This article is about the second novel in the Star Wars: Thrawn trilogy.
You may be looking for its comic adaptation or the comic issue Thrawn 2.

"Time for Thrawn to face his future.
Time for Vader to face his past.
―Back cover blurb[5]

Thrawn: Alliances is a canon novel written by Timothy Zahn published by Del Rey on July 24, 2018 as the sequel to the 2017 novel Thrawn, as well as the second book in the Star Wars: Thrawn trilogy of novels. 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.

Chronologically, Thrawn: Alliances is set between the third and fourth seasons of the animated television show Star Wars Rebels. It was also released as an audiobook, narrated by Marc Thompson. In 2024, Marvel Comics published a four-issue comic adaptation of the novel, written by Zahn and Jody Houser. The final instalment of the trilogy, Thrawn: Treason, was released in 2019.

Publisher's summary[]

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 summary[]

The novel is divided into two storylines. In the first storyline, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader travel to investigate a disturbance in the Force on the planet Batuu, which lies in the Outer Rim Territories on the edge of the Unknown Regions. In the second storyline, Anakin Skywalker travels to Batuu after his secret wife Senator Padmé Amidala disappears while on a mission to investigate the disappearance of her handmaiden Duja. Point of view characters include Thrawn, Skywalker, Amidala, stormtrooper Commander Kimmund, and Imperial Navy Commander Karyn Faro.

Clone Wars storyline[]

Mission to Batuu[]

Sometime after the trial and exoneration of Ahsoka Tano, Senator Amidala briefs Skywalker about her upcoming trip to Batuu to meet with her handmaiden Duja, who has discovered something of interest to the Galactic Republic. Skywalker is concerned about his wife putting herself in danger but Amidala is determined to come to the aid of her handmaiden. Due to his commitments as a Jedi General, Skywalker is unable to accompany Amidala. Skywalker is later alarmed by reports that Padmé's ship has been found abandoned on Batuu.

An unlikely ally[]

Exiting hyperspace above Batuu, Skywalker and R2-D2's Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor encounters an unidentified freighter. Speaking in Meese Caulf, the occupant of the freighter introduces himself to Skywalker as Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, also known as Thrawn, an officer of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet. Thrawn seeks Skywalker's assistance in learning of the Clone Wars. Skywalker agrees to help in return for Thrawn's assistance in locating Amidala and Duja.

Skywalker finds Padmé's ship in a small forest clearing thirty kilometers from Black Spire Outpost. Skywalker fights a group of smugglers upset at the presence of Amidala's ship in their landing spot. Commander Thrawn manages to break up the fight. Together, he, Skywalker, and R2-D2 investigate Amidala's ship. They find no sign of forced entry but find logs indicating that Duja's ship, a Nomad Four, had left a week before Amidala's arrival. The two make arrangements to travel to Black Spire to continue their search.

Skywalker and Thrawn visit a cantina in Black Spire Outpost where they ask the bartender about Padmé and Duja's whereabouts. The two are attacked by four assailants, but subdue and kill their attackers. Thrawn deduces that the assailants had come to assassinate Skywalker and that a fifth companion is still at large. To track down the fifth companion, Skywalker comes up with a plan to make it appear that one of the human assassins survived.

Thrawn and R2-D2 return to his Jedi starfighter with the body. While flying with the human assassin's body, an explosion in the Actis's portside repulsorlift causes it to descend rapidly. Skywalker manages to regain control of the ship and lands it among the trees. He is attacked by a droid assassin but Skywalker uses the Force to deflect the blaster bolt back at the droid, disabling it. Skywalker soon encounters Thrawn, who has captured the fifth assailant. The two search the assassin's Separatist freighter.

Padmé's mission[]

Earlier, Padmé sends a message to Skywalker as she lands on Batuu. After landing in Black Spire, she contacts Duja but hears nothing from her. After disembarking, Padmé asks a human man if he knows the whereabouts of someone named Kuseph Jovi, claiming that she had come to deliver his ship. The man directs her to a cantina in the middle of Black Spire.

Padmé travels to the cantina on her BARC speeder. In the town square, she finds Duja's body in an open coffin. Inspecting the body, Padmé deduces that Duja was murdered based on her battered face and stab wounds. At the cantina, Padmé asks the bartender about how Duja died. The bartender claims that Duja was killed in a speeder bike accident. Padmé then composes a song for the fallen Duja.

Padmé uses a concealed beckon call within Duja's brooch to summon her ship to a remote forest clearing. While checking the ship's communications systems, she finds out that Duja discovered a Separatist factory on Mokivj. Padmé decides to collect her belongings from her ship, send a message to Anakin, and then depart aboard Duja's ship, which is equipped with enhanced shields and heavy weaponry.

Jedi and Chiss[]

Returning to the present, Skywalker and Thrawn disable the droids guarding the freighter. They discover that the freighter was transporting alcoholic beverages and gold ingots. Thrawn deduces that the ship is transporting its goods to a Separatist manufacturing facility. They also find that crates are etched with an unfamiliar symbol. R2-D2 inspects the navigation computer and finds that the Separatist ship was traveling to Cermau.

Thrawn learns from the listening devices he has installed in the cantina that five individuals have entered the cantina and carried the unconscious bartender away. Thrawn explains that Chiss listening devices translate speech into powerful sonic signals which are processed by another device into a pattern of invisible flickering lights.

Returning to Black Spire in their landspeeder, Anakin and Thrawn are attacked by several thugs. The wounded Thrawn rams their landspeeder into their attackers. Following a fight, Anakin and Thrawn subdue the assailants. They question two prisoners including a cargo inspector named Oenti. One of the prisoners reveals that the bartender Janott has connections to the pro-Separatist Duke Solha.

Questioning their prisoners, Thrawn and Anakin determine that Padmé's handmaiden Duja had discovered that the smugglers were using Batuu to smuggle supplies to a Separatist droid factory. Duja had entered a Separatist ship and contacted the Republic. However, Oenti's comrades had realized she was a spy. The smugglers had panicked and attempted to ship their gains offworld. However, before their ship had arrived, the landing space had been occupied by Ambassador Padmé's ship.

Oenti confirms that Padmé landed at Black Spire and wrote a poem for the deceased Duja. Janott and Oenti deny killing Duja, and Anakin confirms they are being truthful. When Thrawn announces that they are going to the Separatist base on Mokijv, Oenti, Janott and their companions attack Thrawn and Anakin. Anakin slays the assailants, with the exception of Janott, with his lightsaber. Janott confirms that Padmé survived and left in a different ship. Leaving the bar, Skywalker briefs Thrawn about the political dynamics of the Clone Wars.

Infiltrating Mokivj[]

Padmé travels on Duja's starship Possibility to Mokivj but her starship is intercepted and shot down by a Vulture droid. Padmé manages to crash-land her ship in a river. Padmé travels down the river in an escape pod and discovers evidence of a nearby mine and town. Reaching a bank, she encounters three local human men named LebJau, Huga, and Cimy.

Padmé bribes the men into not reporting her to Duke Solha and Separatist battle droids by offering them reward money; giving them a Corusca gem as first payment. From the men, Padmé learns that the nearby factory used to belong to the men until the Separatists took it over. Now, the men work as maintenance workers. LebJau reveals that the Separatist also took over a nearby mine. Due to the poor rations offered by the Separatists, the men had been fishing to cover their meager diet.

Continuing their search for Padmé, Anakin, Thrawn, and R2-D2 travel to Mokivj and infiltrate the Separatist factory, which also doubles as a Separatist base. Besides droid components, they also discover large quantities of a fibrous material. After a failed attempt to bluff the Separatist commander Duke Solha, Anakin and his companions are attacked by Separatist battle droids. Following a brief skirmish, Anakin and Thrawn are thrown into improvised cells. Thrawn devises an escape plan based on his observations of the base's layout. He also notices that battle droids are manufactured in the eastern wing of the factory.

Meanwhile, Padmé spends several days hiding inside LebJau's boat. Lebjau outfits her with a transponder wristband and clothes that allows her to infiltrate the Separatist factory. While navigating her way through the abandoned west wing of the factory, she witnesses Anakin, R2-D2 and Thrawn being captured by Duke Solha and his battle droids.

Behind enemy lines[]

In the factory, Padmé tries to enter a trapdoor but is stopped by Cimy and Huga, who warn her that she is putting herself in danger. She tries to convince them to give her another wristband only to learn that they cannot be transferred to other wearers. Meanwhile, Anakin and Thrawn used an improvised cord made from Thrawn's clothing to unlock their cell door from the inside.

Disguised as maintenance workers, Padmé, Cimy and Huga make their way to the detention block. Padmé uses her combat skills to take out two B1-series battle droids guarding the door to the detention block. Before entering the detention block, Padmé promises to get LebJau, Cimy, and Huga their money. Inside the detention block, Padmé encounters Skywalker and Thrawn who have freed themselves. They come up with a plan which involves Padmé accompanying Thrawn to the factory's rooftop to retrieve Skywalker's lightsaber.

Padmé introduces Thrawn to Lebjau and informs him about their plan to destroy the Separatist factory. Though Lebjau doesn't want to lose his people's factory and jobs, he agrees to help them evacuate the workers. Padmé also informs Thrawn about Anakin's Marg Sabl lightsaber fighting style, which he learnt from his former Padawan Ahsoka Tano.

Meanwhile, Anakin chances upon Duke Solha in a section of the factory that produces B2-series super battle droids whose armor is infused with a fibrous material. Duke Solha is testing a new type of clone trooper armor with an unidentified man and woman. Skywalker tries to confuse Solha's droid sentries but that only alerts the Duke to his presence.

While navigating their way through the roof of the factory, Padmé and Thrawn manage to recover Skywalker's lightsaber. They witness several descending spheres which distract the Vulture sentries. Thrawn reveals that these spheres are part of a Chiss mission to steal a deflector shield generator from the Separatist factory. Padmé makes an impassioned plea for Thrawn to help them but Thrawn insists that his mission comes first.

Uncovering a conspiracy[]

Anakin uses his Force powers to stay ahead of Duke Solha and his droid forces until he finds Padmé who returns his lightsaber. Their reunion coincides with the Chiss raid on the Separatist factory. Skywalker fights several B2 battle droids and discovers that their armor deflects blaster bolts and can somehow shut down lightsabers. Skywalker uses his Force powers and lightsaber to disable several of Solha's new B2 battle droids.

Keeping his promise to Padmé, Lebjau evacuates the other factory workers. Anakin and Padmé are joined by Thrawn, who reveals that the mysterious fibrous material is cortosis, which has a high energy absorption rate. They learned that the Separatist factory was using cortosis, which was mined across the river, to strengthen the battle droids' armor, making them indestructible against blasters and even lightsabers. Thrawn agrees to help Anakin and Padmé take out the Separatist mine and factory once the Chiss have secured a deflector shield generator.

Accompanied by R2-D2, Padmé decides to investigate what the Separatist are manufacturing inside the north wing of the factory. R2-D2 manages to reprogram their section of the factory, disabling the battle droids there. She encounters Duke Solha, who boasts of using the factory's cortosis-infused armor to build his name in the Confederacy. Solha is familiar with Senator Amidala and Skywalker and rejects Padmé's ultimatum that he surrenders, believing that he will prevail.

Destroying the factory[]

In another part of the norther wing, Skywalker and Thrawn discover that the Separatists are producing clone trooper armor infused with cortosis. Anakin suspected the Separatists were planning to use Serennian forces to infiltrate the Grand Army of the Republic. Before he can proceed with the mission, Anakin senses that Padmé is in trouble. To conceal his secret marriage to Padmé, Skywalker proceeds with their mission to reprogram their section of the factory.

Meanwhile, Padmé knocks Duke Solha out following a struggle. She finds Skywalker and Thrawn but the four are attacked by B2 battle droids. R2-D2 manages to take out one of them. They then take out several battle droids including conventional B1s and B2s and a few cortosis B2. With the factory also under attack by the Chiss, Anakin attempts to board a freighter filled with battle droids.

However, Thrawn and Padmé managed to find a smaller freighter and evacuate Anakin and the factory workers including LebJau, who rescued R2-D2. Having taken out the Separatist factory, Anakin now wanted to collapse the cortosis mine across the river as well. Thrawn and Padmé disagreed and pleaded not to harm innocent civilians by taking away their livelihood. However, Anakin was determined to deny the Separatists access to cortosis. When LebJau warned that there would be miners down there, Skywalker promised to get them out first before proceeding with his mission.

The price of victory[]

Though Anakin succeeded in destroying the factory, his actions earn him, Lebjau, Thrawn, and Padmé the anger of the local people who resent the loss of their livelihood. Viewing the devastation, Thrawn surmises that General Skywalker did not think things through and remarks that it would have been better to allow the Separatists to waste their resources than to force them to look elsewhere.

Padmé confides her unease about Anakin's stubbornness. Respecting Thrawn, Skywalker invites Thrawn back to Coruscant to meet with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. However, Thrawn declines claiming that he has other duties. Thrawn questions Skywalker's theory that the Separatists were manufacturing enhanced clone armor as part of a plot to attack Republic government offices. Unaware that Darth Sidious controls both the Republic and the Separatists, Skywalker insists that they took out a Separatist plot to destabilize the Republic.

After Thrawn leaves, LebJau pleads with Padmé to give him passage offworld since the local people on Mokivj resent his role in helping those who devastated their homeworld. He settles for Padmé's offer to resettle him on Batuu. When questioned by LebJau, Skywalker admits that collapsing the mine tunnels with explosives caused a violent reaction that breached the planet's crust. The cortosis magnified the impact and lava erupted all over the area destroying farmlands and poisoning soil and water for years to come.

Realizing the devastation that Anakin's actions have inflicted, Padmé promises to seek the Galactic Senate's help in providing relief for the people of Mokivj although she is not optimistic as the clone war has strained the Republic's resources. LebJau insists on leaving his former homeworld for Batuu. Skywalker suggests trying a career as a bartender at Black Spire's cantina.

Imperial storyline[]

A disturbance in the Force[]

Following the Battle of Atollon, Thrawn has earned the displeasure of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader for failing to capture the rebel group Phoenix Cell. Thrawn also disapproves of the Death Star project that the Emperor, Lord Vader, and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin support; preferring instead his own TIE Defender project on Lothal. During a meeting with the Emperor and Vader, Thrawn advocates eliminating the rebel fugitives. However, the Emperor instead dispatches him and Vader to Batuu to investigate a disturbance he has sensed through the Force.

A lengthy voyage[]

Aboard the Chimaera, Commander Kimmund of Vader's First Legion argues with Commodore Karyn Faro about the berthing of his master's shuttle and the Darkhawk, a former Separatist freighter that has been repurposed for undercover operations. Kimmund and his stormtroopers also deal with Thrawn's Noghri Rukh, who has been trespassing the Darkhawk. Kimmund warns Rukh that he and his men are prepared to shoot him should he be caught trespassing again.

On the bridge of the Chimaera, Lord Vader convinces Thrawn and his crew to travel to Mokivj before heading to Batuu to save on travel time. Arriving at Mokivj hours later, they find that the planet has been devastated by an unknown catastrophe. Thrawn notices that the planet's moons are out of orbit and wants to investigate further, believing that this is linked to the disturbance on Batuu. However, Lord Vader insists on staying on track with their mission.

Return to Batuu[]

After a three-hour delay, the Chimaera arrives at Batuu. To avoid unsettling the locals, Thrawn and Darth Vader travel to the planet's surface in an unmarked freighter while the Chimaera remains in orbit at a safe distance. Despite Kimmund and Rukh's protests, Vader insists that he and Thrawn go alone. Flying over Black Spire, they find that the settlement has grown in size; aside from new business, Thrawn notes three particularly large and lavish houses east of Black Spire in a woodland area along with what Thrawn identifies as a Communications triad. After parking their ship, the two travel through Batuu. The town is home to several species including humans, Darshi, Shistavanens, and Jablogians.

Thrawn and Vader take an interest in the Darshi, a enigmatic alien species bordering the Unknown Regions. Thrawn learns from the local bartender Nodlia that the Darshi are recent arrivals who have disrupted trade on Batuu. Meanwhile, Commodore Faro and sensor officer Senior Lieutenant Hammerly detect the arrival of several unidentified ships heading towards Thrawn and Vader's freighter. Faro alerts Thrawn and Vader.

At the Black Spire cantina, Thrawn and Vader are attacked by ten Darshi warriors. Thrawn realizes the aliens are speaking in a clicked code. Besides blasters, the Darshi deploy swarms of bio-engineered insects which transform into a sticky gray paste that traps their targets. Despite being pinned down, Vader uses the Force to turn the tables on his attackers, killing four of them with his lightsaber. During the attack, Vader also experiences the disturbance in the Force, which manifests in alien forms.

Meanwhile, Commander Kimmund leads a stormtrooper boarding party aboard the Darkhawk to board one of the unidentified alien freighters. The First Legion boarding party is assisted by Captain Vult Skerris of Defender Squadron One. Kimmund and his troops board the alien freighter but meet fierce resistance from the alien defenders. Kimmund also gets Skerris to blow out the ship's ventral cargo hatch in order to stop the aliens from destroying their ship.

A new threat[]

Following the skirmish at the cantina, Vader and Thrawn inspect a nearby clearing where two Darshi houses were cleared to make way for a freighter. Inspecting the third remaining house, Vader and Thrawn find ten cylinders used for unfamiliar purposes, which are brought back to the Chimaera.

Aboard the ship, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Commodore Faro, Commander Kimmund, and Captain Skerris discuss Kimmund's assault on the alien freighter. Kimmund expresses his objection to Rukh's presence aboard the Darkhawk during the engagement with the alien freighter. Thrawn orders his lieutenants to load the alien freighter in the sixth slot and to put the alien prisoners in the brig.

Vader and Thrawn return to Batuu to question Nodlia about the new alien threat. After showing knives recovered from the Darshi attackers, Thrawn questions Nodlia about the purpose of the cylinders. Nodia reveals that the unfamiliar aliens that the Imperials encountered are Grysks, an enigmatic alien species from the Unknown Regions who dominated the Darshi. While Vader is unfamiliar with the Grysks, Thrawn is familiar with the aliens, describing them as a nomadic species of terrifying warriors "who overwhelm their opponents through sheer numbers and ferocity." Nodia is afraid the Grysks will return, but Thrawn reassures him they won't.

Returning to the Chimaera, Vader and Thrawn deduce that the Grysks hired the Darshi to set up a base and communications triad. The two also deduce that the cylinders are hibernation tanks. Under the Grysks' orders, the Darshi had brought the cylinders and their occupants to Baatu. Vader deduces that it was their sudden fear at the knowledge of what was to happen to them that triggered the Force disturbance that the Emperor felt. Vader and Thrawn decide to investigate the Grysks and their hibernating Force-sensitives.

Thrawn and Vader discuss the captured alien freighter with Captain Skerris and Commander Kimmund. Kimmund deduces that the freighter had come to Batuu for a pick-up and reports that the ship's entire computer system had been wiped clean. Thrawn deduces that the Grysks had evacuated their prisoners in a second freighter. Determined to investigate the Grysks, Thrawn orders Faro to set a course for a set of unknown coordinates.

Studying the enemy[]

During the journey, the Chimaera encounters a hyperlane disruption, caused by a gravity well projector and a cloaking device which the Grysks have laid in their path. Tensions emerge between Vader and Thrawn over the latter's secrecy regarding the Grysk prisoners and the mysterious Force disturbance, leading Vader to question Thrawn's loyalty to the Empire. Thrawn's references to Anakin also irritate Vader, who has sought to suppress any connections to his past. Despite their differences, Thrawn tries to convince Vader that the Grysks pose a threat to both the Empire and the Chiss Ascendancy.

At Thrawn's initiative, the Imperials set a trap for the Grysks using the captured Grysk freighter as bait. Two elliptical Grysk ships resembling Corona-class frigates take the bait. One of the frigates board the freighter. The Grysk boarders are ambushed by Lord Vader, Kimmund, and elements of the First Legion. Kimmund and his men manage to capture the Grysk frigate and seventeen prisoners. Under Thrawn's orders, the second frigate is destroyed.

While inspecting a Grysk set of armor, Thrawn discusses the art and history of the Grysks with Lord Vader. Thrawn informs Vader of the Emperor's interest in the Unknown Regions. Thrawn also orders Commodore Faro to bring the Chimaera to their location. He also gives her orders to place the new Grysk prisoners in the starboard ready block to prevent them from communicating with the earlier batch of Grysk prisoners.

In order to test the capabilities of their new adversaries, Thrawn and Vader allow their second batch of Grysk prisoners to escape their makeshift prison. The aliens attempt to seize the freighter Darkhawk, but are intercepted by Commander Kimmund and his troops. Most of the Grysks warriors except four are killed. However, at least three of Imperial Chief Hangar Master Xoxtin's crew members are also killed in the process.

Thrawn and Vader discover that the second batch of Grysk prisoners managed to contact their imprisoned comrades aboard the Chimaera through ultrasonic signals. They also find that the Grysk warriors have removed their teeth and replaced them with upper and lower moldings containing weapons components communicators, and lock-breakers. Thrawn also deduces that the Grysks are interested in the Darkhawk since they obtained the vessel from the former Separatist factory on Mokivj. Thrawn orders Faro to set a course for Mokivj while Vader decides to interrogate the surviving Grysks.

Return to Mokivj[]

While Thrawn commands the space battle with Grysk starships, Darth Vader leads the First Legion on an assault on the abandoned Separatist factory on Mokivj, which has been repurposed by the Grysks. Through the Force, Lord Vader senses eight Chiss being put into hibernation chambers inside the factory. Inside the factory, Kimmund and his men fight Grysk forces, who deploy unfamiliar technology including lightning guns and swarms of insects carrying immobilizing liquid stone. Vader uses his Force powers to help the Imperials gain the upper hand over the Grysks.

Kimmund and his men manage to rescue five of the Chiss prisoners, who turn out to be Force-sensitive girls. Meanwhile, the Chimaera and its starfighters engage the Grysk warships. Thrawn and Faro are aware of the Chiss prisoners. Faro realizes that the Grysk are concealing the remaining Chiss prisoners among their warships. Under Thrawn's orders, Captain Skerris' Defender Squadron destroys the Grysk tugs. The surviving Grysk warships retreat into hyperspace. The Grysks also abandon one of Mokivj's errant moons, which they had been using as a base.

Secrets of the Chiss[]

After attending to the needs of the liberated Chiss prisoners, Thrawn meets with Lord Vader, who is angry that he has withheld information about Chiss Force sensitives. Thrawn explains that the Chiss use Force sensitive children to navigate through the dangerous Unknown Regions since they lack nav computers. Thrawn explains that Chiss Force sensitives are overwhelmingly female and eventually grow out of their Force powers as they reach adolescence and adulthood. The Grysk, having learned about their secret, are trying to replicate it—and attack one of the Ascendancy's most precious cultural and military assets. The children's fear caused the disturbance in the Force the Emperor had sensed.

In order to rescue the three remaining children, Thrawn tries to convince a reluctant Vader to lend Imperial forces to finding the Grysk base and rescuing them. Vader reminds Thrawn of his oath of loyalty to the Empire, but Thrawn points out that the Grysks have already violated Imperial space by closing the Batuu hyperlane and attempting to move Mokivj's moons to block Imperial movement. When Vader reminds Thrawn of his failure on Atollon, Thrawn responds that his war with the rebels is not yet over and vows to defeat them.

In the end, Vader agrees to allow Thrawn to use Imperial forces to locate and attack the Grysk base and attempt to rescue the remaining children. However, he exacts a promise from Thrawn to pull back if the battle goes against them. In return, Thrawn solicits Vader's help in using his Force powers to locate the Grysk base. Thrawn tells Vader that the Cheunh word for Force-sensitive is ozyly-esehembo, which translates into Galactic Basic Standard as "Sky-walker." Honoring his side of the bargain, Vader uses the Force to locate the system the Grysk base is in.

Rescuing the Chiss children[]

The Chimaera enters an uncharted, nameless system where the two Grysk ships are. Thrawn and Vader deduce that the Grysks are a nomadic species. Thrawn wants Lord Vader to lead the First Legion to rescue the children. However, Vader insists that Commander Kimmund and the First Legion are capable of looking after themselves. Vader taunts Thrawn about the Bendu but Thrawn insists he defeated the creature. Thrawn reassures a skeptical Vader that the Chiss rescue mission will meet the Emperor's approval.

While Thrawn and Commander Faro command the Chimaera, Lord Vader flies a TIE Defender escorting the First Legion's ship Darkhawk. The Chimaera and its TIE escorts engage the Grysk ships. During the space battle, Thrawn convinces Commander Faro to take advantage of the Grysks' cultural "blindspot" of focusing on the nearest enemy. With the Grysks preoccupied with engaging the TIEs, Thrawn deploys his TIE Defenders.

Accompanied by Rukh, Kimmund and the First Legion, including Drav, Morrtic, Elebe, and Sampa, board the Grysk ship carrying the Chiss children. Kimmund and his troops fight their way through the Grysk defenders and rescue the two remaining Force-sensitive Chiss girls. Having rescued the children, Thrawn allows Vader and Defender Squadron to attack the Grysk ships. Having inflicted significant damage on the two Grysk warships, Thrawn issues a message ordering them to leave and end their expansionist campaign. Having lost their ability to navigate through uncharted space, the Grysks retreat into hyperspace.

Juggling two masters[]

Following the battle, Thrawn arranges with Admiral Ar'alani to return the seven Chiss children to their families. Though Lord Vader is still skeptical that the Grysks pose a threat to the Empire, Thrawn shows him a Grysk gravity projector whose meshwork is made of cortosis. Based on the presence of cortosis in Grysk technology, Thrawn suggests the Grysk led the Separatists to Mokivj in the first place all those years ago as they observed the Clone Wars from a distance and studied first the Republic and then the Empire.

Thrawn deduces that the Grysks practice a policy of stealing things of value from other species in order to force them into submission. On Batuu, the Grysks subjugated the Darshi by stealing their ceremonial daggers. Thrawn explains that the Grysks tried to do the same with the Chiss by kidnapping their children. Thrawn also realizes that Dooku surprised the Grysks by producing both cortosis battle droids and clone armor. In secret, Vader knows that Darth Sidious was Dooku's true master and orchestrated the construction of the cortosis factory as part of his preparations for Order 66.

Thrawn fears the Grysk will become a major threat to the Empire. He also acknowledges that the Chiss are on the verge of a civil war as some had already aligned themselves with the Grysk. Vader realizes that Thrawn's loyalty is first and foremost with the Chiss, but the Emperor obviously knows and will allow Thrawn to work under Imperial command as long as he is useful. Despite their differences, Vader sees potential in Thrawn's TIE Defender program and makes recommendations. Thrawn accepts these recommendations and promises to convey them to the Lothal Imperial factory upon their return to Coruscant.


"… 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[6]

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.[6]

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.[7] Though the original concept had Thrawn and Skywalker looking for Ahsoka Tano, the character was "off-limits," so Padmé Amidala was used instead.[8] 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.[9]


Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising[]

  • Released in 2020, the later Thrawn Ascendancy novel Chaos Rising makes references to Alliances and even adapts the scene where Thrawn and Skywalker first meet, though now from the perspective of Thrawn and his pilot, who is revealed to have been the Sky-walker Che'ri.[10]



Thrawn: Alliances' sequel, the third and final instalment of the Star Wars: Thrawn trilogy, Thrawn: Treason, was released on July 23, 2019.[16] In 2024, a four-issue comic adaptation of Thrawn: Alliances, written by Zahn and Jody Houser, was published by Marvel Comics.[17]




Cover gallery[]


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Notes and references[]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 PenguinRandomHouse Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link) (Hardcover)
  2. 2.0 2.1 PenguinRandomHouse Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link) (eBook)
  3. 3.0 3.1 PenguinRandomHouse Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link) (Paperback)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Star Wars: Timelines
  5. Thrawn: Alliances
  6. 6.0 6.1 StarWars NYCC 2017: New Thrawn Novel Revealed and More from Lucasfilm's Publishing Panel on StarWars.com (backup link)
  7. StarWars Timothy Zahn on Vader, Padmé, and the Grand Admiral in Thrawn: Alliances on StarWars.com (backup link)
  8. Highlights of the 'Star Wars' Animation Panels at Dragon Con 2018 on TWG (September 8, 2018) (content obsolete and backup link not available)
  9. YouTube Timothy Zahn Full Interview - Dragon Con 2018 on the Star Wars Explained YouTube channel (backup link)
  10. Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising
  11. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels — "Secret Cargo"
  12. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels — "Flight of the Defender"
  13. Battlefront: Twilight Company
  14. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  15. Star Wars: Complete Locations
  16. PenguinRandomHouse Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars) on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link)
  17. Marvel-TemplateLogo Catch Up on All of Marvel's 'Star Wars' News from New York Comic Con 2023 on Marvel Comics' official website (backup link)
  18. LogoBN Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) (B&N Exclusive Edition) on Barnes & Noble's official website (backup link)
  19. Thrawn - Alliances - Autographed Copy by Timothy Zahn on www.booksamillion.com (archived from the original on August 23, 2019)
  20. EdelweissPlus-Logo Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) on the official Edelweiss website (content obsolete and backup link not available)
  21. Star Wars: Thrawn: Szövetségek (hungarian) (HTML) on lira.hu (archived from the original on September 3, 2020)
  22. Star Wars: Thrawn: Szövetségek (hungarian) (HTML) on szukits.hu (archived from the original on March 20, 2020)

External links[]