Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader ally against a threat to the Empire in this new novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.
International best-selling author, Timothy Zahn revolutionised the “Star Wars Legends” (formerly the Expanded Universe) genre back in 1991 when he envisioned a trilogy of Star Wars books set in the aftermath of the events of Return of the Jedi. At a time when the Star Wars fan fraternity was being starved of visual entertainment from the galaxy far, far away…Zahn’s Heir to the Empire was unleashed upon the world and capitalised on their voracious appetite.
Not only were the stories contemporary, but they featured many of the greatest characters of the Star Wars universe including series stalwarts Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, C-3PO and R2-D2. If that wasn’t enough to appease the fans, Zahn introduced us to a sinister new villain who would go on to capture the hearts and imaginations of an entire generation.
Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The blue skinned Chiss alien, with his piercing red eyes would stalk our beloved heroes over the course of three novels as he resurrected the flailing remnants of the crippled Empire and united them against the newly formed Republic struggling to bring prosperity to the galaxy.
The novels achieved best-seller status the world over and delivered what many would go on to hail as the perfect successor to the original Star Wars trilogy. The character of Thrawn became a cult icon, and the fans began to long to see more of the sinister Chiss mastermind. Thankfully, Zahn returned to the Star Wars literary universe in the summer of 2016 and delivered what many fans thought they would never see. A prequel story.
Star Wars: Thrawn.
Detailing the rise of the title character, the story followed Thrawn through the ranks of the Empire as he uncovered an ingenious cover up, thwarted insurgences and circumnavigated the political minefield of the Coruscant hierarchy. The novel was superb (Read My Review Here). However, Zahn in his infinite wisdom inserted an incredible Easter Egg amongst his story line. One that teased at a meeting between Thrawn and the fallen Jedi warrior, Anakin Skywalker. With Skywalker now encased in the famous black armour of Darth Vader, Star Wars: Thrawn climaxed with an auspicious meeting between the duo that teased a greater storyline yet to be told.
Enter Zahn once again.
Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances
This summer, Zahn strikes back with his highly anticipated sequel Thrawn Alliances. The sequel will continue to follow the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn to the heights of Imperial power—and accompany him into the past, witnessing his first encounter with the man who will one day become Darth Vader.
At long last, the fans of the Star Wars universe will be able to revel in the first EVER storyline to include both Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn Alliances will represent a dream come true for the die-hard fans of the character, and with his prominent involvement in the successful Star Wars: Rebels television series, the timing could not be better for his return.
In StarWars.Com’s exclusive excerpt below, we find out just a little bit more about this mission — including its surprising location — and learn that the alliance between Vader and Thrawn may not be an easy one.
“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”
Emperor Palpatine paused, stretching out his thoughts to the two men standing before his throne, awaiting their reactions.
No. Not men. Of course not men. Men were insignificant, pitiable creatures, fit only to be ruled, or intimidated, or sent to die in battle. These were far more than mere men.
A Chiss Grand Admiral, a strategic and tactical genius. A Sith Lord, ruthless and powerful in the Force.
They were watching him, Palpatine knew, each trying in his own way to glean some understanding as to why they’d been summoned. Grand Admiral Thrawn was observing his Emperor’s voice, face, and body stance. Lord Vader, in contrast, was stretching out with the Force toward his master.
Palpatine could feel all that. But he could also feel the tension between these, his two most useful servants.
The tension wasn’t simply because each wished to be the one standing alone at his master’s side at the center of Imperial power. That was certainly part of it.
But there was more. Much more. Thrawn had recently suffered a serious defeat, permitting a small group of rebels he’d successfully trapped on the planet Atollon to slip through his fingers. That failure had earned Vader’s contempt.
Thrawn, in his turn, strongly opposed the Death Star project favored by Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Palpatine himself, pushing instead for his own prized TIE Defender project on Lothal. So far Thrawn’s opposition had not reached the level of open resistance, but the Emperor knew it was only a matter of time. Vader knew that, as well.
But Palpatine hadn’t brought them here to offer an opportunity for reconciliation. Certainly not to mediate personally in their conflict. There were other, far deeper considerations.
Thrawn had given his oath of loyalty to the Empire. But that loyalty had never been fully tested. Vader stood beside Palpatine as the Sith Master’s apprentice But his previous life among the Jedi could not simply be ignored nor casually dismissed.
Here, with this intriguing Force disturbance, was the opportunity to deal with both issues.
Palpatine raised his eyes briefly toward the high window in his throne room. The Star Destroyer Chimaera was visible in the distance, a barely discernible arrowhead shape floating high above Coruscant’s buildings and skylanes. Normally, military craft that large weren’t permitted closer than low orbit. But Palpatine had wished the ship to be present during this meeting, a subtle reminder to both of his servants of what had been given to Thrawn, and what could be taken away.
Vader spoke first, as Palpatine had known he would. “Perhaps you sense the rogue Jedi Kanan Jarrus,” he said. “Or the creature Admiral Thrawn claimed to have encountered on Atollon.”
Palpatine smiled thinly. Of course he wasn’t sensing Jarrus. That particular disturbance had long since been noted, codified, and dismissed, a fact Vader knew only too well. The suggestion was nothing more than a reminder to Thrawn—and to Palpatine—of the Chiss’s humiliating defeat.
Thrawn gave no visible reaction to Vader’s comment. But Palpatine could sense a hardening of his attitude. He’d already promised the Emperor that he would deal with Jarrus and the Phoenix rebels who had so recently slipped through his fingers. Much of that failure had been due to factors not under Thrawn’s control, which was why Palpatine hadn’t taken the Seventh Fleet away from him.
But Vader had no patience for failure of any sort, no matter what the reasons or excuses. For now, he was waiting; but he was more than ready to step in to solve that particular problem if the Grand Admiral failed.
“This disturbance comes from neither,” Palpatine said. “It is something new. Something different.” He looked back and forth between his servants. “Something that will require both of you working together to uncover.”
Again, neither of them visibly reacted. But Palpatine could sense their surprise. Their surprise, and their reflexive protest.
This time, it was the Chiss who spoke first. “With all due respect, Your Majesty, I believe my duty and my abilities would be best used elsewhere,” he said. “The rebels who escaped Atollon must be tracked down and eliminated before they can regroup and join with other cells.”
“I agree,” the Emperor said. “But the Seventh Fleet and Commander Woldar can deal with that without you for now. Grand Moff Tarkin will also be joining the commander while his new assignment is being prepared for him.”
Palpatine sensed a flicker in Vader’s emotions, perhaps a hope that Thrawn would mistakenly believe this was the right time and place to once again raise objections to the Death Star project. Palpatine paused, offering the Grand Admiral the opportunity to do just that.
But Thrawn remained silent.
“While Woldar and Tarkin find and deal with the rebels,” the Emperor continued, “you and Lord Vader will take your flagship to deal with this other matter.”
“Understood, Your Majesty,” Thrawn said. “May I point out that Governor Tarkin is less familiar than I am with this particular Rebel cell. Perhaps a more efficient approach would be for Lord Vader to be offered one of my Star Destroyers and seek out this disturbance on his own.”
Palpatine felt a sudden stirring of anger from his apprentice at Thrawn’s unthinking choice of phrase. A Lord of the Sith was not offered a ship. He took what he wanted when he wanted it.
But like Thrawn, Vader knew when to remain silent.
“You surprise me, Admiral Thrawn,” Palpatine said. “I would have expected a certain eagerness to journey within sight of your home.”
Thrawn’s glowing red eyes narrowed slightly, and Palpatine felt his sudden caution. “Excuse me, Your Majesty?”
“The disturbance is located at the edge of your Unknown Regions,” the Emperor said. “It appears to be centered on a planet named Batuu.” Again, he sensed a reaction to the name. This time, the reaction came from both of them. “I believe you have heard of it?”
Thrawn’s eyes were hooded, the expression on that blue-skinned face swirling with memories. “Yes,” he murmured. “I have indeed heard of it.”
As, of course, had Vader. It was the place where he and Thrawn had long ago interfered, albeit unwittingly, with one of Palpatine’s plans.
But again, Vader remained silent.
“Very well, then,” Palpatine said. “You, Admiral, will command.” He looked at Vader. “You, Lord Vader, will deal with the disturbance.”
“Yes, Your Highness,” Thrawn said.
“Yes, my master,” Vader said.
Palpatine leaned back into the depths of his throne. “Then go.”
The two servants turned and walked toward the door between the double line of red-cloaked Imperial Guards silently lining their path. Palpatine watched them go: the Chiss in his white Grand Admiral’s uniform, the Sith garbed in black, his long cloak swirling behind him.
The solution to this particular puzzle would indeed require both of them. But more importantly, it would address Palpatine’s lingering questions.
He smiled thinly. Time for Thrawn to face his future.
Time for Vader to face his past.
Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on this incredible new story. A new novel featuring Thrawn is a gift from the Force, and with Darth Vader making an appearance, there is more than enough to whet my appetite and send my excitement into a delirium.
The book is set to be published on 24th July 2018 by Century.
Pre order your copy today. Happy reading.
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!