- "My job is to protect the Ascendancy and the Chiss people…
Whatever it costs to achieve that goal, I will pay it."
- ―Senior Captain Thrawn, and the back cover blurb
Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil is a canon novel written by Timothy Zahn as the sequel to Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good, and the final volume of Star Wars: The Ascendancy Trilogy. It was published by Del Rey on November 16, 2021 along with its audiobook adaptation.
For thousands of years The Chiss Ascendancy has been an island of calm, a center of power, and a beacon of integrity. Led by the Nine Ruling Families, their leadership stands as a bulwark of stability against the Chaos of the Unknown Regions.
But that stability has been eroded by a cunning foe that winnows away trust and loyalty in equal measure. Bonds of fidelity have given way to lines of division among the families. Despite the efforts of the Expansionary Defense Fleet, the Ascendancy slips closer and closer toward civil war.
The Chiss are no strangers to war. Their mythic status in the Chaos was earned through conflict and terrible deeds, some long buried. Until now. To ensure the Ascendancy's future, Thrawn will delve deep into its past, uncovering the dark secrets surrounding the ascension of the First Ruling Family. But the truth of a family's legacy is only as strong as the legend that supports it. Even if that legend turns out to be a lie.
Around 18 BBY, Senior captain Thrawn meets Generalirius Nakirre, ruler of the Kilji Illumine, both engage in a confrontation at the Zyzek system, orbiting the planet Zyzek. Nakirre is mocked by Thrawn, who tells the Kilji that the Kilji way of order and enlightenment will not change the Chiss ancient paths.
Nakirre and the Grysk Jixtus, who accompanies him in his travels, leave, and attempt to meet Clarr Patriarch Clarr'ivl'exow at Rhigar. However, they instead meet Captain Clarr'os'culry, who is offered warships of the Illumine by Nakirre, and a recording of the Hoxim incident by Jixtus. Roscu leaves with the recording, whcih she shares with her Patriarch, who unbeknownst to her, has made a deal with Jixtus to buy several Grysk ships.
Roscu leaves to Ornfra, where she is confronted by Senior Captain Irizi'in'daro and the Chiss heavy cruiser Grayshrike. She is informed by Ziinda that there is a Grysk missile platform hidden as a Mitth spy platform next to her. Roscu flees the Grysk attack and a freighter controlling the platform blows up.
As tensions rise in the Ascendancy, Thrawn captures the Kilji picket cruiser Hammer with the Paccosh Uingali foar Marocsaa. Gaining data on the Illumine Kilhorde—the battle fleet of the Kiljis—Thrawn makes an alliance with the Paataatus to destroy the Kiljis. In the meantime, Nakirre and Jixtus mock and confront each other several times, which makes the generalirius alert that he is but a tool of the Grysks. The Kilhorde is destroyed at some point, and Nakirre and Jixtus travel to Sunrise, where they encounter Thrawn's fleet.
Nakirre is informed of the Kilhorde's destruction, and he insults Jixtus, who in turn, kills the Kilji. A battle erupts between the incoming Grysk fleet and Thrawn's forces, however Thrawn is victorious on he military side. In the political side, however, he is exiled by the Defense Hierarchy Council.
The dramatis personae section of Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good, Lesser Evil's April 2021 predecessor, listed Mid Captain Ufsa'mak'ro as a cousin within the Ufsa family. The dramatis personae of Lesser Evil lists Samakro as an Ufsa merit adoptive, as did both novels' 2020 prequel Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising.
In chapter 28 Thrawn is noted as a merit adoptive. However, in Memories 13 of Chaos Rising he was made a trial born, and the dramatis personae of Greater Good and Lesser Evil lists him as a trial born.
- ISBN 9780593158326; November 16, 2021; Del Rey; US Hardcover
- ISBN 9780593158333; November 16, 2021; Del Rey; US eBook
- ISBN 9780593359372; November 16, 2021; Del Rey; US hardcover, Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition
- ISBN 9780593496985; November 16, 2021; Del Rey; US paperback, export edition
- ISBN 9780593158340; August 2, 2022; Del Rey; US paperback
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Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Notes and references
- The events of Thrawn: Alliances set during the Clone Wars take place after Ahsoka Tano had left the Jedi Order. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates both the end of the Clone Wars and Tano's departure from the Order to 19 BBY. As the main events of Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising take place concurrently with the Clone Wars events of Alliances, Chaos Rising must be set in 19 BBY. Furthermore, during the main events of Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil, it is established that the attack on Csilla, which is depicted as part of the main events of Chaos Rising, took place "last year." Therefore, the main events of Lesser Evil must be set around 18 BBY.
Thrawn joined the Mitth family, entered Taharim Academy, and met Al'iastov and Thrass around 39 BBY per the following reasoning.
- The main events of Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising take place in and around 19 BBY per the reasoning here. During that novel's main events, Thalias (formerly Al'iastov) reflects that she had not read a military timetable in two decades. The last time she would have read such a timetable was at the end of her tenure as a sky-walker navigator, placing the end of her tenure around 39 BBY.
- Per Chaos Rising, Thrawn was made a merit adoptive of the Mitth just before meeting the 13-year-old Al'iastov aboard the Tomra en route to the Taharim Academy on Naporar.
- Per Chaos Rising, General Ba'kif had recently founded the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet at the time of Thrawn's adoption into the Mitth.
- Per Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil, Thrawn attended his rematching dinner on Avidich where he met Thrass just after arriving on Naporar.
- The flashbacks in Lesser Evil occur prior to the main events of Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, which are set around 19 BBY per the reasoning here.
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
- Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising
- (export edition)