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Publisher's Summary

In this definitive novel, listeners will follow Thrawn's rise to power - uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

©2017 Timothy Zahn (P)2017 Random House Audio

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nice To Have Thrawn Back, But...

Timothy Zahn returns to the Star Wars universe with Thrawn, the titular character that first appeared in print back in the 1990s and helped reignite fan’s interest in a galaxy far, far away. 1991, when Heir to the Empire was first published, presented a very desolate landscape for Star Wars fans, and was certainly a far cry from the series current-day resurgence. Back then, we only had three films – Episodes IV, V, and VI. There were no prequels, no other sequels, no real line of novels, video games, Funko Pops! and cartoon series. Fans were starved for more stories set in their favorite cinematic series. Timothy Zahn helped change all that with his initial Thrawn Trilogy, reintroducing us to the heroes of the Rebel Alliance cum New Republic five years after the The Return of the Jedi and the Battle for Endor. Right from the outset, Thrawn was a bold new villain and cunning strategist, and an immediately iconic one at that.

Nowadays, Star Wars is everywhere. The series of Expanded Universe novels was relaunched in the build-up for The Force Awakens, and a series of tie-in novels helped lay the new groundwork between Episodes VI and VII. One question that kept coming up among fans and readers was, Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn? Was there even a Grand Admiral Thrawn anymore, or had his enduring legacy between swept away in the relaunch?

Well, now we know. Thrawn is, indeed, a canonical part of the new Expanded Universe – and still an enormous threat for the galaxy to reckon with. With this novel, Zahn dives into origin story territory, detailing the blue-skinned alien’s rise to power within the xenophobic and fascistic Empire. For readers of Zahn’s original Thrawn novels, the character will be intimately familiar. This is still the same character, his keen intellect and powers of observation fully intact, and reintroduced into the Star Wars timeline between Episode III and Rogue One.

I, for one, am thrilled to have Thrawn back in action again. This is a thinking-man’s villain, one who uses his brains above all else, never relying solely on brawn and bluster to get through the day, but rather through sly, Sherlock Holmes’ style observation and chess-like maneuvers. It’s great to see him again outwitting his opponents and manipulating his way through the Empire’s ranks. The story suffers, though, with a side-plot revolving around Arihnda Price, an ex-miner forced by external powers into the Empire’s employ. The dual narratives provide insight into the political machinations of the Emperor’s regime, and it’s interesting to listen to how both maneuver through the Empire in order to meet their own goals. The biggest problem, though, is that Price’s story is a bit dull with its focus on politics and takes a long while to really get anywhere. The same is slightly true of Thrawn’s narrative as well. While it’s interesting to see him work his way up the ranks, we also know how this story ends. The plot device hanging in the middle of this story, operating behind the scenes and driving Thrawn and Price toward their end-goals, is one that Star Wars fans will be able to peg right from the outset.

Thrawn presents little in the way of surprise, and given the nature of the Empire and the character’s carving their way into and through it, it’s also difficult to find reason to root for any of them. Anyone who is familiar with Star Wars knows exactly what the evil Empire is, what it’s all about, and what it represents. Do we really care, ultimately, if any of these characters succeed in reaching the top of Mount Evil, particularly in light of the story’s lack of worthwhile protagonists? Thrawn works well when we have a central heroic, good-guy (or gal) character to root for, and there’s none of that here. While Thrawn is interesting, it’s never really very exciting or fun, and it never reaches the heights of greatness exhibited in the original Thrawn Trilogy. Sadly, from a story perspective, this book’s a bit of a dud.

Thankfully, Marc Thompson’s narration is brilliant. After listening to his voice talents on Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars trilogy, I was really chomping at the bit to see what Marc would do with Zahn’s novel. In this respect, I was not the least bit disappointed. He presents a number of varied voices, tones, and speech patterns, and does an absolutely superb job all around. The use of sound effects and music throughout help up the ante on the production front, reminding us regularly with its familiar score and laser blasts that this is a legit Star Wars story.

69 of 74 people found this review helpful

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Un-Surprisingly, Beautiful

Zahn and Thompson come together once more to weave an exceptional story! Zahn has woven another patch into the quilt that is Star Wars. His writing is superb, and thankfully we have someone just as brilliant to narrate! I can not applaud this enough! I also plan on purchasing the physical copy, because apparently there is a pull out poster featuring the Grand Admiral himself! But do yourself a favor and jump into this audiobook!


A few notable aspects that I can remember (re listening after this!) NO SPOILERS!

The story of Thrawn's ascendancy to Grand Admiral.

The unique Chiss twist of the importance in utilizing and preserving resources, which bordered on compassion for others.

The tie in to Star Wars Rebels! Providing a really rich background into why certain events occurred in the show.

A beautiful balance of political intrigue (which I ABSOLUTELY love in the Star Wars universe!), and intense action scenes!

One detail I really appreciated was the depiction and hesitance of Coruscant's underbelly. We typically see this through the eyes of force wielders or soldiers, neither of which really experience the emotions that an everyday person would when confronted with the slums.

60 of 68 people found this review helpful

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Thrawn was ok!

I liked the book overall but only the Thrawn story, not the Price side venture.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Miss the old voice

Love it. But I miss the old voice for Thrawn. The new one lines up with Rebels, but is less powerful.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Admiralu
  • Camarillo, California United States
  • 05-06-17

The Sherlock of Star Wars

Timothy Zahn is one of the masters of the Star Wars universe. Thrawn is a masterpiece. A character study of one of the most famous and beloved adversaries in the Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is not driven by evil or domination. The Sherlock of the Star Wars galaxy, he is a master at military tactics and studies the culture and art of varying species in an effort to understand them. This book gives us insight into Thrawn's thought process as he ascends the imperial ranks, artfully handles core world bigotry, tangles with another tactical master and trains another outer rim outsider in his crafts. I loved watching Thrawn outwit humans who felt far superior and learned they were not. This book also featured the backstory of Lothal governor Pryce and her journey down a dark path of ruthlessness. I read this book using immersion reading, while listening to the brilliant Marc Thompson's incredible narration. His character voices are spot on and his beautiful intonations really make the story come alive. I loved Thrawn's voice. This book is another reason why he is my favorite narrator.
A must read/listen for Star Wars fans, Zahn does not disappoint. Political intrigue, action, drama and excitement await within. I took my time to savor this book and was sad to see it end. I hope we have more of the Grand Admiral's adventures both in print and on the big screen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Thrawn has survived the purge of the cannon

5 hours in and Thrawn seems to have survived the cannon purge wonderfully he is still Thrawn and this story reinstates alot of thrawns back story that had evolved other the course of Zahns other novels

36 of 49 people found this review helpful

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awesome

Marc Thompson's narration was incredible! A must listen!! Timothy Zahn's writing remains the best! Thrawn

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Somewhat disappointing

While not bad, per se, unfortunately this fell far short of my expectations. The Thrawn character here doesn't compare to his excellent arc in the 'Heir to the Empire' trilogy.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Zahn Book - Expertly voiced

This is what I was looking for in a Timothy Zahn Book. I've missed his thrawn. I also want to be first to say the voice actor is perfect, even if Eli is clearly George W. Bush.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Just not living p to the standard

Zahn's original trilogy was simply amazing, but this tale seems to be nothing but background context, which, while useful, isn't very entertaining.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Marek
  • 09-13-18

imaginative story and very deep

fantastic audiobook, in climate of old and good star wars more for a mature passionate rather than young audience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 08-09-18

This brought me back

I really enjoyed the book and this excellent audio book. It brought me back into the Star Wars fold and get me reading the various adventures again and exploring the newer tales and spin offs

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • tiffer
  • 08-07-18

Great story with lots of twists

Great story with lots of twists I am looking forward to the next one, will download tomorrow

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anu
  • 07-28-18

Great

Wonderful to have a full book focusing on thrawn as a character and not just adversary. Timothy Zann really does him justice as he did in the now legends series. It is set just after the clone wars and really goes into the expanded universe wouldn't recommend to anyone just getting into the many star wars novels but you enjoyed plasma you will love this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James Bennett
  • 10-17-18

A great book wonderfully performed.

This is a great story, and a fantastic continuation of Thrawn's journey. 9/10. Nearly perfect.

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  • Marcel
  • 10-16-18

Great addition to the Thrawn arc

Really enjoyed the story, but found the narration off putting at times. His female voices are very similar and seem rather odd.

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  • Idar
  • 09-27-18

Best Thrawn ever!

Brilliant characters and a new perspective on the SW universe and Thrawn.

Must have a listen.

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  • alexander
  • 09-25-18

The Star Wars EU books continue to impress

If you are a star wars fan and don't know where to start with the expanded universe books, it has to be here or Revan. The characters are brought to life by Mark in a way which is rare in audiobooks, and the sound design is so immersive you'll begin to imagine you are watching the characters in this book on screen. I cannot recommend this book or anything Mark has voiced more highly.

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  • Simon Cossar
  • 09-19-18

Fantastic first listen for me 👍

really brings the star wars world to life in your imagination. really worth a try

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  • Mark
  • 09-19-18

Awesome Audio Book

Great to find out more about Thrawn and his ascendency to his place in power. The author reading is enthralling and great to listen too. Cannot wait to listen to the next instalment.......

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-24-18

Absolutely Fantastic

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn is a perfect Star Wars story with the advantage of the battles feeling realistic unlike the ridiculous tactics seen in the movies or even by Thrawn as seen in Star Wars rebels. In my opinion this book is the best rendition of the character Thrawn yet

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-23-18

Brilliantly crafted novel

The narration was magnificent and the story drives a good pace. Enjoyed every minute of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-18

Fascinating Thrawn, imperial and dark side lore

it was so intriguing to hear of Thrown's background and motivs for joining the Empire.
hope we see more from Elie and his future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-18

first audio book, evah

loved it. well read, immersed me. much better listening than raduo whilst commuting to/fro work - even makes me do speed limit so i can hear more 😁 hooked, getting the rest of the series now.

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  • Bungleboy
  • 09-26-18

Great story. Outstanding narration.

Very good story and the narration was better than any I've heard (and there are many great ones). Not as much overt action as the movie adaptations but that is not a bad thing. A very interesting protagonist made even better by the vocal performance. I highly recommend this book

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dale
  • 09-25-18

Fantastic renewal of Thrawn, same but different

This is a fantastic renewal of Thrawn in the new cannon.His tactical genius, leadership and presence is very apparent. Not to the point like in the Thrawn trilogy as this is an origin story. He was sorely missed. as much as i wish he had continued after RTJ instead of the new series, Thrawn existing and having an opportunity to return is great. With Eli as an unknowing protege his future story will be interesting. Overall a fantastic story and as always Marc Thompson did a great job in voicing all characters. Even with Thrawn's new voice born from the rebels tv show. soft, threatening, all knowing, confident etc is all well portrayed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-18

choice book.

liked it
getting the next one now
if you like stars wars get it now

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jono Lange
  • 09-23-18

great story

when listening it was sometimes hard to distinguish between which characters were speaking as they sounded similar.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-18

marc Johnson as good as ever

voice acting and soundtrack on point , but thawns new voice took getting used to.

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  • mofo
  • 09-08-18

Great Book. My fav so far

The Thrawn caracter is written so well in this book. I love the Verses spoken by Thawn during the book. (This book) Paints Thrawn more anti hero and less villainous that in other books.