles cutting scalding trails through the whitecapped crests.The old freighter’s landing ramp was lowered from the starboarddocking arm. It was clear what the ship’s pilots had in mind. Theywere expecting him to come alongside and hurl himself onto thenarrow incline. But Thorsh faltered. He knew the limitations of theswoop, and—more important—his own. With the coralskippers approachingand the vangaak submerged who-knew-where beneath thewaves, it was unlikely that he could even reach the freighter in time.Additionally—and despite what were obviously military-grade de-flector shields—the freighter was being forced to make slight verticaland horizontal adjustments, which only decreased Thorsh’s chances ofclambering aboard.His grimace disappeared, and in its place came a look of sharpattentiveness.As sole bearer of the secret intelligence contained in the holo-wafer, he had to give it his best try. Tightening his grip, he banked forthe sanctuary of the matte-black ship.Crouched at the top of the extended ramp, Han peered down atthe rushing water not twenty meters below. Wind and salt sprayhowled through the opening, blowing his hair every which way andmaking it difficult for him to keep his eyes open.“Captain Solo,” C-3PO said from the ring corridor. “PrincessLeia wishes you to know that the swoop is approaching. Apparentlythe pilot feels confident that he can complete the transfer to MillenniumFalcon without suffering too much internal damage or . . . perishingin the attempt.”Han threw the droid a wide-eyed look. “Perishing?”“Certainly the odds are against him. If he were piloting a speederbike, perhaps. But swoops are notorious for going out of control atthe slightest provocation!”Han nodded grimly. A former swoop racer, he knew that C-3POwas right. Taking in the situation now, he wondered if even he couldmake the jump.“I’m going to the bottom!” he shouted.C-3PO canted his golden head. “Sir?”Han made a downward motion. “The bottom of the ramp.”“Sir, I have a bad feeling . . .”The wind drowned out the rest of the droid’s words. Han crabbeddown to the base of the ramp, where he could hear the Falcon’s bellyturret slicing through the agitated peaks of the waves. A distinctivethrobbing sound captured his attention. The swoop was beginning toangle for the ramp. The pilot—a Jenet, of all species—took his righthand off the handgrips just long enough to signal Han with a wave.Considering that even that slight movement sent the swoop into awobble, there was simply no way the Jenet would be able to let gocompletely—especially not with the Falcon adding to the turbulenceof the sea itself.Han reconsidered, then swung around to C-3PO.“Threepio, tell Leia we’re going with Plan B!”The droid raised his hands to his head in distress. “Captain Solo,just the sound of that makes me worry!”Han raised his forefinger. “Just tell Leia, Threepio. She’llunderstand.”“Plan B?”“That was precisely my reaction,” C-3PO said in an agitatedvoice. “But does anyone ever listen to my concerns?”“Don’t worry, Threepio, I’m sure Han knows what he’s doing.”“That is hardly a comforting thought, Princess.”Leia swung back to the console and allowed her eyes to roam overthe instruments. Plan B, she mused. What can Han have in mind? Sheplaced him squarely in her thoughts, then smiled in sudden revelation.Of course . . .Her hands slid switches while she studied the displays. Then shesat away from the console in contemplation. Yes, she decided at last,she supposed it could be done—though it would mean relying largelyon the attitude and braking thrusters, and hoping that they didn’t stallor fail.She looked over her shoulder at C-3PO, who had evidently followedher every move and manipulation.“Tell Han I’ve got everything worked out.”“Oh, dear,” the droid said, turning and exiting the cockpit. “Oh,dear.”The four coralskippers were closing fast, lobbing plasma missilesinto the blustery stretch of water between the swoop and the freighter.Thorsh dipped his head instinctively as one fireball plunged into thewaves not ten meters away. The ferocity of the impact geysered superheatedwater high into the air, and sent the swoop into a sustainedwobble.The freighter held to its course regardless, its top gunner keepingthe coralskippers at bay with bursts of laserfire. A human male wascrouched at the base of the landing ramp, his left arm wrapped aroundone of the telescoping hydraulic struts, and the fingers of his righthand making a gesture that on some worlds implied craziness on thepart of its recipient. Just now, the twirling gesture meant somethingelse entirely—though craziness was still a large part of it.Thorsh swallowed hard, just thinking about what the pilots wereabout to attempt.The human waved and scurried back up the ramp.Decelerating slightly, Thorsh fell in behind the freighter, giving itwide berth. Above the strained throbbing of the swoop’s repulsorlift,he heard the sudden reverberation of the YT-1300’s retro- and attitudethrusters.Then, scarcely surrendering momentum, the freighter began torotate ninety degrees to starboard, bringing the boarding ramp almostdirectly in front of the tottering swoop.“Take the jump!” Han said, mostly to himself. “Now!”He was back in the pilot’s chair, his hands tight on the controlyoke, while Leia feathered the thrusters, cheating the Falcon throughits quarter turn. Flying sideways, Han could see the coralskippers thathad a second earlier been “behind” the ship, as well as the swoop,which was flying just off the blunt tip of the starboard docking arm.Hoping to minimize the chances of the pilot’s overshooting his markand smashing headlong into the bulkhead at the top of the ramp, Hanadjusted the Falcon’s forward speed to match that of the swoop.“He’s accelerating!” Leia said.“Threepio! Meewalh!” Han yelled over his right shoulder. “Ourguest’s coming aboard!” Glancing out the right side of the viewport,he saw the Jenet leap the swoop toward the ramp—the Falcon’snarrow but open mouth.“Now!” he told Leia.Deftly she fed power to the attitude thrusters, allowing the ship tocomplete a full clockwise rotation, even as a series of crashing soundswere echoing their way into the cockpit from the ring corridor.Han winced and scrunched his shoulders with each clang! andcrash!, mentally assessing the damage, but keeping his fingers crossedthat the Jenet pilot was faring better than the interior of the dockingarm.No sooner did the ramp telltale on the console flash red—indicating that docking arm had sealed tight—than Han yanked backon the control yoke, and the Falcon clawed its way into Selvaris’s opensky, dodging volleys of molten fire from pursuing coralskippers. Thequad laser replied with packets of cohesive light, brilliant green evenagainst the backdrop of the heaving sea.“Captain Solo, he’s alive!” C-3PO called with dramatic relief.“We’re all alive!”Exhaling slowly, Han sank back into the seat, but without liftinghis hands from the yoke. The coralskippers were already lagging behindwhen the Falcon rocketed over the summit of the volcano,straight through dense clouds of gritty smoke, climbing rapidly on acolumn of blue energy. The ship was halfway to starlight when theshaken Jenet appeared at the cockpit hatchway, one bare arm drappedover Meewalh’s shoulders, the other around C-3PO’s.“You must have a hard head,” Han said.Grinning faintly, Leia looked at her husband. “He’s not the onlyone.”Han glanced at her in false chagrin, then nodded his chin to thefemale Noghri. “Take our guest to the forward cabin and provide himwith whatever he needs.”“I’ll get the medpac,” Leia said, leaving her chair. She set herheadset on the console and looked at Han again. “Well, you did it.”“We,” Han amended. Casually, he stretched out his arms. “Youknow, you’re never too old for this sort of thing.”“You haven’t outgrown it, that’s for sure.”He studied her. “What, you have?”She placed her right hand on his cheek. “You’re a danger to yourselfand everyone around you. But I do love you, Han.”He smiled broadly as Leia hurried from the cockpit.From the Hardcover edition.