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Star Wars Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

Discover Thrawn’s origins within the Chiss Ascendancy in the first book in an epic new Star Wars trilogy from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

Beyond the edge of the galaxy lies the Unknown Regions: chaotic, uncharted, and near impassable, with hidden secrets and dangers in equal measure. And nestled within its swirling chaos is the Ascendancy, home to the enigmatic Chiss and the Nine Ruling Families that lead them.

The peace of the Ascendancy, a beacon of calm and stability, is shattered after a daring attack on the Chiss capital that leaves no trace of the enemy. Baffled, the Ascendancy dispatches one of its brightest young military officers to root out the unseen assailants. A recruit born of no title, but adopted into the powerful family of the Mitth and given the name Thrawn.

With the might of the Expansionary Fleet at his back, and the aid of his comrade Admiral Ar’alani, answers begin to fall into place. But as Thrawn’s first command probes deeper into the vast stretch of space his people call the Chaos, he realizes that the mission he has been given is not what it seems.

And the threat to the Ascendancy is only just beginning.

Author: Timothy Zahn
Cover artist: Sarofsky Design
Release date: September 1, 2020
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780593157688

Past and present. Old and new. Art immortalizes history and captures the moment—giving advantageous hints to those who can recognize and read the patterns.

And then there’s Mitth’raw’nuruodo—better known as Thrawn. Cursed with the political acumen of a purrgil, but with an astute military mind and tactical vision, enhanced by his appreciation of and innate ability to understand cultures, individuals, and strategies through indigenous art.

Timothy Zahn is a master painter of words with his novel, “Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising,” slathering brush strokes of world-building while accenting the journey with meticulous detail—just beyond the already established galaxy far, far away.

The first installment of this new, Chiss-centric Star Wars trilogy, spotlights moments from the past—as the origin story novel paints the circuitous roots of Thrawn and those around him. In it, we are immediately and thoroughly invited to understand the family class-system of the blue-skinned Chiss, primarily through the Nine Ruling Families, and the Chiss Ascendancy’s strict line of family ranks and political hierarchy within the highly-influential Syndicure and, at times, manipulative, mid-level Aristocra.

We learn of Thrawn’s childhood and his consequential climb into the Chiss Family Ranks to “merit adoptive” of the Mitth ruling family, preceding a fast climb through the military ranks of the Expansionary Defense Fleet—charged with defending the Chiss Ascendancy from known—and yet unknown—threats within the Chaos.

The layers and depth of this literary mural evolve from an in media res attack on the Chiss capital and homeworld of Csilla, to epic space battles that will lead to book number two. Valuable interspersed flashbacks help fill the knowledge void of how Thrawn became the character in the original trio of novels, “Thrawn,” “Thrawn: Alliances,” and “Thrawn: Treason,” all by Zahn.

But this story isn’t just about Thrawn and his endless surprises to victoriously emerge from almost every challenge he faces. There are new species, planets, and threats introduced from throughout the Chaos—the outer reaches of space in the Unknown Regions that are extremely difficult to navigate without special help from a sky-walker (Chiss) or a Pathfinder navigator to use what appears to be the Force to safely guide ships through hyperspace.

Although the interplanetary politics and introduction of the nefarious Nikardun guide the galactic tightrope Thrawn and his allies must traipse make for yet another game of chess by starlight—it is one old thing and one new thing that stuck out to me the most, and made me enjoy this book and keep me just as eager for the remaining pair.

The familiar component was from 2018’s “Alliances” novel. The meeting between Anakin Skywalker and Thrawn—ship-to-ship in space above Batuu—that evolved to teaming up for a special rescue mission on Mokivj. It is the initial discussion in space that was goose-bump thrilling—reading the same dialogue but this time, from the cockpit of Thrawn’s ship. Zahn recreated the scene seamlessly and made me want to read the previous book again.

The new aspect I’m thrilled by is the Mitth homestead. Each major Chiss family has their own homestead and as I read I envisioned it coming to life on-screen (could be on Disney+ but it would be AMAZING on the big screen). Traveling far from the capital city—and a major secret of Csilla—Thalais, another Mitth family merit adoptive and former sky-walker. As she soaks in her first journey to the family lands, she shares her awe, excitement, and nervousness as she processes the special location. It is here that she faces a special trial, diving even deeper into the storied lands and architecture of the Mitth family.

New locales, reminiscent stories, and a growing list of characters good, bad, and oh so many in-betweens build, “Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising,” yet another layer of this mural of the Thrawn Legend in this next magical installment.

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Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy (Book I: Chaos Rising) (Star Wars: The Ascendancy Trilogy)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Zahn, Timothy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 09/01/2020 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)