They appeared without warning from beyond the edge of galactic space; a warrior race called the Yuuzhan Vong, armed with surprise, treachery, and a bizarre organic technology that proved a match--too often more than a match--for the New Republic and its allies. Even the Jedi, under the leadership of Luke Skywalker, found themselves thrown on the defensive, deprived of their greatest strength. For somehow, inexplicably, the Yuuzhan Vong seemed to be utterly devoid of the Force.

        The first strike caught the New Republic unawares, as it struggled to deal with rebellion sown by Yuuzhan Vong spy Nom Anor and his agents. With the New Republic force thus occupied, the alien advance fleet launched their first assault, which destroyed several worlds and killed countless beings--among them the Wookiee Chewbacca, loyal friend and partner to Han Solo.

        During a brave attempt to contact and make peace with the enemy, Senator Elegos A'Kla was murdered by Yuuzhan Vong commander Shedao Shai, who delivered the body to Elegos' close friend, Jedi Corran Horn. Horn then challenged Shai to a duel--the prize being the planet Ithor. Horn bested Shai, but the Yuuzhan Vong destroyed Ithor nonetheless.

        The New Republic government unraveled a little more with each setback. Soon the Jedi Knights splintered under the strain. Chafing under what some perceived as Luke's excessive caution, a renegade group of Jedi under the leadership of Kyp Durron advocated using every available resource to defeat the Yuuzhan Vong--including unbridled aggression, which could lead only to the dark side. The philosophical dispute drove a wedge between the Solo brothers, Jacen and Anakin, while sister Jaina focused instead on her new role as a pilot with the elite Rogue Squadron.

        Consumed with guilt for failing to save Chewbacca, Han Solo turned away from his family, seeking expiation in action--and foiled a Yuuzhan Vong plot to eliminate the Jedi. Han returned with what seemed to be an antidote to the debilitating illness Mara Jade Skywalker endured. But not even that victory could erase the loss of his dearest friend--or mend his marriage to Leia.

        Leia, too, was beset with guilt. By disregarding a vision of the future, Leia feared she had condemned the Hapan fleet to ruin at Fondor. A pitched battle at the shipyards was shattered by a weapon of uncontrollable destructive power fired from Centerpoint Station--a weapon armed by her younger son, Anakin.

        Now, as the Yuuzhan Vong tighten their noose and press inward toward Coruscant and victory, Luke and Mara, Han and Leia and their children, as well as the New Republic itself, must find the balance they have lost--before there is nothing left to lose.