The Unifying Force is the final novel of the New Jedi Order series, written by James Luceno. Its hardcover version was released on November 4, 2003. A CD-ROM was included with the hardcover release, which contained the eBook version of The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime. The paperback included the Star Wars: New Jedi Order Round-Robin Interview.
- ISBN 0345428528; November 4, 2003, Del Rey, 529-page hardcover
- ISBN 0553713701; November 4, 2003, Random House Audio, Abridged CD
- ISBN 0345428536; August 3, 2004, Del Rey, 576-page paperback
- ISBN 8324124276; Amber, 596-page Polish paperback
- ISBN 0099410524; 2004, Arrow Books Ltd., 576-page UK paperback
The Galactic Alliance's hard-won success in combating the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong has proven all too brief—and the tide has turned again to the invader's advantage. The Yuuzhan Vong, having overcome the strategies of the Jedi and their allies, have pushed deeper into the galaxy and conquered more worlds. Coruscant has been remade into the capital of the extragalactic aliens and renamed Yuuzhan'tar. The remaining defenders of the galaxy are struggling to form a united front. Luke, Mara and Jacen are missing in action. Clearly the stage is set for endgame.
While Han and Leia receive the horrifying news that hundreds of high-ranking Alliance prisoners face death in a sacrifice to the alien invader's bloodthirsty gods, Luke and his team try to persuade Zonama Sekot to help in the war effort. Yet as they speak, the Alliance capital world Mon Calamari is under attack.
At the same time, the Jedi's alliances throughout the galaxy are being tested and the chances of an Alliance victory are being jeopardized by rogue factions determined to deploy the lethal Alpha Red that will exterminate the entire Yuuzhan Vong species. Also among the Yuuzhan Vong, there is a threat of revolt by the oppressed lower classes of their society. Oppressed Shamed Ones and high-ranking officials alike fear that their Supreme Overlord Shimrra's actions will provoke the wrath of their gods. Ultimately, for both opposing forces, too much has been sacrificed and too much is at stake. And now, the final battle between the Yuuzhan Vong and the Galactic Alliance.
In the spectacular finale of the New Jedi Order series, Luke, Han, and Leia rally for their last stand against the enemy that threatens not only the galaxy but the Force itself.
The Galactic Alliance's hard-won success in countering the extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong onslaught has proven all too brief—and the tide has turned more to the invaders' advantage. The marauding aliens have pushed deeper into the galaxy in their ruthless quest for domination. The remnants of the resistance are struggling to form a united front. Clearly the stage is set for endgame.
Now, as Luke and his team try desperately to convince the living world of Zonama Sekot to join the Jedi's final campaign against the Yuuzhan Vong, a lone space station is all that stands between Alliance headquarters and ferocious enemy forces, which are poised to wage their most decisive assault. For both sides, too much has been sacrificed—and too much is at stake—to ever turn back. And now nothing can stand in the way of seizing victory...or facing annihilation.
The novel, set in the final year of the Yuuzhan Vong War, begins in the Yuuzhan Vong prisoner-of-war camp on the planet Selvaris where a Jenet named Thorsh and three Bith memorize a code mathematically encrypted on a smuggled computer chip, courtesy of the Ryn Network. The four prisoners escape but are soon chased down by Yuuzhan Vong security patrols. The chase kills two of the Bith while the last one is captured. Thorsh, however, is saved by the crew of the Millennium Falcon, and he is taken back to the Galactic Alliance in order to give out the mathematical code. After the code is translated, they find out that the prisoners on Selvaris are due to be publicly sacrificed on Yuuzhan'tar, the captured Coruscant and planetary capital of the Yuuzhan Vong. The Selvaris system is also the rendezvous point for the Yuuzhan Vong's prison transfer convoy, so the Galactic Alliance's plan is to save most, if not all, of the prisoners at the planet. The reason that the Galactic Alliance sees to saving the prisoners of this particular convoy is because the likes of Captain Judder Page and Major Pash Cracken are needed to lead and rally other planets against the Yuuzhan Vong. Commander Malik Carr, overseer of the prisoner-of-war camp, fails to divulge this information from the captured Bith as he uses a tkun to strangle him to death for the mathematical code in front of the other prisoners.
Though the rescue attempt goes well enough despite a battle erupting as a result, several prisoners are shipped off to Yuuzhan'tar nevertheless. Meanwhile, the Millennium Falcon is greatly damaged in the conflict by specialized Yuuzhan Vong ships, coercing it to make a random hyperspace jump that places it in the Caluula system. Here, it turns out that the system's inhabitants have been fending themselves off against the Yuuzhan Vong for several weeks since the disruption of the HoloNet thanks to the Vong's adaptability in their biotechnology. Nevertheless, despite the fighting, the crew aboard Caluula Orbital agree to fix the Falcon up. And though Han and Leia Organa Solo help out in the space station's last stand against the Vong, they eventually escape to ship their load of freed prisoners back to the Galactic Alliance, despite the fact that some of them, such as Pash Cracken, have decided to stay behind in order to keep fighting the Vong. Later on, however, the Alliance finds out that Caluula had willingly surrendered in the fall of its space station, but asked the Vong to allow scientists on the planet because of a natural phenomenon called the Nocturne of the Winged-Stars, which occurs quite rarely on the world. Han and Leia, with several other accomplices—Meloque, Wraw, Kyp Durron, and Judder Page—arrive on the planet disguised as scientists and meet up with two other spies, Ferfer and Sasso, to help them kill Caluula's yammosk, which appears to prove crucial to the Yuuzhan Vong's plans in attacking the Galactic Alliance capital world of Mon Calamari (in reality, this is merely a ploy for tactical purposes on the Vong's behalf).
The team members, however, are intercepted by specialized Vong patrols, with both spies killed, and Han, Leia, and the others are captured and are taken to be executed at the yammosk. But the Yuuzhan Vong on the planet, commanded by Commander Carr, along with the yammosk and all the rest of their artificially grown biots, mysteriously die off just as Lando Calrissian, Talon Karrde, and Shada D'ukal arrive to rescue Team Meloque. Kyp theorizes that the Vong on Caluula died because of an earlier deployment of the Alpha Red pathogen on the world. Wraw confirms this, saying that he was sent here to report on Alpha Red's effectiveness; this explains why Caluula had willingly surrendered in the first place. Han, Leia, and most of the others find this to be a potential galactic catastrophe because Alpha Red could even harm and/or kill other life across the galaxy, just as the indigenous life, notably the winged-stars, on Caluula had suffered, which also explains the hindering of the Nocturne that had been noticed earlier. The situation is compounded by the fact that if they wipe out the Yuuzhan Vong, then they will be committing genocide, an act not beneath the Vong themselves. It is all the more unfortunate for them as a specialized Yuuzhan Vong ship on Caluula had made takeoff—its crew fully aware of what they are harboring—in order to report back to Yuuzhan'tar so that they can warn the Elite high command there of the pathogen. The group, most of them emotionally weary of what will be done, proceed to return to the Galactic Alliance just as the forces of its military at Mon Calamari are fighting the invading armada.
Elsewhere, the living planet of Zonama Sekot is still traveling via hyperspace for the Coruscant system since the events of the previous novel, The New Jedi Order: The Final Prophecy. The characters taking refuge in the planet's caves and other safety features—Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, his wife and fellow Jedi Mara, Jedi Knights Jacen Solo, Corran Horn, Tahiri Veila, Tekli, Saba Sebatyne, Force-sensitive scientist Danni Quee, and the astromech droid R2-D2—recover the Yuuzhan Vong Priest Harrar, who was thought dead in his confrontation with the treacherous Nom Anor back in the previous novel. Since then, Harrar had lost faith in his religion after discovering the connections between his species and the living planet. This was originally discovered by the late Vong Master Shaper Nen Yim, who was killed by Nom Anor in order to prevent her from stopping him from trying to malfunction Zonama's hyperdrive cores and subsequently killing it in the process (the latter had failed, obviously). Sekot comes to recognize Harrar by his species via the encounter that it had with the Vong a few decades earlier. Because of Sekot's recognition of the Vong, it explains to the characters, through its possession of Magister Jabitha Hal, that the original Yuuzhan'tar back in the Yuuzhan Vong's home galaxy had stripped the species of their Force-sensitivity. The reason for this was because the ur-Vong were becoming a violent race who craved war and brutality, which was what led to their hatred for mechanical machines as they fought the opposing droids that invaded their galaxy. So the ur-Yuuzhan Vong's original homeworld had seen fit to cut them off from the Force. This caused them to experience great pain, as they had lived in symbiosis with the original Yuuzhan'tar, rendering them unable to contact the Force or be detected in it ever again. This was among one of the reasons that the Vong hold pain and death as such an essential part in their religion, because, when they were cut off from the Force, they realized that pain and death were the only other forms of living symbiosis that they could achieve. Thus, the ur-Vong had cemented this new way of life into their religion by creating gods who look so positively upon their creations as those creations embrace what all living beings must suffer in life and more. And when the ur-Yuuzhan Vong had devastated their own galaxy as a whole in the Cremlevian War, they were forced to journey into the Intergalactic Void in search of another galaxy for them to conquer and live in, thus leading into the eventual invasion of this galaxy. Meanwhile, Jacen Solo experiences the return of the voice that told him to "stand firm" at Duro three years earlier, along with the vision of failing to catch the lightsaber tossed to him by his uncle Luke. From this, Jacen begins to wonder if he will make the right decisions in the near future against the Yuuzhan Vong.
On Vong-shaped Yuuzhan'tar, Nom Anor is accepted back into his species' society by Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane, who also promotes the former outcast to the rank of Prefect of Yuuzhan'tar. This promotion was influenced under the mistaken belief that Nom Anor had killed Zonama Sekot. But unfortunately for him, he still has to bare the existence of High Prefect Drathul, who is secretly a Quorealist, a member of the forbidden party who believes that Shimrra's late predecessor, Quoreal, was killed dishonorably by the current Supreme Overlord, and that Quoreal was right about refusing to conquer the galaxy. Drathul is vaguely aware of Nom Anor's lack of faith in the Vong religion and in Shimrra's competency as the Supreme Overlord. So the High Prefect tries to use this as leverage in order to coerce Nom Anor into being a Quorealist. And what is even worse for Nom Anor's return to Vong society is that his own Jedi heresy, which he conducted as Yu'shaa, Prophet of the Shamed Ones, continues to stand strong by the will of the Shamed and worker castes even without his leadership, thanks to his once-trusted aide, the Shamed warrior Kunra. This is evident as the heretics break up the sacrifice of the Alliance captives, saving many of them, including Major Cracken, even at the cost of some of their own lives. And even with Shimrra demanding the deaths of many heretics and potential heretics alike, the Jedi heresy still stands strong. All of this simply adds to the list of problems that Shimrra and the rest of Yuuzhan'tar are going through with the World Brain still making unpleasant activities to disturb the Yuuzhan Vong high command in spite of Shimrra's attempts to tame it, the rumors that the Supreme Overlord is growing mad with power, and that loss to the Galactic Alliance is inevitable. One of the few things guaranteeing Shimrra's position in power is his own royal guard of Slayers, genetically modified warriors designed not only to protect him loyally, but also specialized to kill Jedi (they also pilot the specialized ships seen by Han and Leia in the Selvaris and Caluula systems, as well as being responsible for Ferfer and Sasso's deaths and Team Meloque's capture on Callula).
Eventually, Zonama Sekot arrives in the Coruscant system, coinciding with Nom Anor's false prophecy to the heresy from the previous novel as it appears in Yuuzhan'tar's skies. This coerces Warmaster Nas Choka to recall his armada from their winning battle against the Galactic Alliance at Mon Calamari to Yuuzhan'tar. It also distorts the mainstream social hierarchy of the species and causes great joy in the Shamed Ones and workers for bringing their oppressive rulers down. Shimrra even seems to go insane, as Nom Anor sees from the demands that the Supreme Overlord makes to the highly placed officials at his command. This apparent insanity is further proven when Shimrra, who believed that the Yuuzhan Vong no longer need their gods, whether or not the deities actually existed, tells Nom Anor that he declares open war on Yun'o (the gods), even though it was likely that Shimrra never really believed in the gods throughout the course of his reign, while he tells the rest of the Elite that it is time to prove themselves independent of Yun'o. The Dread Lord explains himself by saying that Yun'o fear that they will lose their own power over the Yuuzhan Vong as the species gain their independence from the deities; pitting Zonama against the Vong is just one final test to see if the species is worthy of ruling the galaxy, and, as Shimrra announces, the galactic invaders have already been provided the means of killing the living planet thanks to the Alpha Red-infected Slayer ship (since Zonama's biology is closely related to the Yuuzhan Vong and their creations' own biology, it can kill the living planet). Suspicions to Shimrra's insanity further increase when he orders the deaths of all potential future Supreme Overlords meant to replace him when it was time for his reign to end, and to put an end to worshiping all gods but Yun-Harla in order to provoke anger from the other deities, as part of the declaration of open war. But despite these suspicions, these orders from the Dread Lord are successfully carried out as he also demands for the deaths of all the rioting heretics, which the warriors begin enacting loyally. Meanwhile, as the Galactic Alliance loses its great Admiral Gial Ackbar from old age, its military passes through Vong defenses at the captured planet of Corulag after a victorious battle, making it possible for an advance on Yuuzhan'tar.
Soon, the Galactic Alliance forces finally arrive at Yuuzhan'tar, and Shimrra telepathically orders the World Brain to destroy Yuuzhan'tar so that if the Yuuzhan Vong lose against the Alliance, they will not have Coruscant to reclaim. As a result, Nom Anor, realizing the full extent of Shimrra's insanity when the World Brain begins enacting this order, returns to his guise as Yu'shaa the Prophet and sides with the heretics and their Alliance allies against Shimrra's order. All of this marks the beginning of Recapture of Coruscant. And while the Galactic Alliance forces duel the Vong fleet in space, on Yuuzhan'tar, around Muscave, and at Zonama Sekot, Han, Leia, and Harrar lead a mission aboard the Millennium Falcon to either convince the World Brain to cease its efforts of trying to destroy Yuuzhan'tar or kill it. But they are then captured by Yuuzhan Vong forces led by Drathul, and Han, Leia, Harrar, C-3PO, R2-D2, Cakhmaim, and Meewalh are taken by them in order to be executed at the Well of the World Brain as sacrifices to the creature. Meanwhile, Mara Jade Skywalker, Tahiri Veila, and Jedi Master Kenth Hamner fight alongside the heretics and their Alliance allies against Shimrra's forces, and Tahiri comes into contact with Nom Anor. She captures him and holds him for Mara to come over so that the latter can see it her way as to how he should be punished for all of the wrong that he had committed throughout the war. However, Nom Anor escapes Tahiri's grasp and flees, but Mara chases him down into an abandoned building. After a brief fight between the two of them, Mara defeats and nearly kills Nom Anor for giving her the coomb spore virus years earlier and for all of the other misdeeds for which he had given the Jedi and the late New Republic during the invasion. But the false Prophet pleads for mercy, telling Mara that he had changed as Yu'shaa; he also knows that even if his species wins the war, Coruscant could never be Yuuzhan'tar; and finally, killing Nom Anor would be an act of vengeance, of the dark side of the Force, which would greatly break Mara's son, Ben's, heart. So, even though Mara does not believe a word he said, she spares him for others to decide his fate after the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar, assuming that the Galactic Alliance will win. He also tells her that Shimrra had ordered the Alpha Red-infected Vong ship, transferred from Caluula, to Zonama Sekot, as it is set to kill the living planet. So the Jedi and heretics travel to the Well of the World Brain to save Han, Leia, Harrar, and the others from being executed and subsequently warn the Galactic Alliance forces about the Alpha Red-infected Vong ship headed for Zonama Sekot. The latter situation is all for naught as that ship successfully evades the Alliance and Zonama's defensive forces to arrive at the living planet. Despite this, Drathul's forces are overwhelmed at the Well of the World Brain, even by backup traditional warriors who have seen the error of Shimrra's ways, while the High Prefect himself is strangled to death by Nom Anor, being that they were obvious personal enemies.
Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker and the Solo twins, Jacen and Jaina, set off to kill Shimrra and bring the war to its end with his death on the Galactic Alliance's victory. With Captain Judder Page and his Katarn Commandos, Luke and the Solo twins travel to the Dread Lord's Citadel via the Sacred Precinct in order to assassinate the Supreme Overlord. Jacen, thanks to the mental connection that he made with the World Brain, breaks Shimrra's own telepathic connection over the planet-controlling dhuryam and convinces it to cease its destruction of Yuuzhan'tar. This prevents Han, Leia, and Harrar from killing the World Brain (Han, Leia, and Harrar's hostage, Master Shaper Qelah Kwaad, had told them that it would be impossible to sway the dhuryam of Shimrra's commands). Jacen also convinces the Yuuzhan Vong biots, Sgauru and Tu-Scart, who are nicknamed the Biter and Beater respectively by the Vong, into helping him, his uncle, and his sister enter the Citadel. While Page and the Katarn Commandos storm the lower levels of Shimrra's Citadel, Luke and the Solo twins battle their way through Vong warriors as they travel up the mountainous worldship. During this time, Luke seemingly surrenders himself to the Force, letting it engulf him so that he is an unstoppable force of nature which no Yuuzhan Vong can counter, and which neither Jacen nor Jaina can comprehend visually or through the Force as their uncle.
Eventually, Luke, Jacen, and Jaina arrive at Shimrra's private coffer (which acts as an emergency evacuation ship for the Supreme Overlord) at the top of the Citadel and the Jedi proceed to kill the Dread Lord. But Shimrra is joined with his guard of Slayers and he sends them to duel Luke, Jacen, and Jaina. Then the Citadel begins to sway and tip in all directions, making the Jedi think that the World Brain is doing this in order to help them combat the Slayers, but the battle becomes all the more difficult for both parties because the swaying and tipping is affecting both groups' performances against each other. In the end, though, the Slayers are all killed in combat against the three Jedi despite the special Yuuzhan Vong warriors' efforts thanks to their opponents' awesome skills with their lightsabers, combat training, and the Force. However, after apparently forcing his Citadel to stay put in its regular placement because of the mental connection that he has with it, Shimrra knocks Jacen unconscious when the latter tries to attack him, knocks away his lightsaber, and begins to suffocate Luke with his special amphistaff, the Scepter of Power. Then the Supreme Overlord prepares to kill Luke by utilizing the lightsaber of the late Anakin Solo (the lightsaber was collected by the Yuuzhan Vong after Anakin died at the Mission to Myrkr two years earlier, and which was brought to Shimrra after the late Ganner Rhysode used it against the galactic invaders prior to his own death around the same year). Disregarding the Vong's hatred of mechanical technology by harboring Anakin's lightsaber in order to show Luke how it feels to be fighting something that is part of, or at least bears similarities to, their society, Shimrra reflects on his species' battle against Zonama Sekot, the living planet that they feel should be sacred to them, but was thrust into fighting them by their enemies and, apparently, their gods (even though the Vong's sacred texts stated that attacking a galaxy with a living world in it was sacrilege anyway). Meanwhile, Jaina follows the Supreme Overlord's Shamed familiar, Onimi,, into the control section of the coffer. At the bottom of the semi-staircase leading to the coffer's controls, the familiar knocks her unconscious via poison in his fang and then mounts her in between statues of two Vong deities on the vessel's bridge.
Back with the confrontation between Luke and Shimrra, Luke manages to reclaim Anakin's lightsaber from Shimrra's grasp, despite being poisoned by the Scepter of Power, so he could cut the Scepter of Power into pieces with both his and his late nephew's lightsabers, preventing the Scepter of Power from cutting off his air supply any further, and uses both Jedi weapons in his hands to decapitate the Supreme Overlord. The Jedi Master then collapses from the poison injected into his system by the Scepter, and then he throws Anakin's lightsaber to Jacen, who woke up from being knocked out by Shimrra. But Jacen misses the lightsaber, reflecting the vision that returned to him on Zonama Sekot of failing to catch the weapon. Despite this, Jacen is sent by the faltering Luke to retrieve Jaina.
On the bridge of the Citadel's coffer, Jaina wakes up to Onimi, who reveals that he was actually the real Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong ever since Shimrra seemingly ruled the species. Onimi believes that the Jedi are the avatars of the Vong gods, with Jaina being Yun-Harla, the Trickster goddess, which she used as a persona in the latter half of the invasion as psychological warfare against the Vong. This supports Onimi's motivations as he explains that he was once a Shaper who fused his brain with yammosk tissue in order to gain knowledge for what he discovered to be the empty eighth cortex of Shaper science. The eighth cortex was meant to find a way to save the Yuuzhan Vong from the decades of violence against each other as they crossed the Intergalactic Void in order to arrive in the galaxy. Onimi, in his goal of trying to find a way to save his people via the yammosk fusion to his brain, became a Shamed One for this. He then blamed Yun'o, especially Yun-Harla, for his afflictions in their motivation for retaliation against the Shaper who was trying to divulge their divine knowledge. However, Onimi found that he had regained the Yuuzhan Vong's lost connection to the Force (mistaking it for power from the gods, however), and then used it to manipulate Shimrra via mind-control into invading the galaxy. Behind the scenes, at Shimrra's throne, Onimi was the one who really led his species into the invasion, as he previously confirmed, and he originally thought that the war was just a test by Yun'o assigned to him and his species in order to see if they were worthy of the worlds that the galaxy had provided. But as the war went on, Onimi later evaluated that the gods wanted to destroy him and his rule with Shimrra acting as his puppet, and thus, destroy the Yuuzhan Vong as a whole. He asserts that Yun'o would not want one with such power to be stronger than they were if this was the reason that their creations were losing the war, especially with the living planet of Zonama Sekot now among those battling the Vong. Since these events have transpired, Onimi had lost his mental hold on what was left of Shimrra's psyche because he had been preoccupied with defeating the Yuuzhan Vong's enemies, which was what brought upon the false Supreme Overlord's "insanity," as Nom Anor observed as the final battle of the Yuuzhan Vong War begun. It is also revealed by the real Supreme Overlord that he was responsible for the swaying and tipping of the Citadel. Onimi performed this by using the mental connection that he had with it, which was obviously greater than Shimrra's, in order to increase the chances that the Slayers had in winning the battle. Now, even with the presence of Zonama Sekot, Shimrra's death, and the fall of Yuuzhan'tar, Onimi believes that he will be able to become a god with Zonama's destruction via Alpha Red. He has now gone so insane that he plans to wipe out every single living being and thing in the galaxy.
Before Shimrra's coffer launches under Onimi's command, the Jedi, the Yuuzhan Vong heretics, their traditional Vong captives, and some of the Galactic Alliance soldiers and commandos involved in the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar arrive at the Citadel. As Captain Page and his commandos return to the surface to meet up with their allies, their mission in the lower levels of Shimrra's Citadel successful, a division of the worldship's arriving party investigates the upper levels of the Citadel, where they find Shimrra's decapitated form and Luke dying. Mara then takes Luke aboard the Millennium Falcon for healing, while Harrar announces to the heretics and their traditional Vong allies and captives that Shimrra is dead, which enhances the joy of those who were against Shimrra, while those still loyal to the false Supreme Overlord are either in a state of surrender or disbelief. Meanwhile, Nom Anor, who is shocked with Shimrra's demise, leads Han and Leia aboard the launching coffer in order to search for the Solo twins, and then the evacuation ship launches. And as the vessel reaches for space above Yuuzhan'tar, Jacen arrives on the ship's bridge and confronts Onimi, who senses in him the "divine glow" of Yun-Shuno, the Pardoner goddess of the Shamed Ones, and the betrayer of everything that the real Supreme Overlord has "set out to create." Meanwhile, Warmaster Nas Choka disbelieves the reports of Shimrra's death, especially when he sees the coffer launch from Yuuzhan'tar, mistaking it for riding under the control of the false Supreme Overlord.
After the voice that told him to "stand firm" returns to Jacen one last time, having him realize that it came from his late grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, Jacen launches into a fight against the Supreme Overlord. And the young Jedi Knight who started out in the war as a doubtful and hesitant individual manages to achieve oneness with the Force in order to "fight without fighting," countering and throwing off Onimi's actions at every turn without making a single misstep or mistake in the combat himself, fulfilling the request made by his grandfather. The Supreme Overlord does his best to fight off his opponent with martial prowess, the poisonous toxins which he uses inside his own body, and the Force, but to no avail. Jaina attempts to help Jacen against Onimi through the Force, but the former communicates to her with the energy source that they share as Jedi to save her power in order to recuperate herself from the Supreme Overlord's fang poison. Then Jacen realizes that he could not catch the lightsaber in either his vision or in real life because he is the lightsaber who will defeat Onimi, the true Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong, the darkness of everything that the invaders stand for. The Jedi Knight then becomes too powerful for his opponent to fight off, and then Jacen uses the Force's pure energy to pin Onimi to the bulkhead at the latter's back; as a result, Jacen effectively defeats the one responsible for bringing about the whole war in the first place.
Shortly after, Han, Leia, and Nom Anor come aboard the bridge to see Jacen's victory, and they find that he has seemingly aged by five years, erasing any trace of his childhood—an event which, coupled with the backdrop of stars and fighting space forces shown from the evacuation ship's transparent hull, burns into Leia's memory and will remain with her until the end of her life. Meanwhile, thanks to Jacen's Force energy fixing the Supreme Overlord of his Shamed deformities, Onimi has been shapen properly again. But, because his disfigurements were the result of his individual gain of the Force in the first place, the loss of the deformities and the Force also results in the loss of control over the poisons in his own body. As a consequence, the Supreme Overlord slides down along the bulkhead behind him and dissolves into a puddle of foul hydrocarbons. Onimi's liquid remnants are then sucked in by the yorik coral deck of the vessel like a stain, marking the end of the true Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong.
Following Onimi's death, the coffer starts to die off because of the connection that it had with him, now severed thanks to his passing. The process of the vessel's own death begins as Shimrra's Citadel on Yuuzhan'tar explodes because of the same reason. Jacen picks Jaina up off the Vong statues which Onimi put her in between, explaining that he refused her help against the Supreme Overlord so that she could use it to heal herself, confirming what he already told her through the Force. Then Nom Anor tries to kill the Solos for the misdeeds that they have given him by nearly tricking them into going into a garbage chute, making them think that it was an escape vessel known as a yorik-trema. But because of Jacen's Vongsense, he detects Nom Anor's treachery and prevents the deaths of his family and himself by providing this information to all those present. Nom Anor desperately tries one last attempt to escape them by using his plaeryin bol in order to shoot poison out at Jacen and use a device, disguised as a finger on his hand, to depart. But Jacen uses a Force technique taught to him by the late Vergere on rendering Nom Anor's poison barren in terms of its intended effects in order to transform it into water, thereby saving himself. At the same time, Leia stops Nom Anor from escaping by quickly cutting off the hand from which he tried to pull the device with her lightsaber, immobilizing him. After Jacen tells him that it did not have to be this way, Nom Anor proclaims that it did, because he fit in neither with the native galactic society for his hatred of the Force or the Yuuzhan Vong for his atheism. Regardless, he is offered by Han to escape the dying evacuation ship when the Solos enter the real yorik-trema anyway. But Nom Anor finds that since the Yuuzhan Vong have lost the war, he does not want to have any part of what is to come, and that he will die with Onimi, as they were "both alike." So he pushes Han aboard the yorik-trema with the latter's family, then leaves himself aboard the dying evacuation vessel as it explodes above Yuuzhan'tar, displacing nearby Yuuzhan Vong battleships in its wake. This ends the life of Nom Anor, the Vong agent responsible for approximately half of the war as the Solos survive in the escape vessel, which is picked up by the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Mara, and which has the dying Luke aboard. Jacen then uses his mother's tears and his own to heal Luke, and the Jedi Master quickly recovers from Shimrra's amphistaff poison. The Solos and the Skywalkers then reunite in a bittersweet embrace, while C-3PO and R2-D2 watch on, with Threepio telling Artoo that he envies over what joy humans must feel in times like these.
In the wake of the destruction of Shimrra's coffer, with Warmaster Choka witnessing this event, he knew then that the Supreme Overlord died with it (which is technically true, since Onimi was the one who really led the Yuuzhan Vong into the war). Now, for the first time in the history of the species, the Yuuzhan Vong are without a Supreme Overlord. Seeing that they have lost under the belief that their species had lost Shimrra as the species' conduit to their gods and that their deities had turned against them, Choka ordered all of his forces in the galaxy to either surrender to the Galactic Alliance, keep on fighting for their own sakes, or commit suicide, officially heralding the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War. As for the Alpha Red-infected ship, Zonama Sekot managed to repel it before the vessel could arrive at the living planet. The rest of Alpha Red is destroyed by the Galactic Alliance, considering that it is no longer needed. Director of the Galactic Alliance Intelligence Service Dif Scaur, for his actions in creating Alpha Red with the Chiss Ascendancy, is quietly forced to resign by Alliance Chief of State Cal Omas and is replaced by Belindi Kalenda. Sekot also brought down all warships in its immediate vicinity—both the Alliance's and the Vong's—down to Zonama's surface, getting rid of the invaders' weapons and halting the entire battle around it. And after the Battle of Yuuzhan'tar, the Peace Brigade is disbanded and Choka makes a deal with the Galactic Alliance at the Sekot Accords; the species will be spared, in spite of the invasion that they had caused, which resulted in 365 trillion native galactic deaths, and the Vong will be brought to Zonama Sekot. During this time, Sekot realizes that it is the seed of the original Yuuzhan'tar, and, taking on the form of Vergere, it shares this information with Luke, Jacen, and Harrar, which is something that the Yuuzhan Vong themselves will soon come to realize.
After Choka and his remaining obedient forces collect all other remaining Yuuzhan Vong forces across the galactic invasion corridor for Zonama—especially those who have not heeded Choka's orders to agree to the Sekot Accords. The living planet then takes the remaining Vong in the galaxy and travels into hyperspace. From this hyperspace jump, Zonama Sekot disappears back into the Unknown Regions so that the Vong will be safe from vengeful galactic denizens, such as the Bothans, who still have their ar'krai declared against them. On the planet Zonama, and by the intelligence Sekot, the once-violent species will learn the meaning of peace and regain their connection to the Force. Joining Zonama Sekot and the Vong are the likes of Danni Quee, Tekli, and Tahiri Veila, because Danni and Tekli want to study the living planet while Tahiri, being half a Vong because of her fusion with her Riina Kwaad personality, wants to help the species regain the Force and become peaceful. The Galactic Alliance also automatically reclaims Yuuzhan'tar as Coruscant as part of their victory, rebuilding what the Vong have destroyed and keeping some of what they introduced to the planet for vanity reasons, including the World Brain, a sign of compromise that even Bothan Admiral Traest Kre'fey appreciates. Though it would be unlikely that Coruscant could be properly habitable within any foreseeable amount of time, the citizens of the galaxy are optimistic. In the meantime, the Galactic Alliance relocates their capital to Denon as Coruscant heals thanks to the Galactic Alliance and help from Vong Shapers that Zonama Sekot didn't take off with. Admiral Kre'fey, meanwhile, is promoted to Supreme Commander for his heroic efforts in rescuing Coruscant from the enemy's clutches, replacing Sien Sovv.
Luke announces that coinciding with the war's end is the beginning of the New Jedi Order's belief of the Unifying Force, which combines both the light and dark sides into a perfect harmony. This belief also allows the Jedi to embrace the idea that the best way to serve the Force is to act accordingly to their consciences and, for all those who wish it, stay out of the affairs of the Galactic Alliance in the postwar galaxy. Jacen, in the aftermath of achieving oneness with the Force in his fight with Onimi, decides to go off on a sojourn throughout the galaxy in order to study numerous beliefs and theories about the Force, train under them, and find out which Force belief will be the most appropriate for him to follow now that the war is over. Meanwhile, Imperial Remnant Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, as a token of his gratitude to the Galactic Alliance for helping the Remnant fight back against the Yuuzhan Vong, gives Han and Leia the Alderaanian moss painting, the Killik Twilight, which Han and Leia lost to Grand Admiral Thrawn 21 years earlier when the recently-married Solos were on a mission to Tatooine. Cherishing it as one of the few remnants of her destroyed homeworld, Leia is especially thankful to Pellaeon for giving her the memorabilia. Jaina is forced to finish her relationship with Colonel Jagged Fel because of Jag's duties to the Chiss and Jaina's duties to the rest of the galaxy, though Jag promises that whenever he can, he will visit Jaina as a galactic ambassador of the Chiss Ascendancy.
The novel, and the series, finishes with many of the characters, including Jacen before he leaves for his sojourn, going back to Kashyyyk in order to honor the late Chewbacca, who gave his life early in the war at Sernpidal so that Han and Anakin Solo, along with many other inhabitants of the planet gathered aboard the Millennium Falcon at the time, could live when the Praetorite Vong, the specialist—and treacherous—advance force of the extragalactic invaders, destroyed the world. Han plants Anakin's lightsaber on Chewbacca's memorial so that if another threat like the Yuuzhan Vong were to arise in the galaxy ever again, as Luke announces, someone worthy of Chewbacca's honor and courage will take the weapon and conquer that potential menace. The characters then have a celebratory feast, finding humor and relief in the fact that, once again, the galaxy is at peace.
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Behind the scenesEdit
Several details stated in this book contradict previously established facts. For example, Nom Anor was identified as an executor in Dramatis Personae, despite the fact that he was already a prefect at the beginning of the book. Also, Harrar was identified as a High Priest, while he always held the rank Priest in previous books, and Pash Cracken was identified as a Major, while in The New Jedi Order: The Final Prophecy, mere months earlier, he was identified as a General. In addition, there is a reference to Dewlannamapia being at Chewbacca's funeral, but she had died over 30 years before. Gilad Pellaeon mentioned that the Bastion Accords were signed five years earlier, while in fact the event had been ten years earlier. The Jedi Masters were referred to as members of the Galactic Alliance Advisory Council, while they should be the members of the High Council. Sometimes, Ebaq 9 is referred to as "Ebaq Nine". The Imperial xenobiologist Soron Hegerty from the Force Heretic trilogy is absent in this novel, even though she was supposed to be present with the characters on Zonama Sekot during its return to known space.
The book also saw several retcons and premieres. Commander Czulkang Lah was retconned as a Supreme Commander. Leia's Killik Twilight made its first real-world appearance since Tatooine Ghost, and Boba Fett returned and fought side by side with Han Solo for the first time.
Several references to famous works of literature exist. For example, Shakespeare's Macbeth is notably referenced when Shimrra refers to three women as "black midnight hags" and when Onimi asks Nom Anor if he thought "we three would meet again." Also, one of Mark Twain's famous quotes is referenced near the end of chapter 13 when Nom Anor is on his way to speak to the heretics. He reassures the Shamed Ones that, "The rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated."
Although it can be argued that it was The New Jedi Order: Traitor that would eventually see to Jacen Solo's downfall to the dark side of the Force by the time of Legacy of the Force, Jacen's battle with Onimi in this novel could have been what had sealed his fate; since Jacen had entered into a state of bliss when he achieved oneness in the Force against Onimi, he had perceived everything in a way that defied the nature of good and evil. As a result, it could be said that because of this, his downfall by 40 ABY was because he could not see the difference between light or dark any longer. However, the same passage also mentions that he saw the temptations of the dark side and consciously rejected them.
'Ngdins' is misspelled 'ndgins' on page 296 (of the paperback version at least).
This is a gallery of the different cover variations of The Unifying Force.
Notes and referencesEdit