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Thrawn: Ascendancy Trilogy Empty Thrawn: Ascendancy Trilogy

May 31st 2020, 7:30 am
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Thrawn: Ascendancy Trilogy 2a6dL0rl

The first novel is titled Chaos Rising, and will act as the initial entry in a new trilogy chronicling Thrawn's past. Set long before he became a cold and calculating officer for the Empire, it will tell the story Thrawn's rise in the ranks of the Chiss Ascendancy in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy.

Beyond the edge of the galaxy lies the Unknown Regions: chaotic, uncharted, and near impassable, with hidden secrets and dangers in equal measure. And nestled within its swirling chaos is the Ascendancy, home to the enigmatic Chiss and the Nine Ruling Families that lead them.

The peace of the Ascendancy, a beacon of calm and stability, is shattered after a daring attack on the Chiss capital that leaves no trace of the enemy. Baffled, the Ascendancy dispatches one of its brightest young military officers to root out the unseen assailants. A recruit born of no title, but adopted into the powerful family of the Mitth and given the name Thrawn.

With the might of the Expansionary Fleet at his back, and the aid of his comrade Admiral Ar'alani, answers begin to fall into place. But as Thrawn's first command probes deeper into the vast stretch of space his people call the Chaos, he realizes that the mission he has been given is not what it seems. And the threat to the Ascendancy is only just beginning.

Chaos Rising is currently set for release on September 1, 2020.
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May 31st 2020, 10:49 am
hoping to see this proyect timothy zahn always do a great job

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May 31st 2020, 9:31 pm
Yeah, Zahn is really the only person who should be handling Thrawn(though I did enjoy his characterization in Rebels as well.)

This new trilogy should be interesting, as it will explore the Unknown Regions far more than any other material has. Hopefully we'll learn more about the "threats to the Empire"(plural) that Thrawn warned Palpatine about in the previous trilogy. The Grysks were one such threat, but there are evidently more lurking there.

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July 8th 2020, 3:28 pm
A new poster and leaked excerpt...

Thrawn: Ascendancy Trilogy 6gOUH28l

The attack on the Chiss Ascendancy homeworld of Csilla was sudden, unexpected, and—despite its limited scope—impressively efficient.

The three large warships came out of hyperspace on widely spaced vectors, driving inward toward the planet with spectrum lasers blaz­ing at full power toward the defense platforms and the orbiting Chiss Defense Force warships. The platforms and ships, caught by surprise, nevertheless took less than a minute to begin returning fire. By then the attackers had altered their directions, angling in toward the clus­ter of lights spread across the icy planetary surface that marked the capital city of Csaplar. Their lasers continued to fire, and as they came within range they added salvos of missiles to their attack.

But ultimately it was all for nothing. The defense platforms easily picked off the incoming missiles while the warships targeted the attack­ing ships themselves, blasting them into rubble and making sure that any fragments entering the atmosphere were too small to survive the journey. Within fifteen minutes of the attack force’s arrival, it was over.

The threat had ended, Supreme General Ba’kif thought grimly as he strode down the central corridor toward the Cupola where the syndics and other Aristocra were assembling after making their way back from the shelters.

Now came the real sound and fury.

And there would be plenty of both. As the supreme ruling body of the Ascendancy, the Syndicure liked to project an image of thoughtfulness, nobility, and unflappable dignity. Most of the time, aside from the inevitable political wrangling, that was close enough to the truth.

But not today. The Syndicure had been in full session, and the Speakers had had their own private meeting scheduled for later in the afternoon, which meant nearly all of the Ascendancy’s top-level Aristocra had been in the offices, corridors, and meeting rooms when the alarm sounded. The shelters deep beneath the Cupola were reasonably roomy and marginally comfortable, but it had been de­cades since the last direct attack on Csilla and Ba’kif doubted any of the current government officials had ever even been down there.

Two hours of forced idleness while the Defense Force waited to see if there would be a follow-up attack hadn’t gone over well with them, and Ba’kif had no illusions that the coming storm would be thought­ful, noble, or unflappable.

He was right.

“What I want to know,” the Speaker for the Ufsa family spoke up after Ba’kif had finished his report, “is who the aliens are who dared think they could get away with an attack against us. A name, General—we want a name.”

“I’m afraid I can’t give you one, Speaker,” Ba’kif said.

“Why not?” the Speaker demanded. “You have debris, don’t you? You have data records and bodies and weapons profiles. Surely a name can be gleaned from all that.”

“The Ascendancy has been attacked,” the Speaker for the Mitth family cut in gravely, as if the others might somehow have missed that fact. “We need to know who to punish for such arrogance.”

“Yes,” the Usfa said, throwing a brief glare down the table.

Ba’kif suppressed a sigh. In times gone by, major threats to the Ascendancy had usually drawn the Ruling Families into a unity that superseded the usual political maneuvering. He’d held a small hope that today’s attack might spark such a response.

Clearly, that wasn’t going to happen. In the case of the Usfa and Mitth, in particular, those families were in the midst of a particularly tangled campaign with a newly opened mining field on Thearterra as the prize, and the Usfa was clearly annoyed at having had some of his spotlight stolen by his family’s current chief rival. “More than that,” he added, his glare daring the Mitth to interrupt again, “we need assurance that the Defense Force has the resources to defend the Chiss against further action by these unidentified enemies.”

The questis data-link reader lying on the table in front of Ba’kif lit up as a fresh report came in. He picked it up, propping it at an angle on his left palm while he slid his finger along the edge to scroll the screen. “The Syndicure need not be concerned about their safety,” he said. “I’ve just received word that four additional warships from the Expansionary Fleet have been rushed in from Naporar and are mov­ing to support the Defense Force ships already in place.”

He winced to himself. Young men and women, ready to give their lives to protect their homeworld. Noble and honorable . . . and a sac­rifice, if it was ever required, that he and everyone else currently in the Cupola knew would be a complete and utter waste.

Fortunately, it didn’t look like any such sacrifice would be needed today.

“And if they attack other worlds within the Ascendancy?” the Usfa pressed.

“Other ships have already been sent to bolster the patrol forces of the neighboring systems in case they’re the targets of subsequent at­tacks,” Ba’kif said.

“Has anyone else reported attacks or enemy sightings?” the Speaker for the Clarr asked.

“Not as yet, Speaker,” Ba’kif told him. “As far as we can tell, this was an isolated incident.”

The Speaker for the Obbic family gave a theatrical little snort. “I seriously doubt that, General,” she said. “No one sends warships against the Ascendancy on a lark and then goes home. Someone out there is plotting against us. That someone needs to be found and taught a serious lesson.”


It went on that way for another hour, with each of the Nine Ruling Families—and many of the Great Families who had aspirations of joining that elite group—making sure to get their outrage and determination on record.

It was, for the most part, a waste of Ba’kif ’s time. Fortunately, ex­tensive experience in the military had taught him how to listen to politicians with half his mind while focusing the other half on more urgent matters.

The Speakers and syndics wanted to know who had attacked the Ascendancy. They were looking in the wrong direction.

The more interesting question was not who, but why.

Because the Obbic had been right. No one attacked Csilla for the fun of it. That went double for an attack that cost three major war­ships without providing any obvious gain. Either the attacker had misjudged badly, or else he’d achieved a more subtle goal.

What could such a goal look like?

The majority of the Syndicure clearly assumed the attack had been a prelude to a more sustained campaign, and once they finished their posturing they would undoubtedly start urging the Defense Force to pull its ships inward for the protection of the major systems. More than that, they would probably insist the Expansionary Defense Fleet likewise withdraw from the borders to augment them.

Was that the goal? To keep the Chiss looking inward and not out­ward? In which case, bowing to the Syndicure’s demand for security would play directly into the enemy’s plans. On the other hand, if the syndics were right about this being the start of a full-fledged cam­paign, leaving the Expansionary Fleet out in the Chaos could be an equally fatal move. Either way, if they guessed wrong, it would be too late to correct the error by the time they knew the truth.

But as Ba’kif weighed the possibilities, it occurred to him that there was one other possibility. Perhaps the attack wasn’t meant to draw the Ascendancy’s attention from something that was about to happen, but to distract it from something that had already happened.

And that possibility, at least, he could look into right now. Surrep­titiously, he keyed a search order into his questis.

Midway through the Cupola session, as he continued to make his soothing noises to the Aristocra, he had the answer.


One of Ba’kif ’s aides was waiting when the general finally made it back to his office. “Were you able to locate him?” Ba’kif asked.

“Yes, sir,” the aide said. “He’s on Naporar undergoing his final round of physical therapy for the injuries sustained during the Vagaari pirate operations.”

Ba’kif scowled. Operations that, while successful in a military sense, had been a complete disaster on the political front. Months later, many of the Aristocra were still brooding over that whole mess. “When will he be free?”

“Whenever you wish, sir,” the aide said. “He said he would be at your disposal whenever you wanted him.”

“Good,” Ba’kif said, checking the time. Half an hour to bring the Whirlwind to flight status, four hours to get to Naporar, another half hour to get a shuttle down to the Chiss Expansionary Fleet medcen­ter. “Inform him that I want him ready in five hours.”

“Yes, sir.” The aide hesitated. “Do you want the order logged, or does this qualify as a private trip?”

“Log it,” Ba’kif said. The Aristocra might be unhappy when they found out about this—the Syndicure might even assemble a tribunal somewhere down the line to waste more of his time with useless questions—but Ba’kif was going to do things strictly by the book. “Order from Supreme General Ba’kif,” he continued, hearing his voice drop into the tone he always used for formal orders and re­ports.

“Preparing transport for myself and Senior Captain Mitth’raw’nuruodo. Destination: Dioya. Purpose: investigation of a derelict ship found two days ago in the outer system.”

“Yes, sir,” the aide said briskly. His voice was studiously neutral, giving away nothing of his own personal feelings on the matter. Not all those who thought poorly of Captain Thrawn, after all, were mem­bers of the Aristocra.

At the moment, Ba’kif didn’t care about any of them. He’d found the first half of the why.

Now there was only one person he trusted to come up with the other half.

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July 9th 2020, 9:55 am
Magnificent. It feels like real Star Wars again. Lucasfilm's M.O. has been to hire young adult authors and people with no talent to push political drivel in books the last few years. 

Timothy Zahn by contrast is an actual author. He has a B.S. in physics and an M.S. He is actually educated and has experience beyond writing and he does research which shows in his work. 

This new trilogy has potential. For the first time we're in a part of the galaxy that has no contact with and is not ruled by the Empire, the Republic, Sith, or anything we're used to. 

A truly alien part of the SW universe. 

We know the Chiss are ruled by families, are super political, and are ultimately headed for Civil War by the time of ANH.

This could be great or at the very least (since it's Zahn) entertaining. 

I can't wait.

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September 2nd 2020, 7:35 am
I know it just came out, but has anyone else read this yet?

Because my first thought is that it was fantastic. Just as good as(if not better than) the first Thrawn novel, imo. Massively world-builds the Unknown Regions, and expands on the Chiss Ascendancy/hierarchy on a very deep level.
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September 2nd 2020, 12:55 pm
its pretty much great many things came back as mentions of the outblound flight and other legends material definetly you guys need to give it a read.

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September 2nd 2020, 2:02 pm
I ordered mine from Amazon. It'll be here next week. As much as I want to read it today, I have a ton of other stuff I have to get done first.

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September 9th 2020, 4:29 pm
I got mine yesterday evening and finished the last 40 pages or so this morning.


If you're a Thrawn or Chiss fan, this is must read. If you're Star Wars fans who also liked Sci-fi and reading, this is a lot of fun.

If you're not a Zahn or regular sci-fi reader I'd say stay away.


First off, this is typical Zahn - which is good.

Multiple characters and plot threads that all tie together at the end. Lots of new and old technology woven together in creative ways. New alien species, planets, and cultures.

The world building feels effortless and Zahn has set himself up for a dozen books. He can go forward and backwards into any time period in the Unknown Regions and write whatever he wants.


I'm couldn't help but laugh at the Del Rey Star Wars novels timeline during the Kathleen Kennedy trilogy in the opening pages. There's basically nothing. 2 books? Those stories and characters were so bad there's nothing worthwhile to explore.

It's pathetic.

There's about 30 between the Prequel Trilogy movies. 

That alone says something was horribly wrong with your movies, novels, video-games, and characters.

For all the crap Lucas got for the quality of his Prequels, they did offer a treasure trove of characters and events to explore.

Anyway, moving on.


It's a testament to Thrawn that a 29 year old character can still be explored in new ways.

I was anxious when Zahn was instructed to get inside Thrawn's head during the new Disney Novels. Actually seeing Thrawn's thought processes was potentially interesting but of course it strips away mystery.

Prior to the new Trilogy, in the EU you never saw inside Thrawn's head. Characters talked to, or about Thrawn. It kept a certain mystique about the character.

Adding that new element to Thrawn ended up working for me in the last three novels.

This novel while treading familiar ground that Outbound Flight covered, does go into much more depth.

We also get Thrawn's origins and history in greater degree.

Zahn keeps adding new elements or spin on the character which keeps him fresh.

That takes talent and skill.


A few tidbits and Easter Eggs:

1. The Vagaari Pirates are mentioned. A nice throwback to Outbound Flight.

2. Thrawn's original family name was revealed - Kivu.

3. Thrawn's older sister (2 years) was a sky-walker. Hinted at in a prior novel. Alliances, I believe?

4. Star Wars Rebels direct dialogue. Thrawn's dialogue to Hera was taken almost verbatim, but this time it's spoken by Ar'alani:

"The first rule of strategy is to know your enemy,  Ambassador. That includes their battle tactics; but also their history, their philosophy, and, yes, sometimes even their art".


5. Pg 210 The two Syndics are discussing with the Supreme General whether they should just leave Thrawn behind enemy lines to hopefully die and get him out of their hair. The Supreme General says it'd be better to go get him since that'd be the safer option than leaving Thrawn to his own devices. That got a laugh out of me.

"the immediate issue is at hand is how to extract him safely from his reconnaissance." - General Ba'kif

"Why should we? His activities are completely unauthorized. He got himself into this. He can get himself out." - Syndic Zistalmu

"Are you sure that's what you want, Syndic?" - General Ba'kif

"Why not?" - Syndic Zistalmu

"Because its Thrawn we're talking about. The general is suggesting there may be worse political and diplomatic consequences if we let him have his way than if we just go in and pluck him out." - Syndic Thurfian

Thrawn: Ascendancy Trilogy 815462187

6. A hint of romance. After Thrawn is cleared of charges for an incident during his academy days Thrawn takes Ar'alani out to show his appreciation. It's subtle, Ar'alani thinks they're going out on a casual date, Thrawn is oblivious. She's envisioning "night of music and food, perhaps a gymnastic or musical performance, and certainly a modicum of drink." What she got instead...

"An art gallery. You brought me to an art gallery." - Ar'alani.

"Of course. Where did you think we were going?" - Thrawn

It's very subtle. They're both career soldiers and young. Obviously Ar'alani was just looking for a night of fun, but it was a nice to see a casual side of a Chiss soldier.

7. I like that the Chiss admit that the Republic ship shielding technology is superior to theirs. A rare admission by the Chiss.


On a side note, Admiral Ar'alani is rapidly developing into one of my favorite Star Wars characters, be they male of female. She's a well done character.
She's competent, intelligent, brave, dedicated, loyal, shrewd, ruthless - in short a great soldier.

She's also a peer of Thrawn. In the era of Social Justice crap, where all the women have to be twice as good as the men (see Rey), Ar'alani is not smarter or a better tactician than Thrawn. But she can keep up with him. She's intelligent in her own right. Her crew respects her. Thrawn respects her.

Thrawn is weak at politics, Ar'alani is competent. In fact, her unofficial role is to keep Thrawn out of trouble so he can deal with military threats.

There's a genuine friendship and respect between the two that enhances both characters.

It's kind of like Spock and Kirk, but the roles and genders are flipped.

They complement each other. Thrawn even points out that Ar'alani sees non-Chiss as people. Thrawn sees them as assets. He envy's her that perspective.

It's just so refreshing to read a competent Star Wars story.


I'd personally rank the new Disney Zahn books:

1. Thrawn Ascendency: Chaos Rising

2. Thrawn

3. Thrawn: Alliances

4. Thrawn: Treason

I still think Outbound Flight is my favorite Thrawn story, but all of Zahn's entries into the Disney canon have been competitive.

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March 5th 2021, 8:09 am
The second novel in the Ascendancy Trilogy (titled "Greater Good") arrives April 27th:

Thrawn: Ascendancy Trilogy Thrawn-ascendancy-greater-good-cover

An excerpt from the novel can be read here.
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