T

here was a time when Star Wars books weren’t an almost monthly blessing from the publishing gods. That time has passed. And when we say we’re beyond excited about it, we mean it.

April has been deemed, rightfully so, the month of Thrawn. Youtini has been gearing up for Timothy Zahn’s next book since Chaos Rising dropped last year, and it’s finally time. 

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good is only one day away.

With Greater Good arriving in less than 24 hours, the wait is nearly over. Here’s a piece of one final excerpt to maximize your hype.

--

There were times, Samakro mused, where something in his life felt vaguely like a bit of personal history repeating itself. There were also times there was no vagueness about it whatsoever. 

Today was one of the latter. 

Flying the Springhawk into the Paataatus hive-home system of Nettehi. Flying along the same approach vector they'd used during the punitive raid with Admiral Ar'alani. Flying in with no idea of what was waiting for them. 

Only this time they didn't have the Vigilant and the other ships of Ar'alani's task force along. This time, they were going in alone. 

"Prepare for breakout," Thrawn called calmly from his command chair. 

Samakro glanced around the bridge, long experience enabling him to gauge the officers' moods merely by looking at them. They were tense, he could tell, for all the same reasons he was. But he could see no panic or serious doubt. They'd been with Thrawn long enough to trust him to get them through whatever mess he was leading them into. 

Distantly, Samakro wondered if they'd had that same confidence back when he'd been the Springhawk's commander. 

"Three, two, one." 

The star-flares flashed and settled into stars framing the planet Nettehi. "Dalvu?" Thrawn asked.

"Combat range: We've got fighters," the sensor officer announced. "Approximately twenty gunboats within combat and mid-range."

"Check planetary orbit," Thrawn said. "I think I see some larger ships there."

"Checking . . . confirmed, sir," Dalvu said. "I make seven ships: six enhanced cruisers, one heavy frigate."

Samakro eyed the display. The seven ships were flying in a Paataatus guard configuration: the frigate in the center with a cruiser on either flank and two cruisers each in a line in front and astern of it.

"Full magnification and status readouts," Thrawn ordered. "Frigate first, then the cruisers."

The image of a medium-sized ship appeared on the sensor display, blurred somewhat by distance and the tenuous planetary atmosphere it was currently orbiting through.

But it was clear enough to see the standard Paataatus heavy warship design: wide and flat, heavy armor with minimal point defenses on top, main lasers arrayed along the leading edge, missile tubes positioned underneath the bow. It was an unusual design among the various aliens the Ascendancy dealt with, but it fit well with the Paataatus tactic of approaching an opponent with lasers blazing, then pitching up to fire missiles as the attacking ship veered up and away to open a path for the next attacker moving in behind it.

"Mid Captain?" Thrawn invited.

"Looks Paataatus to me, sir," Samakro said. "Certainly doesn't match any of the Vagaari ship configurations in our records."

"Agreed," Thrawn said. "Which doesn't conclusively prove anything, of course, given the Vagaari habit of conquering other aliens and adapting their technology. But it's a strong indicator, particularly since I don't see any major ship modifications."

Samakro shifted his attention to the planetary data now streaming across the secondary sensor display. "I also see no evidence of large-scale damage on the planet's surface," he pointed out.

"Excellent observation," Thrawn said approvingly. "The rumors spoke of an alliance, but they could as easily have been a distorted report of a Vagaari invasion. But the Paataatus would hardly have given up without a fight, which would likely have led to visible planetary destruction."

Samakro nodded. Their joint conclusion didn't address the original rumors, he knew. But Thrawn liked to trim the weeds from the edges of an operation, clearing out the unlikely options before focusing on the main thrust. In this case, they were going to find the Paataatus either alone or in full alliance with the pirates.

Either scenario could be trouble, but both left the Springhawk free to respond as soon as they were fired on without fear of tearing into victims or—unlikely with the Paataatus—innocent bystanders.

"Captain, we're receiving a transmission," Brisch called from the comm station. He touched a key—

--

You can read the full excerpt exclusively on EW.

The second book in Zahn’s newest Thrawn-centric trilogy arrives April 27, 2021. You can view our complete Book Profile for more details and can still 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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