Around halfway into the book I found myself asking what the point of this story was, but because this is a Timothy Zahn novel I persevered expecting that there must be some twist or redeeming element at the end. And there sort of is, but it has little to do with the actual story. The story is flat, not very well constructed and rather obvious. The main plot though is rather incidental to the point of the novel. Having read it you will forget it. The story however gives Zahn the possibility to add a little bit of pre-history to his bigger storyline within the universe and to act as bridge in tying together the background of Mara Jade and Thrawn. With a bit of a nudge and a wink he is able to bring them, Gilad Pellaeon, Luke, Han, Leia and a few others almost together without most of them knowing of the others' presence. Why should this though even be necessary? It is all just a little contrived and unrealistic given that the events take place on the outer edge of the galaxy. For good measure Darth Vader also makes a rather opportune appearance at the end.
Poor story aside those with a keen interest in the Empire and Rebellion will get something from persevering. Pellaeon's story is interesting and because we know that the Chimaera becomes the most famous Star Destroyer and it is exciting to see how Thrawn actually comes to meet Pellaeon and take command. How that happens is a bit of an anti-climax. The last few pages too add something to the events between Episodes IV and V. This novel is a necessary read, but not all that pleasurable and well below Zahn's standard.