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Books Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good (book 2) by Timothy Zahn

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Ancient Whills, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011
    https://io9.gizmodo.com/celebrate-grand-admiral-thrawns-30th-birthday-next-year-1845511160
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    In 1991, the Star Wars universe changed forever. After a few years of quiet, the Expanded Universe exploded in scope and reach, kicking off with a series of novels from Timothy Zahn that brought us the story of what happened after Return of the Jedi. With it came the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn and 30 years later, it’s time to celebrate him in style.

    Heir to the Empire—the start of what is now known in reverent tones as the Thrawn Trilogy—kicked off a journey for the masterful Chiss tactician that quickly embedded him as one of the most beloved and important icons of the Expanded Universe. His popularity was such that, even when Disney acquired Lucasfilm and rebooted Star Wars continuity wholesale, they could not leave Thrawn out in the dark.

    Thrawn returned through Star Wars Rebels, allowing his creator to usher in a new wave of Thrawn novels, first exploring the commander’s early days in the Empire, and then in the recent Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, his days before that as part of the mysterious Chiss society. Now, as the 30th anniversary of Heir’s release approaches, io9 has artfully acquired a few details about how 2021 will be anything but blue for our good Grand Admiral.

    On Star Wars day next year, May 4, 2021—30 years to the month Heir to the Empire hit shelves—Del Rey will publish the second novel in Zahn’s Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy, which io9 can exclusively reveal the title and first look at the cover of—Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good.

    Diving further into the ramifications of the events of the first book in the series, Chaos Rising, Greater Good finds Thrawn at the heart of big changes coming to the Chiss Ascendancy. With no time to bask in the laurels of his victory, Thrawn and his allies in the Chiss Expansionary Defence Force must race against the clock to uncover a plot to tear their society asunder. Here’s the full description of what you can expect:

    But that’s not all! If you need to catch up in the fanciest way possible before you dive into Greater Good, to celebrate Heir to the Empire and Thrawn’s 30th anniversary Del Rey has teamed up with Out of Print to release a very limited edition of Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising. The new book comes encased in a foil-stamped slipcase and printed with a piece of Chiss iconography.

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    The book itself also has a brand new matching cover, created by illustrator Magali Villeneuve—depicting the young Thrawn as he appears in the series, wearing the uniform of an Expansionary Defence Force officer—and includes special Chiss-blue stained pages and similar blue accents throughout the novel.

    If that wasn’t enough? Each copy is signed by Zahn, cementing at a piece of art that Thrawn himself would admire (and ultimately discern 17 ways to outsmart you through). You’ll have to act fast though: just 750 copies will be available, and it’ll set you back a hefty $150 if you snag one when preorders launch in November.
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    If you feel bad about missing out on it, however (or just want a cheaper way to celebrate 30 years of Thrawn), at the same time Out of Print will also release a new t-shirt featuring a piece of Chisstory. Depicting Drew Struzan’s iconic original cover art for Heir to the Empire—including Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, Thrawn himself, and the infamous Dark Jedi, Joruus C’baoth—on the front, the t-shirt also prints Heir’s original title crawl and cover blurb from its original release on the back:

    You’re basically wearing one of the most beloved Expanded Universe novels ever! There’s no limited run on them either, and at $30, it’ll be less damaging on your wallet to wear your Thrawn pride with, err, pride.

    Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good releases on May 4, 2021, and is available to preorder now. The limited-edition run of Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, as well as the Heir to the Empire anniversary t-shirt, will go up for order on Out of Print at 11:00 a.m. EST on November 17.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  2. darthcaedus1138

    darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2007
    I'm kind of confused, why the 1 on the front of the cover?
     
  3. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    That's for the special edition of Chaos Rising, which is the first book in the Ascendancy trilogy.
     
    darthcaedus1138 likes this.
  4. darthcaedus1138

    darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2007
    ah ok so this is an announcement for the cover of the new book and a special edition of the first one. Threw me off!
     
  5. Sauron_18

    Sauron_18 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Interesting that the special edition’s cover art has Thrawn’s Legends look rather than the canon one. Still, quite a dashing fellow. I do have trouble not automatically picturing him older.
     
  6. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    I'd say it's a combination of the two looks. He has pupils and irises, which Legends Thrawn often lacked, but he also doesn't have the large browbone/forehead prominences unique to Canon Thrawn.
     
    Sauron_18 likes this.
  7. ImperialEwok

    ImperialEwok Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Really hoping for red pages to go with this
     
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  8. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Story sounds interesting, but, sigh, no 3 in 1 Hardback Omnibus of the original Thrawn trilogy.
    Will be getting the shirt though.
     
  9. DarthInternous

    DarthInternous Editor - Del Rey Star Wars star 3 VIP

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Thrawn is a man of many looks.
     
    Barriss_Coffee and SWpants like this.
  10. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    and a man of many books!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Sauron_18

    Sauron_18 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 1, 2005
    True. To be honest, I don’t mind the bone structure being up to the artist. It’s like Muun noses. That way you never know what you’ll get.
     
  12. Darth_Accipiter

    Darth_Accipiter Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2015
    *nods head*

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    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  13. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Love how these books look visually distinct from other SW titles. That’s one handsome cover.
     
  14. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011
    https://www.starwars.com/news/thrawn-ascendancy-greater-good-exclusive-excerpt
    Throughout her years in the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, Admiral Ar’alani had lived through more than fifty battles and smaller armed clashes. The opponents in those encounters, like the battles themselves, had varied widely. Some of them had been clever, others had been cautious, still others—particularly political appointees who had been promoted far beyond their abilities—had been painfully incompetent. The strategies and tactics employed had also varied, ranging from simple to obscure to screamingly violent. The battle results themselves had sometimes been mixed, sometimes inconclusive, often a defeat for the enemy, and—occasionally—a defeat for the Chiss.

    But never in all that time had Ar’alani experienced such a mix of determination, viciousness, and utter pointlessness as in the scene now unfolding in front of her.

    “Watch it, Vigilant—you’ve got four more coming at you from starboard-nadir.” The voice of Senior Captain Xodlak’in’daro came from the Vigilant’s bridge speaker, her resonant alto glacially calm as always.

    “Acknowledged, Grayshrike,” Ar’alani called back, looking at the tactical. Four more Nikardun gunboats had indeed appeared from around the small moon, driving at full power toward the Vigilant. “Looks like you have a few latecomers to your party, as well,” she added.

    “We’re on it, ma’am,” Lakinda said.

    “Good,” Ar’alani said, studying the six missile boats that had appeared from behind the hulk of the battle cruiser she and the other two Chiss ships had hammered into rubble fifteen minutes ago. Sneaking into cover that way without being spotted had taken some ingenuity, and many commanders with that level of competence would have used their skill to exercise the better part of valor and abandon such a clearly hopeless battle.

    But that wasn’t what these last pockets of Nikardun resistance were about. They were about complete self-sacrifice, throwing themselves at the Chiss warships that had rooted them from their burrows, apparently with the sole goal of taking some of the hated enemies with them.

    That wasn’t going to happen. Not today. Not to Ar’alani’s force. “Thrawn, the Grayshrike has picked up a new nest of nighthunters,” she called. “Can you offer them some assistance?”

    “Certainly,” Senior Captain Mitth’raw’nuruodo replied. “Captain Lakinda, if you’ll turn thirty degrees to starboard, I believe we can draw your attackers into a crossfire.”

    “Thirty degrees, acknowledged,” Lakinda said, and Ar’alani saw the Grayshrike’s tactical display image angle away from the incoming missile boats and head toward Thrawn’s Springhawk. “Though with all due respect to the admiral, I’d say they’re more whisker cubs than nighthunters.”

    “Agreed,” Thrawn said. “If these are the same ones we thought were caught in the battle cruiser explosion, they should be down to a single missile each.”

    “Actually, our tally makes two of them completely empty,” Lakinda said. “Just along for the glory of martyrdom, I suppose.”

    “Such as it is,” Ar’alani said. “I doubt anyone out there is going to be singing the elegiac praises of Yiv the Benevolent anytime soon. Wutroow?”

    “Spheres are ready, Admiral,” Senior Captain Kiwu’tro’owmis confirmed from across the Vigilant’s bridge. “Ready to rain on their picnic?”

    “One moment,” Ar’alani said, watching the tactical and gauging the distances. Plasma spheres’ ability to deliver electronics-freezing blasts of ionic energy made them capable of disabling attackers without having to plow through the tough nyix-alloy hulls that sheathed most warships in this part of the Chaos. Smaller fighter-class ships, like the Nikardun missile boats currently charging the Vigilant, were especially vulnerable to such attacks.

    But the missile boats’ smaller size also meant they were more nimble than larger warships, and could sometimes dodge out of harm’s way if the relatively slow plasma spheres were launched too soon.

    There were tables and balance charts to calculate that sort of thing. Ar’alani preferred to do it by eyesight and experienced judgment.

    And that judgment told her they had a sudden opportunity here. Another two seconds . . . “Fire spheres,” she ordered.

    There was a small, muffled thud as the plasma spheres shot from their launchers. Ar’alani kept her eyes on the tactical, watching as the missile boats realized they were under attack and scrambled to evade the spheres. The rearmost of them almost made it, the sphere flickering into its aft port side and paralyzing its thrusters, sending it spinning off into space along its final evasion vector. The other three caught the spheres squarely amidships, killing their major systems as they, too, went gliding helplessly away.

    “Three down, one still wiggling,” Wutroow reported. “You want us to take them?”

    “Hold on that for now,” Ar’alani told her. It would be at least another few minutes before the missile boats recovered. In the meantime . . . “Thrawn?” she called. “Over to you.”

    “Acknowledged, Admiral.”

    Ar’alani shifted her attention to the Springhawk. Normally, she would never do this to the captain of one of her task force ships: giving a vague order on the assumption that the other would pick up on her intent. But she and Thrawn had worked together long enough that she knew he would see what she was seeing and know exactly what she wanted him to do.

    And so he did. As the four momentarily stunned missile boats headed off on their individual vectors, a tractor beam shot out from the Springhawk’s bow, grabbed one of them, and started to pull it in.

    Pulling it directly into the path of the cluster of missile boats charging toward the Grayshrike.

    The Nikardun, their full attention focused on their suicidal attack on the Chiss cruiser, were caught completely off guard by the vessel angling in on them. At the last second they scattered, all six managing to evade the incoming obstacle.

    But the disruption had thrown off their rhythm and their aim. Worse than that, from their point of view, Thrawn had timed that distraction for the precise moment when the Nikardun fighters came into full effective range of the Grayshrike’s and Springhawk’s spectrum lasers. The missile ships were still trying to reestablish their configuration when the Chiss lasers opened fire.

    Twenty seconds later, that section of space was once again clear of enemies.

    “Well done, both of you,” Ar’alani said, checking the tactical. Aside from the disabled missile boats, only two Nikardun ships out there still showed signs of life. “Wutroow, move us toward target seven. Spectrum lasers should be adequate to finish him off. Grayshrike, what’s your status?”

    “Still working on the thrusters, Admiral,” Lakinda said. “But we’re sealed again, and the engineers say they should have us back at full power in a quarter hour or less.”

    “Good,” Ar’alani said, doing a quick analysis of the debris and battered ships visible through the Vigilant’s bridge viewport. There shouldn’t be any places out there where more ships could be lurking.
    [​IMG]

    On the other hand, that was what she’d thought before those six missile boats popped into view from the battle cruiser’s hulk. There could be a few more small ships gone to ground in the fog of battle in the hope that they’d be missed until the time was right for their own suicide runs.

    And at the moment, with its main thrusters down, the Grayshrike was a sitting flashfly. “Springhawk, stay with Grayshrike,” she ordered. “We’ll clean out these last two.”

    “That’s really not necessary, Admiral,” Lakinda said, a hint of carefully controlled protest in her voice. “We can still maneuver enough to fight.”

    “You just concentrate on your repairs,” Ar’alani told her. “If you get bored, you can finish off those four missile boats when they wake up.”

    “We’re not going to offer them the chance to surrender?” Thrawn asked.

    “You can make that offer if you want,” Ar’alani said. “I can’t see them accepting it any more than any of their late comrades did. But I’m willing to be surprised.” She hesitated. “Grayshrike, you can also start a full scan of the area. There could be someone else lurking nearby, and I’m tired of people charging out of nowhere and shooting at us.”

    “Yes, Admiral,” Lakinda said.

    Ar’alani smiled to herself. Lakinda hadn’t actually said thank you, but she could hear it in the senior captain’s voice. Of all the officers in Ar’alani’s task force, Lakinda was the most focused and driven, and she absolutely hated to be left out of things.

    There was a brush of air as Wutroow stepped up beside Ar’alani’s command chair. “Hopefully, this is the last of them,” the Vigilant’s first officer commented. “The Vaks should be able to sleep a bit easier now.” She considered. “So should the Syndicure.”

    Ar’alani touched the comm mute key. As far as she’d been able to tell, the supreme ruling body of the Chiss Ascendancy had been as unenthusiastic about this cleanup mission as it was possible for politicians to get. “I didn’t know the Syndicure was worried about rogue Nikardun threats to the Vak Combine.”

    “I’m sure they aren’t,” Wutroow said. “I’m equally sure they are worried about why we’re way out here engaging in warlike actions.”

    Ar’alani cocked an eyebrow at her. “You raise that question as if you already knew the answer.”

    “Not really,” Wutroow said, giving Ar’alani one of those significant looks she did so well. “I was hoping you knew.”

    “Sadly, the Aristocra seldom consult with me these days,” Ar’alani said.

    “Oddly enough, they don’t consult with me, either,” Wutroow said. “But I’m sure they have their reasons.”

    Ar’alani nodded. Normally, the Nine Ruling Families—and the full weight of official Ascendancy policy—were dead-set against any military action unless Chiss worlds or holdings had been directly attacked first. She could only assume that the interrogation of General Yiv the Benevolent and a thorough examination of his captured files and records had proved the Nikardun had been such an imminent threat that the Syndicure had been willing to bend the usual rules.

    “At least Thrawn must be pleased,” Wutroow continued. “It’s rare to get vindication and retaliation delivered in the same neat package.”

    “If you’re trying to get me to tell you what he and I talked about with Supreme General Ba’kif before we left on this little jaunt, you’re in for a disappointment,” Ar’alani said. “But yes, I imagine Senior Captain Thrawn is pleased at how things turned out.”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Wutroow said, her voice making a subtle shift from the admiral’s friend to the admiral’s first officer. “Coming into range of target seven.”

    “Very good,” Ar’alani said. “You may fire at your convenience.”

    “Yes, ma’am.” With a crisp nod, Wutroow headed back across the bridge. “Oeskym, stand by lasers,” she called to the weapons officer.

    Two minutes later, it was over.
     
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  15. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Well that was certainly an excerpt.
     
  16. Darth_Accipiter

    Darth_Accipiter Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2015
    don't step on Chiss Elvis' unironically blue suede shoes
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
  17. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011
    https://nerdist.com/article/star-wars-thrawn-ascendancy-greater-good-excerpt-chiss-enemies/
    MEMORIES I

    “There,” Haplif of the Agbui said, pointing through the scout ship’s viewport at the half-lit planet in front of them. “You can’t see the damage from here—”

    “I see it quite clearly,” the veiled being seated beside him said calmly in that exotic voice of his, that strange mixture of rasping and melodic wrapped up inside an obscure accent. “It extends across the entire planet, I presume?”

    “It does,” Haplif confirmed. He’d never seen Jixtus without his cloak and hood, his gloves concealing his hands, his black veil covering his face. He had no idea what the creature looked like.

    But that voice would stay with him forever.

    “Then you can add this to your list of successes,” Jixtus said. “Well done.”

    “Thank you, my lord,” Haplif said, squinting a little. Now that Jixtus mentioned it, there were indeed subtle signs of the global destruction down there. The clouds on the sunlit side, which would be glistening white on an untouched world, were here laced with gray and black from the fire and blast debris thrown up from the vicious civil war he and his team had engineered. On the night side, the clusters of city lights that had once shone cheerfully in the darkness had all but vanished.

    Haplif smiled to himself. The near-total destruction of an entire world, and it had all been accomplished in barely six months. Six months.

    Yes. He was that good.

    “I understand a single refugee ship escaped.”

    Haplif scowled. Trust Jixtus to take the shine off a crowning moment. “Only temporarily,” he said. “The Nikardun are taking care of it.”

    “Really,” Jixtus said. “You were told not to have any direct contact with them.”

    “I had no choice,” Haplif said. “You told me you didn’t want anyone knowing what happened here. The planet never had a communications triad, you were out of range of the standard transmitters, and we didn’t have any ships of our own. One of Yiv’s ships was poking around, so I contacted them.”

    For a long moment Jixtus was silent. “You did say you didn’t want anyone knowing about the war, didn’t you?” Haplif prompted.

    “Yes, of course,” Jixtus said, sounding a bit put out. “I trust you at least kept my name out of it?”

    “Your name and mine both,” Haplif assured him. “I didn’t identify or locate the system for them, either. I just gave the ship’s vector and told them it was a group trying to recruit forces against General Yiv. Naturally, they headed after them in hot pursuit, with no doubt righteous fervor in their hearts and minds.”

    “No doubt,” Jixtus said. “You understand Yiv and his people very well.”

    “I understand everyone very well,” Haplif said. It wasn’t bragging, after all, if it was true.

    “I presume you gave the Nikardun their destination?”

    “I’m not absolutely sure they had one,” Haplif said, keying a line across the navigational display. “All we had was their departure vector, and they mostly took that because it was as far away from the last group of enemy ships as possible. I only know of one advanced civilization along that route, and I’m not sure the refugees were able to get any data on it with the government computers demolished.”

    “Still, there’s a great deal of life in the Chaos,” Jixtus said. “Even our records presumably show only a fraction of it.”

    “That’s what they’re counting on,” Haplif said. “From what the Magys said—that’s their title for their leader—from what she said before they took off, I gather the plan was to check each likely system along their path until they found someone they could appeal to for sanctuary. Failing that, they were hoping to find an uninhabited but livable world where they could go to ground. All the Nikardun have to do is follow that same plan, and they’ll eventually find whoever takes them in.”

    “Unless you were lied to,” Jixtus said. “Perhaps the refugees know exactly where they’re going.”

    Haplif scowled. Unlikely, but possible. His talent for reading and analyzing cultures was unmatched, but individuals could still surprise him, especially those he hadn’t had good opportunities to read. If the Magys had been deliberately vague so as to throw off any possibility of pursuit . . .

    He felt his throat briefly palpitate. Jixtus was playing with him, he realized belatedly. Poking at the very set of skills that made him so valuable, teasing the possibility that Haplif wasn’t as good as he knew he was. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “The Nikardun are following. Whether the refugees reach a sanctuary and are destroyed there or whether they run out of fuel and air and die in space, the end result is the same.”

    “But you hope the latter?”

    Haplif shrugged. “Fewer chances of loose ends,” he said, keeping his voice casual. “But as I said, the end is the same.” He smiled. “The end that only I could orchestrate.”

    Jixtus chuckled, a dry, raspy sort of sound. “Never let it be said that Haplif of the Agbui lacks confidence and pride.”

    “Even when his employer suggests those qualities are unwarranted?”

    “Especially then,” Jixtus said. “But beware of overconfidence. Eyes held high in pride are less able to see uneven ground ahead.”

    “Fortunately for your needs, I can see both,” Haplif said. “At any rate, we’re finished here. We can go home now?”

    “You spoke of a Nikardun ship,” Jixtus said. “Are there bases in the area?”

    “A couple of small ones, yes,” Haplif said. “Listening and relay points, with limited defenses. They’re not likely to send any warships roaring out to bother anyone.”

    “Yet you were able to persuade them to do just that,” Jixtus pointed out. “Others might be able to, as well. Not to mention, Yiv himself may find a new task for them.”

    “Well, even if he does, they’re not likely to find this place,” Haplif said doggedly. “The people here keep mostly to themselves these days. I’m not sure any of them has even been outside the system in decades.”

    “Except for the refugee ship.”

    “Which will be gone soon enough.”

    “I trust you’re right,” Jixtus said. “As to your question. Since you mention my needs and your unique ability to fulfill them, there’s one more job I want you to do.”

    Haplif looked sideways at the other, a bitter taste in his mouth. He should have guessed this wouldn’t be the end of it, despite Jixtus’s promise. As Haplif understood most beings, he also understood his employer.

    Or did he? With the obscuring cloak, hood, and veil hiding all the usual cues of face and eyes, Jixtus could be nearly anyone, from virtually any bipedal species. For that matter, for all the evidence of Haplif’s eyes and ears, he might be sitting next to one of the demons from Agbui myth he’d so often been threatened with as a child.

    He shook the thought away. Superstitious nonsense. “You promised we would be done.”

    “I’ve changed my mind,” Jixtus said calmly. “What do you know about the Chiss?”

     
  18. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Well, that excerpt made me sit up and pay attention. Greater emphasis on the antagonists was exactly what I’ve been hoping for in this book.
     
  19. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    I guess we're going to be seeing flashbacks to book one from Jixtus's perspective.
     
  20. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
  21. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
  22. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Dramatis Personae.
     
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  23. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    SpeedyHen have sent off my copy.

    Won't get to it until Nov but still cool to have it en route.
     
  24. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Damn, this is a nice looking volume - if you ever wondered what difference design makes to a book, this is the answer.
     
  25. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011