A decade after the death of the brilliant Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Concluding that defeat by the New Republic is inevitable, Thrawn's protégé and successor as the Empire's supreme military commander, deicides that the best option remaining is to seek peace with the New Republic. Yet a corrupt Grand Moff has other plans. Allying with a con man and a former royal guardsman, the trio foster the belief that Thrawn has returned and is fomenting civil war within the fragile New Republic by reopening old wounds that had been long neglected in the face of the Imperial threat. With politics riven by tensions and riots breaking out on dozens of worlds, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, and Han Solo work desperately to discover the perpetrators behind a decades-old crime. Soon a race is underway, one that will end in the truth — or the collapse of everything that they have worked for.
In this book, the first of Timothy Zahn's "Hand of Thrawn" duology, the author makes a welcome return to the Star Wars franchise. His book displays all of the strengths of his original Thrawn trilogy, with intricate plotting, exciting action, and memorable characters. The story zips along nicely, though it suffers somewhat from Zahn's decision to focus on setting up events for their resolution in the second book. Though it makes for a less satisfying reading experience than his previous series, it is nonetheless an entertaining work that will leave readers eager to pick up the concluding volume the moment they get to the last page.