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Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

(20th Anniversary Edition), The Thrawn Trilogy, Book 1
Narrated by: Marc Thompson
Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (601 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Here is a special edition 20th anniversary release of the number-one New York Times best-selling novel that reignited the entire Star Wars publishing phenomenon - unabridged for the first time. The biggest event in the history of Star Wars books, Heir to the Empire follows the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia after they led the Rebel Alliance to victory in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

Five years after the Death Star was destroyed and Darth Vader and the Emperor were defeated, the galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war, Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins, and Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of new Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords - the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn - has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to create.

The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale - in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.

More in the Thrawn Trilogy we have. And listen to all of our Star Wars titles you can!
©1991 Timothy Zahn (P)2011 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Tim
  • 10-10-2015

Listened to it every chance I had

A highly polished production. The sound effects, music and engaging narrator made this a very cinematic experience. I have never read a star wars book before, and this one was an excellent start for me. Highly recommended.

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent Production

This is a production work, meaning you get sound effects like laser fire, various droid beeps, space ship noises etc.
There is one narrator, and though his voice doesn't match the original cast actors, he performs brilliantly, with each character having an unique and recognizable voice.
The story is my favorite of the expanded universe, introducing Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade among other greats.

10 people found this helpful

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not a big star wars fan but this book is good

had a mate recommend this series while I was looking for some other sci-fi to read. it's my first dip into the expanded universe and very interesting. worth picking up even if you don't have a huge star wars knowledge

2 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly Enjoyable

Always loved this story and was looking to read it again, so figured I'd give the audio book a go. Was plesantly surprised by the great performance of Marc Thompson, but on top of that the added music snippets and sound effects made this a truly fantastic and enjoyable experience that really feed on nostalgia from the original Star Wars trilogy. If you are a fan of Star Wars especially of the EU and this trilogy would absolutely recommend this audio book.

1 person found this helpful

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Was curious about Thrawn and was not disappointed

This is the first Star Wars novel I've managed to finish since I was either 9 or 10 years old and reading about 12-year old Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Jedi Apprentice series published by Scholastic. I am happy to say that this (audio)book is a credit to the franchise. It's marvellous!

My interest in Star Wars has been renewed again following the release of the new movies The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The character name "Mitth'raw'nuruodo" kept catching my eye in my internet searches and his clear popularity made me curious. I had to read about him; I wanted to know who Thrawn was and this title is the story that started it all. I haven't been disappointed. Grand Admiral Thrawn is now a favourite character of mine!

I've been delighted at the level of effort given to this audiobook's performance. Marc Thompson really can pull off Han Solo's voice in particular though he was great at Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian too. I adored all of the background sound effects, especially R2-D2's cute beeping and the humming lightsaber sounds. Really, I'm not exactly new to audiobooks but I believe this is the first one where I've had the novel pleasure of feeling like I was also listening to a movie whilst simultaneously reading a book. It was so much fun!

The only thing I didn't enjoy was the music. I'm half-deaf though I don't always have an issue with hearing if I'm listening to something through headphones. The music got too loud at times and I occasionally (though thankfully not too often) had to strain to hear Marc Thompson speaking. Sound effects really complimented the narrative but the music just got in the way. I insist that this is my only criticism though. Everything else was fantastic!

Will I read this book again? Very likely, yes. Will I listen to the second title in the Thrawn trilogy? Oh my gosh, I absolutely will. Do I think anyone thinking about purchasing this title should buy it right now? Yes, definitely. Read this in Emperor Palpatine's voice: "Do it!"

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Great production, ok story

Excellent production on this book. The soundscape and voice actors did an great job. I thought the story was pretty underwhelming though unfortunately.

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Loved every minute of it!!

Brilliant writing, great continuation of Return of the Jedi, can't wait to start the next book in the series

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This is how Star Was should be!

Aside from small irritating pronunciation, everything is amazing! I can't overstate how amazing Marc Thompsons perfomance is!

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Best narrator in the galaxy

I can't help but sing highest praises for the narrator for this audio book. I really felt like he captured the tones and behaviors of all the characters, especially Luke, Han, Leia & Lando.
I felt like I was just hanging out with the gang again.

Storyline - is a good experience post Return of the Jedi. Unfortunately for me, and I know this isn't cannon anymore, but the Disney adaptations have tainted the relationships between Leia and Hans, not to mention the grumpy man Luke became.
It was hard to invest into these characters when I knew what their futures held.

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over all great

the voice acting and quality is absolutely fantastic.

this took awhile to get into, but well worth the listen.

push through the not boring but somehow less interesting few chapters and you will be hooked.

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  • Jt
  • 25-10-2011

At last!

Very entertaining read. Marc Thopson wow. You just cant beat this guy as far as readers go. He took a really good book and made it that much better. If your a star wars fan this is a must read and if not read it anyways you might become one.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 06-09-2011

It's about time!

Marc Thompson is a fantastic narrator. I've listened to many of his books, and loved every one. I encourage everyone to buy this book immediately. We need to show that if they release unabridged star wars audio, then we'll buy it! It appears they've stopped making the horrible abridged releases already. However, I really hope this starts a new trend of releasing old star wars books unabridged. Hopefully it's not a one time thing.

As for the book, it's also fantastic. There are plenty of reviews of the material in the book on Amazon. Buy it. You'll love it.

109 people found this helpful

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  • Real Buyer
  • 08-09-2011

Thank you for this AMAZING production.

What made the experience of listening to Star Wars: Heir to the Empire (20th Anniversary Edition) the most enjoyable?

It being a fully produced (soundtrack, effects and all) unabridged version.

What did you like best about this story?

A continuation of the saga

What about Marc Thompson’s performance did you like?

Overall good, only nitpick is that Han could have sounded a little more like Harrison. but overall it was great!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

We need to get the other two books re done like this.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Eric
  • 10-09-2011

Perfect

This book is one of the best Star Wars books that I have ever read and when it became available on audible I jumped at the chance to experience this riveting story again. The audio version of this book is excellent. Marc Thompson portrays every character very well in distinct voices. This rendition also contains music and sound effects. At first I found the sound effects very jarring and would take me out of the story. Fortunately I got used to these sound effects and instead of detracting from the story they reinforced the performance. After I listened to Heir to the Empire I was excited to continue listening. I looked up when Dark Force Rising would be released in anniversary edition, and discovered that it will only be released if Heir to the Empire preforms well enough. I hope that Marc Thompson narrates that version if it comes out or if it doesn't then he narrates the the complete trilogy anyway.

16 people found this helpful

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  • G. Grimsley
  • 08-09-2011

Finally! Unabridged after 20 years!

Would you consider the audio edition of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire (20th Anniversary Edition) to be better than the print version?

Heir to the Empire was the very first book that ignited my passion for literature as a teenager. Imagine my disappointment when this wonderful book could only be found as an abridgment in audio format. Now, with the 20th anniversary, the fans are rewarded by an unabridged version of Heir to the Empire. I would highly recommend to anyone who has ever loved the Star Wars series, that they read/listen to this story. Fans of the SW saga will be delighted by the same level of action and intrigue Timothy Zahn placed into this book as George Lucas put into the series. Whether you are a life-long SW fan or new to the series, you will not be disappointed by this series. Hopefully, the fans will not have to wait too long for the rest of the Thrawn trilogy to be available in an unabridged format.

What did you like best about this story?

The interaction between the original characters was wonderful and true to the movies. The new characters were also marvelously developed and wonderfully complex. This book does indeed read like the 7th episode in the SW saga.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

They may have defeated the Emperor and Darth Vader, but the Empire may not be as defeated as they think.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Long Shot Review
  • 08-09-2011

Excellent

I hope they do this for the rest of the Thrawn Trilogy. Hell I hope they do it for the rest of the Star Wars books

29 people found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 29-07-2016

So Good Feel Guilty I Did Not Read It

The only Star Wars book I have read was, " Shadows Of The Empire." With my job, using Audible is a perfect way for me to get caught up while I work. It is nice to hear sound effects and voice over, sort of feeling like I am listening to the audio of a movie. I am excited to start the next in the series, " Dark Force Rising." I am incredibly intrigued to see where the storyline leads as well as the new version that Timothy Zhan will be writing as well as how Disney will tie all of this new extended universe together. If you are at all of a Star Wars and or Star Trek fan I can with full confidence already recommend this trilogy. If you are like me and have a hard time trying to find time to sit and read and are constantly on the move a.k.a. walking and public transportation, as well as a busy work day in your cubicle but have access to headphones,, I personally believe this is a must buy, or perfect for your first free download already convinced me to purchased the next.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Princeps P
  • 09-09-2011

Finally!!!!!!!


This is a great addition! Like a previous reviewer mentioned we need more Star Wars books that are unabridged and Marc Thompson as the narrator. This is the book that started it all for the expanded universe and is a must read for any Star Wars fan. I just hope they continue the series with the following books. Truly a great production with sounds and Thompson at the helm.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Unger
  • 14-09-2011

Beware of this book!

This audiobook feature promises many annotations from Timothy Zahn and much more, to which is true to a very slight degree, but nothing like what is promised in the Product Summary. I downloaded this audiobook as it's finally available in unabridged formatting, and the promised novella isn't in the download, so I strongly suggest those wishing to read that novella to either purchase the hardcover edition of this book, or to contact Audible's customer support and request an explanation. Because selling a product or service and not delivering on a promise is blatant false advertisement. So I urge true fans of Zahn's work to beware, and get this resolved.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle Huss
  • 11-09-2011

Better than the first

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have the original audio book of this book, but this one better due to the outstanding performance. I love the performance of this book so much better than the first. The narrator sounds like he is acting not just reading and the narrator got the names and pronunciations correct in this one unlike the first.

What did you like best about this story?

I have this book in many formats it is my favorite of the Thrawn Trilogy. I like the depth of all the characters

Have you listened to any of Marc Thompson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This one is only the second one I have listened to and was okay at seeing him as narrator, but much more pleasantly surprised at how well he narrated this novel. This is an outstanding performance from him. I really like Johnathan Davis as well, but they made a great choice with Mr. Thomson.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

All the above at different and various places. I like when a book draws me in and makes me part of the story instead of just a listener. This book is one of those types of books.

Any additional comments?

Outstanding book and wonderful performance. Thank you for this outstanding option.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Josip Domsic
  • 26-01-2018

Sound effects made this audiobook my favorite

Random House Audio is from now on my first choice. Sound effects plus multiple voices created unique experience

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph Berwick
  • 05-01-2018

Fantastic from start to finish

This is the first time I've listened to any audio book. Highly recommended to any Star Wars fan.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Some norwegian guy
  • 20-12-2019

The definitive Star Wars Sequel

One of the best books in the Star Wars expanded universe and the unquestionable definitive continuation from episode 6. perfectly presented in this unabridged audiobook.

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  • Ryan M.
  • 04-12-2019

Re-ignite your love of Starwars

As a long time fan of starwars, its nice to have a book series that really hits home in terms of its tone. the extravagance and out of touch Disney films are nowhere to be seen and the characters are compelling from both sides of the republic empire divide.

Great audiobook quality as well, with individual voices and soundtrack to get you into the atmosphere perfectly.

I listened to the first two audiobooks in the series and then completed the last in paperback. planning to do the same with specter of the past and visions of the future!

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  • M Langer
  • 18-08-2019

a classic

in a brilliant unabridged reading.
Marc Thompson excels in his reading of the Star Wars Universe as ever. The story should be known to every Star Wars Fan out there. It is a story worthy of the original trilogy.

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  • Anthony M.
  • 14-08-2019

really good

Good voice acting by Mark Thompson!

I liked Thrawn's character. He's excellent. and interested in Mara Jade too!

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  • Alan Hughes
  • 02-07-2019

excellent

just as good as when i read them 20 years ago. the narrator does a fantastic job.

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  • Gavin
  • 21-04-2017

great read! cant wait for the next one

was enjoyable and interesting! definitely a great fit into canon. next one please... a long time ago....

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  • Lars Eirik Holte
  • 11-05-2015

Amazing

Everything you would want from an addition to the Star Wars universe. Great story, good written dialogue, all coming together with a great performance!