Thrawn by Timothy Zahn (Thrawn 6)

This is the first book of the third and final Thrawn series.

ThrawnThis series is a prequel to the first series. This book, Thrawn, is an origin story. It starts when he first joins The Empire and ends with him as a Grand Admiral in The Imperial Fleet. It also follows the story of his student and acolyte Eli Vanto.

This is the first book that tells the story from Thrawn’s perspective. It’s interesting the way the author describes Thrawn’s perceptions but not his conclusions. I especially like the way the author somehow makes Thrawn more mysterious by telling us more about him.

During the final throne room scene, I reflected on several things. First, the fact that in legends, Jedi and Sith can read minds. Second, the fact that Thrawn cautioned Palpatine against using a single super weapon at the cost of a large versatile fleet. Third, the fact that Palpatine reacted by saying Thrawn’s thoughts were laid bare and that Thrawn was concerned that Palpatine would turn the death star against the Chiss.

Palpatine was completely wrong which is hard to imagine. But consider the fact that Luke could not read Chiss minds; he could only tell where their focus was directed. Thrawn was not concerned with protecting the Chiss from Palpatine; he was concerned about protecting the Chiss from the Vong, and he knew that a single super weapon would not be effective against the Vong, much less the myriad other threats which he joined the Imperial Fleet to protect against.

Palpatine could not see the bigger picture, and he lacked the imagination to see outside his own narrow perspective despite the fact that Thrawn had repeatedly told him there were a hundred existential threats in the unknown regions. I predict that this moment will come to be the central tension between Thrawn and Palpatine.

This is a great book. I’m looking forward to the final two in the series!