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"…once you have done Thrawn in a book, where do you go from here? How do you up the game, what can you do to make it even better?"
―Timothy Zahn on writing Thrawn: Alliances[src]

Thrawn: Alliances is a canon novel written by Timothy Zahn. It is the sequel to the 2017 novel Thrawn, and the second book in the Star Wars: Thrawn book series. It was published by Del Rey on July 24, 2018. The story features Thrawn and Darth Vader on a mission shortly after the events of Star Wars Rebels Season Three, while a parallel narrative set during the Clone Wars features Thrawn, Anakin Skywalker, and Padmé Amidala.

Publisher's summaryEdit

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader ally against a threat to the Empire in this new novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

"I have sensed a disturbance in the Force."

Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor's favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it's not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there's more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown…and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire…and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.[1]

Plot summaryEdit

Thrawn had suffered a defeat on Atollon letting the Phoenix Squadron escape. He also disapproved of the Death Star project that Palpatine, Vader and Tarkin were favoring. Thrawn preferred his own TIE Defender project on Lothal.

Despite the tension Palpatine sent Vader and Thrawn to Batuu to deal with a disturbance he sensed through the Force. A place where Anakin Skywalker and Thrawn had met before at the end of the Clone Wars (19 BBY). It was when Anakin went looking for Padmé who didn't return from a mission that he met the Chiss and teamed up with him to look for her. They discovered the Separatists had set up a base on Batuu to deliver goods to a Separatist factory on Mokivj. This is where Padmé went. On Mokivj, she ran into locals working at the factory as part of the maintenance crew. Anakin and Thrawn followed her tracks to Mokivj. They met Duke Solha who controlled the factory. The Duke captured Thrawn and Anakin. Padmé made it into the abandoned West wing of the factory and noticed Anakin when he and Thrawn were arrested by the Duke. Padmé came to their aid to find them just escaping from their cell. Chiss ships arrived to retrieve a shield generator which had been Thrawn's original mission. Thrawn, however, returned to help Anakin and Padmé. When Anakin fought the B2 battle droids inside the factory this lightsaber switched off every time he hit them. Blaster shots were absorbed as well. They learned that the factory was using cortosis (which was mined across the river) to strengthen the battle droids' armor, making them indestructible against blasters and even lightsabers. They also learned that in another wing of the factory clone trooper armor was produced using the same technique. Anakin suspected the Separatists were planning to infiltrate the Republic Clone troops. Thrawn was more suspicious and later hinted at the factory producing for the Republic as well as the Separatist (planning to use the enhanced Clone Trooper armor for when Order 66 would be issued). Anakin destroyed the factory and planned to collapse the mine across the river as well. Thrawn and Padmé opposed and pleaded not to harm innocent civilians taking away their livelihood. When Anakin set the charges the cortosis magnified the impact and lava erupted all over the area destroying farmlands and poisoning soil and water for years to come.

In the now, Vader and Thrawn traveled on board the Chimaera to Batuu to check out a disturbance the Emperor had sensed. At its main settlement 'Black Spire' they learned of the Darshi who started gathering there half a year earlier. The Darshi attacked Thrawn and Vader who were able to defeat them. It turned out that the Grysk had used the Darshi to set up hibernation tanks. Those tanks were used for Force-sensitive Chiss children. The Chiss used those (mostly girls) with Force sensitivity to navigate their ships through hyperspace without nav computers. The Grysk having learned about their secret were trying to replicate it. The children's fear caused the disturbance in the Force the Emperor had sensed. The Grysk were the enemy of the Chiss and Vader questioned Thrawn's loyalty. When the Chimaera left Batuu they were attacked by the Grysk. Thrawn observed them in combat and concluded that they possessed techniques they could have only learned on Mokivj. Thrawn also suggested that Vader and Anakin Skywalker were the same person which was denied by Vader (not fooling Thrawn who could see through the charade). Vader later realized that Thrawn indeed knew the truth. On Mokivj, Vader led the First Legion to rescue the Chiss children. The Grysk mothership escaped. Vader and Thrawn chased it further into the Unknown Regions. Catching up with the ships they were able to attack, defeat and free the last two Chiss children from captivity. Thrawn suggested that the Grysk led the Separatist to Mokivj in the first place all those years back as they observed the Clone Wars from the distance and studied first the Republic, then the Empire. He feared the Grysk would become a threat to the Empire. He also acknowledged that the Chiss were on the verge of a civil war as some aligned themselves with the Grysk. Vader, however, realized that Thrawn's loyalty was first and foremost with the Chiss. The Emperor would obviously know and allow Thrawn to work under Imperial command as long as he was useful.

DevelopmentEdit

"And just to make it clear, I'm not writing this book. I turned it in two and a half weeks ago."
―Timothy Zahn[src]

The novel was announced at New York Comic Con 2017 during the Lucasfilm Publishing Presents: Tales from a Galaxy, Far, Far Away! panel, where Timothy Zahn was one of the featured authors. On the panel, Zahn revealed that the book was already written and turned in to Del Rey as of two and a half weeks before October 6, 2017.[2]

While planning the novel, Zahn wanted to write a story about Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker working together, a premise he had introduced in Thrawn. However, Lucasfilm wanted a story about Thrawn working with Vader. Eventually, it was decided to write both stories in the same novel.[3] Though the original concept had Thrawn and Vader looking for Ahsoka Tano, the character was off-limits so Padmé Amidala was used instead.[4] An idea originally pitched by Zahn for the novel but vetoed by the Lucasfilm Story Group was the inclusion of the 501st Legion, leading to the creation of the First Legion.[5]

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