While I’m a big fan of the new canon, I also love (some of) the books and characters that are part of the Legends timeline. When the Legends reboot was announced, I was sad not because those stories were coming to an end, but because I’d miss the characters I’d grown to know and love. That was why I was so excited when it was announced at Celebration London that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be the new villain in Season Three of Star Wars Rebels. Not only that, but Timothy Zahn would be writing a book about Thrawn’s rise to power in the Empire.
Thrawn‘s release date has come and gone, as well as the ThrawnCast podcast, in which we revisited the Thrawn Trilogy. Although Thrawn dies at the end of that trilogy (spoilers!), his influence and appearances in Legends do not end with The Last Command. If you’re interested in reading more about Thrawn, but aren’t sure where to start, I present a roadmap to Thrawn’s appearances in Legends. (This also serves as a roadmap to other Zahn books and stories, because pretty much everything he wrote had Thrawn’s fingerprints on it!)
Thrawn Returns! Except not really. But Zahn is back and that is always a good thing. Both the Bantam Era and the Empire are about to draw to a close so sit back and enjoy a lovely end to this chapter of the Star Wars story.
Specter of the Past Zahn gets the team back together again. Okay, maybe it takes til the end of the book for that to really happen but from the start, we get to see all of our (or at least my) old favorites. Obviously, we get to see our heroes from the films but then Zahn gives us Karrde and Mara and Wedge and the Rogues! It thrills me so much to see Tycho get some page time outside of the X-Wing books.
On top of that, we really get to meet Shada D’ukal for the first time. While this isn’t her first appearance in the books, it’s the first time we really get a chance to get to know her as a character and see her take the spotlight. She is honestly one of my favorites of the more minor characters and her decision to leave the Mistryl in this book is definitely a part of that. It’s a struggle between honesty and loyalty and those are always interesting to read.
One thing that occurred to me while I was reading this book is that I think a lot of the authors just… forgot about the Noghri. Of course, I skipped over a large chunk of the books set between the two Zahn series but I don’t seem to really remember them having a presence. Maybe that could’ve helped prevent some of their twelve thousand kidnappings…
As far as the book itself goes, I adore the set up. I love the juxtaposition of Pellaeon and his realization that the Empire can no longer continue to fight and with Disra and his plan to try and make the Empire a force to be reckoned with by use of a Thrawn impostor. On the other side, there is the New Republic struggling to adjust to being a “peacetime” government that deals with peacetime issues.