As enemies inside and outside the Ascendancy assemble, Thrawn stands against them. The final book in the Ascendancy trilogy; Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil brings the story to its close… even if it’s not exactly a final one.
Timothy Zahn brings the best of the best Thrawn playlist with all the hits:
- Thrawn space tactics? Check.
- Impossibly complicated plans with all sorts of moving pieces? Check.
- Thrawn saying “Perhaps.” Check.
- A cast of characters that keeps you guessing their true intentions throughout? Check.
- Enemies coming from every angle? Check.
- That moment when the plan all comes together? Check.
Lesser Evil takes the pieces left on the board and plays them elegantly… you know, as Thrawn would…
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Following the events of Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good; The Chiss families are on edge. The Battle of the Three Families that Thrawn was able to diffuse at Hoxim is raising all sorts of questions but no one is talking about it. While the fighting was averted the families, and others, are still mired in mistrust and anger towards each other.
Civil war hasn’t quite been prevented, only delayed.
The “Memories” interludes focus on Thrass. We learn that he and Thrawn have been close ever since Thrawn’s early days with the Mitth and they have grown to be something like brothers. Thrass’ relationship with Thrawn is very well fleshed out and the things they teach each other throughout their time together might be some of my favorite Thrawn moments. With the Chiss society and politics being what they are, Thrass is probably the closest thing Thrawn has to a real family relationship.
As things come to a head in the Ascendancy and other societies in the Chaos; Thrawn and his people are looking for a way to prevent war. The mysterious goals of Jixtus and the grysks are coming to fruition and bringing down the Chiss seems to be the priority. As Thrawn fights to protect his people his enemies multiply on every side. Under attack from fellow Chiss and their enemies, Thrawn must find his path to victory with the few who believe in him.
The Great Beyond
While Thrawn has never understood the great mysteries of the Force, there are a few other characters that do! Che’ri and Thalias return. As well as the Magys and a familiar pathfinder! While sky-walking and pathfinding are utilized frequently in the Chaos, the Magys has new and different ways of connecting with The Great Beyond. But what does it all mean?
Longtime fans of Thrawn will be happy to see plenty of his trademarked fleet tactics! The space battles here are numerous and Thrawn’s military genius is on full display. Not to be outdone, Ar’alani, Ziinda, and even Samakro also get their chance at the helm! If fleet tactics are your thing this book will keep you well fed.
Bits and Pieces
Zahn pulls together threads from the previous two books and ties them up here before sending Thrawn off to the galaxy far, far away that we’re much more familiar with. Whether you are looking for your favorite admiral, syndic, caregiver, pathfinder, or the sky-walker, the cast gets a lot of time to shine. As the trilogy began, I was definitely disoriented with the unfamiliar settings of the Chaos and the Chiss. But as the trilogy has gone on, I’ve enjoyed each book more and more as I’ve become more familiar with it’s inhabitants and their worlds. Lesser Evil delivers a wonderful finish for many of the characters whom I now genuinely enjoy and have grown to love! As usual, Thrawn utilizes every asset available to achieve his goals. Even if the rest of his peers or superiors fail to see it his way. The trilogy fills in many pieces of Thrawn’s past as we all await the possibilities of Thrawn’s future.
This book is definitely a must-read for Thrawn fans looking for political intrigue, fleet tactics, and likely the deepest look into Chiss society so far!