Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars)

Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars)

by Timothy Zahn


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Grand Admiral Thrawn faces the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire in this epic Star Wars novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.” 

Such was the promise Grand Admiral Thrawn made to Emperor Palpatine at their first meeting. Since then, Thrawn has been one of the Empire’s most effective instruments, pursuing its enemies to the very edges of the known galaxy. But as keen a weapon as Thrawn has become, the Emperor dreams of something far more destructive.

Now, as Thrawn’s TIE defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, he realizes that the balance of power in the Empire is measured by more than just military acumen or tactical efficiency. Even the greatest intellect can hardly compete with the power to annihilate entire planets. 

As Thrawn works to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld. Thrawn’s mastery of strategy must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire he has sworn to serve. Even if the right choice means committing treason.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984820983
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Series: Star Wars: Thrawn Series , #3
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 40,177
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Timothy Zahn is the author of more than forty novels, nearly ninety short stories and novellas, and four short-fiction collections. In 1984, he won the Hugo Award for Best Novella. Zahn is best known for his Star Wars novels (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future, Survivor’s Quest, Outbound Flight, Allegiance, Choices of One, and Scoundrels), with more than four million copies of his books in print. Other books include the Cobra series, the Quadrail series, and the young adult Dragonback series. Zahn has a B.S. in physics from Michigan State University and an M.S. from the University of Illinois. He lives with his family on the Oregon coast.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Communications to and from a Star Destroyer like the ISD Chimaera came from many directions, and at many different status and security levels. Each message carried a numerical code specifying the degree of importance, and those codes defined how and by whom each was to be handled.

Commodore Karyn Faro knew all of those codes. But somehow, in a still-youthful corner of her mind that years of Imperial military regulation and order hadn’t quite eradicated, those codes also somehow ended up as colors.

Identification signals from nearby ships or status reports from mid-distant bases, routine matters handled by junior officers, came in shades of green or blue. The small percentage of more significant orders and reports from Coruscant—which was better known by the bureaucracy these days as Imperial Center—were pictured in shades of yellow or orange. Those were screened by the Chimaera’s more senior officers. The rare handful of vital or top-secret messages coming from the senior admirals of High Command, all of which were handled by Faro personally, moved into the range of darker shades of red or purple.

And the few—the very few—that came from outside the official navy chain of command, the ones that went directly to Grand Admiral Thrawn himself, were an unremittent black.

And they were never good news.

“Your TIE Defender program is at risk,” Grand Moff Tarkin intoned.

Standing just inside Thrawn’s office, with the image from the desk holoprojector facing away from her, Faro couldn’t see Tarkin’s expression. But she could see Thrawn’s, and the subtle hardening of those facial muscles sent a small shiver up her back.

“Orson Krennic has been quite persuasive,” Tarkin continued, “about diverting the funding to his own project: Stardust.”

“The Emperor has assured me that he supports my project,” Thrawn replied. His face was back under control now, Faro noted, and his voice its usual calm.

But there was an edge there that Faro had heard before. The Emperor and Thrawn had a special relationship that dated all the way back to Thrawn’s first arrival on Coruscant. Rumor had it that especially in those early years the two men had sometimes disappeared for hours into the palace’s strategic planning center, closeted with a few top admirals and trusted moffs, for conversations on still-unknown topics. If Krennic was playing fast and loose with one of the Emperor’s favorites, he was treading on dangerous ground.

On top of the ridiculous political maneuvering, Krennic was risking the Empire’s very survival. The TIE Defender assembly line Thrawn had established on the Outer Rim world of Lothal was poised to turn out the best starfighters the galaxy had ever seen: fast, maneuverable, heavily armed, and—in a radical departure from the rest of the TIE series—equipped with shields and hyperdrives. They could take on anything even the best-equipped pirate gang or uncooperative system could field, and could grind the slowly growing rebel movement into dust.

Without the Defender, Coruscant was in for a long fight on all three of those fronts. With the Defender, the Empire would be unbeatable.

“In my view, Director Krennic’s project has been nothing but expenses and excuses for years on end,” Tarkin said. “If construction of the Defender is to continue, you must make your case directly to the Emperor himself. I have already arranged the meeting.”

“I’ll leave immediately, Governor Tarkin,” Thrawn said.

The holoprojector flicked off, and Thrawn tapped the comm switch. “Commander, inform Governor Pryce I’m departing for Coruscant,” he ordered. “As soon as you have your course, make the jump into hyperspace.”

The bridge acknowledged. For a moment Thrawn gazed at the desk as if considering his options; then he looked up at Faro. “Commodore,” he said gravely. “Is that the communications report I requested?”

“Yes, sir,” Faro said, coming forward and holding out her datapad. “I’m afraid we were unsuccessful in finding a pattern.”

Thrawn took the datapad, and for a moment he studied the numbers in silence. Faro watched him, wondering if, like her, he was thinking that Commander Eli Vanto might have been able to dig something out of the seemingly random times, dates, and comm frequencies she’d collected. Vanto had been gifted at such things.

But Vanto was gone, disappeared without a trace one day from the Chimaera. And while rumors placed him everywhere from Wild Space to a secret planning group in the Emperor’s palace to floating dead in deep space, the fact was that no one really knew what had happened to him.

Faro had asked Thrawn about it at the time. The grand admiral’s response had been polite enough, but Faro had left the conversation with the clear understanding that she was never to ask that question again.

Privately, given the fondness Thrawn had had for the young man and the master–pupil relationship they’d shared as Thrawn nurtured Vanto’s career, Faro was pretty sure Vanto was dead. She could think of no other reason for him to have left the Chimaera.

“Perhaps the rebels are being unusually cautious,” Thrawn said, handing back the datapad. “It could also be that the group planning to rescue Hera Syndulla is small enough that it has no need of overt communications.”

Faro felt her lip twitch. Yes, the group that was undoubtedly plotting Syndulla’s rescue from Governor Pryce’s detention block was certainly small. But it should by no means be discounted, if only because it included the former Jedi Kanan Jarrus and the young would-be Jedi Ezra Bridger.

In some ways, Faro would have preferred that Syndulla had died with the rest of her X-wing squadron in their abortive attempt to wrest the space over Lothal away from the Chimaera and the rest of Thrawn’s force. Prisoners could be useful in a number of ways, but they also created headaches and focal points for new enemy operations.

With Thrawn completely in charge, Faro had no doubt he would turn those liabilities into assets. But Pryce had the prisoner, and she didn’t have Thrawn’s intelligence, subtlety, or sheer strategic skill.

Even worse was the fact that Pryce had allowed herself to become emotionally involved in the situation. The governor was taking the rebels’ attacks on her planet personally, and that meant thinking with her heart instead of her head. Taking Thrawn’s advice and influence away from Lothal, even for a few days, could mean disaster.

At the very least, Syndulla could die without rendering any useful service to the Empire. That would be a waste of a valuable resource, which Pryce also didn’t seem to care about.

“I take it you disapprove of the Chimaera traveling to Coruscant?”

“Yes, sir, I do,” Faro said. Thrawn had long since learned how to read her face and body language. Faro had long since accepted that ability without getting freaked out by it. “I don’t think Governor Pryce has any idea what kind of nasty she has by the tail with Syndulla. If Jarrus and his team move to rescue her, I don’t think Pryce can stop them.”

“Agreed,” Thrawn said. “On the other hand, losing Syndulla would be a relatively small defeat. Losing the TIE Defender program would be catastrophic. If Director Krennic’s project is the one I think it is, it represents a strategically shortsighted approach to both offensive and defensive warfare. If he has indeed persuaded the Emperor to divert the Defenders’ funding, the Empire’s entire future would be strongly impacted.”

“Yes, sir,” Faro said. Lord Vader, she knew, had also expressed interest in the Defender, especially after his experiences flying one against the Grysk forces out in the Unknown Regions. That support should certainly weigh in on Thrawn’s side.

But Vader spoke for the Emperor. If the Emperor turned his back on the Defender, so would Vader.

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Stream Title 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Great book, was fun to read.
Anonymous 5 months ago
great book
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 5 months ago
Continued to drive my interest in where the new storyline is moving.
Anonymous 5 months ago
A typically awesome Thrawn story from the BEST Star Wars writer. Praying for another book.
Anonymous 5 months ago
best yet
Jonathan Koan 6 months ago
In the lead up to Thrawn Treason, I had heard tid-bits and read some reviews from people I usually agree with that said that Thrawn Treason was a mediocre book and probably the worst of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn related books. That, for me at least, was definitely not the case. Thrawn Treason is a fun, intriguing novel. By the end, I felt as if Timothy Zahn had created a book that combined the concepts of George Lucas and Agatha Christie. The language and word choice used feels just exactly like what I've come to expect with Star Wars novels, as well as the pacing and the action and the characters, but had just enough mystery to keep me guessing throughout. Two characters returned and I was really excited for their return. Eli Vanto and Admiral Ar'alani, who were each prominent in Thrawn and Outbound Flight respectively. I felt that I connect to Eli Vanto better than just about any canon character and even most legends characters. Thrawn's writing of his inner dialogue and his conflicing loyalties were fascinating. Ar'alani was intriguing because of her leadership abilities and the natural mystery that surrounds her and the rest of the Chiss. Even though I knew a lot of her original legends backstory, I felt Zahn made her character fresh and new. The character who in my opinion is the standout of the novel is Commodore Faro. I was so intrigued by Faro's role as the "Watson" to Thrawn's "Holmes". This role was not as utilized as when Thrawn interacted with Eli Vanto in the first Thrawn novel, but I believe is actually used as well if not better here. The common theme through this entire book, however, is loyalties. When it was marketed beforehand, the whole concept behind Thrawn Treason was that Thrawn's loyalties would be tested. While I do think that that is the case, I believe that the words "treason" and "loyalties" can describe the character arcs of all the people surrounding Thrawn as much as they pertain to Thrawn himself. In regards to criticisms, which I believe can be found in every book, this book has few. I think that Zahn was hindered and like Thrawn in the book, he only had 1 week's worth of storyline that he was able to cover. As a result, everything seems to be happening all at the same time. Perhaps if he had had more opportunity to spread the events over time it would have worked slightly better. Also, there were several moments where Zahn would reference his other projects or Rebels, but rarely could I find any references to other author's works. Most Star Wars novels, particularly those of James Luceno, Alexander Freed, and Christie Golden(to name a few) include a boatload of references, but that is more of a personal preference than a legitimate gripe. Overall, great, fantastic novel. I thought starting it and based off of other reviews it was going to be a paint by numbers Zahn novel, but the character development of the second act and the incredible vision of the third act is utterly wonderful and brilliant. 9.0 out of 10! Great job Zahn.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Wonderful. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I enjoyed this novel more than even the original "Heir" trilogy. This is, simply, Zahn at his best.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I liked Thrawn's origin story, but this is not the same Thrawn from the first Thrawn Trilogy, or from the "Rebels" cartoon. He is not ruthless or deadly. He is a protagonist and is nice to everyone. He is not as interesting, or as intriguing as the old Grand Admiral.
RSSatish 7 months ago
SQASRS- BN Internal Prod Validation.