Thrawn: Alliances
Adult Novel

Thrawn: Alliances

Timothy Zahn

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Throughout all Star Wars stories, you’d be hard-pressed to find two villains held in higher regard than Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Though they operate entirely differently, both are incredibly effective tools of the Emperor. When they’re sent to the planet Batuu on the same mission, they must find a way to work together. However, sparks fly as memories of a mission long past involving a younger Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker resurface…

Timothy Zahn weaves together the prequel era with the rebellion era in this novel that manages to pull together some of the biggest names that Star Wars has to offer. While attempting to balance the prowess of Vader with the intellect of Thrawn, it manages to offer a glimpse in the characters’ futures as well as their pasts.

Publisher's Summary

Possible Spoilers

"I have sensed a disturbance in the Force."

Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor's favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it's not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there's more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown…and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire…and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

Youtini Quick Notes

Definite Spoilers
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In the past…

- Anakin and Thrawn meet when Anakin travels to Batuu to find Padme, who goes missing after a mission

- The pair follow a trail that leads them to a Separatist factory on the planet Mokivj

- Padmé sneaks into the factory in an abandoned wing with the help of several workers she befriended

- Duke Solha, who runs the factory, captures Anakin and Thrawn

- Padmé, Anakin, and Thrawn meet up and discover the factory is making droids with cortosis-enforced armor

- Anakin decides to destroy the factory, despite Thrawn and Padmé’s warnings, but accidentally ends up destroying all of the surrounding farmlands as well

In the now…

- Palpatine sends Vader and Thrawn to the planet Batuu, where he claims to have felt a disturbance in the Force

- They shortly discover that an alien race known as the Grysk were setting up hibernation tanks using some of the locals on Batuu

- The hibernation tanks were being used to house Force-sensitive Chiss children

- Thrawn reveals that Chiss use their Force-sensitive to navigate hyperspace without a nav computers, which was why the Grysk were kidnapping them

- Thrawn recognizes Vader's fighting style and reveals that he knows Vader is Anakin Skywalker

- Vader suspects that Thrawn’s true loyalty lies with the Chiss rather than the Empire

- They both decide to harbor each other’s secrets for now

Our Review

Thrawn: Alliances



Very Good


Thrawn: Alliances suffers from a messy plot, but is still worth a read for fans of the character.







Complete Disaster

Not Yet Reviewed

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Staff Comments

Thrawn: Alliances, for whatever reason, is a gross misstep following its beloved predecessor, Thrawn. In fact—apart from a couple of chapters—this might be the only Star Wars novel that Timothy Zahn has written that I would argue you could skip. Unfortunately, rather than creating fireworks, pitting Darth Vader's physical prowess and Grand Admiral Thrawn's intellect against each other ended up negating both entirely. Overall, this book is mediocre. However, more books (such as Thrawn: Treason) are scheduled as part of this series, so its events may become more important in time. Zahn is certainly not scared of a slow play.

- Charles Hankel

Whereas the first book of the new Thrawn trilogy demands its readers to continue reading no matter what, Alliances has a hard time convincing us to pick it back up. The book shines the most when it's following the first adventure between Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker, but the time jumping, the convoluted plot conflict, and the inconsistent characterization of Darth Vader amongst other characters makes this a rare misstep for one of the masters of the EU.

- Eric Eilersen

- Heather Goldman

This second installment of Timothy Zahn's new Thrawn trilogy doesn't quite live up to the first. It takes place in two timelines, which invites us to compare and contrast between Thrawn's relationship with Anakin Skywalker and his relationship with Darth Vader. The inclusion of Padme was fun, in a literary fan-service kind of way, but the portion of the plot set in the Clone Wars era was occasionally hard to follow. In the Rebels era, the relationship between Thrawn and Vader doesn't seem quite right (unless we're going with the notion that Vader was still wrapping his head around his new identity?), and none of Thrawn's new crop of human subordinates quite fills Eli Vanto's role in giving the reader a different insight into the Grand Admiral's thinking. It's not a bad book, per se, but it falls a little short of the admittedly high bar Timothy Zahn's body of work has set.

- Karl Sander

Thrawn: Alliances felt very much like the middle of a larger story, but not in a good way. With every chapter, I was left feeling as though the buildup to something more significant wasn't ever going to happen. While there are small elements of the story here and there that helped to develop each character, none of them are particularly memorable. I'm counting on the third installment in the series to really showcase the Thrawn we're all waiting to see: the tactical genius who will stop at nothing to win every time.

- Meg Dowell

- Stacey White

- Corey Helton

This book was... interesting. I was way behind the pack when reading it, and had heard of the generally less-enthusiastic reception towards it. I attempted to go in with no preconceived ideas of what to expect, and found it to be an enjoyable, if messy at times, read. I think my advice to anyone planning on reading this would be to look up which are the Anakin chapters and read them first before reading all of the Vader chapters. The constant jumping back and forth was tedious and confusing at time.

- Andrew Bell

- Jared Mayes

- Wes Jenkins

- Nathan Emery

- Trevor Davey

Community Reviews

Technical Specs

Del Rey
Release Date:
July 24, 2018
Page Count:
Issues Collected:
Marc Thompson


Thrawn: Alliances
July 24, 2018
Thrawn: Alliances
Thrawn: Alliances
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