Canon Timeline Placement: Before Episode IV, approximately 11-2 BBY
Length: 29 chapters, 427 pages
Welcome to our review of Star Wars canon novels and more. While this is not intended to be a full-blown, thorough book review, we do hope to give you enough information – but not too much – about each canon Star Wars publication. Again, we will try to avoid spoilers but read at your own risk…
According to officially published descriptions:
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 universe. 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.
My overall experience in the Star Wars Universe has been as a casual fan growing up in the 80s who really became a hardcore fan since the Disney acquisition. Since “canon” became a classification from Disney and Lucasfilm, I have personally stuck to canon-only materials (everything but the comics) and thus I had no pre-conceived fandom of Grand Admiral Thrawn from past EU novels, etc. Watching him on the Rebels series has been enjoyable – his attention to details like artwork and battle tactics has been entertaining and the Thrawn novel back this up and elaborates nicely. Reading 2-3 chapters a day during my busy schedule was something I looked forward to and as I got closer to the end I found myself eager to read even faster to know how it ended. The book was so good that I am interested in (finally) reading the Thrawn EU content if my schedule will allow. In my opinion it was a fantastic read and my favorite Star Wars novel to date so I am giving it a rating of 10 out of 10.
> Also see our review of Thrawn: Alliances