In new 'Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X' novel, thrillseekers hunt for secret world (exclusive excerpt)

Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X
"Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X." (Image credit: Disney Lucasfilm Press)

We recently shared news of author Lydia Kang's "Star Wars: The High Republic - Cataclysm" novel, the second adult book in Phase 2 of Lucasfilm Publishing's "Star Wars: The High Republic" multimedia initiative following the launch of 2022's "Convergence" from writer Zoraida Cordova.

"The High Republic" project was first announced by Disney back in 2020 and was described as a series of intertwined middle-grade and young adult books, adult novels and comic books taking place 200 years prior to the events of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." This was during the Republic's Golden Age, when the fabled Jedi Knights dispensed peace and justice across the entire galaxy.

Phase 2 of this expansive enterprise has been labeled "Quest of the Jedi," and it explores The High Republic period 150 years further back in time, before Charles Soule's 2021 "Light of the Jedi."

Related: In 'Star Wars: The High Republic' novel 'Cataclysm' the Path of the Open Hand strikes again

Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X

Cover of "Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X." (Image credit: Disney Lucasfilm Press)

Now, author Tessa Gratton's new novel aimed at curious young sci-fi readers has just launched as part of this second publishing phase. We've got a light-speed-paced chapter excerpt to share from the new book, called "Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest For Planet X."

Here’s the official synopsis:

A trio of adventure-seekers set off to find the legendary Planet X and save the galaxy as they know it! Despite rumors of conflict between the Jedi and the Path of the Open Hand, two of the Republic’s most powerful prospecting families announce a contest to chart new hyperlanes.

Under the guise of joining the competition, Dass Leffbruk and Sky Graf recruit Jedi padawan Rooper Nitani, only to reveal their real plan: find the mysterious and legendary Planet X. The trio’s quest takes an unexpected turn when they meet members of the Path of the Open Hand, forcing the heroes to put their goals aside to help the Jedi — and the galaxy — before it’s too late.

This is Gratton’s second foray into the galaxy far, far away after working with author Justina Ireland on the young adult novel "Star Wars: The High Republic - Path of Deceit," which was released by Disney Lucasfilm Press on Oct. 4, 2022.

Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X

Author Tessa Gratton. (Image credit: Disney Lucasfilm Press)

Buckle up for our exclusive chapter preview from Tessa Gratton's "Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest For Planet X" in the excerpt below.

Chapter Eight 

Seconds after they darted forward, the ship beside them burned faster ahead, turned, and shot a long stream of clouds across their nose. 

Sky cursed and leaned back as they pulled the Brightbird’s nose up and flipped them over to curl away. The pink gas rolled over the viewport, and they burst through it into the star field again.

"What are they doing?" demanded Rooper.

Dass called over his shoulder, "Diversion tactics! This is the only time we’ll all be together, so everyone wants a head start."

"Are those . . ." Sky said wonderingly. 

Rooper peered out the viewport as another ship in the distance dropped what looked like big silver eggs behind it.

"Mines!" Sky finished their thought.

Shocked, Rooper watched as the eggs exploded in little fiery pops. She reached out with the Force but also made sure her acceleration straps were secure.

"Ready with those jump coordinates, Dass?" Sky asked, their voice higher than usual as they banked left, then shot the nose vertical and kept going. "We’ll be clear to jump in one minute."

"I can’t believe they’re dropping mines!" cried Rooper.

"Ion mines! They’ll knock us out, not kill us," Sky called.

"Yep!" Dass said, answering Sky’s question. "One minute ahead, then come around to point three-six!"

Rooper reached over and grabbed one of Dass’s acceleration straps, too, tugging it until the boy got the idea and fastened it. He shot her a grin.

"I never expected to be in a ship dodging mines," Rooper said to herself.

"Welcome to the frontier," Sky tossed over their shoulder.

"Prospectors like to win," Dass added.

"Not make friends," Rooper said. She managed not to squeeze her eyes closed and was glad for the Brightbird’s compensators that kept her body from feeling their extreme velocity. Mostly.

"I’m glad we’re friends," Dass said. His eyes were big and round, making him look a little panicked, a little thrilled. He gave her a very goofy grin.

Rooper started to smile back. Just then Sky cursed and jerked at the helm. The ship lurched up and away. Outside the viewport bright pink and red lights exploded.

"Flares!" Sky called. "Just light!"

The light brightened as Sky flew the Brightbird directly through it. Rooper clenched her jaw against a scream. They blasted through the pink-red flares, and Rooper blinked quickly.

Sky leaned toward the viewport, one hand dancing over the controls while the other held the helm.

"Is that . . ." Dass started to ask, pointing out into space. 

It looked like a ship had turned midflight and was aiming right for the nose of another ship.

"Not our problem," Sky said.

Rooper’s mouth dropped open. “Can’t you do something?"

"They’re just playing chicken, distracting each other."

The Brightbird trembled. It sounded suddenly like somebody had thrown a thousand pebbles against the cockpit shielding. "Argh!" Sky cried. "Comm-poppers! Rooper, are they jamming anything?"

Rooper’s pulse raced. She keyed into the comms, and a few of the channels were blank, but not all of them. "We’re all right for now, but I—" Feedback from the channel she was on screeched through the cockpit. She clapped her hands over her ears.

"Hit that yellow button — the flashing one!"

Rooper slammed her hand down, and the noise cut out.

But Rooper didn’t have time to slump in relief. Prospectors were a menace! 

Outside the ship, another prospector shuttle blazed past, and in its wake more flares burst to life. They formed a huge shape. . . . It was . . . Rooper peered out the viewport, shocked and appalled. The flares formed the shape of a silver-white Wookiee, with some kind of paint turning its long fur into rainbows. The Wookiee snarled. Rooper was definitely distracted.

Sky laughed loudly. "Dass, nearly there?"

"Almost . . . almost . . ."

Just then the comms lit up, dragging Rooper’s attention back to the moment. A young, angry voice blared through the cockpit. "Sky Graf, stop right this minute—"

"No, thanks!" Sky cried, cutting the comms off again.

"Who was that?" Rooper demanded.

"My brother, Helis! He finally caught up with—"

Suddenly, the lights on the comms station in front of Rooper flashed and then went dark, and Sky screeched in fury. "Helis sliced into the Brightbird!" they hissed, hands flying over the controls. The Brightbird lurched.

"Is that a tractor beam?" Rooper asked.

"No, he’s slicing into the controls," Sky said. "Rooper, open that channel back up for me—Dass, hold on to those coordinates until I kick him out!"

Rooper struggled with the blinking comms, and Dass gritted his teeth and gave commands to the navicomputer. 

"Helis, let us go. I’m in command of the ship. Let me go!" Sky yelled into the open channel. Then they turned the ship hard, only to be blocked by a blazing white ship— much too close for safety.

Somebody had decided to play chicken with them, after all!

Sky spun them, the whole ship tilting wildly, and tried to go under the other ship. "How did he even get here so fast?" they grumbled under their breath.

"I won’t let up, Sky. That’s my ship. This is my race," Helis Graf yelled through the garbled comms.

Rooper stared at the system, wishing she knew what to do to isolate them, or their frequency. "There’s nothing I can do," Rooper said to Sky. "I don’t know the system."

"How are you at flying, then?" Sky asked, peeling away from Helis’ ship in a stomach-churning corkscrew.

Rooper shook her head. Master Silandra claimed she was more than qualified to pilot, but she didn’t know the Brightbird!

"I can fly!" Dass said, unbuckling his belt. "Rooper, take over the nav!"

The three switched places fast, Sky turning the pilot seat to Dass, then slamming into the comms station. "Rooper, any short jump will do. Dass, keep us away from Helis!"

Sky was snarling at their brother and punching switches on the comms with one hand while they dug open a small panel under the station and started pulling out wires.

"I designed those codes, Sky," Helis said. "You can’t lock me out without disabling your whole system." "I have my own codes, you jerk," Sky muttered. Then Sky fell out of their chair as Dass banked high. "Can you two hurry up?" Sky cried, clambering to their knees.

"I’ve stripped his signal back, but he’ll—argh! No, Helis is back. . . ."

Rooper said, very strained, "Dass, I have a jump ready, in twenty seconds if you can get to this mark?"

It lit up on Dass’ display. "Yes!" he crowed. "Ready, Sky?"

"Just . . . about . . ."

"Sky!" Helis yelled, and then he was cut off.


"Hold on!"

Rooper grabbed the arms of her chair and stared out the viewport as Dass spun them, yelled mark, and hit the hyperspace key. The ship leapt forward, and the stars blurred into a tunnel of light.

"Star Wars: The High Republic - Quest for Planet X" is available now. You can order it on Amazon here.

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.