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omorrow, Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil finally arrives. In what could very well be Timothy Zahn’s final contribution to Star Wars, the final piece of this portion of Thrawn’s origin story may finally give readers the answers they’ve been craving since Chaos Rising.

In one final excerpt from IGN, Thrawn and Thrass engage in a low-stakes battle in the form of a galactic board game. You can read part of the excerpt below.

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Memory IV

“I’d like to say you’re in trouble,” Thrass commented. “But in all honesty, I can’t.”

Thrawn shrugged as he moved one of his firewolves across the Tactica playing board laid out on the game café table between them. “I appreciate the vote of confidence in my game,” he said. “I’d like to say in turn that you’re playing far better than you did at our last session. Unlike you, however, I can honestly do so.”

“And I appreciate that, as well,” Thrass said, looking pointedly at the two holding zones along the sides of the board. “Though all the compliments in the universe can’t hide the fact I’m still down a firewolf and a whisperbird.”

“But you’re up three stingflies,” Thrawn reminded him. “Not a bad showing for someone who only learned the game eight weeks ago.”

“And I’ll never know how I ever let you talk me into this,” Thrass said, mock-crossly. “A game that plays to all of your strengths and against all of mine? Foolish syndic that I am.”

“Really,” Thrawn said, mock-chiding. “I thought tactics and strategy were basic tools of the trade in the Syndicure.”

“Oh, they’re important enough,” Thrass agreed. He moved his groundlion, tapped one of Thrawn’s stingflies, and took it off the board. “But not as important as verbal skills and basic theatrics.”

“Yes, I’ve seen the Syndicure in action,” Thrawn said drily. “Perhaps in full voice would be a more accurate description.” He moved his nightdragon, tapped the groundlion, and handed it to Thrass. “You’ll want to put this beside the whisperbird,” he added, pointing to Thrass’s holding zone. “They’ll be better able to support each other if you decide on a sortie.”

“Right. Thanks.” Thrass set the groundlion where Thrawn had suggested. He was getting better at the main game, but still had a bad tendency to lose track of the sortie option. “I always forget about that.”

“It’s easy to do,” Thrawn agreed. “But you need to keep it in the back of your mind as a fallback option if and when your main strategy fails.”

“I know the theory,” Thrass said ruefully. “I just usually don’t have it in my head where I can get at it.” He cocked an eyebrow at Thrawn. “By the way, joking aside, I really do enjoy the game, and I appreciate you teaching it to me.”

“Oh, I know,” Thrawn assured him.

“Good,” Thrass said. “I’m never quite sure if you’re picking up the subtexts and nuances beneath what I’m actually saying.”

“Sadly, I do sometimes have problems in that area,” Thrawn admitted. He picked up a cheese triangle from their snack platter and popped it into his mouth, then moved his nightdragon to an attack position against Thrass’s remaining whisperbird. “I suppose that’s why you’re in the Syndicure and I’m in the Expansionary Defense Fleet. We don’t have much need of subtext and theatrics in my profession.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Thrass said, pondering how he could get his whisperbird out of harm’s way. Invoking the onetime transference rule would do nicely, but if he did that he would lose the use of one of his firewolves if and when he tried for a sortie down the line. “Theatrics have their uses in any profession. In moderation, of course.”

“Jaraki?” an anxious voice came from the left, rising above the background murmur of conversation. “Jaraki?”

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You can read the full excerpt on IGN.

In addition to this new excerpt, Star Wars also released the official dramatis personae for the upcoming book to help you keep track of who’s who as the story comes to a close.

The final book in Zahn’s newest Thrawn-centric trilogy arrives November 16, 2021. You can view our complete Book Profile for more details and pre-order your copy now.

For a complete list of recent and upcoming Star Wars book and comic releases, visit our regularly updated Release Schedule.

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Meg is a writer, podcaster, and photographer. She lives in Illinois with her dog and medal-worthy book collection, and believes any conversation in which Star Wars references are applicable is one worth having.

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