Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: The Last Command

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: The Last Command




‘The Last Command’ is a very fitting title for the final novel in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. It features Mara Jade’s quest to fulfill the last command given to her by her emperor and maybe the Empire’s last chance to take back control of the galaxy from the New Republic.


The embattled Republic reels from the attacks of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has marshaled the remnants of the Imperial forces and driven the Rebels back with an abominable technology recovered from the Emperor’s secret fortress: clone soldiers. As Thrawn mounts his final siege, Han and Chewbacca struggle to form a coalition of smugglers for a last-ditch attack against the empire, while Leia holds the Alliance together and prepares for the birth of her Jedi twins.
Overwhelmed by the ships and clones at Thrawn’s command, the Republic has one last hope: sending a small force, led by Luke Skywalker, into the very stronghold that houses Thrawn’s terrible cloning machines. There a final danger awaits, as the Dark Jedi C’baoth directs the battle against the Rebels and builds his strength to finish what he had already started: the destruction of Luke Skywalker.
©2011 Timothy Zahn (P)2012 Random House


Everything comes to a head in the final installment of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. After the events of ‘Dark Force Rising’ things are coming together nicely for Grand Admiral Thrawn and his Imperial forces. They are winning battles, gaining territories and becoming bolder in their strategizing and mission planning.
Perhaps my favorite portion of the book is the attempt at kidnapping Princess Leia and her twins from the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. It is a nice high-stakes battle between the Imperial Commando team and the New Republic forces at the palace.
One thing that I noticed while reading ‘The Last Command’ is that Zahn seems to enjoy taking Luke Skywalker on a long walk. In ‘Heir to the Empire’ he and Mara Jade spend a lot of time walking through a dangerous forest. Here, he goes on another long walk with Han, Chewbacca, Lando, Mara and the droids to get to the Emperor’s secret storage facility.
In my Review of ‘Dark Force Rising’ I mentioned that I found the Princess Leia portion to be the weakest part of the story. That doesn’t change much in ‘The Last Command’. Yes, Leia is the one to solve the problem of how information is leaking from the palace to Thrawn and his forces, but the problem is her involvement in the final section of the book. She travels to deliver a message to Luke and his band of allies, but it’s a message they had already figured out for themselves. She gets involved in the final battle against the Dark Jedi, but is taken out of that fight pretty early and pretty easily.
All is not lost, however. As it is a woman, in the person of Mara Jade, that ends up being the book’s real hero. Mara’s character development and personal storyline from ‘Heir to the Empire’ until now has been a joy to follow.


‘The Last Command’ is noteworthy in my mind for one simple reason. This is the novel where some of the characters that were created by Zahn step to the forefront of the story. Mara Jade becomes a hero at the end and begins her journey towards becoming the most popular character created for the Expanded Universe in the minds of many fans.
Zahn deserves a lot of credit for creating some major characters that stood the test of time. When ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is released later this year, there is going to be a faction of people who don’t like it simply due to the absence of Mara Jade. Zahn’s characters, especially Jade, Thrawn and Karrd are well defined and developed characters with many distinct traits and motivations.


We’ve come to the portion of the review where I say something nice about Marc Thompson. The man has an impressive number of voices at his command which can also be seen in his work on the TV series ‘Daria’ among others.
Thompson does a good job of finding the right voice for each character. Whether it is a battle hardened general, a bumbling ship thief, a cool and calm smuggler or a simple storm trooper, Thompson is always able to hit the right vocal note.


Typical Star Wars title with all of the music and sound effects you have come to expect. I’d say a highlight for me on this one is the battle that takes place at the Imperial Palace when the Imperial Commando team attempts to kidnap Leia and her newborn twins. I found the sound mix of blaster fire and other activity to be pretty intense.


‘The Last Command’ is a fitting conclusion to a wonderful trilogy. It was ‘Heir to the Empire’ that helped revive interest in the Star Wars franchise in the early 1990s. I maintain that ‘Dark Force Rising’ is the best novel in the series. But ‘The Last Command’ is where all of the seeds planted in the previous two volumes come to bear fruit.
If you’ve already read the first two books, there is no reason why you shouldn’t read this one. If you’ve never read any of the series, it is still worth a look even 20+ years later. The character development is top notch in a lot of cases and the action is hot and heavy at times. If you are new to Star Wars literature, and are not sure you want to commit yourself to a trilogy of novels, then I suggest starting with one of the stand alone novels. I’ve already reviewed ‘A New Dawn’, ‘Tarkin’ and title=”Heir to the Jedi”>’Heir to the Jedi’. The first two would make a fine choice for a first read. But if you’re willing to commit yourself, ‘The Thrawn Trilogy’ is still the way to go even if all of the story points have been undone by the prequel trilogy or will be undone by the sequel trilogy.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: The Last Command Timothy Zahn Marc Thompson Random House Audio Science Fiction 06/26/2012 15 hours, 47 minutes 9.25/10


A copy of ‘STAR WARS: THE THRAWN TRILOGY: THE LAST COMMAND’ was purchased from Audible for review.