Thrawn (Star Wars)

Timothy Zahn
In this definitive novel, readers will follow Thrawn’s rise to power—uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history. One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy. After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics, where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy. All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.


Reviewed: 2017-05-30

Thrawn is an intriguing look into the origin story for one of the most beloved Star Wars EU characters. He is a character only Zahn could bring back into the fold, and I was very happy to see the author get a shot in the Star Wars Disney Universe. 

The story starts right where Outbound Flight ends. If you read the Mist Encounter at the end of Outbound Flight you easily recognized the start of Thrawn. If you want the full Thrawn experience, and I highly recommend it, start with Outbound Flight, then go to Thrawn, and then onto the Thrawn Trilogy - Heir to the Empire and so forth. The events of the book would be happening right along with events from Rogue One in the movie timeline.  

You can immediately tell that Thrawn is not your standard military mastermind. His study of an opponent's art somehow providing an amazing amount of insight into their military tactics. In this prequel, he finally meets an equal in the Nightswan, and they square off for the remainder of the book as Thrawn quickly progresses from Lieutenant to Grand Admiral. Having Thrawn battling out against smugglers was no where near as much fun as the later conflicts with the Rebellion, but where a necessary evil to match up with the Rebellion's limited knowledge of him in later books. 

I would love to see a movie version appear somewhere in the series. We already have a couple cartoon appearances, but nothing would beat mainstream fans getting the chance to fall in love with the character. For now, this novel will have to suffice, if only barely, to wet our appetites for more Legends to return. 

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