“Is this what Chiss do? See a trap, and just walk into it?”
Good science fiction–albeit a space opera–not just good Star Wars fiction. The reader need not have any previous exposure to Star Wars nor Thrawn to enjoy this origins tale in which Zahn skillfully weaves the many threads of existing stories into a fresh, original story.
“There’s no trust in politics. Never has been. Never will be.”
Thrawn is there in all his glory, but he is also limited and occasionally tone deaf, so he’s less superhuman.
“All Eli could see in his face was that maddening confidence of his.”
The two primary threads interweave convincingly. Bad people see themselves as serving a greater good, just a good people are often blind to their own faults. Good Holmes-Watson interchanges. Understanding an opponent through his art is a constant with Thrawn.
“Military leadership is a journey, not a destination.”
Quibble: Thrawn’s voice, even his inner voice, is too childish. Don’t care for the cover art; inconsistent with other portrayals of Thrawn.
“A warrior may retreat. He does not flee. He may lie in ambush. He does not hide. He may experience victory or defeat. He does not cease to serve.”