T

his November, Timothy Zahn’s third and final book in the Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy finally releases. Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil will continue and conclude the story of Thrawn’s search for answers as the divide between the ruling families of the Chiss continues to grow.

It’s been a while since the second book in the series was released, so we’ve put together a Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good recap to help refresh your memory on the plot of the book and where it left off before the next book arrives.

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Jixtus, the mysterious puppet master behind General Yiv the Benevolent, continues to plot his domination of the Chaos, setting his sights firmly on the Chiss Ascendancy. Together with the help of one of his associates, Haplif of the Agbui, they hatch a new plan.

Haplif ventures into the Chaos with a fake family under the guise of being cultural nomads. They soon meet a Chiss couple, Yoponek and Yomie, who are also traveling the Ascendancy. Haplif convinces the Chiss that they should travel together, secretly hoping to use them to make important Chiss contacts.

Meanwhile, after the defeat of General Yiv and the Nikardun Destiny, Senior Captain Thrawn and Admiral Ar’alani are mopping up the remaining Nikardun forces throughout the Chaos. They are joined by Senior Captain Lakinda, a Xodlak yearning for the same notoriety as her comrades.

Back on Csilla, Syndic Thurfian continues to plot against Thrawn, this time working with Syndic Zistalmu to plant rumors of a Paataatus-Vagaari alliance that they hope will entice Thrawn to make an error worthy of his demise.

Elsewhere, despite their shared travels, Haplif and Yomie begin to butt heads. Haplif seems too concerned with going to Celwis to meet Councillor Lakuviv, a local dignitary, while all Yomie wants to do is go to various worlds to watch their bird migrations. Poor Yoponek is stuck in the middle.

After tensions build to a boil, Yomie discovers one of Haplif’s secrets: he is telepathic and has been reading their minds using physical touch to influence them to do his bidding. Given mounting pressure from Jixtus to finish his job, Haplif is left with no choice and secretly murders Yomie, convincing Yoponek that she abruptly left, preferring to travel alone for a while.

Haplif and Yoponek then go to Celwis and meet Lakuviv. Haplif requests a small plot of land to farm his peoples’ spices. To ensure the deal goes smoothly, he bribes Lakuviv with a piece of metal jewelry. Ultimately, Lakuviv grants Haplif land on the farm of a local named Lakphro, but he is suspicious of his new guests and sends the jewelry to be analyzed.

Haplif settles in on his new land, much to the despair of Lakphro. The two manage to co-exist, mostly thanks to Haplif charming Lakphro’s wife and daughter with yet more jewelry. Lakphro sends a piece of jewelry off to his cousin, a member of the Expansionary Defense Fleet, to be analyzed as well. His cousin, in turn, suggests sending it along to Thrawn.

Back in the Chaos, Thrawn splits off from Ar’alani’s fleet to return to the planet Rapacc, home of the Paccosh people who he previously befriended, though he is quickly pulled into a new mystery, as the Paccosh reveal that they are protecting a group of refugees of an unknown species from an unknown planet led by a matriarch called the Magys. The Magys has declared her homeworld lost, and plans to demand mass suicide by its survivors. She believes that once they all join what she calls “The Beyond,” their planet will be better prepared for newcomers to settle there.

As Ar’alani continues hunting down the last of the Nikardun Destiny, she finds its last few bases already destroyed. Shortly thereafter, she receives orders directly from Csilla that Thrawn is to return home immediately, but he is too far out of range to get the message. So, she sends Lakinda after him.

Back on Celwis, after Haplif’s jewelry is analyzed, a startling discovery is made...it contains pure nyix, a metal that is crucial for warship hulls in the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet. But to use such a precious and valuable metal for homemade jewelry would mean Haplif and the Agbui must have a large supply or a lack of understanding about the value of what they have. Both of these facts are confirmed by Haplif who takes one of Lakuviv’s assistants to the planet where the Agbui mine and process a huge supply of nyix. Lakuviv decides he must secure the planet for not only the Chiss Ascendancy, but his own Xodlak family, hoping to return it to its previous status as a Ruling Family.

On Rapacc, Thalias manages to convince the Magys to visit her home planet with the Chiss to see if all hope is truly lost, intending to find a way to avoid the mass suicide. Upon their arrival to the planet, which Thrawn nicknames “Sunrise,” they are quickly attacked by a small force of gunships and a Dreadnaught.

Lakinda arrives just in time to render aid, and the Dreadnaught is forced to flee after destroying all of its own gunships, leaving no clues behind for Thrawn to evaluate.

After returning to Csilla, Thrawn receives a new mission: to travel to Pataatus to investigate rumors of Vagaari pirate activity. Lakinda and Ar’alani are to go back to Sunrise.

Upon their return, Ar’alani and Lakinda again face off with the Dreadnaught. But this time, they find an artificial asteroid housing a missile, explaining how the destroyed Nikardun bases met their demise. Though they are able to defeat the Dreadnaught, the missile is detonated, destroying the Dreadnaught and all other evidence yet again.

Elsewhere, Thrawn finds a Paataatus force waiting for him, though when they fire on him using minimally damaging lasers, he realizes that they are secretly requesting aid. They are being controlled by none other than the Nikardun. Thrawn is able to free them and is rewarded with the supposed coordinates of a Vagaari pirate base. But after traveling there, Thrawn is ambushed yet again by a group of star fighters which he soon discovers are being remotely controlled. He is able to capture some of them, and shortly wins the battle. Someone had arranged the skirmish, hoping to keep Thrawn occupied while other things unfolded.

Thrawn then receives the jewelry sent by Lakphro’s cousin and shows it to the Magys who is able to confirm that it was made by her people on her planet, meaning Sunrise is the location of the nyix, not the secret planet of the Agbui.

On Celwis, after being ignored by his superiors, Lakuviv calls a family emergency, an ancient Chiss ritual that immediately transitions Xodlak Chiss from their duties in the Expansionary Defense Fleet to respond to a family-related situation.

Soon enough, the Xodlak family sends a warship to the Agbui’s secret planet, intending to take control of it for the Xodlak family, However, several other Chiss families have done the same thing. Somehow, they all came to know about the planet around the same time…

Thrawn arrives at the Agbui planet to find the Chiss families’ forces poised to fight each other. He uses the remotely controlled ships he captured to pretend he is being attacked by pirates, thus forcing the Chiss to work together against an alien threat.

With the help of Che’ri and the coordination of Lakinda aboard the Xodlak warship, Thrawn is able to manufacture a devastating crash between several of the remote ships, causing their debris to land precisely on the fake nyix mine, destroying it. The Chiss families are left with nothing to fight over. None realize that the mine was a hoax all along.

On Celwis, Lakphro confronts Haplif for his treachery, and ultimately kills him. But the rest of the Agbui escape.

Qilori of Uandualon, who was revealed to be the navigator for the Agbui, meets with Jixtus. Jixtus reveals that he is working on behalf of the Grysks and gives Qilori a new mission: to learn how the Chiss navigate through the Chaos.

After the near Chiss civil war, Syndic Zistalmu offers Lakinda a spot in the Irizi family as a trial born rather than her current place in the Xodlak family as a merit adoptive. She is unsure if she will take it, but does rather like the sound of what would be her new name: Ziinda.

Finally, after Thooraki’s death (RIP), Syndic Thurfian is made the new Patriarch of the Mitth family, the most powerful position in the entire family hierarchy. His new Senior Aid, Thivik, then states, “I will tell you of the ancient history of the Mitth. The true history, so long suppressed. And I will tell you of a terrible alien weapon known as Starflash.”

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Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil arrives on 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.

This book recap was written by Charles Hanckel and edited by Meg Dowell.


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Charles is a family medicine doctor based out of Charlotte, NC. He’s been a Star Wars fan for as long as he can remember. In fact, his earliest childhood memory is placing The Empire Strikes Back on VHS into his VCR! Now, Charles serves as Vice President of Youtini, as well as podcast department coordinator and co-host of The Living Force podcast. He loves interacting with other fans, so feel free to connect with him and the rest of the Youtini team on Discord or social media!

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