Thrawn is a canon novel written by Timothy Zahn and the first installment of the Thrawn novel series. It was published by Del Rey on April 11, 2017. The novel is about the character Thrawn, who was canonically reintroduced in the third season of Star Wars Rebels. Zahn was the creator of the original character in the author's Thrawn Trilogy. The audiobook version was narrated by Marc Thompson. A sequel was released in 2018.
- 1 Publisher's summary
- 2 Plot summary
- 2.1 First contact
- 2.2 New opportunities
- 2.3 Imperial orientation
- 2.4 Chasing smugglers
- 2.5 Trials by ordeal
- 2.6 Finding Nightswan's trail
- 2.7 Infiltrating Higher Skies
- 2.8 The Cyphar dispute
- 2.9 Neutralizing Higher Skies
- 2.10 Climbing the ladder
- 2.11 Crisis on Batonn
- 2.12 The Pryce factor
- 2.13 Denouement
- 3 Development
- 4 Continuity
- 5 Legacy
- 6 Media
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 Notes and references
- 10 External links
One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars . From his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn's classic Heir to the Empire, through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond, Grand Admiral Thrawn has earned an iconic status among Star Wars' greatest villains. But Thrawn's origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.
After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.
All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral—and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire's grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.
The novel opens with a brief flashback prologue on Mitth'raw'nuruodo reflecting on his purported exile from the Chiss Ascendancy. In the present, the Imperial cadet Eli Vanto is part of an Imperial scouting party led by Colonel Mosh Barris and Captain Voss Parck that is scouting an uncharted world in Wild Space. They discover a hut which show signs of recent habitation. While exploring the site, the Imperial scouting party comes under attack from a mysterious assailant, who claims the lives of five Imperial Navy troopers and a stormtrooper.
After returning to the Venator-class Star Destroyer Strikefast, Captain Parck realizes that the assailant has stowed aboard their transport. He orders the lights in the hangar to be dimmed. As expected, the castaway emerges and surrenders to the stormtroopers. Eli recognizes the castaway as a Chiss, a blue-skinned humanoid species considered to be the stuff of legends on his Wild Space homeworld of Lysatra. Since he can speak Sy Bisti, Eli acts as a translator between his Imperial superiors and the castaway, who identifies himself as Mitth'raw'nuruodo (or Thrawn, for short).
While undergoing interrogation, Thrawn claims that he was exiled by his people for opposing their policy against preemptive attacks. He also reveals how he outsmarted the Imperial scouting forces on the uncharted world. Thrawn also admits attacking and killing Imperial personnel in order to test the mettle of the Empire. Thrawn claims that he came to seek the Empire's help to protect his people from various unmentioned dangers in the Unknown Regions. In private, Parck commends Eli for his services and appoints him as Thrawn's translator. While Thrawn knows Galactic Basic Standard, he is not fluent in that tongue. Parck decides to take Thrawn to Coruscant, believing that the Emperor Palpatine will be interested in meeting the Chiss warrior. During the journey, Eli takes the opportunity to meet with Thrawn and learn more about the enigmatic alien.
Eli accompanies his Imperial superiors and Thrawn to the Imperial Palace, where they are granted an audience by the Emperor himself. Claiming that there are threats lurking in the Unknown Regions, Thrawn offers his knowledge and skills to the Empire. Thrawn also offers to serve the Empire in return for receiving a guarantee of protection for his people. Thrawn also expresses interest in meeting Anakin Skywalker, another servant of the Emperor when he was still Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. The Emperor claims that Skywalker did not survive the Clone Wars. The Emperor accepts Thrawn's offer to serve as his adviser on the Unknown Regions. Thrawn also convinces the Emperor to permanently reassign Eli as his translator, much to his discomfort.
On the Outer Rim world of Lothal, Arihnda Pryce helps her father Talmoor and mother Elainye Pryce to manage Pryce Mining, which operates a doonium mine used to supply metals for the Imperial Navy's starships. Arihnda rebuffs an offer by Arik Uvis, who has come on behalf of Governor Ryder Azadi to buy up a 21 percent stake in Pryce Mining. Governor Azadi retaliates by fabricating trumped up embezzlement charges against Arihnda's mother Elainye. After conferring with her father Talmoor, Arihnda seeks the help of Senator Domus Renking. Renking agrees to get the charges against Elainye dropped in return for Arihnda signing the rights of the mine over to the Empire. As a sop, Renking offers Arihnda a job at a Lothalian citizen assistance office on Coruscant. Seeking to protect her mother and to experience life in the Core Worlds, Arihnda accepts Renking's bargain.
Since Eli Vanto is only three months away from graduating from the Myomar Academy in the Expansion Region, the Emperor orders that he be reassigned to the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant with Thrawn. At the Royal Imperial Academy, Thrawn and Eli are greeted by a dismissive Commandant Deenlark, who regards the former as an alien and the latter as a "backwater yokel." Since Thrawn is a "fancy-face soldier," Deenlark assigns him the rank of lieutenant and gives him three months to come up to speed before commissioning. While adjusting to their new surroundings, Eli briefs Thrawn about the xenophobic and regional prejudices within the Imperial military establishment. The two are aware that the predominantly Core Worlds student body despises them for being outsiders.
Back at the Royal Imperial Academy, Thrawn endures harassment from the Imperial cadets. His only true friend is Eli Vanto. After some discussion, the two decide to accept Cadets Spenc Orbar and Rosita Turuy's invitation to play cards at the metallurgy lab. Thrawn suspects that it is a trap but is determined to learn about his opponents. Thrawn beats Orbar and Turuy in a game of cards before being kicked out by an instructor. While teaching Eli some combat moves, the two cadets are ambushed by three hooded assailants. Thrawn manages to wound the leg of one of the assailants before other cadets discover the commotion.
Later, Thrawn and Eli meet with Commandant Deenlark to discuss the incident. Despite evidence that Orbay and Turuy hired the assailants, Deenlark is reluctant to punish the cadets due to their families' political connections. Based on the fast reflexes of the three attackers, Thrawn convinces Deenlark to reassign the three troublemakers to the Skystrike Academy, which is reputed for its starfighter program. Thrawn argues that the abrupt transfer of these cadets would scare Orbar and separate him from his gang. In private, Thrawn and Vanto discuss Deenlark's unwillingness to antagonize Orbay's family and the lack of emergency buttons on Imperial comlinks. Thrawn also claims that he was exiled from his people for launching a preemptive strike on nomadic pirates who preyed on defenseless worlds.
Elsewhere on Coruscant, Arihnda starts work as a civilian assistance officer. She confronts the landlady Chesna Braker over a water leak in one of her tenants' buildings. Senator Renking praised Arihnda for holding errant landlords to task and reassigns her to running a fifth citizen assistance office in the Bartanish Four Sector. Unlike her previous office, this one is open to all Coruscant citizens. Pryce sees this as a chance to move up the ladder to the Federal District.
Three months later, Thrawn and Eli graduate second and third place from the Royal Imperial Academy respectively. Eli tries to reassure his parents about Thrawn but they are unable to overcome their prejudices about the Chiss. Lieutenant Thrawn finds himself posted as the second weapons officer aboard the Gozanti-class cruiser Blood Crow while Ensign Eli assigned as his aide. Eli is initially upset but Thrawn reassures him that his knowledge of Sy Bisti is useful because the Blood Crow is assigned to duty in border sectors where the language is spoken.
Over the next eighteen months, Lieutenant Thrawn and Ensign Eli serve under Captain Rik Virgilio. The Blood Crow is deployed on operations to trap smugglers, aid distressed vessels, and defusing potentially damaging situations in the Mid Rim and Outer Rim Territories. Captain Virgilio is subsequently transferred to a more prestigious command and replaced by Captain Filia Rossi and Senior Lieutenant Nels Deyland. Thrawn convinces Captain Rossi to let him keep several Clone Wars antiques including a droideka, two buzz droids, half of a STAP, and a hyperspace ring which he purchased with his own expenses. Thrawn hopes to study the technology of that era. Captain Rossi allowed Thrawn to keep the artifacts until they reach Ansion in three months time. She also dislikes Thrawn for having an aide.
Later, Thrawn, Eli, and several crew members are dispatched on a shuttle to search the derelict freighter Dromedar, which was carrying tibanna. They encounter a man named Nevil Cygni, who tells them that his crew were kidnapped by pirates. While Captain Rossi is reluctant to rescue the kidnapped crew since there is a pressing situation at a Ho'Din settlement on Moltok, Thrawn convinces her to let him and Eli stay behind with three crew. Ensign Barlin and the technicians Layneo and Jakeeb also volunteer to stay behind with Thrawn, Eli, and Cygni. He also brought his buzz droids aboard. When Thrawn pries into the Dromedar's cargo, Cygni reveals that he is one of the pirates. He and his pirate associates including Angel take Thrawn and the other Imperials prisoner.
The five Imperials are thrown into a cage aboard the pirate ship with the Dromedar's crew. After Cygni and most of the pirates had departed aboard the Dromedar with the stolen tibanna, Thrawn sprung his escape plan. With the help of the technicians, he managed to activate the buzz droids he had brought aboard. Thrawn used one of the buzz droids to cut a hole through the cage. Using the broken bars, the Imperials and the Dromedar's crew overpower the pirates. The second buzz droid eliminated the remaining pirates by exposing the entrance chamber and amidships section to the vacuum of space. Despite Thrawn's efforts to rescue the Dromedar's crew and capture some of the pirates, Rossi has Thrawn suspended from duty for taking risks. She also suspends Eli from duty and leaves them at the Imperial base on Ansion.
In an effort to discover where Angel and Cygni had stashed the tibanna away, Thrawn works out a deal with the pirates to give them and their fellow pirates safe passage from this sector in return for identifying the system where Cygni and Angel had taken the Dromedar to remove the tibanna. Knowing that the pirates are successors of Q'anah's Marauders, Thrawn convinces them he can be more merciful than Wilhuff Tarkin, who had brutally executed Q'anah. Thrawn's ploy works and the pirates reveal that they smuggled the tibanna to Uba in the Barsa sector. The pirates also reveal that Angel and Cygni went to Cartherston on the planet Keitum. Thrawn's efforts please Admiral Plor Wiskovis, who dispatches Imperials forces to Uba and Keitum to recover the tibanna and catch the pirates.
Trials by ordeal
Meanwhile, Arihnda Pryce befriends another human woman named Juahir Madras during the Ascension Week celebrations leading to Empire Day. Arihnda had helped Juahir to find an apartment. In return, Juahir treated her for dinner at a restaurant. Pryce uses her position as a senatorial employee to secure her, Juahir, and another friend Driller MarDapp places at an exclusive Imperial ball at the Alisandre Hotel. While at the ball, Arihnda encounters Colonel Wullf Yularen of the Imperial Security Bureau, Senior Lieutenant Thrawn, and Ensign Eli Vanto. Arihnda learns about Thrawn's recent exploits with the pirates. Senator Renking then gets Pryce to deliver a datacard to Moff Ghadi. As Pryce leaves, Colonel Yularen introduces Thrawn to the other guests. At Moff Ghadi's office, he uploads the data card onto a secure datapad. However, Pryce discovers that Renking sent her a fake card. Ghadi sprays her with polstine spice.
Later, Eli attends Senior Lieutenant Thrawn's meeting with Colonel Yularen. They discuss the recent encounter with Cygni's pirates at the Dromedar. Despite the Empire's efforts, Cygni had eluded capture. The Empire also discover that Cygni has managed to find a way to extract tibanna from the cylinders aboard the Dromedar. Yularen praises Thrawn's conduct and tells him that he is welcome at the ISB if the Imperial Navy decides to toss him out. Meanwhile, Moff Ghadi tells Pryce that Senator Renking planted falsified data in the data card. With Pryce facing imprisonment, he blackmails her into working for him. Under Ghadi's instructions, Pryce takes Ghadi's data card to Renking's office. Due to the failure of Renking's plan, the Senator's office faces allegations of financial and corporate discrepancies. With funding levels restricted, Renking lays off several of his employees including Arihnda. Blaming Arihnda for the predicament, Renking evicts her from her apartment. Homeless, Arihnda turns to her friends Juahir and Driller.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Thrawn is cleared of any wrongdoing by a court martial. Following the court martial, Eli is met by Moff Ghadi's aide Culper, who offers him a job as an assistant military attache for the governor of a prestigious Inner Rim system. Eli realizes that Culper is serving elements within the Imperial military hierarchy who are jealous of Thrawn's success and want to separate him from his friend. Not wanting a desk job and unwilling to leave his friend, Vanto turns down the offer. Shortly later, Thrawn is promoted as Captain of the Arquitens-class light cruiser Thunder Wasp. Eli learns that he is to serve as Thrawn's aide-de-camp. After several attempts, Pryce finds work at the Proam Avenue Citizen Assistance.
Finding Nightswan's trail
On Paklarn, Captain Thrawn, Ensign Eli, and Commander Alfren Cheno managed to capture the iridium smugglers by using a trail of grist mollusk meat and makorr to track their underwater transport. In their haste to make room for the iridium, the smugglers had dumped large quantities of mollusk meat overboard. This attracted the local makorr predators. Eli reasons that the smugglers could have escaped had they been smart enough to dump bits and pieces of the mollusk meat the whole length of the way back to the list. Thrawn also discovers evidence that a mysterious individual named Nightswan has been procuring Clone Wars equipment and weapons for unknown purposes.
Later, Thrawn studies Umbaran art prior to Admiral Carlou Gendling's assault on the rebellious Umbaran homeworld of Umbara. Gendling's ultimatum is met by the Umbarans deploying four hundred Vulture droids to attack Gendling's squadron, which consists of the Imperial Star Destroyer Foremost, the Thunder Wasp, and two Raider-class corvettes. After analyzing the Vulture droids' attack patterns, Thrawn and Eli work out that the Vulture droids are being controlled by a ground-based transmitter on a nearby moon. They inform Admiral Gendling but he dismisses Thrawn's plan. Undeterred, Thrawn tries to convince Commander Cheno and the other Imperial officers in the squadron to bombard the moon. Admiral Gendling refuses. Thrawn instead suggests they focus their firepower in the shadows of their ships as the Vulture droids' signals become less effective in the shadows. After a long battle with half of Gendlings crew dead and his ship in bad shape they win. This effectively forces the Umbarans to surrender.
Humiliated, Admiral Gendling chastises Commander Cheno for usurping his command and threatens a court martial. Cheno offers to protect Thrawn but he reassures him that the Thunder Wasp's will answer all his suspicions. Later, Eli briefs Thrawn about his discovery that the transmitter was being operated by a group of humans. They trace the insurgency to Umbara's mining districts, which extract and export doonium. Thrawn speculates that Nightswan staged the uprising in order to invite an Imperial nationalization of Umbara's entire mining and refining sector. Eli reasons that it is easier for Nightswan's smugglers to bribe Imperial inspectors than the Umbarans. Thrawn thinks that Nightswan is trying to send a message to him.
Infiltrating Higher Skies
Meanwhile on Coruscant, Arihnda Pryce, Juahir Madras, and Driller dine at The Pinnacle, a fancy restaurant in the Federal District. Pryce learns that Juahir has given up her job as a waitress in favor of become a martial art instructor at the Yinchom Dojo, which trains bodyguards for Imperial senators. Driller also recruits Pryce into his Higher Skies Advocacy Group, which has been monitoring the Imperial takeover of mines. She learns about Captain Thrawn's involvement in the pacification of Umbara. Pryce also moves into Juahir's apartment, which is in a seedier part of Coruscant.
One evening, Pryce is heading home on a turbolift when it malfunctions and descends into the dangerous Level 4120. Pryce is soon accosted by a gang of thugs. However, Juahir comes to her rescue and drives them off. Pryce also meets one of Juahir's martial arts students Ottlis Dos, who is a bodyguard. A grateful Pryce treats them for dinner. Later, Thrawn and Eli discuss the High Command's decision to relieve Commander Cheno of duty. Admiral Gendling had sought revenge for his humiliation. Eli explains that Cheno took the fall to protect Thrawn. They meet with Colonel Yularen to discuss his investigation into Nightswan's activities. Yularen suspects that Nightswan is planning something bigger and decides to investigate the Federal District's combat subculture.
Thrawn and Eli accompany Colonel Yularen on his tour of the Yinchom Dojo, which is owned by the Togorian H'sishi. Thrawn reunited with Arihnda Pryce and spars with H'sishi using sticks. He studies H'sishi's combat moves and discusses Juahir's apprehensive behaviour towards the Imperials. Later, Thrawn learns that he has been promoted to Commander and given command of the Thunder Wasp. However, Eli has not been promoted. Yularen takes an interest in the Higher Skies Advocacy Group.
The bodyguard Ottlis leads Pryce into a meeting with Moff Ghadi, who confronts her about the Higher Skies Advocacy Group's efforts to spy on him. Pryce does not know who hired Higher Skies to spy on Ghadi, who suspects Grand Moff Tarkin. Ghadi blackmails Pryce into spying on Higher Skies and reveals that the bodyguard Ottlis is a double agent serving him. Following Ghadi's orders, Pryce sends copies of Higher Advocacy's confidential files to the Moff. She also transmits a message to Commander Thrawn. She confides in Thrawn about her predicament and informs him that someone attacked one of Ghadi's doonium mines. Thrawn advises her to follow two possible attack vectors: turning the threat into an ally and then using him against the enemy; or using the threat as a lever against the enemy in order to make him an ally. Thrawn also counsels her to be ready to turn on her colleagues in order to receive Colonel Yularen's protection. Pryce also promised to use her political connections to secure Vanto's promotion. Putting her plan into action, Arihnda offers to decrypt one of Higher Skies' files on Tarkin to gain Ghadi's favor.
The Cyphar dispute
Commander Thrawn and Ensign Eli are dispatched to resolve a dispute on the planet Cyphar between the Afe clan of the native Cyphari and the human colonists. The colonists claim the Afes have been raiding their border settlements while the Afes claim they are retaliating against trespassing and border raids from the humans. Studying the planet's shipping records, Thrawn and Eli speculate that the dispute is a cover for the human colonists to smuggle precious metals offworld. Eli and Thrawn trace the outbreak of fighting to the discovery of a new doonium vein beneath Afe territory eight months ago; hence the colonists' sudden demand for Afe land. The two suspect that Nightswan has a hand behind this.
After meeting with the colonists' representatives and the Afe Chief Joko, Thrawn and Eli decide to set a trap for the human raiding parties. Imperial forces ambush and captured the raiders including their leaders Clay Tanoo and Brigte Polcery. Thrawn discovers that the disputed ground covers a vein of material that is a precursor to a spice variety called scarn. In order to stop further raids, Thrawn orders his TIE fighters and the Thunder Wasp to orbitally bombard the disputed land. Thrawn's actions anger both Chief Joko and the Imperial military command; with the former objecting to the loss of farmland and the latter displeased with Thrawn's unwillingness to follow procedure. Eli later meets one of the TIE pilots Gimm and learns that he was one of the troublemakers who assaulted Thrawn at the Royal Imperial Academy. Gimm thinks that he outsmarted Thrawn, not realizing that the Chiss was his true benefactor.
Neutralizing Higher Skies
Meanwhile, Arihnda learns that Higher Skies is planning to spy on Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Seeking to secure her rise in the Empire, Arihnda pays a visit to Governor Tarkin and informs him about Higher Skies' espionage program. She also tells him that Commander Thrawn convinced her to embark on a "double-thief" program to expose Higher Skies' conspiracy. In return for turning over Higher Skies' files to the Imperial authorities, Pryce convinces Tarkin to promote Thrawn's aide Eli and to give her the governorship of Lothal in order to humiliate Governor Ryder Azadi and Senator Renking for stealing her family's mining company. Seeking to eliminate Moff Ghadi, Pryce also reveals that Ghadi told her to obtain Higher Skies' data on Tarkin—which enables Tarkin to eliminate his political rival.
Using Pryce's information, the ISB arrest Driller and other members of Higher Skies. Accompanied by Colonel Yularen, Pryce visits the Yinchom Dojo to personally arrest her friend Juahir, who has been using her training position to recruit and indoctrinate high-level bodyguards as spies. Yularen informs them that one of Juahir's students Kaniki tried to assassinate Senator Evidorn. A tearful Juahir explains that she got involved with Higher Skies after Senator Renking fired Pryce and that she only wanted to make the Empire better for everyone. Juahir also admits exploiting Pryce but insists that she was her friend. When Juahir pleads for Pryce's help, Arihnda tells her that she can escape execution by cooperating with Yularen. However, Pryce convinces Yularen to spare the dojo H'sishi on the grounds of Thrawn's view that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her. Yularen counsels H'sishi to leave Coruscant to avoid Juahir trying to shift the blame onto her.
Meanwhile, Commander Thrawn is cleared by a court martial. Later, he and Eli are summoned before a board of senior Imperial officers including Grand Moff Tarkin. Due to Thrawn's successes against smuggling gangs and criminals, he is promoted to the rank of Commodore. Eli Vanto is also promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Meeting with Thrawn and Eli, Tarkin credits the now-Governor Pryce with securing Eli's promotion. Thrawn also learns that he has been made captain of the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera and that Eli will be accompanying him.
Climbing the ladder
As captain of the Chimaera, Commodore Thrawn responds to a distress call from the troop transport Sempre, which has been attacked by the frigate Castilus and two squadrons of V-19 Torrent starfighters. Commodore Thrawn and Lieutenant Commander Vanto discover evidence that the Sempre was transporting Wookiee slaves for some unknown Imperial project. Thrawn and Eli deduce that the Sempre was raided by Wookiees from the same tribe. Thrawn learns that the Wookiees and their allies are attacking the space station Lansend Twenty-Six to free more Wookiee slaves. The Chimaera arrives at Lansend Twenty-Six and neutralizes the attacking force. When Eli expresses moral concerns that the Empire is using slaves, Thrawn, who is unaware of Wookiee history, tries to rationalize their enslavement and reassures Eli that they will be treated as "Imperial assets."
A year after the neutralization of Higher Skies, Governor Pryce visits her homeworld of Lothal and asks Maketh Tua, the Minister of industrial production, about the decline in refinery output. After learning that Pryce Mining has exhausted its doonium vein, she orders Tua to shut down the company. Senator Renking tries to reverse her decision but Pryce reasserts her authority. Over the next few months, Governor Pryce embarks on a policy of seizing farmland to establish new factories and military facilities. As a sop, the Imperial authorities offer the displaced farmers jobs in factories and mines. While many welcome the jobs and prosperity brought by the new Imperial development, a minority oppose the Imperial efforts.
After learning that Kintoni is trying to compete with Lothal to host an Imperial naval presence, Governor Pryce tasks Minister Tua with ensuring that Lothal wins the bid. She then departs to Coruscant to continue her lobbying efforts. Commodore Thrawn also agrees to provide data to support Lothal's bid to host the Imperial Navy. Later, Governor Pryce convinces Senator Renking to convince Governor Sanz of Kintoni to withdraw her proposal. Following a hearing, the Imperial High Command grants the contract to expand Imperial naval facilities to Lothal. Senator Renking is soon arrested by ISB Agent Major Hartell for bribing Governor Sanz. When Renking tries to shift the blame onto Pryce, she counters that she never told Renking to bribe her and provides the recording as evidence. Before leaving for Lothal, Pryce's receptionist informs her that Juahir, who is imprisoned at the Oovo 4 detention center, has been petitioning her for help. Arihnda refuses to help her former friend.
Thrawn leads an Imperial task force to pacify an uprising on the planet Botajef. Commodore Thrawn holds an open tactical consultation meeting with the Chimaera's bridge officer corps including Lieutenant Commander Vanto, Commander Faro, and Senior Lieutenant Pyrondi. Pyrondi shares her knowledge of the Jefies people with her fellow officers, particularly their loyalty to their leaders. During the journey, Thrawn discusses his concerns about the Empire diverting large funds into mega projects with Eli. They also study a recording of Governor Quesl's declaration of independence thirty hours ago, paying particularly attention to the artwork behind his figure.
Upon arriving at Botajef, the Chimaera is met by two CR90 corvettes and several squadrons of V-19 Torrent interceptors commanded by Governor Quesl. While Commodore Thrawn distracts Quesl with a fake law, Senior Lieutenant Yve dispatches TIE fighters to take out the turbolaser emplacements at the Governor's palace. Thrawn also activates the Chimaera's tractor beam, trapping the corvettes. Thrawn's actions expose Governor Quesl's plot to goad the Imperials into destroying his palace and the Jefi art collections in order to cover his plan to escape offworld with the stolen art. Using his knowledge of Jefi psychology, Thrawn is able to use this revelation to discredit Quesl's legitimacy and to force his surrender.
Crisis on Batonn
Following the events on Botajef, Thrawn is promoted to the rank of Admiral. He and Governor Pryce attend a high-level meeting of Imperial admirals and governors to discuss the Batonn sector insurgency. Five days ago, the Batonn insurgents had overrun and taken control of the Imperial garrison on Scrim Island. The insurgents had taken about a hundred hostages including Imperial Navy troopers, technicians, and some civilian workers. They also control the island's energy shield, its shoreline defenses, and three of its ion cannons. Thrawn is tasked with ending the Scrim Island hostage crisis. Thrawn wants to study the situation more but Fleet Admiral Donassius is impatient. Admiral Durril advocates a swift assault and is given command of the mission.
While Thrawn dispatches Commander Faro with leading the Ninety-Sixth Task Force to deal with the insurgents on Sammun, he and Vanto embark on an undercover mission on Batonn. They travel to Batonn in the captured freighter Slipknot and discover Admiral Durril's One Oh Third Task Force in disarray. After studying the movements of eight freighters above, Vanto contacts one of the freighters. Posing as the weapons smuggler Horatio Figg, Eli secures the coordinates to meet with arms dealers to buy weapons. Eli follows these coordinates to a Nomad starship, which serves as a base for the Batonn insurgents. While Thrawn hides aboard the Slipknot, Vanto is taken by the insurgents to Nevil Cygni, who identifies himself as Nightswan. Nightswan tells Eli that he plans to bring down the Empire and regards the competent Thrawn as an obstacle to fulfilling this goal. Nightswan has been following Thrawn's career and tells Eli that Thrawn partnered with the Jedi General Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars.
Thrawn creates a radiation leak aboard the Slipknot which allows Eli to escape Nightswan. After escaping on the freighter, Thrawn tells Eli that he sent him to collect information about Nightswan. Thrawn also discloses that he had hidden himself in the escape pod cowling while the freighter was being searched. After triggering the explosion, he had ejected himself in the escape pod. Later, Thrawn meets up with his fellow Imperial Admirals to discuss their operations against insurgent activities. Admirals Kinshara and Commander Faro report that the Imperial operations on Denash and Sammun have been pacified. Thrawn informs Fleet Admiral Donassius about his successful intelligence gathering operation on Scrim Island. With Admiral Durril's ships damaged, Admiral Thrawn is charged with pacifying the Batonn insurgents.
Returning to Scrim Island, Thrawn sends the Ninety-Sixth Task Force's Imperial light cruisers Shyrack, Flensor, and Tumnor to bombard the deflector shield around the island. Thrawn and Eli discover that Nightswan has deployed a turbolaser cannon, which damages the cruisers. Unable to directly knock out the ion and turbolaser cannons, Thrawn orders the damaged light cruisers and the Chimaera to enter Batonn's atmosphere and bombard the waters around Scrim Island, generating tsunamis which disable the ion cannons, turbolasers, and shield generator. The insurgents on Scrim Island surrender, ending the hostage crisis. While the Imperials have won the battle, Thrawn warns that the Batonn insurgency has not yet been won.
The Pryce factor
Governor Pryce and Colonel Yularen arrive aboard the Chimaera in a corvette. Pryce has traveled to Batonn because her parents are among the 30,000 civilians within the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex outside Paeragosto City on Batonn's main continent. The Batonn insurgents have set up their main stronghold within the mining complex. In response, the Empire and the Batonn Defense Force lay siege to the complex. Thrawn reluctantly allows Pryce to travel undercover with the ISB Agent Gudry into the Creekpath complex. Commander Vanto also briefs Colonel Yularen about Thrawn's plan to used the three disabled light cruisers as bait to lure any Batonn insurgent ships into a trap. The Chimaera has been placed in position to intercept any insurgent ships.
Going undercover, Arihnda manages to find her parents. She discovers that her father Talmoor is sympathetic to the Batonn insurgents due to the corruption of the planetary Governor Restos. Posing as "Matai Daw," Gudry convinces Talmoor to help him and Pryce find his "friend," whom he claims is within the mine. Meanwhile, Admiral Thrawn contacts Nightswan using a radio frequency he had obtained from the stolen freighter. Thrawn arranges to meet with Nightswan at a field north-east of the Creekpath facility. Pryce's father Talmoor manages to get the group through the mine's outer perimeter. At the mine, Pryce cuts short her father's visit by using her mother's comm to feign sickness.
Meanwhile, Thrawn meets with Nightswan, who reveals that he has been tracking the Empire's diversion of precious metals for an unknown project. Nightswan admits to having a hand behind the tibanna smugglers, the Cyphar dispute, and the Higher Skies advocacy. Nightswan also tells Thrawn about his plan to unite the various insurgent and rebel groups. Nightswan questions Thrawn about his motivations for joining the Empire despite knowing of its tyranny, ruthlessness, and corruption. Thrawn regards the Empire as a force for stability in a galaxy threatened by chaos. Thrawn tries to offer Nightswan a place in the Chiss Ascendancy, revealing that his purported exile had been a ruse for his true mission to forge an alliance with the Empire. Unable to resolve their differences, the two part company. Colonel Yularen reprimands Thrawn for meeting with the enemy and informs him that they have lost contact with Governor Pryce.
Elsewhere, Agent Gudry confronts Pryce at her parents' home and chastises her for not assisting his mission. Gudry is willing to evacuate Pryce but not her parents since they would draw the insurgents' attention. When Pryce protests, he tries to shoot her but Pryce fights back. Following a struggle, she shoots him dead and evacuates her parents to safety. Meanwhile, Thrawn dispatches Imperial troops to rescue Governor Pryce and her parents. With insurgent ships approaching the disabled light cruisers, Thrawn orders the ground commanders to harass the Creekpath insurgents. Pryce manages to force her and her parents' way out of the mining complex to the Imperial lines. To prevent the Imperial troops from discovering Gudry's body, she uses Gudry's comm to ignite the Nightswan's cache of explosives that destroys the insurgents' stronghold and the civilian homes around the mining complex. Pryce's parents are horrified but Pryce blames the insurgents.
In space, Nightswan's attacking fleet fly past the three disabled light cruisers and head towards the Chimaera. Thrawn realizes that Nightswan has copied his tactic and is planning to attack his Star Destroyer. Thrawn dispatches repair barges from the light cruisers which deploy TIE fighters that neutralize the attack force.
Following the end of the siege, Colonel Yularen and Admiral Thrawn confront Governor Pryce about the high civilian casualties and the deaths of the Imperial personnel sent to rescue her. Pryce manages to cover her involvement in the explosions by claiming that Gudry triggered it after he was trapped by the insurgents. Yularen also reports the recovery of Nightswan's body, who perished during the explosion. With Nightswan neutralized, the Emperor requests an audience with Thrawn. In private, Pryce offers her services to Thrawn as his political adviser, which he accepts. She convinces him to take command of the Seventh Fleet in order to deal with the growing insurgency in the Lothal sector. Before leaving for Coruscant, Thrawn and Commander Vanto confide their suspicions that Pryce was partially responsible for the events at Creekpath mine. Despite the lack of direct evidence implicating Pryce, Thrawn remarks that "there is often a symmetry to such things." Vanto ventures into the Creekpath mine to search for groundside data.
At the Emperor's throne room, Thrawn is promoted to the rank of Grand Admiral. Thrawn also questions the Emperor about the Death Star project and cautions him against diverting too many resources from the Imperial Navy. The Emperor reassures him that he has no ill intentions towards the Chiss Ascendancy and claims that the Death Star would bring an end to all opposition. Despite helping the Empire to map the Unknown Region's hyperspace routes, Thrawn has withheld the location of Chiss worlds and bases. The Emperor then introduces Thrawn to his apprentice and chief enforcer Darth Vader.
Later, Eli reads Thrawn's journal while traveling into the Unknown Regions to rendezvous with Admiral Ar'alani of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet. Eli establishes contact with Ar'alani and reveals that Thrawn has sent him to assist the Chiss in return for his services to the Empire.
Thrawn was first announced at Celebration Europe 2016, as part of the revelation that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be appearing in the third season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. The novel was announced in a video from Timothy Zahn, the novel's author and the creator of the original character from Star Wars Legends. Shortly after the novel's announcement, Zahn revealed on his Facebook page that he had finished the first draft of the novel, and would be sending it to Del Rey and Lucasfilm Ltd. for their input.
Thrawn covers the course of several years, starting with the first time Thrawn encountered the Galactic Empire and ending just before the start of Star Wars Rebels Season Three. In an interview with StarWars.com, Zahn revealed that he was including some minor references to his past Legends stories that included Thrawn, but nothing too blatant.
The first chapter and part of the second were adapted from the Legends short story Mist Encounter, first published in 1995. There are two main differences: firstly, the character of Booster Terrik is left out of the novel, although Captain Parck still refers to chasing smugglers as their reason for investigating the planet; secondly, the character of Eli Vanto is added. Vanto acts as the point-of-view character instead of Colonel Barris and translates for Thrawn's Sy Bisti instead of Thrawn immediately speaking Basic.
- ISBN 9780345511270; April 11, 2017; Del Rey; US hardcover
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- ISBN 9780425287095; April 13, 2017; Del Rey; Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 Limited Edition
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Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
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