The first excerpt for Beth Revis’ The Princess and the Scoundrel has been released. Hence it’s title, the upcoming novel sees Han and Leia get married shortly after the Battle of Endor. The newlyweds go on to have their honeymoon aboard the Halcyon where the lingering remnants of the Empire attempt to crash the party as they seek to remain the true power in the galaxy.
Courtesy of StarWars.com, the first excerpt sees the aftermath of the battle where Luke Skywalker and Leia catch up once the dust has settled. They reflect on the realities of the war with the Empire and what it means for the rest of the galaxy. The conversation eventually shifts to a conversation on the other reality that they are children of Darth Vader, with Luke still thinking heavily about his father’s last words.
Here is a piece of the excerpt:
The fires had all died down, smoke trailing in the night sky, dissipating long before it could reach any of the countless glittering stars twinkling through the tree canopy. Leia’s hand trailed over the white and black helmets of the stormtroopers and Imperial fighters that the Ewoks had turned into an impromptu drum set. She had laughed and danced along with everyone else when the fires were bright and the drinks had flowed freely.
But now her hand lingered over the scratches and dents on a previously gleaming-white helmet.
A person, a living being, had been under this helmet.
Someone who would have shot to kill—any rebel, of course, but Leia knew that her death would have been the highlight of a stormtrooper’s career. Someone shot this person before they could shoot her. And then the dead trooper’s helmet had been plucked from their head and banged on like a drum.
She wondered who the trooper had been. Someone indoctrinated as a child, perhaps? That happened often enough. Someone from an occupied world, pressed into service? Had this stormtrooper chosen the path that led to their death and derision on a forest moon, or had they simply been unlucky?
Her fingers slid over the scuffed surface of the helmet, but her hand froze before she touched the next one.
It wasn’t his helmet, she knew. The night made the gray-green of the AT-ST operator’s helmet appear darker than it was, and the shape was similar but still distinctly different.
A hand fell on Leia’s left shoulder, fingers firm, pulling her back. Leia sucked in a harsh breath—the touch was too familiar. The hand pulled her back with the same pressure as before, the same spacing of fingers, one painfully on her clavicle, and when she shuddered at the touch, the same soft, almost gentle rub of a thumb against her shoulder blade.
“It’s just me,” Luke’s voice said, concern etched on his face when she jerked away and turned toward him.
Just Luke. Her brother.
Darth Vader’s son.
“You smell like…”
“Smoke?” Luke guessed. “We all do.” He attempted a smile, but Leia didn’t return it. Because the scent that clung to Luke’s black tunic was not the same as the smoke that still lingered throughout the Ewok village of Bright Tree. The stench of it made her sick to her stomach — that, and the idea that while she’d danced, he had gone to give Darth Vader a funeral pyre.
Still, when she looked in his eyes, she saw only Luke. And he was sad.
“The whole galaxy celebrated while you mourned,” Leia said softly.
Luke shook his head. “I wasn’t the only one mourning.”
Leia glanced at the stormtrooper’s helmet. “No, I suppose not.”
“How are you?” Luke’s voice was sincere, but Leia wasn’t sure how to answer him. This was supposed to be a triumph, but all she really felt was confused. Not just about what Luke had told her about her lineage — their connection was something she’d felt for some time, and it had been easy to accept Luke as her brother. She would not think about what that meant of her biological father. No — it wasn’t just that.
“It’s the Force, isn’t it?” Luke asked.
Leia nodded. She had told Luke that she didn’t — couldn’t — understand the power he had, but he seemed eerily calm and confident that she could actually wield the Force as he did. Leia might not have any real experience with the Force, but there was no denying the power Luke had… the power she felt, too, like a fluttering of flitterfly wings just on the edge of her consciousness. Waiting for her to seize it.
“He told me to tell you –” Luke started, but Leia’s head whipped up, eyes fierce as she glared at him.
“Don’t,” she warned.
“They were his last words. He wanted me to tell you –”
“I don’t care.”
“He was good,” Luke insisted. “There was still good in him, after all…”
You can check out the rest of the excerpt on StarWars.com. The Princess and the Scoundrel releases on August 16th and is available for pre-order now.