Star Wars The Hand of Thrawn #1: Specter of the Past

Star Wars The Hand of Thrawn #1: Specter of the Past

by Timothy Zahn
4.6 45

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Overview

Star Wars The Hand of Thrawn #1: Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn

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!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307796158
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/2011
Series: Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 54,953
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Timothy Zahn is the author of more than forty novels, nearly ninety short stories and novellas, and four short-fiction collections. In 1984, he 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, Allegiance, Choices of One, and Scoundrels), with more than four million copies of his books in print. Other books include the Cobra series, the Quadrail series, and the young adult Dragonback series. Zahn has a B.S. in physics from Michigan State University and an M.S. from the University of Illinois. He lives with his family on the Oregon coast.

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Star Wars The Hand of Thrawn #1 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
anarchrist33 More than 1 year ago
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.
PatrickKanouse More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?
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Personally I think this is the best of the Expanded Universe books, and certainly Zahn's best.
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ColoradoBR More than 1 year ago
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.
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