Star Wars The Hand of Thrawn #1: Specter of the Past [NOOK Book]

Overview

Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn makes his triumphant return to the Star Wars(r) universe in this first of an epic new two-volume series in which the New Republic must face its most dangerous enemy yet--a dead Imperial warlord.

The Empire stands at the brink of total collapse. But they have saved their most heinous plan for last. First a plot is hatched that could destroy the New Republic in a bloodbath of genocide and civil war. Then ...
See more details below
Star Wars The Hand of Thrawn #1: Specter of the Past

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn makes his triumphant return to the Star Wars(r) universe in this first of an epic new two-volume series in which the New Republic must face its most dangerous enemy yet--a dead Imperial warlord.

The Empire stands at the brink of total collapse. But they have saved their most heinous plan for last. First a plot is hatched that could destroy the New Republic in a bloodbath of genocide and civil war. Then comes the shocking news that Grand Admiral Thrawn--the most cunning and ruthless warlord in history--has apparently returned from the dead to lead the Empire to a long-prophesied victory. Facing incredible odds, Han and Leia begin a desperate race against time to prevent the New Republic from unraveling in the face of two inexplicable threats--one from within and one from without. Meanwhile, Luke teams up with Mara Jade, using the Force to track down a mysterious pirate ship with a crew of clones. Yet, perhaps most dangerous of all, are those who lurk in the shadows, orchestrating a dark plan that will turn the New Republic and the Empire into their playthings.

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine are long dead and the Empire, on its last legs, has shrunk to a mere handful of star systems. Admiral Pellaeon, supreme commander of the Empire's military forces, is ready to ask the New Republic for peace, but a small group of Imperial conspirators will do anything to make sure that doesn't happen. In a desperate bid to regain the Empire's lost glory, the conspirators kidnap Pellaeon's peace envoy, send secret agents to stir up strife within the New Republic and enlist a gifted actor to impersonate the last great Imperial hero, the long dead High Admiral Thrawn. In this first volume of a new Star Wars series, veteran military-SF author Zahn (Heir to the Empire; Conqueror's Pride) has crafted an unusually sophisticated addition to the continuing saga of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. Although space opera fans will find an adequate number of battling starships and blazing blasters here, the emphasis is on espionage and complex political wheeling and dealing. The novel features a large cast of well-developed supporting characters, including such old favorites as the roguish Lando Calrissian, the fearless X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles and the Imperial agent turned Jedi, Mara Jade, who is looking more and more like a potential romantic interest for Luke Skywalker. Longtime fans should get considerable pleasure from this addition to the saga. (Nov.)
Library Journal
More intergalactic capers from the author whose best-selling Heir to the Empire launched the current Star Wars craze.
From the Publisher
"Zahn turns in his usual high-caliber performance."—Library Journal

"Longtime fans should get considerable pleasure from this addition to the saga."—Publishers Weekly

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307796158
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011
  • Series: Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn Series , #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 42,087
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn
Since 1978 Timothy Zahn has written nearly seventy short stories and novelettes, numerous novels, and three short fiction collections, and won the Hugo Award for best novella. Zahn is best known for his Star Wars novels: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, Specter of the Past, Vision of the Future, Survivor’s Quest, Outbound Flight, and Allegiance, and has more than four million copies of his books in print. His most recent publications have been the science fiction Cobra series and the six-part young-adult series Dragonback.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Slowly, silently, its lights a faint glitter of life amid the darkness, the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaeraglided through space.

Empty space.  Oppressively dark space.  Long, lonely light-years from the nearest of the tiny islands that were the star systems of the galaxy, drifting at the edge of the boundary between the Outer Rim worlds and the vast regions of territory known as Unknown Space.  At the very edge of the Empire.

Or rather, at the edge of the pitiful scraps of what had once been the Empire.

Standing beside one of the Chimaera's side viewports, Admiral Pellaeon, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet, gazed out at the emptiness, the weight of all too many years pressing heavily across his shoulders.  Too many years, too many battles, too many defeats.

Perhaps the Chimaera's bridge crew was feeling the weight, too.  Certainly the sounds of activity going on behind him seemed more muted than usual today.  But perhaps it was merely the effect of being out here, so far from anywhere at all.

No, of course that had to be it.  The men of the Chimaerawere the finest the Fleet had to offer.  They were Imperial officers and crewers, and Imperials didn't give up.  Ever.

There was a tentative footstep at his side.  "Admiral?"  Captain Ardiff said quietly.  "We're ready to begin, sir."

For a moment Pellaeon's mind flashed back ten years, to another very similar moment.  Then, it had been Pellaeon and Grand Admiral Thrawn who'd been here on the Chimaera's bridge, watching the final test of the prototype cloaking shield Thrawn had recovered from among the Emperor's trophies inside Mount Tantiss.  Pellaeon could remember the excitement he'd felt then, despite his misgivings about the insane Jedi clone Joruus C'baoth, as he watched Thrawn single-handedly breathing new life and vigor back into the Empire.

But Mount Tantiss was gone, destroyed by agents of the New Republic and C'baoth's own madness and treason.  And Grand Admiral Thrawn was dead.

And the Empire was dying.

With an effort, Pellaeon shook the shadows of the past away.  He was an Imperial officer, and Imperials didn't give up.  "Thank you," he said to Ardiff.  "At your convenience, Captain."

"Yes, sir."  Ardiff half turned, gestured to the fighter coordinator in the portside crew pit.  "Signal the attack," he ordered.

The officer acknowledged and gestured in turn to one of his crewers.  Pellaeon turned his attention back to the viewport--

Just in time to see eight SoroSuub Preybird-class starfighters in tight formation roar in from behind them.  Cutting tight to the Chimaera's command superstructure, they passed over the forward ridgeline, raking it with low-power blaster fire, then split smoothly out in eight different directions.  Corkscrewing out and forward, they kept up their fire until they were out of the Star Destroyer's primary attack zone.  Then, curving smoothly around, they swung around and regrouped.

"Admiral?"  Ardiff prompted.

"Let's give them one more pass, Captain," Pellaeon said.  "The more flight data the Predictor has to work with, the better it should function."  He caught the eye of one of the crew pit officers.  "Damage report?"

"Minor damage to the forward ridgeline, sir," the officer reported.  "One sensor array knocked out, leaving five turbolasers without ranging data."

"Acknowledged."  All theoretical damage, of course, calculated under the assumption that the Preybirds were using full-power capital-ship turbolasers.  Pellaeon had always loved war games when he was younger; had relished the chance to play with technique and tactics without the risks of true combat.  Somewhere in all those years, the excitement had faded away.  "Helm, bring us around twenty degrees to starboard," he ordered.  "Starboard turbolasers will lay down dispersion fire as they make their next pass."

The Preybirds were back in tight formation now, once again approaching their target.  The Chimaera's turbolasers opened up as they came, their low-level fire splattering across the Preybirds' overlapping deflector shields.  For a few seconds the opponents traded fire; then, the Preybirds broke formation again, splitting apart like the fingertips of an opening hand.  Twisting over and under the Chimaera, they shot past, scrambling for the safety of distance.

"Damage report?"  Pellaeon called.

"Three starboard turbolaser batteries knocked out," the officer called back.  "We've also lost one tractor beam projector and two ion cannon."

"Enemy damage?"

"One attacker appears to have lost its deflector shields, and two others are reading diminished turbolaser capability."

"Hardly counts as damage," Ardiff murmured.  "Of course, the situation here isn't exactly fair.  Ships that small and maneuverable would never have the kind of shields or firepower we're crediting them with."

"If you want fairness, organize a shockball tournament," Pellaeon said acidly.  "Don't look for it in warfare."

Ardiff's cheek twitched.  "I'm sorry, sir."

Pellaeon sighed.  The finest the Imperial Fleet had to offer..."  Stand by the cloaking shield, Captain," he ordered, watching the faint drive glows as the Preybirds regrouped again in the distance.  "Activate on my command."

"Yes, Admiral."

There was a sudden flare of drive glow, partially eclipsed by the Preybirds themselves, as the enemy kicked into high acceleration.  "Here they come," Pellaeon said, watching as the single glowing dot rapidly resolved itself into eight close-formation ships.  "Lock Predictor into fire control.  Stand by cloaking shield."

"Predictor and cloaking shield standing by," Ardiff confirmed.

Pellaeon nodded, his full attention on the Preybirds.  Nearly to the point where they'd broken formation last time...  "Cloaking shield: now."

And with a brief flicker of bridge lighting, the stars and incoming Preybirds vanished as the cloaking shield plunged the Chimaerainto total darkness.

"Cloaking shield activated and stabilized," Ardiff said.

"Helm, come around portside: thirty degrees by eight," Pellaeon ordered.  "Ahead acceleration point one.  Turbolasers: fire."

"Acknowledged," an officer called.  "Turbolasers are firing."

Pellaeon took a step closer to the viewport and looked down along the Chimaera's sides.  The faint blasts of low-level fire were visible, lancing a short distance out from the Star Destroyer and then disappearing as they penetrated the spherical edge of the Star Destroyer's cloaking shield.  Blinded by the very device that was now shielding it from its opponents' view, the Chimaerawas firing wildly in an attempt to destroy those opponents.

Or perhaps not quite so wildly.  If the Predictor worked as well as its designers hoped, perhaps the Empire still had a chance in this war.

It was a long time before the Chimaera's turbolasers finally ceased fire.  Far too long.  "Is that it?"  he asked Ardiff.

"Yes, sir," the other said.  "Five hundred shots, as preprogrammed."

Pellaeon nodded.  "Deactivate cloaking shield.  Let's see how well we did."

There was another flicker from the lights, and the stars were back.  Mentally crossing his fingers, Pellaeon peered out the viewport.

For a moment there was nothing.  Then, from starboard, he spotted the approaching drive glows.  Seven of them.

"Signal from Adversary Commander, Admiral," the comm officer called.  "Target Three reports receiving a disabling hit and has gone dormant; all other targets have sustained only minimal damage.  Requesting orders."

Pellaeon grimaced.  One.  Out of eight targets, the Chimaerahad been able to hit exactly one.  And that great feat had required five hundred shots to achieve.

So that was that.  The wonderful Computerized Combat Predictor, touted by its creators and sponsors as the best approach to practical use of the cloaking shield, had been put to the test.  And to be fair, it had probably done better than simple random shooting.

But it hadn't done enough better.  Not nearly enough.

"Inform Adversary Commander that the exercise is over," Pellaeon told the comm officer.  "Target Three may reactivate its systems; all ships are to return to the Chimaera.  I want their reports filed within the next two hours."

"Yes, sir."

"I'm sure they'll be able to improve it, Admiral," Ardiff said at Pellaeon's side.  "This was just the first field test.  Surely they'll be able to improve it."

"How?"  Pellaeon retorted.  "Train the Predictor to be omniscient?  Or simply teach it how to read our enemies' minds?"

"You only gave it two passes to study the targets' flight patterns," Ardiff reminded him.  "With more data, it could have better anticipated their movements."

Pellaeon snorted gently.  "It's a nice theory, Captain, and under certain controlled situations it might even work.  But combat is hardly a controlled situation.  There are far too many variables and unknowns, especially considering the hundreds of alien species and combat styles we have to contend with.  I knew from the beginning that this Predictor idea was probably futile.  But it had to be tried."

"Well, then, we just have to go back to mark zero," Ardiff said.  "Come up with something else.  There have to be practical uses for this cloaking shield device."

"Of course there are," Pellaeon agreed heavily.  "Grand Admiral Thrawn devised three of them himself.  But there's no one left in the Empire with his military genius."

He sighed.  "No, Captain.  It's over.  It's all over.  And we've lost."

For a long moment the low murmur of background conversation was the only sound on the bridge.  "You can't mean that, Admiral," Ardiff said at last.  "And if I may say so, sir, this is not the sort of thing the Supreme Commander of Imperial forces should be talking about."

"Why not?"  Pellaeon countered.  "It's obvious to everyone else."

"It most certainly is not, sir," Ardiff said stiffly.  "We still hold eight sectors--over a thousand inhabited systems.  We have the Fleet, nearly two hundred Star Destroyers strong.  We're still very much a force to be reckoned with."



    
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Slowly, silently, its lights a faint glitter of life amid the darkness, the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera glided through space.

Empty space. Oppressively dark space. Long, lonely light-years from the nearest of the tiny islands that were the star systems of the galaxy, drifting at the edge of the boundary between the Outer Rim worlds and the vast regions of territory known as Unknown Space. At the very edge of the Empire.

Or rather, at the edge of the pitiful scraps of what had once been the Empire.

Standing beside one of the Chimaera's side viewports, Admiral Pellaeon, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet, gazed out at the emptiness, the weight of all too many years pressing heavily across his shoulders. Too many years, too many battles, too many defeats.

Perhaps the Chimaera's bridge crew was feeling the weight, too. Certainly the sounds of activity going on behind him seemed more muted than usual today. But perhaps it was merely the effect of being out here, so far from anywhere at all.

No, of course that had to be it. The men of the Chimaera were the finest the Fleet had to offer. They were Imperial officers and crewers, and Imperials didn't give up. Ever.

There was a tentative footstep at his side. "Admiral?" Captain Ardiff said quietly. "We're ready to begin, sir."

For a moment Pellaeon's mind flashed back ten years, to another very similar moment. Then, it had been Pellaeon and Grand Admiral Thrawn who'd been here on the Chimaera's bridge, watching the final test of the prototype cloaking shield Thrawn had recovered from among the Emperor's trophies inside Mount Tantiss. Pellaeon could remember the excitement he'd felt then, despite his misgivings about the insane Jedi clone Joruus C'baoth, as he watched Thrawn single-handedly breathing new life and vigor back into the Empire.

But Mount Tantiss was gone, destroyed by agents of the New Republic and C'baoth's own madness and treason. And Grand Admiral Thrawn was dead.

And the Empire was dying.

With an effort, Pellaeon shook the shadows of the past away. He was an Imperial officer, and Imperials didn't give up. "Thank you," he said to Ardiff. "At your convenience, Captain."

"Yes, sir." Ardiff half turned, gestured to the fighter coordinator in the portside crew pit. "Signal the attack," he ordered.

The officer acknowledged and gestured in turn to one of his crewers. Pellaeon turned his attention back to the viewport --

Just in time to see eight SoroSuub Preybird-class starfighters in tight formation roar in from behind them. Cutting tight to the Chimaera's command superstructure, they passed over the forward ridgeline, raking it with low-power blaster fire, then split smoothly out in eight different directions. Corkscrewing out and forward, they kept up their fire until they were out of the Star Destroyer's primary attack zone. Then, curving smoothly around, they swung around and regrouped.

"Admiral?" Ardiff prompted.

"Let's give them one more pass, Captain," Pellaeon said. "The more flight data the Predictor has to work with, the better it should function." He caught the eye of one of the crew pit officers. "Damage report?"

"Minor damage to the forward ridgeline, sir," the officer reported. "One sensor array knocked out, leaving five turbolasers without ranging data."

"Acknowledged." All theoretical damage, of course, calculated under the assumption that the Preybirds were using full-power capital-ship turbolasers. Pellaeon had always loved war games when he was younger; had relished the chance to play with technique and tactics without the risks of true combat. Somewhere in all those years, the excitement had faded away. "Helm, bring us around twenty degrees to starboard," he ordered. "Starboard turbolasers will lay down dispersion fire as they make their next pass."

The Preybirds were back in tight formation now, once again approaching their target. The Chimaera's turbolasers opened up as they came, their low-level fire splattering across the Preybirds' overlapping deflector shields. For a few seconds the opponents traded fire; then, the Preybirds broke formation again, splitting apart like the fingertips of an opening hand. Twisting over and under the Chimaera, they shot past, scrambling for the safety of distance.

"Damage report?" Pellaeon called.

"Three starboard turbolaser batteries knocked out," the officer called back. "We've also lost one tractor beam projector and two ion cannon."

"Enemy damage?"

"One attacker appears to have lost its deflector shields, and two others are reading diminished turbolaser capability."

"Hardly counts as damage," Ardiff murmured. "Of course, the situation here isn't exactly fair. Ships that small and maneuverable would never have the kind of shields or firepower we're crediting them with."

"If you want fairness, organize a shockball tournament," Pellaeon said acidly. "Don't look for it in warfare."

Ardiff's cheek twitched. "I'm sorry, sir."

Pellaeon sighed. The finest the Imperial Fleet had to offer... "Stand by the cloaking shield, Captain," he ordered, watching the faint drive glows as the Preybirds regrouped again in the distance. "Activate on my command."

"Yes, Admiral."

There was a sudden flare of drive glow, partially eclipsed by the Preybirds themselves, as the enemy kicked into high acceleration. "Here they come," Pellaeon said, watching as the single glowing dot rapidly resolved itself into eight close-formation ships. "Lock Predictor into fire control. Stand by cloaking shield."

"Predictor and cloaking shield standing by," Ardiff confirmed.

Pellaeon nodded, his full attention on the Preybirds. Nearly to the point where they'd broken formation last time... "Cloaking shield: now."

And with a brief flicker of bridge lighting, the stars and incoming Preybirds vanished as the cloaking shield plunged the Chimaera into total darkness.

"Cloaking shield activated and stabilized," Ardiff said.

"Helm, come around portside: thirty degrees by eight," Pellaeon ordered. "Ahead acceleration point one. Turbolasers: fire."

"Acknowledged," an officer called. "Turbolasers are firing."

Pellaeon took a step closer to the viewport and looked down along the Chimaera's sides. The faint blasts of low-level fire were visible, lancing a short distance out from the Star Destroyer and then disappearing as they penetrated the spherical edge of the Star Destroyer's cloaking shield. Blinded by the very device that was now shielding it from its opponents' view, the Chimaera was firing wildly in an attempt to destroy those opponents.

Or perhaps not quite so wildly. If the Predictor worked as well as its designers hoped, perhaps the Empire still had a chance in this war.

It was a long time before the Chimaera's turbolasers finally ceased fire. Far too long. "Is that it?" he asked Ardiff.

"Yes, sir," the other said. "Five hundred shots, as preprogrammed."

Pellaeon nodded. "Deactivate cloaking shield. Let's see how well we did."

There was another flicker from the lights, and the stars were back. Mentally crossing his fingers, Pellaeon peered out the viewport.

For a moment there was nothing. Then, from starboard, he spotted the approaching drive glows. Seven of them.

"Signal from Adversary Commander, Admiral," the comm officer called. "Target Three reports receiving a disabling hit and has gone dormant; all other targets have sustained only minimal damage. Requesting orders."

Pellaeon grimaced. One. Out of eight targets, the Chimaera had been able to hit exactly one. And that great feat had required five hundred shots to achieve.

So that was that. The wonderful Computerized Combat Predictor, touted by its creators and sponsors as the best approach to practical use of the cloaking shield, had been put to the test. And to be fair, it had probably done better than simple random shooting.

But it hadn't done enough better. Not nearly enough.

"Inform Adversary Commander that the exercise is over," Pellaeon told the comm officer. "Target Three may reactivate its systems; all ships are to return to the Chimaera. I want their reports filed within the next two hours."

"Yes, sir."

"I'm sure they'll be able to improve it, Admiral," Ardiff said at Pellaeon's side. "This was just the first field test. Surely they'll be able to improve it."

"How?" Pellaeon retorted. "Train the Predictor to be omniscient? Or simply teach it how to read our enemies' minds?"

"You only gave it two passes to study the targets' flight patterns," Ardiff reminded him. "With more data, it could have better anticipated their movements."

Pellaeon snorted gently. "It's a nice theory, Captain, and under certain controlled situations it might even work. But combat is hardly a controlled situation. There are far too many variables and unknowns, especially considering the hundreds of alien species and combat styles we have to contend with. I knew from the beginning that this Predictor idea was probably futile. But it had to be tried."

"Well, then, we just have to go back to mark zero," Ardiff said. "Come up with something else. There have to be practical uses for this cloaking shield device."

"Of course there are," Pellaeon agreed heavily. "Grand Admiral Thrawn devised three of them himself. But there's no one left in the Empire with his military genius."

He sighed. "No, Captain. It's over. It's all over. And we've lost."

For a long moment the low murmur of background conversation was the only sound on the bridge. "You can't mean that, Admiral," Ardiff said at last. "And if I may say so, sir, this is not the sort of thing the Supreme Commander of Imperial forces should be talking about."

"Why not?" Pellaeon countered. "It's obvious to everyone else."

"It most certainly is not, sir," Ardiff said stiffly. "We still hold eight sectors -- over a thousand inhabited systems. We have the Fleet, nearly two hundred Star Destroyers strong. We're still very much a force to be reckoned with."

Excerpted from STAR WARS®: SPECTER OF THE PAST by Timothy Zahn. ®, TM, © 1997 by Lucasfilm, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2013

    A great follow up to the Thrawn Trilogy

    Still somewhat new to the whole "Expanded Universe" of Star Wars, I read this novel immediately after hearing the Thrawn trilogy on audiobook. Even though this book takes place about ten years after those books I found that Timothy Zahn picked up where he left off quite well. The world isn't too far removed as far as what has happened in between The Last Command and now. He does an excellent job, as usual, of getting people into the story and carefully weaving the threads of a greater plot that is sure to meet up in the second book.
    Specter of the past is very much a primer, or set up, for Vision of the future, which I'm currently reading, and as such doesn't necessarily resolve anything by the end. It's very much a "to be continued" novel, but is action packed and intriguing enough that by the time I read those words, I was screaming, "Good God, i have to get the next one! What happens?"
    I would definitely recommend this book for those who've already read the Thrawn trilogy, newbies might find it a bit "alien" no pun intended, as there are familiar characters, Leia, Han, Luke, Lando etc. but, oh by the way, Leia and Han have three children, she's a Jedi, Luke has an academy on Yavin 4 and, hey, who's this Mara Jade chick over here? Just saying, there's a lot to catch up on if you're new to the "EU". But Zahn delivers another great read with a fairly believable portrayal of the characters we've all come to know and love. Personally, i hope they make these books into Unabridged audiobooks sometime, as the abridged ones, I've heard, are terrible.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After re-reading Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars trilogy last yea

    After re-reading Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars trilogy last year, I decided to read his follow up Star Wars duology (Hand of Thrawn) this year. I just recently completed the first book, Specter of the Past.

    Zahn's original trilogy was spectacularly good, capturing the flavor and feel of the original movies and reconnecting us with the characters we loved. This means that the Hand of Thrawn duology has a hard road to follow.

    Specter of the Past reintroduces us to several characters introduced in the first trilogy: Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Admiral Pellaeon. Of course, one spends time with Luke, Leia, Han, and Lando, and Zahn's sure grip on these characters keep us engaged, and I think his Han is inspired.

    The plot, ten years after the victory of the New Republic at the end of the trilogy, centers around a conspiracy within the Empire, now a poor shadow of its former self. Pellaeon, leader of the Imperial forces, recognizes that a negotiated peace is the only way to preserve the Empire and its New Order, and Pellaeon works to convince the Moffs and military leaders. However, Moff Disra thinks otherwise and forms a conspiracy with a former Emperor's Guard and an actor to undermine Pellaeon's efforts and  foster fissures in the New Republic, focusing particularly on a historical destruction of a planet and those seeking retribution. Finally, a mysterious ship appears and transmits a mysterious message. Jade and Luke try to chase this down while Leia, Han, Talon, and Lando work to save the New Republic from tearing itself apart.

    Zahn, as always, has a great grasp of character, plot, and pacing, and he has the feel of the Star Wars universe, and for a Star Wars fan, this is just about perfect anyways. But...one thing is lacking in Specter of the Past that was not in the first trilogy: Thrawn. Zahn's Grand Admiral of the first trilogy is so fascinating, so well conceived that his character is what turns out to be difficult to beat in Specter of the Past, where Disra and his co-conspirators simply don't measure up to Thrawn.

    Still, a good read and I'll be moving on to Vision of the Future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2003

    ALMOST as good as Zahn's original Trilogy...

    Close but not quite in my opinion. Zahn certainly is the greatest Star Wars author working today, and 'Specter of the Past' is a valiant effort to write a great Star Wars novel, but unfortunately, through NO fault of his own, Zahn had to build on stories that came after his original 3 book series which started with the absolutely incredible 'Heir To The Empire'. If you have managed to make it through the lame drivel that has been printed out there you know what I'm talking about. Zahn certainly did the best he could, of that there is NO doubt. I was actually sad to see Grand Admiral Thrawn die at the end of 'The Last Command', and I was genuinely hoping that he had survived to fight another day as I began this novel. Again, it's quite difficult to improve upon the first 3 novels by Zahn, but this novel sure does come close. Many characters which never had the chance to be fleshed out in major detail in his previous books take specific shape in 'Specter'. Including a lot more of Mara Jade. It seems that of all the newer characters created since 'Return of the Jedi' Mara Jade seems to be one of the most popular. As I read along in this great story, I found myself actually praying that Thrawn really was alive, or at least cloned. Zahn sews some great sub-plots and some great major ones into this two-book saga, and I found the seeds of discontent within the New Republic to be one of the more realistic storylines to be explored in all of the Star Wars novels. Sure, they are ALL fiction, but with the ground-work laid by Lucas, what has come since the publication of 'The Last Command' has turned a lot of the Star Wars Universe into a pale version of what it could have and SHOULD have been -- especially if Zahn had written it. I have read how one reviewer was profoundly thankful that Mr. Zahn did not have the Empire attempting to create yet another mega super weapon as have been described in other forgettable Star Wars tales out there. No this story revolves around yet further deception on the part of the Empire and what IF they were so down on their luck that they actually considered a treaty with the New Republic? I don't see many other novels out there exploring avenues such as this, and better yet, even fewer of the books with the Star Wars name on the front are even slightly vaguely entertaining. Sure, I believe Zahn to be the best of this particular craft, but what self-respecting fan of this series doesn't?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 1999

    Can You Believe It?! Zhan has done it again!!!

    I loved this book I thought it was awesome! Anyone who doesn't like this book has got to be crazy!!! Please pick it up! you'll love it!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Personally I think this is the best of the Expanded Universe boo

    Personally I think this is the best of the Expanded Universe books, and certainly Zahn's best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2011

    Zahn never lets me down

    Great book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Zahn has done it again

    Zahn is the best Star Wars novelist ever. The political intrigue and fast paced action in this story are excellent. Ten years have passed since the evens of the Thrawn trilogy and the struggle between the Empire and the New Republic have reached new challenges for both sides of the conflict. This is the first of two novels so just be aware that there are plenty of things to resolve at the end of this novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    I like Zahn

    I like Zahn's star wars books but this one was okay, more like dark force rising. A slow pace and lots of politics, more so than the books that run into fights and lack character development and the whole good v. evil bit. don't see too much of this in the Star Wars Novels. Its a series well crafted but i cant say i thought it was the best thing since the waffle iron. The better books i would stick with this is NJO: Traitor. I like Borsk though, he's ruthless and its nice to see a good guy thats not all cheary and infinitely good like Luke.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2002

    Zahn knows the characters

    Zahn knows how to bring the Star Wars characters to life , and this is a great book for everybody, not just Star Wars fans. Perfect setup for Vision of the Future, if you read this one, you have to read the next one too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2001

    Awesome Book!!

    This book was great! It was fast paced and totally real! If you like Star Wars or any of Zahn's other books, you MUST read this!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2001

    AWESOME BOOK!!!!!!!!!!

    I love this book. Even though I'm not totally done with it, I can't put it down. I really recommend it to anybody, Star Wars fan or not!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2000

    Mara Jade Rules!!!

    If you are a Mara Jade fan (like me) you will love this book. Also if you are a Mara Jade fan you will REALLY enjoy this books sqeul, Vison of the Future. Best 2 books i think i ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2000

    one of the best book i ever read

    This book was amazing edge of my seat the whole way the first 50 pages are kinda slow but it really picks up after that.I really look forward to the sequel simply because Timothy Zahn wrote it. But I am warning you the begining is slow but if you stick with it.The book is awesome

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2000

    Great Book

    Zahn ties this the book with other star wars books nicely. This book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole saga. Lots of battles, spying, and of course one long dead Grand Admiral. Great Fun!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2000

    SPECTOR OF THE PAST IS GREAT!!!

    Another outstanding novel from Timothy Zahn.If you love 'HEIR TO THE EMPIRE' you will love this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000

    Zahn rocks the Kazbah with his second Star Wars series

    A followup to his official third trilogy of the Star Wars saga, the Hand of Thrawn series is yet another success for Timothy Zahn. Clearly the best Star Wars novel writer yet, he evokes the same drama and detail in this series that he included in the original Thrawn series. An A+ for any Star wars fan or science fiction fan out there.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2000

    The Master Is Back

    Timothy Zahn returns with a stellar performance. If you thought the original Thrawn trilogy was mediocre you'll the beginning to Zahn's next masterful set. With the revelation of an appearent reincarnated man who the Republic would like to forget about and the damage he cause them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)