Light of the Jedi is an exciting entry into the Star Wars canon, but if you don’t have time to read it, read on for a summary of what happens.
Below is a detailed summary of what happens in the novel.
Light of the Jedi opens with the words “All is well,” which foreshadows the coming disaster of the Legacy Run, a large ship designed for passengers and cargo traveling through hyperspace toward the Outer Rim. When an unexpected obstacle appears ahead of it in hyperspace, the ship’s captain, Hedda Casset, tries to maneuver the ship out of the way of a collision to save the lives of her passengers. The ship is old, however, and can’t take the pressure. Just before it begins to break apart, Casset is able to seal the passenger compartments in hopes of saving some lives before dying, not knowing if she was able to save anyone.
So begins a series of events that threaten to destroy several worlds in the galaxy about to be hit by pieces of debris from the Legacy Run. The immediate threat appears in the skies surrounding the Hetzal System, where several lives are taken by shrapnel flying out of hyperspace from the Legacy Run. The Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice, are called upon to try to save as many lives as possible amidst chaos and terror, led by Jedi Master Avar Kriss. Jedi Padawan Bell Zettifar and his master Loden Greatstorm navigate the panic felt by the citizens of Hetzal as they try to access ships to get off the planet, using their skills with a lightsaber to keep marauders from taking advantage of the disadvantaged in the system.
As Republic officers plan to shoot the Emergences out of the sky, a Wookie Jedi Padawan named Burryaga Agaburry, whose Force ability allows him to sense the emotions of others, senses that a large piece of debris contains living passengers. The Jedi and expert husband and wife pilot team Joss and Pika Adren launch an impossible rescue attempt to slow the fast-moving passenger compartment and pull it from the sky without losing lives with great success. When a large piece of debris headed for the sun is discovered to contain highly explosive Tibanna gas, the Jedi, united by Avar Kriss’ unique Force ability, band together to use the Force to move the object out of the path of the sun, preventing galaxy-wide destruction.
Though the Hetzal System is saved, Emergences from the Legacy Run continue to threaten other worlds across the galaxy, forcing Republic Chancellor Lina Soh to close the hyperspace lanes until a reason for the Legacy’s Run destruction is discovered. The Starlight Beacon, an important project designed to unite the worlds of the Outer Rim with the Core World, is scheduled to open soon, and the Jedi and Republic officers are tasked with finding the truth about the Legacy Run so the station can open on time.
Meanwhile, unknown to the Republic and the Jedi, a new threat known as the Nihil is wreaking havoc across pockets of the galaxy. The Nihil are ruthless space pirates who take without remorse and travel through secret hyperspace pathways. Though not technically led by the Eye of the Nihil, Marchion Ro, Ro wants to bend the Nihil to his purposes, which include punishing the Jedi for something in his past. The Nihil are led by three Tempest Runners, who expect undivided loyalty from those that follow them and ruthlessly punish failure.
On a planet called Elphrona, a family is kidnapped by the Nihil, and the Jedi, included Bell Zettifar and Loden Greatstorm, mount a rescue attempt before the Nihil are able to take the family off world.
Avar Kriss and Jedi Knight Elzar Mann speak with members of the San Tekka, who know hyperspace better than anyone in the galaxy. The San Tekkas assure the Jedi that it is impossible for a collision to happen in hyperspace, but it’s clear that they’re not entirely telling the truth.
Marchion Ro travels through hyperspace with the help of an old Force-sensitive woman named Mari San Tekka, who is able to find the secret hyperspace pathways that Ro supplies to the Nihil, though they have no idea how he has access to them. After a scare on Mari’s life, she tells Ro that she can identify where the Legacy Run Emergences will exit out of hyperspace, giving the Nihil an advantage over the Republic, who have tasked a man named Kevan Tarr, of the Hetzal System, to manufacture a device run by thousands upon thousands of droids to anticipate where the Emergences will appear.
When Kassav, one of the Tempest Runners, tries to take advantage of the planetary system Eriadu by offering to destroy the Emergences he knows are coming, something goes wrong, making him a target of the Republic.
When the Republic begins tracking the Emergences and moving to destroy them, they get into a battle with the Nihil led by Tempest Runner Lourna Dee, which results in a loss of lives, including Jedi Knight Te’Ami. Lourna Dee and her surviving Nihil escape.
With the Nihil exposed as the cause of the Legacy Run disaster, Chancellor Soh is committed to having them brought to justice and calls on the Jedi to help, though they struggle with the idea of the Jedi entering into a military battle.
In light of Kassav’s and Lourna Dee’s failures, Marchion Ro makes an example of Kassav before the whole Nihil assembly and uses the opportunity to reorganize the Nihil under his leadership.
Above Elphrona, the Nihil ship containing the kidnapped family tosses out the youngest of the family, a little girl named Bailen, and Bell, who had previously failed to learn how to jump from high distances and survive, uses the Force to jump from his ship and catch the little girl, landing with her safely on the ground below. Loden Greatstorm continues to chase the Nihil.
Kassav and his Tempest get into a space battle with a Republic cruiser near the Kur Nebula with little chance of escape unless he can get a pathway sent to him by Marchion Ro. He soon realizes Ro led them into a trap, and Ro uses the opportunity to destroy the Republic cruiser and make the Republic believe they’ve destroyed the Nihil, although they’ve really only destroyed Kassav and his Tempest.
Back on Elphrona, Loden Greatstorm is able to catch up to the Nihil and rescue Bailen’s brother, but when he tries to save their father Ottoh, Lourna Dee shows up to intercept them, making them both prisoners of the Nihil.
Lourna Dee discovers that Marchion Ro has been orchestrating every one of their failures to bring the Nihil under his control. She watches as Ro kills Ottoh with the Loden’s lightsaber, and he tells her that he orchestrated the Elphrona kidnapping not to bring the family to him, but a Jedi, because he knew there was a Jedi outpost on Elphrona. “A Jedi is just what I need,” he says.
Chancellor Soh reflects on the events, deciding to open the Starlight Beacon on time, but she considers whether the Nihil threat is actually over.
In No-Space, Marchion Ro rallies the Nihil together, encouraging them with a future of destroying the Republic because of Kassav’s sacrifice in making the Republic believe the threat is over. After, Marchion Ro visits a room with eight cells, seven of which are occupied with prisoners who are tortured by period shocks from his ship’s electrical system. The pain they feel is designed to cut off the eighth prisoner, Loden Greatstorm, from the Force. Marchion Ro reveals that he was behind the Legacy Run and that he has used the Nihil as a tool to get to the Jedi.
At the ceremony celebrating the opening of the Starlight Beacon, Chancellor Soh gives a speech about the space station bringing safety to the Outer Rim. Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann, who has just been named a Jedi Master, walk together as friends. Avar leaves Elzar, and Elzar is plagued by an awful vision of the Jedi screaming and being slaughtered.
The adventure will continue in the second High Republic novel by Cavan Scott, Star Wars: The Rising Storm.