Princess Leia fights alone in a brand new Star Wars bookS

As readers of the recent Brian Wood Star Wars comics know, Princess Leia is no pushover. And now she's getting her own standalone novel — to be followed by solo adventure novels starring Luke and Han. We've got an exclusive excerpt, right here.

Razor's Edge: Empire and Rebellion by Martha Wells is out today, and here's what it's about:

Times are desperate for the Rebel Alliance. Harassment by the Empire and a shortage of vital supplies are hindering completion of a new secret base on the ice planet Hoth. So when Mid Rim merchants offer much-needed materials for sale, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo lead an Alliance delegation to negotiate a deal.

But when treachery forces the rebel ship to flee into territory controlled by pirates, Leia makes a shocking discovery: the fierce marauders come from Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan, recently destroyed by the Death Star. These refugees have turned to pillaging and plundering to survive—and they are in debt to a pirate armada, which will gladly ransom the princess to the vengeful Empire . . . if they find out her true identity.

Struggling with intense feelings of guilt, loyalty, and betrayal, Leia is determined to help her wayward kinspeople, even as Imperial forces are closing in on her own crippled ship. Trapped between lethal cutthroats and brutal oppressors, Leia and Han, along with Luke, Chewbacca, and a battle-ready crew, must defy death—or embrace it—to keep the rebellion alive.

While we're celebrating Star Wars books, here's your reminder that the second annual Star Wars Reads Day is Oct. 5, at a bookstore or library near you.

And here's an exclusive excerpt, just for you, featuring some great Han and Leia banter:


Leia made her way through the bay until she found Han; he was on the floor and hanging halfway down into an access hatch, using a sensor to check various components in the coolant systems and swearing a lot at the results. She crouched beside him.

“How is it going?”

Han rolled over and propped himself up on a cross brace. “How does it look?”

“Terrible,” Leia admitted, keeping her voice low.

“Good guess, Your Worship.”

Oh, good, he’s calling me that again, Leia thought sourly. She knew better than to react to it by now. Her friendship with Han had been somewhat more fraught than the easy camaraderie she had with Luke Skywalker. Leia knew Han still had mixed feelings about working with the Rebel Alliance, and while he often expressed those feelings in the most aggravating way possible, she wasn’t unsympathetic. Han was as reticent about his past as it was possible to be and still communicate with other beings, but it was obvious that he had had a hard scrabble to survive at times and was fairly bristling with trust issues. Leia had grown up with the Rebel Alliance and bent most of her life and will toward it, but she wasn’t so narrow that she couldn’t see Han’s perspective. She just felt compelled to argue with it a lot.

She held up the datapad so he could see the screen. “Have you ever heard of Arnot Station?”

“No.” Han frowned at the readout. “What is it?”

“It’s the location your friend Davit sent us for the meeting. Fortunately, it’s close enough to reach, even with our damaged hyperdrive.”

“He’s not my friend.” Han considered the limited information on the station. “That’s pirate territory.”

Leia had been thinking about that. “It’s odd, though. The shipping in this area is mostly agricultural, or mineral, or supplies for subsistence settlements. Not much in the way of luxury goods or shipments of currency. What’s attracting the pirates here?”

“Could be a lot of things,” Han said. Before Leia could make a frustrated comment, or give in to the urge to smack him with the datapad, he added more helpfully, “But this Arnot Station looks legit. Lots of small and medium freighter traffic, a couple of bigger local shipping lines, no Imperials. Davit’s merchants must have picked it. It’s probably where they do most of their business.”

“Good.” Leia sat back. “Maybe we’re due a safe port.”

Han’s expression was highly skeptical. “Yeah, the universe doesn’t work like that.”

That, Leia already knew. “I’m going to send a secure transmission directly to General Madine to report our situation. I’d like to ask Chewbacca to meet us at this station so we can use the Falcon as our escort ship on the way back to the fleet.”

Han eyed her suspiciously. “Why the Falcon?”

“It’s the only ship we might have immediate access to that has the armament to act as an escort. And I don’t want to take a chance on anyone else finding out where we are, and repeating it to the wrong person.” Leia had already drawn her own conclusion; she wanted to see if Han agreed. “Someone told the Imperials where we were coming out of hyperspace. Presumably it wasn’t Davit, since he already knew our final destination, and if he was setting a trap for us he could have done it at the meeting.”

“I was wondering if you’d noticed that.” Han absently tapped the sensor against his palm.

“Yes, sometimes a lifetime of training in concealing things from the Empire does actually come in handy.” She pushed to her feet with a groan. Now that the effects of adrenaline had had a chance to fade, she was starting to feel every bruise and strain. “I hope Chewbacca can get here quickly. I need backup I can trust.” She looked down in time to catch an expression flit across Han’s face. It was self-conscious and oddly vulnerable, and hard to define. Then she realized he had been a little taken aback by her casual remark about trust.

He caught her looking at him and retreated down into the access hatch, muttering, “Yeah, well, just remember Chewie and I don’t come cheap.”

“I know you don’t come cheap; do you have any idea how much a brand-new Isolator costs?” For setting up the meeting with Davit and coming along on the trip, Leia had arranged payment for Han in the form of a Vintredi Apex Isolator. The Apex Isolators were sensor jammers, newly upgraded models, and a shipping contractor who had family members in the Alliance had managed to send them an entire cargo hold full. Chewbacca was now back on the Independence, installing the Isolator in the Millennium Falcon. The devices were meant for Alliance transports, but the Falcon went on enough missions to justify receiving one. Leia would never forget the downright misty look Han had gotten when the packing cases had been unloaded from the Sullustan supply transport.

“I’ll run a tab for you!” Han said to her retreating back.

Leia went back to her command terminal in the compartment near the crew cabins to record her coded message to Madine. Then she called auxiliary control to send Ilen the coordinates for Arnot Station and to tell him to make the next jump as soon as the Gamble was able.

Leia hit the comm for engineering to warn Sorel that the ship would be making another hyperspace jump soon. “This is Leia Organa—”

She heard arguing voices. Someone said, “Sorel, Captain Solo says we should take the dampers offline. That’s going to reduce the safety factor—”

Han’s voice cut through the others. “You’re worried about the safety factor? What’s the safety factor for being blown to hell by an Imperial light corvette? How does that figure in?”

Sorel answered, “Kifar, yes, it’s a problem but Solo’s right, I don’t see how we can keep the drive online without cutting the dampers—”

“Taking the dampers offline is too dangerous,” Kifar objected. “We can get the extra boost from—”

Han interrupted, “That’s not going to—”

Leia rubbed her aching forehead and said, “Engineer Sorel, do I need to come down there?”

All the voices went silent. Leia had meant the question seriously, honestly wanting to know if they needed her down there to arbitrate. But with the last shreds of her patience giving way, perhaps her voice had been a little clipped, or she might have spoken a little too loudly. It wouldn’t be the first time. Whatever, it was getting results. Sorel cleared his throat and said, “Um, no, ma’am. Your Highness.”

“I’ve ordered Ilen to make the jump to Arnot Station once the ship comes out of hyperspace,” Leia told him. “Do you concur with Captain Solo that it’s necessary to take the dampers offline to reach our destination?”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“Then do it.” Leia cut the connection. Just to check, she pulled up some of the readings from the auxiliary control and engineering consoles. All she could see was a summary of the vital systems activity, but it was enough to make her bite her lip in consternation. Han hadn’t been exaggerating. With so many systems operating in the red, she wasn’t sure how the ship had managed to jump to hyperspace, how it was staying in that state without exploding, and why anyone seemed confident that it could actually make a second jump. Maybe they would need the Falcon not as an escort but to evacuate the Gamble’s crew.

When Han knocked on the open hatchway and stepped into the compartment, Leia handed him the data card. “Here’s the message for Madine. Would you send it for me from auxiliary control?”

“Right.” Han took the data card and handed her a packet of meds. “Sarit wants you to take this. It’s for your concussion.”

Leia frowned at him. “He didn’t think I needed anything before.”

“Yeah, well, you were on the all-ship comm when you broke up that fight in engineering, and Sarit reconsidered.”

Leia grimaced. She hadn’t realized she had hit the all-ship comm. She couldn’t afford mistakes at the moment, especially foolish mistakes like that. She tore open the packet and dry-swallowed the two capsules.

“And you need to get some sleep if it’s going to do any good,” Han added.

“Is that your opinion or Sarit’s?” Leia snapped, knowing she was being unfair. She wasn’t pleased with the idea that someone had apparently decided that an intervention was needed and that Han was the best one to approach the monster in its lair.

“The whole crew took a vote.”

Leia made her way through the bay until she found Han; he was on the floor and hanging halfway down into an access hatch, using a sensor to check various components in the coolant systems and swearing a lot at the results. She crouched beside him.

“How is it going?”

Han rolled over and propped himself up on a cross brace. “How does it look?”

“Terrible,” Leia admitted, keeping her voice low.

“Good guess, Your Worship.”

Oh, good, he’s calling me that again, Leia thought sourly. She knew better than to react to it by now. Her friendship with Han had been somewhat more fraught than the easy camaraderie she had with Luke Skywalker. Leia knew Han still had mixed feelings about working with the Rebel Alliance, and while he often expressed those feelings in the most aggravating way possible, she wasn’t unsympathetic. Han was as reticent about his past as it was possible to be and still communicate with other beings, but it was obvious that he had had a hard scrabble to survive at times and was fairly bristling with trust issues. Leia had grown up with the Rebel Alliance and bent most of her life and will toward it, but she wasn’t so narrow that she couldn’t see Han’s perspective. She just felt compelled to argue with it a lot.

She held up the datapad so he could see the screen. “Have you ever heard of Arnot Station?”

“No.” Han frowned at the readout. “What is it?”

“It’s the location your friend Davit sent us for the meeting. Fortunately, it’s close enough to reach, even with our damaged hyperdrive.”

Princess Leia fights alone in a brand new Star Wars book

“He’s not my friend.” Han considered the limited information on the station. “That’s pirate territory.”

Leia had been thinking about that. “It’s odd, though. The shipping in this area is mostly agricultural, or mineral, or supplies for subsistence settlements. Not much in the way of luxury goods or shipments of currency. What’s attracting the pirates here?”

“Could be a lot of things,” Han said. Before Leia could make a frustrated comment, or give in to the urge to smack him with the datapad, he added more helpfully, “But this Arnot Station looks legit. Lots of small and medium freighter traffic, a couple of bigger local shipping lines, no Imperials. Davit’s merchants must have picked it. It’s probably where they do most of their business.”

“Good.” Leia sat back. “Maybe we’re due a safe port.”

Han’s expression was highly skeptical. “Yeah, the universe doesn’t work like that.”

That, Leia already knew. “I’m going to send a secure transmission directly to General Madine to report our situation. I’d like to ask Chewbacca to meet us at this station so we can use the Falcon as our escort ship on the way back to the fleet.”

Han eyed her suspiciously. “Why the Falcon?”

“It’s the only ship we might have immediate access to that has the armament to act as an escort. And I don’t want to take a chance on anyone else finding out where we are, and repeating it to the wrong person.” Leia had already drawn her own conclusion; she wanted to see if Han agreed. “Someone told the Imperials where we were coming out of hyperspace. Presumably it wasn’t Davit, since he already knew our final destination, and if he was setting a trap for us he could have done it at the meeting.”

“I was wondering if you’d noticed that.” Han absently tapped the sensor against his palm.

“Yes, sometimes a lifetime of training in concealing things from the Empire does actually come in handy.” She pushed to her feet with a groan. Now that the effects of adrenaline had had a chance to fade, she was starting to feel every bruise and strain. “I hope Chewbacca can get here quickly. I need backup I can trust.” She looked down in time to catch an expression flit across Han’s face. It was self-conscious and oddly vulnerable, and hard to define. Then she realized he had been a little taken aback by her casual remark about trust.

He caught her looking at him and retreated down into the access hatch, muttering, “Yeah, well, just remember Chewie and I don’t come cheap.”

“I know you don’t come cheap; do you have any idea how much a brand-new Isolator costs?” For setting up the meeting with Davit and coming along on the trip, Leia had arranged payment for Han in the form of a Vintredi Apex Isolator. The Apex Isolators were sensor jammers, newly upgraded models, and a shipping contractor who had family members in the Alliance had managed to send them an entire cargo hold full. Chewbacca was now back on the Independence, installing the Isolator in the Millennium Falcon. The devices were meant for Alliance transports, but the Falcon went on enough missions to justify receiving one. Leia would never forget the downright misty look Han had gotten when the packing cases had been unloaded from the Sullustan supply transport.

“I’ll run a tab for you!” Han said to her retreating back.

From the book STAR WARS: EMPIRE AND REBELLION: RAZOR'S EDGE by Martha Wells. Copyright (c) 2013 by Lucasfilm. Reprinted by arrangement with Del Rey, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.