The second book in Thrawn’s prequel trilogy is here! Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good continues the story of our little blue guy’s rise through the military ranks in the Chiss Ascendancy. Once again Timothy Zahn pits Thrawn and his fellow Chiss against their enemies deep in the Unknown Regions. This time however, the danger isn’t just fleet tactics and capital ships. The enemies of the Ascendancy strike with subterfuge and politics. A new battlefield for Thrawn where he might no longer be the genius tactician he is on the battlefield.
Ready to travel the Chaos?
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Once again we follow Senior Captain Thrawn and his heavy cruiser around The Chaos (what the Chiss call their expanses of the Unknown Regions) trying to mop up remnants of the Nikardun and looking for clues to their invasion plans. Once again Thrawn finds clues, which he follows like the detective he is. Take heart. We still get plenty of his military planning and masterminding which is kind of what these Thrawn books are all about right?
Zahn sprinkles these interludes into the book that take us back into the past. This time, however, the memories are of brand new characters. Yet another avenue to watch unfold as the pieces slowly come into focus. These memories give us a lot more insight into the enemies of the Chiss and their designs against the Ascendancy.
Steps Into Shadow
The drama in this book builds in the shadows of the politics of the Ascendancy. As opposed to the usual fare of some new superweapon or massive fleet, the Chiss are in danger of succumbing to the political interference of outside agitators. We already know that politics is another blind spot for Thrawn, but this time, we watch some of the other Chiss characters try to wrestle with these issues. Who is out for personal gain and ready to give up their honor for it?
Once again Che’ri and Thalias are part of this adventure. They each play their part and Thrawn reaches out to them both in his time of need. I really enjoy both of these characters as their story continues to unfold. Thalias continues to shine and I think many new readers will enjoy her story.
The nine ruling families and the other forty who vie for control and power amidst themselves take center stage in this book. Their allies and adversaries. This time a lot more focus is put on the politics and of the families against each other instead of the rush to power within each family. Very interesting and completely fresh and new.
Bits and Pieces
The book takes most of the Thrawn story tropes and tosses in a mix of Chiss politics and the sowing of dissonance to bring a very interesting story that strays a bit from the usual Thrawn wins fleet things. As the second book in a trilogy, there are plenty of loose threads to ponder on as we wait until Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil arrives in November. I think I enjoyed this book a bit more than Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising because of the great job Chaos Rising did in setting up these characters and the world building of Chiss society. Greater Good plants some very interesting seeds and raises some very interesting questions that I can’t wait to see resolve in the final book.
This book is definitely a must-read for any Thrawn fan or fans of political intrigue!