I was in Barnes & Noble when I happened to come across a Star Wars hardcover book called Heir To The Empire. The hardcover was an omnibus of Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars Thrawn trilogy. While other science fiction writers have made their mark into adding to the Star Wars lore, Zahn is the one who repopularized the genre and paved the way for every Star Wars novel that followed.

Notable events include the birth of Han and Leia’s twins Jacen and Jaina, the Force-neutralizing Ysalamir, the cloned Jedi Joruus C’boath, and the introduction of the late Emperor’s assassin Mara Jade. Mara Jade would go on to her return to the Light Side and later, become Luke’s wife and the mother of his son Ben. Not to mention Luke’s climatic duel with his clone (created from the severed hand he lost in Empire).

Zahn’s trilogy proved so popular that the planet Coruscant (the planet that serves as the main backdrop for the trilogy) was adopted by George Lucas as the pinnacle of Republic civilization as described in the prequel trilogy. Both Jacen and Jaina have gone on in stories of their own. Every novel since Heir of the Empire featured the Solo twins in one role or another. Hell, an entire series of books (Junior Jedi Academy) was written around their lives and their graduation to becoming Jedi Knights. That’s how great this trilogy is.

If you’re curious about stories that take place after Return Of The Jedi, the Heir trilogy are the books you want to read. Trust me. You will not be disappointed.