Timothy Zahn is an accomplished Sci fi author and the creator of the enigmatic and engaging character of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Originally consigned to history by the de-canonisation of much of Star Wars lore this character was grandfathered in through two previous books and inclusion in the cartoon Rebels.
This third installment continues to follow Thrawn as he walks the fine line being loyal to the Empire and to his home race, the Chiss. In this novel we become embroiled in political infighting between Thrawns Tie Defender project and Krennics Death Star. We get to see the two men vying for power egged on by Grand Moff Tarkin.
The novel focuses on a new race threatening the Empire and the Chiss and showcases Thrawns analytical mind. Zahn is the best advocate for Thrawn but although the book is good it lacks something. This something I write about in nearly every review of a modern Star Wars book, there is no bite. The new books like the depth of drama that turned them from being page turners to ones that you cannot put down.
The plot is sound throughout the book but I constantly felt that Thrawn lacks a worthy foe. In the original trilogy he was pitted against the New Republic and this created extra drama. Our feelings would be torn between our love of the character and the desire to see the good guys win. Here it is Imperial versus Imperial or the newly added Grysk neither of which held much threat, the Empire we know and the Grysk were kept to unknown.
The characters were well developed and it was nice to see Eli Vanto again and growing as a person. Its would be interesting to see more of his work with the Chiss, likewise Commodore Faro was given room to grow and I wonder what happened to her during the Galactic Civil War.
We need to see Thrawn directing his fleet against Rebel forces but given that we know about his ending in Rebels it is unlikely we will see that ever happen. It is my hope that he can return at some point and be given the justice he deserves.
I want to see Thrawn again, he is a great character and I hope any further book explores what happened to him in the Unknown Regions with Ezra, there is much potential there, would they remain enemies or would necessity push them together? Do they come back, arriving post- The Rise of Skywalker (My secret hope is that they both appear in the film but its looking increasingly unlikely) allowing us to explore the post Skywalker era of Star Wars and give authors a time-frame upon which they can be let loose on like they did with the Legends series.