Space pirates cause mayhem in exclusive excerpt from ‘Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage’

Earlier this year, Lucasfilm and Disney announced a bold new era of “Star Wars” tales called “The High Republic.” This special publishing initiative encompasses adult, middle-grade and young adult prose fiction, including new comic books, and presents an interconnected web of stories set 200 years before the events of “The Phantom Menace” when Jedi Knights policed the galaxy.

Bestselling author Justina Ireland’s “Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage” (Disney-Lucasfilm Press) is one of the first books off the project’s launch pad and arrives on Jan. 5, 2021 — and we’re lighting the fuse on a sneak peek inside.

Ireland is quite at home in the “Star Wars” universe, having written “Star Wars: Spark of the Resistance,” and now she lends her storytelling talents to a thrilling, 240-page middle-grade adventure, as teen Jedi named Vernestra Rwoh escorts an ambassador’s son, a young padawan, and a tech whiz kid into the dangers of a jungle moon after their space cruiser explodes.

Related: Keeve begins her Jedi trials in first look at Marvel’s ‘Star Wars: The High Republic #1’ 

“This excerpt features our local baddies, the Nihil,” Ireland told Space.com. “These are ruthless space pirates with no code of honor, their only belief is a sort of hedonistic do what you will, which predictably will lead them to run up against just about every bastion of order that exists in the galaxy. Here we get to spend time with a couple of Nihil, which is fun as long as you aren’t on the receiving end of their mayhem.

“Being able to build out a new era within ‘Star Wars’ has been amazing and difficult. There is so much lore to pick from, and the key to ‘Star Wars’ has always been the way it felt lived in, deep and enduring. Creating new characters to occupy that world is both daunting and highly satisfying. It’s honestly the best job in the world.”

Now enjoy an exclusive chapter preview for “Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage,” landing on Jan. 5, 2021.

Excerpt from “Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage” Chapter 2

Klinith grabbed both her blaster and her knives, because in stealthy situations knives were sometimes the better option, placing them in her toolbox. Gwishi grabbed his own blaster plus his face mask and a canister of ovax gas, which he placed into his tool kit along with the rest of his gear. The gas would be necessary to incapacitate the mechanics on board the Steady Wing, a luxury liner they had followed to Port Haileap, a remote outpost on the edge of the Dalnan sector.

The plan was simple. They’d been told to board the Steady Wing and sabotage it so that no one on board was left alive. The ship was scheduled to pick up someone important to the Republic on Haileap, and the Nihil needed to let the Republic know they were not welcome in this part of the galaxy. 

Not now,