T

here’s no such thing as too much Thrawn. At least according to the release schedule of his latest Star Wars trilogy over the past year and a half. We’re coming up on the second book in this series released in 2021, and it’s going to be a good one.

The third and final installment of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Ascendancy trilogy, Lesser Evil, is now just over a month away. Here’s part of an official excerpt released earlier this morning featuring a few characters that may sound familiar.

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MEMORY I:

Of all the duties foisted on low-ranking family members, Aristocra Mitth’ras’safis had often heard, the task of wel­coming new merit adoptives to their formal rematching dinner was one of the worst. The newcomers were either highly skilled additions to the Mitth, in which case they tended to have an overblown opinion of themselves and their value; or they were freshly initiated into the Ascen­dancy military, in which case they were self-conscious and, well, extremely military. Nearly all of the blood, cousins, and ranking distants opted out of reception duty, leaving most of the burden to fall on Trial-borns and other merit adoptives, none of whom had enough pull to avoid it.

Which made Thrass a definite anomaly . . . because un­like practically everyone else in his circle of friends, he genuinely enjoyed the service.

Of course, he’d only been doing it for the past three years, and in that time he’d only welcomed eleven merit adoptives. Maybe after a couple more years the excite­ment of meeting and evaluating new people would fade and he would become as cynical and world-weary as ev­eryone else.

But he doubted it. Every one of these people had been approved by the Patriarch’s Office, a fair percentage of them by the Patriarch himself, and Thrass liked to see if he could figure out what made each of them special in the family’s eyes.

This one, for example. The young man freshly renamed Mitth’raw’nuru was standing inside the reception room, looking around the walls at the Avidich landscape paint­ings and the corner statuettes representing or created by some of the ancient Mitth Patriarchs. To Thrass’s eye he looked just a bit lost, a fairly common reaction from some­one who’d been rematched from a nondescript family on a minor world into one of the greatest of the Ascendancy’s Nine Ruling Families. Thrawn was wearing the uniform of a Taharim Academy cadet, which meant he’d been taken from his home directly to Naporar and then been brought here to Avidich for his welcome and orientation.

Thrass frowned. For new warriors it usually went the other way around, first to Avidich and then to Naporor. Ap­parently, someone in the family had wanted him signed into the Expansionary Defense Fleet as quickly as possi­ble, before even his formal welcoming.

Hopefully, he wouldn’t look as intimidated in the heat of battle as he did in a grand Ruling Family reception room. The one common attribute of Ascendancy military types was their outward confidence.

The younger man turned as Thrass walked in through the archway. “Cadet Mitth’raw’nuru?” Thrass asked for­mally.

“I am he,” Thrawn said.

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You can read the full excerpt and listen to an exclusive audio clip on StarWars.com.

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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