Thrawn: Treason

Welcome to my latest Book Review. In this series I will look to review any canon books that come out in the Star Wars galaxy as I work my way through them. I am no expert book critic or expert in writing (as you may be able to tell), so this is very much from a fan’s point of view. In each review, I will also try to point out a few “Moments in Canon” – moments that link into the wider canon and references to other canon stories. Today I will be looking at Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Treason

There may be some mild spoilers for this novel

star wars books thrawn treason


Thrawn: Treason marks the end of a trilogy of novels by Timothy Zahn (original creator of Grand Admiral Thrawn in Legends) that tie in the story of Thrawn’s time in the Empire with his appearances in Rebels. Thrawn’s story will be continuing in a new series of books by Zahn, but they will be focusing on his time with the Chiss Ascencency.

The Story

Set concurrently with season 4 of Rebels, this novel shows what Thrawn was up to while away from Lothal.

“He commands only the loyalty of my actions, not the loyalty of my heart and mind. The deepest secrets of the Chiss will always remain secrets.”

Trying to win funding from the Empire for his TIE Defender project in favour of Director Orson Krennic’s Death Star project, Thrawn is given what appears to be an impossible job to complete in the short time frame that is given. But when Thrawn finds old allies Eli Vanto and Ar’alani in Imperial space, along with signs of the Chiss’ enemy the Grysk, Thrawn will find himself forced to balance his loyalty to the Chiss with his loyalty to the Empire he now serves.

The novel uses a number of characters for viewpoints, with the main 4 being Thrawn, Eli, Commodore Karyn Faro (Thrawn’s second-in-command), and Brierly Ronan (the Assistant Director on Project Stardust, who is loyal to Krennic).


This is an interesting book to review, as it is so heavily influenced by so much outside content, and as a result, I think it was hampered during this read. It’s definitely one I will need to read again. While I didn’t dislike this book, I found it the weakest of the trilogy, but I don’t think that this is all the fault of the novel. A big issue with this story is that its been released years after the finale of Rebels and we know that the novel was set in the period of season 4 that he was absent. Knowing that he returned at the end of season 4 with an Imperial fleet took away a lot of the suspense that could have really benefited the story, as I knew that Thrawn would come through OK. Considering the title of the story hints at having to choose where his loyalties lie, knowing that he would stay loyal to the Empire took a lot away from what could have been a really good story. While part of me feels that the story shouldn’t be blamed for this, I can’t help wonder if some other plot could have worked better for all fans.

“The battle stands before us, Lieutenant Vanto. May warrior’s fortune be with us all.”

In terms f the characters, those returning fro the previous novels felt familiar, and I really enjoyed the teacher/student relationship of Thrawn and Faro, along with the way that the other officers on the bridge of the Chimaera have adapted to Thrawn’s different methods. In contrast, it was great to see much more of the Chiss with Ar’alani and Vah’nya, while getting to see them from the perspective of an outsider (Eli) so that we can learn alongside him and easily compare them to the Imperials – it certainly left me excited for more stories focused on the Chiss. Even Ronan ended up being a very interesting character who I hated for much of the story, before recognising his growth towards the end. The one character who I was disappointed about was that of Eli, whose story took a lot of time to get going and (in my opinion) did not hit as well with him spending so much of the story away from Thrawn.

“I intend to deliver complete and total destruction.”

While the story didn’t completely sell me, I did really enjoy how naturally the plot progressed, with Thrawn’s intuition allowing him to find evidence of a conspiracy and investigate it, leading to him finding the Ar’alani and Eli as they were chasing after Grysk forces who had entered Imperial space. It never felt like anyone was really acting out of character to push the story forwards, while there were some fantastic moments including the final showdown between the Chimaera and the enemy fleet – I will say no more here as if you haven’t yet read the book I don’t want to spoil it!

Should I read it?

If you are going to read this then you need to have read the previous 2 stories Thrawn and Thrawn: Alliances first, as this works very much like a sequel for both stories that brings them both together, whereas Thrawn: Alliances felt very separate to Thrawn.

Taking Thrawn’s advice and influence away from Lothal, even for a few days, could mean disaster.

I don’t feel that this reaches the level of Thrawn, while having familiar characters like Anakin and Vader play key roles in Thrawn: Alliances really helped me with that novel. However it is still a good story that fans of Thrawn shouldn’t miss.

Moments in Canon

  • Death troopers are confirmed to have had medical augmentation
  • Thrawn utilises the Marg Sabl manoeuvre, which was used by Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars season 1 episode “Storm Over Ryloth”. Thrawn was told about this manoeuvre by Padmé in Thrawn: Alliances
  • There are references to the events of Rebels, including the recent death of Vult Skerris
  • Tarkin and Krennic’s rivalry continues, with Tarkin backing Thrawn’s TIE Defender project over the Death Star
  • The “Death Star” name is highly classified, with most only knowing the project by its code-name, “Stardust”
  • Vader is pushing for the construction of Dreadnoughts
  • We find out how Captain Pellaeon was assigned to the Seventh Fleet, having heard his name in the Rebels finale – Pellaeon was a Legends character whose role was similar to that of Eli

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…

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