This book takes place right after New Hope. Luke is the hailed hero, but he much prefers to be just a regular pilot with the rebuilt Red Squadron (the only ones to survive from the original were him and Wedge). Luke and Wedge are pulling up the rear at the end of a mission and while Luke's Jedi reflexes help with his flying (and with helping him and Wedge avoid trouble from TIE fighters), he worries about how he will ever learn how to be a Jedi if there is no one to train him. He has not heard from Obi Wan since he was inside the Death Star. As everyone is leaving the area to meet up at the rendezvous point, Luke senses the Force and sets Artoo to fly the X-Wing so he can meditate. He has a vision of being in a jungle practicing with a lightsaber, when suddenly there is danger behind him. It does not make sense and he has no idea where he was.
The Red Squadron Leader has a mission for Luke to retrieve logs of Imperial communications. The order comes directly from Mon Mothma herself, but to Luke, its a rather boring mission. He signed up to fight, not pick up data tapes. And worse, he will have to fly a Y-wing, which is an ungainly and slow fighter. His cover story is that he is a hyperspace scout. C3PO, for better or worse, is along for the ride too. The Force seems to be telling him to go to the planet Devaron, which is one of the stops, but he ignores it and goes on. After being hit by TIE fighters and barely escaping, he ends up on Devaron anyway to seek repairs and finds the planet is part of his vision.
Luke lands on a sort of airstrip and is met by a Davorian named Kivas and his daughter, Farnay. He is a mechanic and they reach an agreement about fixing his fighter. Luke and the droids head into the town of Tikaroo to find a place to stay and something to eat. He walks into the main building and is immediately assaulted by various "people" insisting they are the best guide in the area and offering their services--for a price of course. Luke soon finds out that Devaron has become a popular place to hunt creatures known as pikhrons.
Luke is not interested in hunting innocent animals, but he is interested in hiring a guide to the ancient ruins, but soon finds that no one goes to Eedit, as it is off limits by order of the Empire and is said to be haunted by the "wizards" who used to live there. That night Luke has a vision about the ruins. The next day, Farnay offers to take him there as a guide, but she only has one small beast for them to ride. It just won't be possible. At that time, Farnay happens to see his lightsaber and becomes afraid that he is one of the wizards, but he assures her that he is not a Jedi (well he isn't yet) and decides to trust her with the truth and tells her his real name and that he is with the Rebel Alliance. He believes that whatever he finds in that Temple will help her planet in some way and him as well, if he can just get there.
Luke finds himself forced to take on Sarco Plank as a guide as he is the only one who can take him to the ruins. He knows the man is dangerous and that he cannot trust him, but he has no choice. He will also find that Sarco won't be the only one he needs to look out for. This Temple will be the link between New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It will explain how Luke learns something about how to finally use his lightsaber, which is one of the biggest unanswered questions of the saga. There are those who are not fond of Luke as a character, but this is a really good book and a very good story about the history of the Jedi, a planet that has been destroyed by the Empire, and a strong teenager who learns to stand up for herself and others.
I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell