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.
Hmm, The old (1990s) Thrawn trilogy was my best ever SW EU read and I had high hopes for this. Esp when Thrawn was name dropped in Mandalorian by none other than Ahsoka Tano!
The book didn’t disappoint. It essentially is backstory of how Thrawn joined the empire, what his intentions were and what he plans to do. The book is mostly told from Thrawn’s PoV with interludes from Eli Vento and more importantly Ahrinda Pryce. And it certainly is an intriguing tale. The book weaves deftly between Thrawn’s story and overall galactic politics. We get some insight into some key players including Emperor and Grand Moff Tarkin sprinkled in too.
The integration of Thrawn into the Empire wasn’t easy and the book showcases the various -ism’s that prevail current reality and highlight the divide between the various races and factions that make up the Galactic Empire. The opposition he and his supporters face is stark contrast to his actual brilliance and makes for a very intriguing story. We get treated to various incidents to showcase Thrawn’s brilliance and make up the steps on his climb to stardom.
The antagonist is a mysterious and shadow-y figure just known as Nightswan. The interactions between Thrawn and Nightswan reminded me of a bit between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty with an intricate game played between them. Quite fascinating to read and utterly enjoyable.
The pacing could have been a bit more faster, but the scene setting is spectacular. We get to see the inner workings of the empire and experience the underlying political intrigue. Quite often I had to remind myself that The Empire and Thrawn aren’t really the “good guys” in the macro world. Also a bit dissatisfied about the way the book ended. thought it lacked the oomph in that final step, but that doesn’t take away anything from the enjoyment of rest of the book.
Also the indications of “greater threats” than the Empire speaks of volumes to come that’ll keep readers entertained. With the blurb for second book indicating big role for Darth Vader in next book, I’m diving right into Thrawn: Alliance!
Most of the book is told from Thrawn’s Pov. He is a Sherlock Holmes of Imperial tactics, but his political naivety plays well with Eli Vanto’s jaded outlook to make them one of the best balanced duo’s in the Universe.
The parallel story line of Ahrinda Pryce adds alot of value and balance to the sotry. A story of underdog who after been repeatedly kicked learns to play the political game is told very well. There is always an underlying moral flexibility to the characters that is either inherent or driven by need that makes them feel very real.