Star Wars: Alliances
Eric S Brown
When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, the original Grand Admiral Thrawn series was erased from canon which upset a great many fans. Disney listened however and Timothy Zahn brought Thrawn back in a series of prequel novels set before the Battle of Yavin. The first book, simply titled Thrawn, dealt with his initial encounter with the Empire and how he rose up through its ranks to become a Grand Admiral. The second book, Alliances, places Thrawn on a mission, side by side, with Darth Vader as the Emperor believes that only the two of them together can deal with a far away disturbance he has sensed in the Force.
Alliances deals with Vader’s past and further sets up Thrawn’s future. The novel reveals that a young jedi by the name of Anakan Skywalker and Thrawn have joined forces before to deal with threats from the unknown regions beyond the edge of the galaxy. Everyone believes Skywalker to be dead but Thrawn is able to deduce that Vader and Skywalker are the same person. Thrawn keeps that knowledge to himself only revealing to Vader alone, through careful comments, that he knows.
Their missions brings them back to the unknown regions where an alien race, which has been a danger to Thrawn’s people, the Chiss, may now also be readying themselves to attack the Empire as well. Vader and Thrawn together rescue the Force sensitive Chiss children the aliens have abducted and brought to the edge of Imperial space.
Any fan of Thrawn will likely enjoy Alliances as will fans of Darth Vader. Thrawn’s keen mind as well as Vader’s power and brute strength play off each other well. The interactions between the two of them are extremely tense at times though it is clear that they share a deep respect for one another. Alliances is self contained enough to be read as a stand alone book in terms of its story but it builds heavily upon the events of the first of the new Thrawn novels and puts on the Grand Admiral on a course that is sure to bring him into conflict with the Emperor at some point down the road.