Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn Book Review

Grand Admiral Thrawn’s grip on the Galaxy tightens as The New Republic struggles against him machinations whilst Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade must face C’boath in a dramatic confrontation.

Thrawn’s machinations reach an all time high, with his development of Clones filling out the Imperial ranks after the acquisition of the Katana Fleet which has left The New Republic in a tricky, and outnumbered position, which only gets worse when Thrawn attacks Coruscant and leaves a trap that keeps them occupied and stranded in the Capital.

Luke forms an alliance with Talon Karrde who in turn gathers a number of his old Smuggling buddies who form a loose alliance to help fight back the Empire, which almost ends with the group believing Karrde to be an Imperial Agent until the true villain is exposed.

After an attack at the Imperial Palace where a captured Imperial Commando claims that Mara Jade is an Imperial Agent, she is sprung from her house arrest by Luke, Han, Chewie, Lando and the Droids and they head to Wayland to destroy Thrawn’s Clone Facility in the Emperor’s store house in Mount Tatniss that C’boath was guarding, leading to the two Jedi facing the insane Jedi Master and his Clone of Skywalker.

Stuck on Coruscant, Leia, Winter, Garm Bel Iblis and Ghent try to locate an Imperial Spy in their headquarters whilst attempting to break out of Thrawn’s trap.

Zahn does not pull any punches in this final act, he throws everything at our heroes, bringing them together again into a final battle, which does emulate the Battle of Endor from ‘Return of the Jedi’ to a degree, but the comparison is even noted by the characters. With various battles going on at the same time both in space, wher The New Republic walk into a trap set by Thraw, and on a planet, with an Imperial Facility being sabotaged as well as a battle between the Light and Dark sides of the Force. Zahn manages to keep the story fresh, it never feels like a rehashing, with the spotlight moving away from the main heroes and gives other characters a time to shine, in the Battle of Bilbringi, even with Wedge being a main focus, we also get to see the events through the eyes of Aves, one of Karrde’s inner circle. On Wayland, the final battle isn’t fought by Luke, Han or Leia but rather Mara Jade who overcomes her programming by Palpatine by killing Luuke, the Clone of Skywalker as well as taking on C’boath and coming out triumphant.

The trilogy comes to a fantastic and nail biting conclusion, with Zahn killing off the fan favourite Grand Admiral in a spectacular moment that comes out of nowhere. Thrawn isn’t given a dramatic death scene, rather the moment, told from Pellaeon’s point-of-view as the Noghri bodyguard Rukh first attacks the Captain before escaping, only after a moment do we see Thrawn, stabbed by his Assassin, uttering his last words before expiring and leaving Pellaeon to lead in his stead.

The first full trilogy of the Expanded Universe certainly had a lot pinning on it and high expectations which I believe are met ten-fold, firmly establishing Timothy Zahn as a Star Wars literary MVP for both the Expanded ‘Legends’ Universe and the new Canon series.

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