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Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason

Grand Admiral Thrawn faces the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire in this epic Star Wars novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.”

Such was the promise Grand Admiral Thrawn made to Emperor Palpatine at their first meeting. Since then, Thrawn has been one of the Empire’s most effective instruments, pursuing its enemies to the very edges of the known galaxy. But as keen a weapon as Thrawn has become, the Emperor dreams of something far more destructive.

Now, as Thrawn’s TIE defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, he realizes that the balance of power in the Empire is measured by more than just military acumen or tactical efficiency. Even the greatest intellect can hardly compete with the power to annihilate entire planets.

As Thrawn works to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld. Thrawn’s mastery of strategy must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire he has sworn to serve. Even if the right choice means committing treason.

Writer: Timothy Zahn
Cover Artist: Two Dots
Publisher: Del Rey
Page Count: 333
ISBN: 9781984820983
Release Date: 23rd July 2019

If you have not yet read Thawn or Thrawn: Alliances or seen Season 4 of Star Wars: Rebels then please be aware that we will include discussion of what you may consider spoilers in this review.

One of the stand out characters from the “Legends” aka the Expanded Universe, Grand Admiral Thrawn reaches a climactic point in his ‘rebirth’ in the new canon in this third book of the latest series.

More than simply fan service, the character of Thrawn is much-loved due to his cunning and tactical ability and the way in which he gets under the skin of his enemies, and you the reader. The old EU novels set Thrawn up as the successor to the Emperor following the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’, and these new books echo that, following the relationship between the Emperor and Thrawn, from their original meeting through the latter rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy.

This story is set after the events in the previous two books, and precedes events in both ‘Rogue One’ and the ‘Rebels’ animated series, so this pitches the story just before ‘A New Hope’. We start with Thrawn pitched in a political battle to retain funding for his TIE Defender project whilst Director Krennic seeks to move these funds to plug issues in the “Stardust” supply chain. Thrawn is challenged to secure his funding by solving the problems being seen in the supply of parts to the Emperor’s not-so-secret project to build “Stardust”.

The story progresses and finds him stumbling across his native Chiss whilst following up on the missing cargo ships. If you’ve followed this series you will know that in the previous books, Thrawn’s faithful Lieutenant Eli Vanto was sent to work with the Chiss and from the events and attitudes discussed in the book, it appears that this was not common knowledge even among the Empire’s highest ranking officers. The ensuing story sees Thrawn’s loyalty to both the Chiss and the Empire questioned, and the book ends with him literally jumping into the battle seen at the end of ‘Rebels’ season 4.

If you’re coming to this book without having read the previous books, then I’d suggest you park reading for now, and go back to at least the first book in order to gain more of an understanding of Thrawn’s background and the unique way in which his mind works. This is quite fundamental to understanding some of the events in the book and especially demonstrating why his crew have such great respect for him and his somewhat unorthodox methods. The previous book also covers more about the Chiss navigators, who play a pretty big part in the story this time around. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy this book on its own, but everything will make much more sense if you know the history.

Timothy Zahn has long been a favourite author of many Star Wars fans, much of which can be attributed to the original Thrawn trilogy, books, and the fact that they ‘felt’ like Star Wars. In much the same way as people are now lauding the Disney+ series The Mandalorian the Thrawn books came along at a time when fans were eager for something to take them back to the galaxy far, far away and Zahn’s characterization was a big part of that. Although this new series has rewritten some of the old back story, the underlying traits of Thrawn, the Chiss and more familiar characters we already know from the films, TV shows and other books are all true to their on-screen counterparts – I was particularly impressed how Director Krennic’s dialogue fit perfectly with Ben Mendelsohn’s portrayal from Rogue One.

One of the other things I really like about the way Thrawn is written is his ‘inner monologue’ which details out his thought patterns and the subtleties he notices in others – again having become used to this over the previous books it is pretty much part of the character, and again echoes perfectly the way he is voiced in Rebels by Lars Mikkelsen.

As I finished this book, so news emerged of a new Thrawn series launching May 2020 with part one of ‘Thrawn: The Ascendency Trilogy’, again penned by Timothy Zahn, exciting news for fans of this most intriguing of characters and his creator.

Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars) (Star Wars: Thrawn)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Zahn, Timothy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 07/23/2019 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)