In the conclusion to the trilogy, Luke and Leia face personal danger as they defend themselves and the newborn Jedi twins against the twisted ambitions of the Dark Jedi C'baoth. 300,000 first printing.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is an ingenious, calculating and efficient villain, someone the New Republic should fear. The creative ways he uses items at his disposal are amazing. Although he is with the Empire, his charisma and composure has me cheering to succeed whenever engaged in combat. Conversely, the spontaneous ravings of insane Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth form a scary image compared with the serene Emperor. Smuggler Talon Karrde reminds me of a pre-Rebellion Han Solo but with a Jabba the Hutt sphere of influence. While Star Wars hasn't been overly political, politics play a minor part in the developments and brings more depth to an otherwise action oriented plot.
Action fills the concluding novel, with surprises and well-timed heroics. I highly recommend this series above all others to any fan of the Star Wars universe.
An important factor of the Thrawn Trilogy is that the remaining Grand Admiral, Grand Admiral Thrawn, hopes to amass an army from the shattered remnants of the Imperial fleet, and with this army crush the young, vulnerable New Republic. The trilogy takes place five years after ROTJ.
Thrawn is a strategic genius. The Emperor wanted to keep him secret, so he was never discovered. Thrawn is so brilliant that the rebels would have been pulverized in the space battle taking place above the moon of Endor.
The whole trilogy brings you through breath-taking moments, with so much action it's unbelievable. Zahn brings the world of Star Wars back so beautifully that you could see this as a movie.
There are many awesome moments in the book. I don't want to give away too much, but Leia gives birth, and a clone of Luke is produced. It is just as powerful as him, maybe even more. Luke's severed hand from ESB is found, and it's used to reconstruct him with clone pods found and exploited by Thrawn. The cloning pods are from AOTC, having been hidden by the Emperor.
This book is absolutely wonderful. I will say that some characters meet untimely demises. Timothy Zahn reconstructed the whole story with a better, more malevolent villain. Read these books, AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!
Talon Kardde, Mara Jade's smuggler employer, is working to create a coalition between rivals in an attempt to create another unified front on which to fight the expanding forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Mara lies wounded in battle on Coruscaunt, her alliances and hatreds torn by old memories and new suspicions. Han, Leia, and Luke, learning of a secret weapons facility on a remote planet, mount a daring operation to take it down, and to make a stand against the insane Jedi Master, Joruus C'baoth.
Thrawn's plans, which we see parts of in the first two novels, come to fruition in this third installment, cementing the Grand Admiral's place in the Star Wars pantheon of fantastic villians. A genius and a ruthless commander, he also manages to make us geniunely wonder what would happen should he succeed in bringing the galaxy under his rule.
Zahn's talent is incredibly obvious in this. There are moments while reading where you'll notice an event or character development, and remember from two or three books ago when the whole thing was set in motion. Seemingly unimportant events from the first two books suddenly become very relavent showcasing Zahn's genius in both spectacle and subtlety. The entire trilogy really deserves multiple reads, as you're likely to catch something more each time you finish it.
And what a finish it is. There is truly no better way to end the wonderful trilogy than with this installment. It's chock-full of all the lightsaber duels and epic space battles you'd expect from a Star Wars story, but also delivers in terms of characters both large and small. Of note is Mara Jade, one of the most complex and entertaining in the SW universe, and a cahracter that has a conclusion that sets up events years in the future.
If you are a Star Wars fan and haven't read the Thrawn Trilogy, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you've read the first two novels, rest assured that this is necessary to complete a wonderful story. And really, above anything else, it's just more fun than you can imagine to pass up.