Warning: Post contains minor spoilers for Thrawn: Alliances.
Author Timothy Zahn knew the stakes would be high when he was tasked with writing a novel featuring two of the most prominent villains in all of Star Wars; Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn. The stakes were no matter to Zahn, and he more than delivered. In a recent interview, Zahn mused on the Thrawn character:
Thrawn has always been smarter than the average imperial officer, and he forces the good guys to bring their A-game to the field.”
In Thrawn: Alliances, however, it’s not merely the good guys Thrawn must challenge; this time around he not only must rely on his intellect to face an unknown foe, but also to counter the skepticism and temper of the Dark Lord of the Sith. The tale Zahn masterfully tells explores every facet of the relationship between the two Imperial agents as Thrawn tests the boundaries of Vader’s patience and beyond with his secretive strategizing.
If you recall, in Thrawn, the Chiss alludes to an encounter he once had with General Anakin Skywalker during the Clone War. In Alliances we learn the details of that encounter: a chance meeting between the Chiss operative and Republic general teams them together on the planet of Batuu as Anakin searches for a missing Padme.
Aligned by circumstance, Thrawn and Skywalker work together towards their own goals against enhanced Separatist droids and a Dooku minion intent on changing the tide of the war.
This flashback is set against the background of the present, as Vader and Thrawn are thrown together to investigate a disturbance the Emperor felt in the force. As the novel’s tag line says, it’s a time in which Vader must face his past, and Thrawn must face his future. Thrawn meticulously pieces the puzzle together while doing what few others were even capable of achieving; earning Vader’s trust.
The temporary alliance tests allegiances and loyalties; Thrawn dances dangerously close to a line he cannot cross and almost dares Vader to ask the question the answer to which we all want to know: does Mitth’raw’nuruodo of the Unknown Regions know Vader’s true identity?
You’ll have to read the book to find out. Thrawn: Alliances is now available a booksellers everywhere.