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"Heirs of the Force": Book 1 in the Young Jedi Knights series

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chapter 1:

After a month at the academy on Yavin 4, Jacen Solo has finally got his room exactly the way he wants it. Jacen has one wall filled with cages for the pets he’s gathered here on the moon. His natural affinity in the Force is toward living things. Animals and other creatures will approach him when they would otherwise ignore someone else.

But, today, he realizes that his crystal snake is missing. The snake isn’t very harmful, but it does give a painful bite that will cause someone to sleep for a couple of hours. He heads down the corridor to his sister, Jaina’s, room.

Jaina Solo is mechanically inclined. She helped create some of the cages in Jacen’s room and is now working on several different inventions to help the school. It takes some persuasion to get her to help him find the snake. They walk down the corridor, hoping to hear someone scream.

When that doesn’t work, they check room after room until coming across the one belonging to their classmate, Raynar Thul. Raynar comes from a wealthy family and likes to dress in fancy robes that really aren’t fitting for Jedi training.

Right now, his fancy robes are getting dusty because he’s lying on the floor. Realizing he must’ve been bitten, Jaina uses the Force to levitate him while Jacen grabs the snake. Raynar’s body lands with a thud that wakes him up. He accuses Jacen of losing one of his pets, but Jacen assures him he knows exactly where all of his animals are.


  • The time is now 23 years ABY. Though many timelines put this series ahead of the Junior Jedi Knights series, it's not always a good fit chronologically. Anakin was 11 in the JJK books. Right now, Jacen and Jaina are 14. In JJK, they were 13.

  • First appearance of Raynar Thul

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chapter 2:

The twins head into the Grand Audience Chamber where Luke Skywalker speaks every day that he is here. Luke goes on many missions now, leaving some of the teaching to the Jedi he has already trained. Their brother, Anakin, is on Coruscant but will be joining them soon.

Their friend, Tenel Ka, from the planet Dathomir, enters the chamber from the window, having climbed the back of the Great Temple . With little patience for lessons and meditations, Tenel Ka focuses on her physical strength. She does not even use the Force to slow her drop from the window.

She sits next to the twins and Jacen tries to impress her with a joke. He asks her what the person who brings a rancor its dinner is called. The appetizer. Tenel Ka doesn’t have much of a sense of humor.

After Raynar rushes in, wearing a new set of colorful robes, Luke begins the lesson. He explains that part of being a Jedi is about action. His own master, Yoda, had told him that there is no try.

Raynar interrupts to ask what that means. After all, Luke cannot have succeeded at everything he tried. Luke explains that is true. But one sometimes succeeds at something they didn’t intend to do. He believes Jedi must focus on what they have accomplished, rather than what they have failed to do.

Luke tells them the story of one of his former students. The Empire had tried to sneak potential Force users in here to spy on him, but Luke had caught the first few. Brakiss, however, was different. Luke knew the minute he saw him that he was an Imperial spy, but he’d also sensed that Brakiss was deeply wounded inside. He had a lot of potential that Luke thought could be converted for good.

Over time, Brakiss seemed to soften, but, after an illusory quest intended to reveal his innermost being, the student cracked and left the school, taking everything Luke taught him. Luke believes he went straight to the Empire.

Though he failed to make Brakiss a Jedi, he does not focus on that. He does remind himself that Brakiss was taught compassion and was forced to look inward at himself. The final task is no longer Luke’s. Brakiss has the choice.

Luke can give them the skills to make their own choices, but he cannot make those choices for them.

An alarm sounds. Luke tells them there’s trouble on the landing pad. He dismisses the class, telling them to practice their skills.


  • First appearance of Tenel Ka.

  • I don’t suppose anyone recognized that Luke’s lesson to Raynar really didn’t have anything to do with “There is no try”. In the context of the original lesson from Yoda, the statement wasn’t about pulling out what you succeeded at even if while not accomplishing what you set out to do.

  • Brakiss was one of Luke’s original students, appearing in I, Jedi, then as one of the villains in The New Rebellion. However, Luke knows for a fact that Brakiss went back to the Empire, cut his ties and then went to work for Kueller before focusing on his droid factory.

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chapter 3:

The students have other ideas. Most of them crowd the staircases and turbolifts to get outside to watch. Jacen, Jaina and Tenel Ka climb out the window, up the side of the pyramid and down the other side.

They spot the problem. The Lightning Rod, a supply ship piloted by old Peckhum, has landed in the clearing, but Peckhum has been confronted by a huge creature. The three students jump down, prepared to fight, but Luke Skywalker walks calmly up to the creature with no weapons in sight.

Peckhum takes the opportunity to dive into his ship, emerging shortly thereafter with a blaster rifle. Luke uses the Force to pull the weapon from his hand, explaining the creature is frightened and confused. It doesn’t know where it is or who they are.

He then talks to the beast and tells it there’s nothing here for it and it should leave. The huge mass turns and walks back into the jungle.

Luke has Jacen, Jaina and Tenel Ka help Peckhum unload his supplies. He also reveals that they will have a visitor tomorrow. Their father and Chewbacca are bringing a new Jedi candidate here in the Millennium Falcon.


  • Ah, we remember the useful old Peckhum, don’t we? He appeared in several of the JJK books.

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chapter 4:
Having spent most of the night making Jaina’s room presentable, the twins are tired but eager to see their father.
While waiting for the Falcon to land, Jacen asks if Jaina knows why TIE fighters scream in space. Jaina starts to give the right answer before Jacen tells her it’s because they miss their mothership.
Heartily greeting Han and Chewie when they land, the twins ask what brings him here. Han admits he’s helping Lando Calrissian set up a Corusca gem mining operation on the planet Yavin. When Luke found out they were headed this way, he asked if they would stop by Kashyyyk and pick up a new Jedi student.
He introduces them to Chewie’s nephew, Lowbacca. The two Wookiees head off to meet with Luke, while Han hands his children holos recorded by their mother and brother. He’s also brought each of them a gift. Jacen gets flowers to feed his stump lizard and Jaina gets an old hyperdrive unit in need of repair.
  • Did Lando give up on the underwater mining operation he was running most recently?
  • The twins asked Han what he was doing here, yet Luke had already told them he was bringing a new student.
  • Han says Anakin cannot wait to come here himself, despite the fact that, if he was here at age 11, he already has been.
  • Lowbacca actually made his first appearance in Rebel Dawn.

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chapter 5:
The twins give Lowbacca a tour of the academy and tell him about the general history of the moon. It turns out that Lowbacca really enjoys working with computers which puts him more within Jaina’s interests than Jacen’s. Han explains that he would prefer to be called Lowie instead.
They are concerned about not being able to understand him. Han pulls out a Miniaturized Translator Droid, called Em Teedee. Chewie andPO put him together. He is fluent in six forms of communication, but largely translates for Lowie.
At the mid-day meal, Jacen tries to think of a question to ask Lowie. He doesn’t want to ask anything stupid or that requires only a short answer. He already knows that Lowie is 19 years old.
Tenel Ka appears and they introduce her to Lowie. Em Teedee misses his first opportunity to translate, but makes up for it by reworking Lowie’s words into a more poetic version.
When Raynar comes to take back the juice jug, Jacen spots his crystal snake again. Not wanting to cause trouble, Jacen tries to grab the snake. Raynar screams, Jacen tackles him, food starts falling and the others, not knowing exactly what’s going on, begin a huge food fight.
It’s stopped by Luke who asks them if this is the best use of their powers. Jacen thinks he might have seen a smile on his uncle’s face, though.
  • Since the time is 23 years ABY, Lowie must be older than 19 years old. Rebel Dawn was around 23 years ago, not 19. Of course, I suppose Wookiees could age differently.

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chapter 6:

Jacen, Jaina and Lowie help do the preflight checks on the Millennium Falcon before Han and Chewie leave. Lowie isn’t sure he’ll get used to life on this moon or with dealing with humans as well as his uncle does.

After checking the navigation computer, Lowie goes back to help Chewie. There he finds the components to a T-23 Skyhopper that Chewie is letting him take as a gift if he can assemble it.

After the Falcon leaves, the three friends work on putting together the ship which Lowie then takes out for its first ride. During the afternoon, he spots a glint reflecting, but doesn’t have macrobinoculars to see that far out. He makes a note of where he saw the glint.


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chapter 7:

Jacen and Jaina are concerned when Lowie doesn’t return for the evening meal. He arrives shortly after Master Skywalker has them gather for an important announcement.

Luke explains that he’s been called away on pressing matters. In his absence, Tionne will be taking over the lessons. She knows them just as well as he does and has a wealth of history to share.

Tionne takes over and shares the ballad of Master Vodo-Siosk Baas.

Afterwards, Lowie, via Em Teedee, shares with his friends the news of the strange glint in the jungle. They all decide it should be investigated.

The next morning, Tionne sings them another song and then tells them the story of a girl who thought she could swim based on simply watching others. Because she’d had no practice, she nearly drowned and had to be rescued. A fisherwoman took her into shallow waters to teach her to swim.

The point is that they must practice the lessons they’ve learned. She wants them to practice lifting objects with the Force, starting with just a leaf. Raynar thinks that’s an assignment for a child.

Tionne answers that there are many ways to practice their skills. This is one way, although it is not the only way. She thinks they will learn more than just lifting a leaf if they try it her way.

The twins, Tenel Ka and Lowie determine that the jungle is great place to practice.


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chapter 8:

They take the skyhopper into the jungle to where Lowie spotted the strange light. He offers to climb the huge Massassi tree in the vicinity while the rest of them explore the ground.

Lowie reports that it looks like a solar panel of some kind. The rest of them agree to spread out within their line of sight to find other pieces. Jacen finds a buckle that looks like it came from crash webbing. Within a short time, Em Teedee calls to them that Lowie has found more. Pushing their way through the trees, they find the remains of a crashed Imperial TIE Fighter.


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chapter 9:

The twins speculate the ship must have crashed a couple of decades ago during the Battle of Yavin. Jaina thinks it would be a good idea to fix the ship.

What they do not realize is that the pilot of the crash survived and has lived in the jungle all this time. He emerges after the skyhopper and its passengers leave. He had hidden the ship, but now that it’s been discovered, he will have to figure out what kind of damage the Rebel spies have done to it.


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chapter 10:
Tionne increases their challenges for lifting each day. The four friends incorporate those assignments as they work on the ship. Jaina really wants a ship of her own to fly and thinks this TIE might work. It also serves to help them bond as a team.
Jacen tells Tenel Ka that a droid laughing its head off makes the sound ha-ha-ha…thump. Jaina looks over the schematics of a TIE Fighter downloaded to a datapad and determines what computer components they will need. Since Tionne’s assignment for today is cooperative lifting with one or more students, they decide to practice getting the solar panel out of the tree.
Jaina gets the idea to install the hyperdrive unit her father gave her into this ship.
While the others work on the ship, Jacen captures another crystal snake and then finds an Imperial insignia. He shows the others and then needles Jaina to make him a cage for his snakes that they cannot escape from.
He had assumed the pilot had been thrown free of the crash, but it’s likely he’s dead. There are no bones after all this time. Any left would have been grabbed by scavengers.
Jacen puts the second snake into the cargo compartment for safekeeping, then follows a trail through the jungle. By a stream, he finds a dam built by some creature, then sees a crude shelter against a huge Massassi tree. The bottom third has been hollowed out to form a man-size cave. There is equipment there and food caches.
There’s also the helmet of an Imperial TIE pilot. He finds a fire pit outside that is still warm. He runs back to the crash site to tell his friends that the pilot is still alive. When he does, the man steps out with an old blaster and tells them they are his prisoners.
  • I wonder how powered-up that blaster is after 20 years in the jungle?
  • Also, this jungle has had Jedi students wandering around it for over ten years. I suppose it’s possible they never encountered the pilot in all that time.

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chapter 11:
Tenel Ka takes the split second that the TIE pilot turns his attention from her to yell at the others to run and takes off. After only a few seconds, she has to dodge blasterfire but evades it as she heads deeper into the jungle.
Lowbacca had jumped into the nearest tree, climbing higher and higher. He hopes Tenel Ka got away, but Jacen and Jaina aren’t used to running through the wilderness. Climbing to where he left the skyhopper, he jumps into the ship. Em Teedee thinks he should return to the academy to get reinforcement. Lowie wants to do something now to help his friends.
The droid reminds him that this ship has no weapons and that the TIE pilot is a professional fighter. Lowie knows he must help them and heads back to the clearing.
Jacen and Jaina had tried to run, but the bulk of the crash is behind them and it slows them down. When the pilot shoots at them, they stop and raise their hands. They try to use the Force to persuade him to give up the blaster and to pull it from his hands. His indoctrination is too thorough, however. He tells them to give up the Jedi tricks or he’ll kill them.
Lowie’s skyhopper returns and Jaina can only use the Force to move the pilot’s blaster arm slightly off so that he doesn’t get off a direct shot at the ship. It’s enough that he does damage it. Lowie regains altitude and has to fly off.
  • If this pilot has been on the moon for over 20 years, how does he recognize what the twins tried to do as Jedi tricks? He probably had no exposure to Jedi prior to crashing. Unless he’s aware of the school and what they teach here…

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chapter 12:
Lowie flies the ship as well as he can before the engine dies and he is forced to crash. He leaves the wreck and begins to climb in order to get back to the academy quickly. He doesn’t notice the clip holding Em Teedee breaks and the little droid falls into the jungle below.
He races through the night, remembering the grueling Rite of Passage he’d endured on Kashyyyk, before reaching the Academy, exhausted. Tionne reaches him and asks what has happened. He cannot make her understand, however, because he realizes now that Em Teedee is gone.
chapter 13:
Tenel Ka stops to make shelter for the night. She builds a small fire and eats. Over the camplight, she muses how she could have called a servant to bring her food if she were at home.
She is the daughter of Prince Isolder and Teneniel Djo of Hapes. She’s never known want, except by choice. Her father had told her about his days working for pirates. He’d learned much about leadership then. Her mother is pleased that her daughter spends months with the Singing Mountain Clan of Dathomir, learning the ways of her people, too. Tenel Ka enjoys the time spent away from the royal court of Hapes, if only to annoy her grandmother.
But she hadn’t wanted special treatment here. No one but Master Skywalker knows she is a princess of Hapes, not even Jacen and Jaina.
Her thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of two-headed reptiles. She gets a gash in her leg when one of them bites her. She dives into a nearby cave and they follow her.
  • I’m sure we remember Prince Isolder and Teneniel Djo from The Courtship of Princess Leia. That book took place 8 years ABY, so Tenel Ka is probably about 14 right now.

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chapter 14:
The pilot marches the twins back to his camp where he binds them with vines and has them sit for a long period of time. He’d worked hard to make this a place to live, despite his injured arm which hangs toward his chest.
After a long while, he gives them food. They ask his name, but he can only repeat his service number. Finally, he remembers his name was Qorl. Qorl was a TIE Fighter pilot who’d served on the Death Star. They came here to destroy the Rebel base, but he’d gotten hit and spun out of control.
He’d reported his status and was told to try to land as best he could and wait for rescue. The rescue never came. After the Death Star exploded, debris rained down for weeks afterwards. He broke bones in his left arm that haven’t healed well.
He still believes that the Rebel base is here. The twins try to explain to him that the Rebel base is gone and that the temple is a school now. They offer to take him there to prove it and to get him some real medicare care. He doesn’t believe them.
His Imperial indoctrination is so complete that he can only spout the propaganda he’d be given decades ago. He wants Jaina to fix the ship so he can return to the Empire a hero.
  • At first, the twins referred to the facility here as a school. Then they start referring to it as a Jedi academy. Since they are dealing with a brainwashed Imperial pilot who still thinks he should be fighting a war against Rebels, perhaps telling him it is a school for Jedi was not a smart move. On the other hand, he seemed to know what a Jedi was earlier, so I suppose we could assume that Qorl has figured out Jedi are here on the moon.
  • BTW, the Empire really did a number on Qorl. I don’t remember the TIE Fighter pilots in Death Star or the 151st being so lacking in individuality.

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chapter 15:

Em Teedee knew that Lowbacca had been making a mistake to go lumbering through the trees like that. Now the droid is hanging. He tries calling for help, but only attracts the attention of woolamanders.

The creatures grab him, chase each other and fight over which one gets him. He shuts himself down to spare himself finding out what will happen to him. Later, he reactivates himself to find he’s being clutched by a young sleeping one. He decides to enjoy the peace and quiet for now.


chapter 16:

Qorl unties them and sets them both to work on the ship, demanding they finish it today. They aren’t convinced they can, but he is adamant. Jaina makes up a bunch of stuff in the hopes of delaying him, but they both realize they are not going to be able to fool him.

During the day, they try to coax information from him, such as whether or not he has a family. He recognizes their stalling tactics and doesn’t take the bait.

While working on a minor system, Jacen finds something he thinks may help them. When Qorl yells for him to stay in sight, he returns. Qorl tells them if they can’t go faster, he’ll encourage Jaina by shooting her brother and letting her fix it herself.

Jaina tells him that the ship is ready to fly. They’ve done all they can do.


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chapter 17:
No one at the Jedi academy has any idea what Lowbacca is trying to say. He’s frustrated at how to communicate to them the Imperial pilot, the twins, Tenel Ka and losing Em Teedee. Finally, he gets an idea.
Lowie runs to the communications room and signals the Millennium Falcon which is still docked at Calrissian’s mining station on Yavin. He explains the situation to Han and Chewie. Han tells Tionne what is going on and then prepares to return to the moon to help find the others.
The Falcon lands with weapons borrowed from Lando. Han tells Tionne that her priority is to protect the other students. He and Chewie will handle the pilot.
  • No other translator droids at the Temple? No translation programs? No Basic-Shyriwook Dictionaries?

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chapter 18:

It turns out that Jaina’s installing the hyperdrive unit into the ship wasn’t a good idea.

Qorl dons his helmet and prepares to leave. He tells the twins they’ve been helpful to him, so he’s going to leave them here in the jungle. It shouldn’t take them twenty years to get home.

He assures them they are lucky to be out here anyway. Over their protests that the temple is just a school now, he says he’s going to destroy the Rebel base. Then takes off in the fighter.


chapter 19:

Tenel Ka runs through the jungle, trying to evade the reptiles and winged creatures following her. She runs into a nest of woolamanders. That disruption wakes the creatures and the predators go after them instead.

She hears Em Teedee fussing about damaging him and grabs him. He tells her what happened. She asks him to keep watch while she sleeps. She has to wait until morning to climb a tree and figure out where they are.

Em Teedee tells her he does have directional capabilities.

He leads her through the jungle until she reaches the Academy landing pad and recognizes the Millennium Falcon. She tries to call to Han Solo and Chewbacca, but the whine of a TIE fighter drowns her out.

The crew of the Falcon boards the ship and Em Teedee contacts it to ask for them to allow the two of them aboard.

The ramp lowers and Tenel Ka runs up, collapses on the deck of the ship, and it takes off.


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chapter 20:

Qorl relishes flying again after so many years. He flies toward the Rebel base, momentarily distracted by the freighter at the landing pad and the figures moving inside of it. The Rebels likely keep a strong force here. He will demolish most of them in this surprise attack and worry about the freighter later.

The temple in his sights, Qorl fires the lasers and nothing happens. He bangs on the instrumentation, hoping to get them working again. Then he searches around on his seat for something that might help him.

Movement catches his eye. He recognizes a crystal snake. It lunges at him, but cannot get its fangs through his gauntlet. He grabs it and tosses it out of the ship. The twins must have done something to the ship.

The light freighter is pursuing him now, so the only choice is to try to escape.

Jacen and Jaina try to sense through the Force what is happening at the academy, but can’t get much. Qorl didn’t recognize that Jaina hadn’t fixed the weapons system, but she had tampered with the readouts so they would show as normal.

Jacen thinks Qorl might get distracted by the snake he’d left in the ship and wonders what happened to it. For now, they decide to head back to the school.


chapter 21:

The Falcon pursues the TIE as Tenel Ka hands Em Teedee back to Lowbacca. Han doesn’t understand why the ship isn’t firing, so he gets on the comm. and tells the pilot that he won’t be allowed to leave until he reveals what he did to the two students he captured.

Han tries a tractor beam lock but the TIE maneuvers quickly enough that only a partial lock holds and the ship breaks free. Frustrated, Han yells that he wants to know what happened to his kids.

The pilot explains they were left unharmed in the jungle, but they may not be safe for long. Tenel Ka warns Han that this is a trick to get him to break off pursuit. They decide to try to hit the TIE and wound it before it can get away.

Unfortunately, the ship jumps to hyperspace, something it shouldn’t have been able to do, before they can fire.

Lowbacca and Tenel Ka confirm that Jaina had installed a hyperdrive unit into the ship. Their quarry gone, Han decides to head back down to find them.


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chapter 22:

Jacen and Jaina scrounge what they can from the camp and climb up the trees to scout out where they are. Jaina uses the flash heater she’d borrowed from Tenel Ka to start a fire of leaves.

The smoke rises up. They soon spot the Millennium Falcon on the way. The ship flies over, the hatch opens and they climb inside.

A few days later, the crashed skyhopper is brought back. Jacen, Jaina and Lowbacca work on repairing it. Luke walks out and mentions he’d had his own skyhopper when he was young and offers to help.

After speaking briefly with Tenel Ka, he returns and helps them. Jacen wonders if Qorl made it. Jaina thinks that, once he gets where he’s going, he might wish he’d stayed here.

Luke congratulates them all on using their skills to survive and asks if they are sure they want to be Jedi Knights. They are all enthusiastic in their response.


End of Book 1

  • This was a good start to the series, establishing Jacen and Jaina as individuals with their own interests, giving them some age-appropriate friends and getting them away from their parents, somewhat. I still think Luke runs his school waaaay too loosely.

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