Fifteen years after 'Return of the Jedi', the New Republic is struggling with internal discontent and the Empire, under Grand Admiral Pellaeon, is but a remnant of it's former self. Into these troubled times three power-hungry Imperials create the illusion of Grand Admiral Thrawn's return as Leia discovers the existence of the mysterious Hand of Thrawn.
Zahn brings his usual high-quality style to this book and it reads very much as a continuation of the original Thrawn trilogy. One of the things I liked most was the fact that Pellaeon is a shrewd enough tactician to know when to sue for peace, which is a drastic change from the usual maniacal Imperial leaders from other Star Wars books. Zahn wrote this book with strong links to Michael A. Stackpole's 'I, Jedi' and as such there are many familiar faces ranging from Corran Horn to Elegos A'kla. Generally speaking, this is an excellent addition to the saga.
Fans of Star Wars action may well be disappointed as this book mostly consists of the build-up towards conflict, rather than the conflict itself. Leia's official position is a bit unclear too, in the preceding and following Star Wars books she's Chief of State, but here she seems to have no official power at all.