Cover of the book Queen’s Hope by EK Johnston, excerpt

An illustration of Padmé Amidala from the cover of Star Wars: Queen's Hope by EK Johnston.

A crop from the cover of Star Wars: The Queen’s Hope by EK Johnston
Picture: Disney / Lucasfilm Books

Star Wars: The Clone Wars maybe focused on the Jedi, but the weather was just as stressful for the senators, especially a senator who was secretly married to one of those Jedi. This is the situation of Padmé Amidala in the next book Star Wars: The Queen’s Hope by EK Johnston. Johnston’s third Padmé book arrives November 2 and io9 is honored to exclusively reveal the final cover and preview.

In the queen’s hope, a follow-up of The Queen’s Peril and Shadow of the queen, the Clone Wars is still raging. Anakin went to fight, and Padmé decides to undertake a secret mission to see what warfare looks like on the front lines. She is shocked at what she finds. Meanwhile while Padmé is away, her maid Sabé assumes the role of Senator Amidala, and very quickly, she is forced to make decisions that a maid might not be ready for.

Below we have your first look at the stunning cover, complete with artwork by Tara Phillips, followed by a clip from the start of the queen’s hope. You can pre-order the book here.

Illustration for the article titled Take a peek inside Star Wars: Queen's Hope, as Padmé makes a tough decision

Picture: Disney / Lucasfilm Books

For one of the rare times in her life, Padmé Amidala had no idea what to do. She kept secrets all the time, but this one was different. Usually, the girls with whom she shared her secrets also helped her keep them. They weren’t just his confidants, they kept his web of secrets together. And this time she was alone.

A low hum from the corner of the room reminded him that this was not quite true. There were other beings who would keep this a secret with her, but not many. The only problem was that neither of them could help him yet. At least she was pretty sure. It never hurts to ask.

“Guess you don’t know anything about making clothes?” She asked the little blue R2 unit.

He turned his dome back and forth, mimicking a humanoid shaking his head, and beeped perhaps more sadly than the situation really demanded. Padmé thanked him anyway. There was no reason to be rude.

She returned to gaze at the fabric on her knees. There wasn’t enough for a brand new dress, but she wasn’t expecting it. The fabric had been in his family for generations, with each person receiving a piece to incorporate into their wedding attire. Even her sister, who had chosen not to marry, had used her part to make clothes for her daughters, showing that she was welcoming new people into the family.

It hurt a little to do this alone. Anakin didn’t understand, but she couldn’t really expect him to understand it. He understood family, of course, and wanted to maintain a tradition. It was clothes he knew a little less about. She appreciated, however, that her compassion led her to give her time and space to find a solution. They were in a bit of a hurry.

R2-D2 chirped again, and when he got his attention, he projected a holographic image between them. It was familiar art, one of the windows in Theed’s Palace that had been replaced after the Battle of Naboo. This represented her, when she was queen, surrounded by maids in orange cloaks. The droid’s suggestion was clear.

“I can’t, Artoo,” Padmé told him. It was almost physical pain to say it. “What we do must be a secret. I cannot involve them in this.

The projection has transformed into a HoloNet image taken during the victory celebrations ten years ago. The Queen stood in white next to Chief Gungan Boss Nass, surrounded by members of her court. R2-D2 zoomed in on a particular maid and gave an encouraging beep.

“I don’t know, Artoo,” Padmé said. “It doesn’t seem right to ask for help and not give any details.

The droid made a sound that somehow managed to mimic a shrug, and the image vanished.

Padmé considered his suggestion. She wasn’t asking for help as Queen or Senator this time. It would have been normal and easy. She was asking for help like Padmé, and somehow, that made everything messy and complicated. She thought she knew where the limits were, but she rarely tested them. She wasn’t very good at asking girls to help her as a friend. They had spent too much time at work.

But they have been friends. What she shared with her maids, current and former, was a friendship so deep that she understood much of her heart. She mourned Cordé and Versé, while rejoicing at the successes that others had met beyond her sphere of influence. Surely she, Padmé, could ask that.

Decision made, she gathered the fabric so as not to trip over it, stood up and walked over to the communications console.

Read the rest when Star Wars: The Queen’s Hope shots shelves on November 2.

Extract from EK Johnstsure Star Wars: The Queen’s Hope reprinted with permission. Copyright Disney / Lucasfilm Books.

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