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"In the shadow of the treacherous enemy, the Jedi Knights reach their darkest hour…"
―Back cover abstract[src]

The New Jedi Order: Star by Star is a Star Wars Legends novel written by Troy Denning. It is the ninth volume in the series Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, and it was first published on October 30, 2001 by Del Rey.

Publisher's summary[]

The New York Times bestselling Star Wars series The New Jedi Order enthralls readers with its epic drama and thrilling adventure. Now readers will pierce the very heart of darkness, as those fascinating figures in that galaxy far, far away—Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, as well as their children—spring to vivid life to battle their deadliest adversaries.

It is a solemn time for the New Republic, as the merciless Yuuzhan Vong continue their ruthless campaign of terror and destruction. The brutal enemy has unleashed a savage creature capable of finding—and killing—Jedi Knights. And now Leia Organa Solo faces a terrible ultimatum from the mighty alien foe determined to conquer the galaxy. If the location of the secret Jedi base is not revealed within one week, the Yuuzhan Vong will blast millions of refugee ships into oblivion.

As the battered but still unbroken Jedi scramble to deal with the newest onslaught, Leia's son Anakin lays out a daring plan. A Jedi strike force will allow itself to be "captured" by the Yuuzhan Vong and taken to their stronghold in the realm of darkness, where the Jedi will sabotage the evil empire's deadliest weapons. The leaders of the force are the three Solo siblings. The risks are tremendous. Can the Jedi fight a ruthless enemy without becoming ruthless themselves and falling victim to the dark side?

Plot summary[]

Jedi sisters Alema and Numa Rar are attacked aboard the Nebula Chaser by the Yuuzhan Vong's newest creation, the voxyn, which can hunt down Jedi through their Force presences. Numa is killed by the voxyn, and Alema escapes with her sister's corpse.

The New Republic military begins to gain victories in Vong battles on planets outside of Coruscant's star system, and Lando Calrissian creates Yuuzhan Vong Hunter battle droids that are designed to look similar to Vong warriors to mock them. These YVHs come equipped with weapons powerful enough to destroy the Vong's vonduun crab armor, making them a significant resource in the war against the invaders. Meanwhile, the Jedi learn of this new voxyn threat and, through research done by Cilghal, realize that the voxyn are clones of an original genetically modified beast native from Myrkr. In order to stop it, Anakin Solo suggests, and Luke Skywalker agrees, to send a Jedi strike team to the worldship at Myrkr to destroy the voxyn cloning lab. The idea faced some resistance, mainly from Han Solo who rightly believed that the mission was dangerous and was unwilling to send all three of his children right into Yuuzhan Vong territory. Ultimately, the choice was Luke Skywalker's, who is currently leading the Jedi, who thought that it was their only chance and volunteered himself for the mission. Anakin rejected his offer on the grounds that he was too valuable to the New Republic and the Jedi, as well as being too important and strong for the Yuuzhan Vong to consider taking alive. Instead, Anakin volunteers himself and others follow his lead. Lando gives the strike team two Yuuzhan Vong Hunter droids for assistance. The members include Jaina, Jacen and Anakin Solo, the latter the leader of the whole strike team, and they are accompanied by Alema, Lowbacca, Tenel Ka Djo, Tahiri Veila, Ganner Rhysode, Tesar Sebatyne, Krasov and Bela Hara, Ulaha Kore, Eryl Besa, Raynar Thul, Jovan Drark, Tekli, and Zekk.

Lando, acting as a traitor to the New Republic, convinces a Vong force led by Duman Yaght that he has brought them Jedi in exchange for his homeworld's safety. The Vong take the Jedi, but the latter group, after passing behind enemy lines, escape with the help of their YVH assistants, YVH 2-1S and YVH 2-4S, and use the ship they were captured aboard, the Exquisite Death, to reach Myrkr. Ulaha Kore and one of the YVHs are lost during the team's escape, staying behind to hold back the enemy. After landing aboard the Vong worldship where the voxyn are being cloned, called the Baanu Rass, they encounter the captured Dark Jedi Lomi Plo and Welk, who agree to assist them after being freed from the Vong's clutches. Through encounters with Yuuzhan Vong forces several of the Jedi and their remaining YVH assistant are killed. Using their knowledge of the worldship, Plo and Welk guide the strike team, but are perturbed when they discover that the Jedi have no escape plan. In order to escape, they steal the Tachyon Flier, injuring Lowbacca and abducting the wounded Raynar Thul and M-TD (Lowbacca's translator droid) in the process. Anakin becomes severely injured during one of their many confrontations with Vong forces and ends up sacrificing himself to hold off the warriors while the remainder of the team goes after the voxyn queen, right after Anakin achieves complete oneness with the Force. Jacen, replacing Anakin as leader, orders the remnants of the strike team to steal one of the Vong's frigate ships and escape the worldship while he kills the voxyn queen, who is being cloned several times to produce the voxyn. With the help of Vergere, Jacen confronts the queen and kills it by confronting it in a basal-comb. However, he is then captured by the forces of Nom Anor and Vergere.

On Coruscant, Viqi Shesh, traitor to the New Republic for the Yuuzhan Vong, attempts to kidnap the infant Ben Skywalker for Warmaster Tsavong Lah. Leia Organa Solo senses Anakin's passing and is deeply grieved at the loss of her youngest child. The Yuuzhan Vong invasion on the city-planet begins. During this, Viqi is chased down by Leia after her failed attempt at kidnapping Ben, but Viqi nevertheless escapes and regroups with the Vong. Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker get shot down during the Battle of Coruscant and are almost killed had it not been for the Millennium Falcon saving them. Chief of State Borsk Fey'lya meets his end when Vong forces led by Romm Zqar raid the Imperial Palace and he sacrifices himself with a proton bomb blast, initially in order to kill Tsavong Lah, who, thanks to Vergere, sees through the plan and stays off of Coruscant at the time of the explosion. Fey'lya takes about twenty-five thousand Yuuzhan Vong with him. The adult Solos, Skywalkers, and their friends escape Coruscant, looking, despite the catastrophic loss of the New Republic capital, for a better tomorrow to the war.

Development[]

"At the time we were negotiating this, Vector Prime still hadn't quite come out. So I finally get the contract, and a couple weeks after that I get the story bible, and I see that my friend Bob Salvatore is writing Vector Prime. And I'd been going through all the plot points for all 21 -- it was 21 books at the time -- going through all the plot points and of course, reading the first one, I get through it and I read: 'Chewbacca dies.' And I'm like -- I don't even get any further than that, I get on the phone and I call Bob: "Oh my god, you killed Chewbacca, you killed Chewbacca!" And he just says to me, "You haven't finished reading the story bible, have you?" So I go back and read the story bible, and I saw that [for me] it was Anakin -- it was quite a shock."
―Troy Denning, providing further details in 2014[src]

In 1997 and 1998, a Bantam/Dark Horse invasion storyline was developed which explored a different story than what would become the New Jedi Order series. This initial story pitch involved Anakin as protagonist, one in which he would nearly be corrupted by the dark side by a female villain (who would also serve as a romantic interest), eventually leading to a confrontation by Jacen and Jaina in a final battle of "intense sibling rivalry;" this confrontation would have resulted in the death of Jacen Solo, after a conflict with an extragalactic Sith species.[2] By May of 1998, this story conception was reviewed by George Lucas himself, who felt that many elements of the story pitched lacked originality[3] and too closely mirrored the prequels.[4] Among other things suggested (including suggestions which led to the creation of the Yuuzhan Vong[5]), Lucas suggested changing the primary character to Jacen instead of Anakin.[6] Following this, the series pitch was totally rewritten and underwent significant changes, eventually becoming the New Jedi Order story.[7]

In the new story pitch, the New Jedi Order story team decided to focus the story around Jacen Solo's development, and planned on utilizing Anakin in a false protagonist capacity, leading eventually to his death midway through the series. It was at this point that the novel outline for Star by Star was drafted. This pitch was approved by George Lucas in 1998, and development of the series began officially. Although an urban myth has been repeated that George Lucas later intervened during the production of the series to kill Anakin,[8] this is not true; Troy Denning later confirmed in a radio interview that before Vector Prime was written, it was already written in the story bible of the series that Anakin was slated to die in Star by Star, confirming that this was the intention of the NJO story team before publication of the series began.[9]

Regarding the scale of the novel as Denning's first Star Wars novel, "It was a little bit intimidating, but not only that -- Coruscant falls, which was, to my mind, almost as big a deal as killing Anakin. So it was a big surprise, and it was intimidating, but also, I took one look at the list of plot points that they had in the original story bible, and I realized it was going to be a big, big book -- and big in terms of being pivotal, so I was really exciting about doing it," Denning remarked later in 2014 about writing the novel.[9]

Reception[]

Upon release, Star by Star made the New York Times Bestsellers List, entering the list at #11.[10]

In an interview with Shelly Shapiro, the Editorial Director of Del Rey, she expressed some regret over the timing of Star by Star's release. The novel, which depicts the Fall of Coruscant, was published shortly after the September 11 attacks.[5]

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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Amazon favicon.png Star By Star (Star Wars: New Jedi Order) on Amazon.com (backup link) (Hardcover)
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Essential Reader's Companion
  3. TwitterLogo.svg Pablo Hidalgo (@infinita) on Twitter: "and that was listed under the header "Too redundant to movie storylines - books should be more original" (5/6/98) BB memo" (backup link)
  4. TwitterLogo.svg Pablo Hidalgo (@infinita) on Twitter: "circled specifically in the outline is a mention that Anakin Solo "that he is the prophesied one"" (backup link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Star Wars: New Jedi Order Round-Robin Interview
  6. TwitterLogo.svg Pablo Hidalgo (@infinita) on Twitter: "the note says "Change person who is responsible for ultimately saving the day to Jacen - not Anakin"" (backup link)
  7. Behind the Scenes: The Making of the New Jedi Order.
  8. Tosche Station. Did George Lucas Order Anakin Solo's Death?
  9. 9.0 9.1 Scum and Villainy Radio. "The Priestesses" (Episode #19 for 4/11/2014) w/ Troy Denning (backup link)
  10. BEST SELLERS: November 18, 2001. New York Times. Published November 18, 2001.
  11. PenguinRandomHouse.jpg Star by Star: Star Wars Legends (The New Jedi Order) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link) (Paperback)
  12. PenguinRandomHouse.jpg Star by Star: Star Wars Legends (The New Jedi Order) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link) (eBook)

External links[]

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