counter create hit Specter of the Past - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Specter of the Past

Availability: Ready to download

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 des 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.


Compare
Ads Banner

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 des 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.

30 review for Specter of the Past

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Zahn's return to the Star Wars genre was every bit as satisfying as his first foray. On the other hand, Specter is less of a stand alone than his first three novels. This volume serves as a four hundred page introduction to the companion Vision of the Future. Excellent cover art by Drew Struzan. After second reading: Zahn is so much better than the norm for SW writers that he should either train the others or be the only person allowed to publish until the others come up to his level. I've raised Zahn's return to the Star Wars genre was every bit as satisfying as his first foray. On the other hand, Specter is less of a stand alone than his first three novels. This volume serves as a four hundred page introduction to the companion Vision of the Future. Excellent cover art by Drew Struzan. After second reading: Zahn is so much better than the norm for SW writers that he should either train the others or be the only person allowed to publish until the others come up to his level. I've raised my rating a star in comparison to other SW books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Thank God for Timothy Zahn. I don’t say that lightly, either, or ironically, as in “Thank God for burritos” or “Thank God for Internet porn”. It’s not a simple throw-away praise to the heavens. It’s heartfelt. And this from someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in the heavens or God or all that stuff. I really mean it. Thank God for Timothy Zahn. Because I’m not going to lie: when I decided several weeks ago to read all of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels (post-”Return of the Jedi”), I did Thank God for Timothy Zahn. I don’t say that lightly, either, or ironically, as in “Thank God for burritos” or “Thank God for Internet porn”. It’s not a simple throw-away praise to the heavens. It’s heartfelt. And this from someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in the heavens or God or all that stuff. I really mean it. Thank God for Timothy Zahn. Because I’m not going to lie: when I decided several weeks ago to read all of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels (post-”Return of the Jedi”), I did not expect that it would become so, well, tasking. Not that the journey hasn’t been somewhat enjoyable. It’s been fun reading different authors’ interpretations and perspectives of the universe created in 1977 by George Lucas. He invented a vast playing field for some of the best science fiction and fantasy writers to run around in, and the results have been extraordinary. It has also taken an unforeseen toll on my mental state. I have, in some ways, become so immersed in the SWEU that I have begun having SWEU-inspired dreams. I walk around in SWEU-filled daymares, wishing that I could use the Force to make traffic move faster or a Jedi mind trick to convince my boss that I should go home three hours early. When dealing with annoying customers or co-workers, I wish that I could raise my hand and Force-strangle them with a memorable Darth Vader-like statement: “Your lack of faith disturbs me.” I have basically become intoxicated on “Star Wars”, and not in a good way. I also realize, however, that there are millions of fans out there who can relate to this feeling, and many of them, I’m sure, see absolutely nothing wrong with it. I feel like Morgan Spurlock did half-way through his one-month experiment to eat nothing but McDonald’s food in his movie “Supersize Me”. Like him, I am, at this point, fearing for my sanity and well-being, but I will carry on, knowing that there is an eventual light at the end of the tunnel. For me, it is simply 45 more books in the series. (Holy shit, did I read that right?..) Honestly, the last couple books in the series, while entertaining, were a wide range of mediocre to decent. Very few stood out for me as “above average” or even “excellent”. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “The New Rebellion” came damn close, and Roger MacBride Allen’s “Corellian Trilogy” had its moments, but I was beginning to feel the stirrings of something I never thought I’d feel while reading a Star Wars book: boredom. Which brings me to: Thank God for Timothy Zahn. I just finished reading (“devouring” is more appropriate) the first book in his “Hand of Thrawn” duology, “Specter of the Past”. (A duology, in case you didn’t know, is a two-book series, the way a three-book series is a trilogy. I know you probably knew this, smartypants, but I didn’t when I first picked the book up, and I love discovering new words.) This book carries on some of the narrative threads started in Zahn’s legendary “Thrawn” trilogy, published in 1991, an excellent series that had the distinction of jump-starting the entire Expanded Universe series. In this book, the villainous Admiral Thrawn, thought to have died in the third book, “The Last Command”, is rumored to have arisen from the dead and has plans to reunite the Empire, which is a shambles. Thrawn’s original second-in-command, Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, is a grizzled, old Imperial officer who has done his best to hold the remnants of the once-great Empire together. After a lifetime of war, however, Pellaeon has decided that the only solution to keeping the Empire alive in any form is through peace with the New Republic. There is almost unanimous---albeit reluctant---agreement among the other officers in his Imperial Fleet. One voice of dissent, however, comes from Moff Disra, who wants to continue the fighting and destroy the New Republic. Of course, he also has the lofty goal of becoming the new Emperor, eventually. In the meantime, he comes up with a pretty elaborate and clever scheme, along with the help of one of Emperor Palpatine’s elite Royal Guard, Grodin Tierce, and a con man named Flim. The scheme involves a plot to foment unrest and hatred between alien nations within the New Republic. Princess Leia Organa, the President of the NR, is overwhelmed with negotiations and settling disputes between the member nations of the NR. Things are getting worse. Pockets of violence have erupted, and there is the faint rumors of civil war. With the help of smuggler Talon Karrde and former Imperial assassin Mara Jade, the original “Star Wars” crew---Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, Chewie, C3-PO, and R2-D2---set out (in opposite directions, of course) to make things right. Along the way, Zahn introduces many new characters. To say that “Specter of the Past” is deftly-plotted, suspenseful, and fast-paced is, of course, a given with Zahn. It also helps that he writes with a butter-smooth prose style that fits perfectly with the genre and the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Zahn clearly knows “Star Wars”, and he also clearly knows the formulaic conventions of science fiction without his book seeming formulaic. Hands down, “Specter of the Past” is the best SWEU novel I have read thus far. And so far, book two,”Vision of the Future” is equally wonderful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book is still much, much, much better than a lot of the Star Wars novels I've read, but it's not as good as I remember it being. Granted, my standards weren't suuuuuper high in 2004. I was young, and very, very distracted by the whole THING of being a freshman in college. Plus, all I realllllly cared about was Luke/Mara Jade and kissing and such, and that is definitely something that this series is focused on (although most of it occurs in the second book, not this one). This one is all Zah This book is still much, much, much better than a lot of the Star Wars novels I've read, but it's not as good as I remember it being. Granted, my standards weren't suuuuuper high in 2004. I was young, and very, very distracted by the whole THING of being a freshman in college. Plus, all I realllllly cared about was Luke/Mara Jade and kissing and such, and that is definitely something that this series is focused on (although most of it occurs in the second book, not this one). This one is all Zahn fucking shit up in the galaxy, like PEW PEW Empire PEW PEW Rebellion, oh no Bothans genocide Fake Thrawn surrender and such and such CIVIL WARRRRR. I may be drunk. There are so many conflicting motivations going on in this book, and shit is complicated up in there. It's definitely not a satisfying book on its own. It doesn't have an arc, and nothing life-altering happens in the book at all. It's all set up, and it ends on several cliffhangers. You need to read both books of the duology to get a full story arc (and if I'm remembering correctly, which may very well not be the case, it turns out to be a doozy). Anyways, I'm going to go drink more sangria and maybe watch some Star Trek: Voyager. Yup. I was watching Star Trek while writing about Star Wars. OH THE MADNESS. [First read March 2004]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    A Quickie Review Timothy Zahn may have been the one that kicked Star Wars literature into high gear with the original Thrawn trilogy, but his writing style has always left something to be desired, in my opinion. The story itself is as involving as the movies, and has a great cliffhanger ending; still, some folks may not find it worth trudging through Mr. Zahn's awkward prose to do it. Score: 3.75/5

  5. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Zahn was my favorite Star Wars writer, and this was an interesting return to his classic Thrawn run. Han and Leia deserved more of a break. Luke and Mara had it going on. Can we pretend that they're still out there keeping on and keeping on in an alternate dimension or something, and that they didn't just get erased like a Marvel reboot? Wow, it all seems like it was long ago and far away.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    "There are indeed some things that must never be forgotten" Ten years have past since our daring trio has faced the masterful Thrawn. The New Republic is firmly established. Peace abounds...or maybe not? The Empire appears to want to negotiate peace, but a triumvirate within is working hard to continue the hostilities. And the New Republic may just destroy itself with the revelation of the Camaas Document, a document revealing the Bothans were involved in the destruction of Camaas many years befo "There are indeed some things that must never be forgotten" Ten years have past since our daring trio has faced the masterful Thrawn. The New Republic is firmly established. Peace abounds...or maybe not? The Empire appears to want to negotiate peace, but a triumvirate within is working hard to continue the hostilities. And the New Republic may just destroy itself with the revelation of the Camaas Document, a document revealing the Bothans were involved in the destruction of Camaas many years before. Can Luke's new knowledge of the Force help him? Will Han and Leia be able to keep things from getting out of control? And what about this Hand of Thrawn? To spice things up, I want to buck my typical book review format and go for something a little different. In this review, I'd like to give you the Three R's of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Refreshing, Reflective, and Erudite (in true Three R's fashion, one does not actually start with the letter "R"). Timothy Zahn's latest entry into Star Wars is REFRESHING. I've been reading/listening to the copious Bantam novels that come before this one chronologically in Star Wars EU and chronologically in publication date. And I can tell you this one is head and shoulders above its predecessors. Most of the previous Star Wars novels maul the characters, shoehorn non-Star Wars concepts, create cliched, over-the-top characters and events, or reuse the same concepts over and over and over again (Superweapons, anyone?). Zahn captures the essence of Star Wars from the characters (Luke, Han, and Leia finally returning to a semblance of the characters from the movies who have naturally grown over the 15 some odd years) to the galaxy (creating new worlds that feel in place in our Star Wars setting and revisiting old ones) to the plot (imitating the then-unseen prequels in a haunting parallel). And the sexual tension between Mara and Luke is so palpable...man, how did the two keep themselves off each other for so long? Specter of the Past is a REFLECTIVE novel. It looks back on the events of the past, acknowledging other canon in ways that hadn't or couldn't have been done (for example, the Corellian Trilogy didn't acknowledge Callista or Akanah because it was published before Children of the Jedi and the Black Fleet Crisis). Zahn mentions the destruction of Coruscant from Kueller's bombings (The New Rebellion), Lando's stupid search for the Qella artifact (Black Fleet Crisis), and Callista (Children of the Jedi). Furthermore, Zahn also clarifies the inconsistencies of the previous novels. Luke often acted superior, while not really having much to back it up (if he is such a great Jedi, why can Exar Kun knock him on his back so quickly and yet Exar Kun is defeated with a bunch of Jedi circling him and going "Boo"?). He tended to use people and penetrate their minds pell mell, without any regard for their privacy (for instance, in The Crystal Star and the Black Fleet Crisis, he used the Force to penetrate people's minds and change his appearance and no one balked at his flagrant use of the Force). Here, Zahn whips Luke into shape, having Han and Mara (and even Callista, in a way) call Luke out on his decidedly un-Jedi behavior. He uses an Imperial to castigate Daala for acting out of rage with no plan and destroying all her force (Jedi Academy Trilogy). And he has not one but two people call out the stupid mission Lando went on in the Black Fleet Crisis. So Zahn not only gets to slam the books we've all wanted to, but he also gets to clean them up for us fans. Lastly, Zahn's most recent book is ERUDITE. The Thrawn Trilogy really captured the feeling of the Star Wars original trilogy. It was smart, fun, and adventurous. The characters were good, the bad guys somewhat noble, and the action thrilling. Specter is much different. It is a much more mature novel, dealing more with causes, effects, rationality (okay, so I coulda used that "R" word too!), character growth, and the inner workings of a government. In fact, there really aren't that many action scenes in this novel at all, yet it is very interesting, exciting, and intense. This book truly is a political novel, taking time to think about what the New Republic is, how it is run, and how it isn't so clean cut "good" as every other book tended to paint it. My complaints? Well, they are very few and far between. I would have liked Zahn to keep the triumvirate and the impostor Zahn plot secret, and yet, it works so well in the way he presented it. Shada Du'Kal comes perilously close to being yet another Mara (fortunately, there is enough that keeps her well away from that stereotype). Chewie is mostly used as a prop to keep the kids out of affairs. It's kinda sad to see him smashed away in a corner like that. And at one point, Lando disappears from the story for several pages, and I had to search for what had happened to him last time we saw him. But overall, this is an impressive novel, one that more mature Star Wars fans will definitely enjoy. There is intrigue, there is reality (dang, yet another "R" word I could have used!), there is betrayal, there is love, there is thought, there is cohesion, there is just no reason why you shouldn't be reading this book instead of my review!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Specter of the Past doesn't get the extra nostalgia star that the Thrawn trilogy does because I didn't read it until college. It's still good stuff, though - certainly much better than the majority of the Extended Universe work. Timothy Zahn returns to Star Wars with his best (surviving) characters, Karrde, Mara Jade, and Admiral Pellaeon. Grand Admiral Thrawn is, alas, still dead - but a clever Moff and a former Imperial Guardsman have a con man prepared to impersonate him, and this impersonati Specter of the Past doesn't get the extra nostalgia star that the Thrawn trilogy does because I didn't read it until college. It's still good stuff, though - certainly much better than the majority of the Extended Universe work. Timothy Zahn returns to Star Wars with his best (surviving) characters, Karrde, Mara Jade, and Admiral Pellaeon. Grand Admiral Thrawn is, alas, still dead - but a clever Moff and a former Imperial Guardsman have a con man prepared to impersonate him, and this impersonation comes when the New Republic is closer yet to complete dissolution than it's ever been. The real genius of the Hand of Thrawn duology is that Zahn finally forces the EU writers to go in a different direction. Previously, the villain of nearly every EU work had been the Empire, which was still fighting back against the New Republic. But Zahn's Admiral Pellaeon realizes the futility of this exercise, and plans surrender. He's up against quite a bit of opposition within the Empire, though. As with the Thrawn trilogy, characterization and plot are Zahn's strengths. He doesn't have nearly as many repeated verbal tics in this book as he did in the earlier trilogy, but he does overuse quotations from the movies and references to other events in the Extended Universe, which can get a little annoying. I think this book can probably stand on its own, but I really can't see the average person who doesn't know the movies and the EU enjoying the book much.

  8. 5 out of 5

    TheBookHunter

    Since finishing Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, I couldn't wait to track down the follow-up Hand of Thrawn duology. Specter of the Past I believe does a good job serving the sequel role. In this book, a decade has gone by since the defeat of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the New Republic has been recovering since. But there's a new threat of political upheaval when evidence surfaces that entangles the Bothan people who may have been behind the destruction of a planet before the Clone Wars. As outrage Since finishing Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, I couldn't wait to track down the follow-up Hand of Thrawn duology. Specter of the Past I believe does a good job serving the sequel role. In this book, a decade has gone by since the defeat of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the New Republic has been recovering since. But there's a new threat of political upheaval when evidence surfaces that entangles the Bothan people who may have been behind the destruction of a planet before the Clone Wars. As outrage begins to boil up, the Imperial Remnant is planning to take advantage of the tension, putting forth a plot to throw the Republic into complete chaos, and it may involve*gasp* the return of the believed dead Grand Admiral Thrawn. I have to admit, I wasn't as engrossed as I was with the story of the book compared to Heir to the Empire, I suppose I probably should read the second book in the duology before giving it an overview but anyway, the story works fine enough. I definitely recommend it if you want to see where all the characters we love are post-Last Command, such as Luke, Leia, Han, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde and Lando and my personal favorite Imperial Admiral Gilead Pellaeon who's trying to keep the Empire together and out of the hands of the squabbling warlords. Decent story, fun action, great characters, good Star Wars book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Lil' Chip

    The first 3/4 of this book was extremely slow and boring, I'm not a fan of his writing style, but once I got into the last six or so chapters it got way more interesting!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eliza Baum

    I KNEW IT. Freakin' cliffhanger. This is one of those books that's obviously designed to not really be a complete story, and it really leads right into the next book, but for whatever reason the publisher decided it needed to be two books. I suspect, in this case, that it simply would have been too long. Ugh. But I hate cliffhangers. That said, this book was still enjoyable. Not quite to the level of the Thrawn trilogy, but still fun. Marc Thompson is still the best narrator EVER. Probably at lea I KNEW IT. Freakin' cliffhanger. This is one of those books that's obviously designed to not really be a complete story, and it really leads right into the next book, but for whatever reason the publisher decided it needed to be two books. I suspect, in this case, that it simply would have been too long. Ugh. But I hate cliffhangers. That said, this book was still enjoyable. Not quite to the level of the Thrawn trilogy, but still fun. Marc Thompson is still the best narrator EVER. Probably at least one star of my enjoyment of this book came solely from his marvelous presentation. The rest came from two particular storylines. I love all of these characters, obviously, but I found myself getting a little bored with Leia and Hans parts. Probably because theirs are largely political and less adventurous. My favorites this time around are: Talon Karrde and Luke/Mara. This book leaves Mara in the precarious situation, and that's honestly the thing that makes me want to read the next one the most. I'm a little surprised at how much I'm enjoying General Pellaeon, too. He wasn't someone I cared about much before, one way or the other, but he's very interesting here. I'm assuming that this book plays off continuity established by other books in the Star Wars universe in the ten years between the Thrawn Trilogy and this, because there are loads of references to things characters have done. I was able to mostly just ignore them and move on, but it did make me wish I could have read the interim stories. Granted, if I wanted to read all of the Star Wars Expanded Universe ("Legends" - whatever), I would read nothing else for the next five years.... Still. I need to find all the good Luke/Mara books. And is Talon Karrde in other books? Must find out. *mental note* Taking a break before the next one, mostly because I know I won't have a lot of commute time to listen for a bit--and because the next one is 26 hours, compared to 14 for this one. Yikes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Audio book read by Marc Thompson No one does Star Wars quite like Timothy Zahn. He knows how to play the characters just right and make good use of the different factions in the Star Wars universe to make for an interesting story. Zahn has added the most significant and lasting characters to the series after the movies themselves and is the author who really got people excited about Star Wars novels after his trilogy that starts with Heir to the Empire. Specter of the Past is a great book if you Audio book read by Marc Thompson No one does Star Wars quite like Timothy Zahn. He knows how to play the characters just right and make good use of the different factions in the Star Wars universe to make for an interesting story. Zahn has added the most significant and lasting characters to the series after the movies themselves and is the author who really got people excited about Star Wars novels after his trilogy that starts with Heir to the Empire. Specter of the Past is a great book if you like Star Wars or science fiction, although there is some back history from Zahn's previous trilogy that makes me recommend starting there first. If you've already read that trilogy, you will definitely enjoy this. Specter of the Past is part of a two-book series from Timothy Zahn that takes place just before the books from the New Jedi Order series which takes place about 20 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. The Empire has pretty much been all but defeated by The New Republic and is only left with a considerably smaller portion of the galaxy to call home. Some in Imperial command are considering proposing a truce with the New Republic while others still want to find a way to regain the power they lost. Those other factions use a secret document from the Emperor's cache on Wayland to polarize parts of the New Republic while promoting a new rallying point for the Empire. This is back from the more "golden age" of Star Wars before the prequels changed things, so it feels more like it belongs with the original trilogy. Zahn manages to weave an impressive array of factions in this book: The New Republic, The Empire, pirates, smugglers, gamblers, etc. The story keeps up a good pace throughout and keeps things interesting. My only very minor gripe for this book is actually because it comes from the "golden age" of Star Wars books. There was less coordination between books back then so Zahn is clearly writing with reference to his previous trilogy that happened 10 years before. Characters seemed to just randomly make references in their heads to things from that trilogy or think back to events from those books even though there are something like 10+ books that happen between that trilogy and this novel. I wouldn't comment on it except that animals and event from Wayland and things that happened with Grand Admiral Thrawn seem to come up a lot. Audio book: As usual, Marc Thompson did a great job with the impersonations of our favorite characters and kept things lively and energetic throughout the book. He was easy to understand and I look forward to Thompson doing more Star Wars books. The usual music and sound effects commonly found in Star Wars audio books were also in there and were as good as I've heard them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Helix

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3,5 stars. I liked the story, it's beautifully layered and wonderfully complex, and I always dig the politics--I'm always a sucker for fictional political discourses--but at the same time it really doesn't have quite the same kick as the Thrawn trilogy. I think it's because the big reveal--that the Thrawn involved in this story was a fake--was done way too soon for the readers. It's such a major plot point, and while it is fun to watch everyone else pretty much acted like chickens with their head 3,5 stars. I liked the story, it's beautifully layered and wonderfully complex, and I always dig the politics--I'm always a sucker for fictional political discourses--but at the same time it really doesn't have quite the same kick as the Thrawn trilogy. I think it's because the big reveal--that the Thrawn involved in this story was a fake--was done way too soon for the readers. It's such a major plot point, and while it is fun to watch everyone else pretty much acted like chickens with their heads cut off when they discovered that Thrawn is still "alive" (that "they don't know, muahahaha" moment that every reader probably knows so well), I think that it'd be even more fun if we were kept in the dark too. I mean, obviously just my own two cents, but Zahn would absolutely destroy me if he made me believe that Thrawn was still alive, dangle that in front of my face, and while I clawed for it a la Tantalus with food, he then revealed that it had been an imposter all along and that there was a plot behind it. This was a dense story to wade through, too, lots of details and descriptions and too much names and details and alien specieses to remember. To be honest, sometimes I glazed over because I don't remember most of them, either. This is kind of one of the reasons why I procrastinated reading this, even if it started out so well. Concerning the new villains, I definitely loved Tierce, and I dig his rivalry and power struggle with Disra, and I love their exchanges, but I don't know, there's just nobody that can match Thrawn. I wish we'd find out more about Flim in the next book. I do, however, love Pellaeon's character development. There was pretty much nothing to be said for the heroes except that I really love how Zahn writes and handles Luke, and despite all his shortcomings in writing Leia in the Thrawn trilogy, I think he finally got it, too. I love his Leia as well. And I enjoyed Wedge's chapters, surprisingly. Shada is a pretty sympathetic character, but I don't know, I don't really like her. I'm getting to like Mara, though, believe it or not. Overall: too many convoluted complexities even if it lent a certain complexity to the story, and hell, I really, really missed Thrawn. I'd never ever forgive the New Republic for that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie K

    (view spoiler)[Sigh. I vowed I wouldn't read this book because I don't want to accept the fact that Thrawn died at the end of The Last Command. Yes, I know that's technically not canon anymore, but whatever. I was SO mad and disappointed that he died because he's my FAVORITE CHARACTER EVER. But I digress. Anyway, I didn't want to read any books taking place in a post-Thrawn world... but I love Timothy Zahn's writing so much that I ended up reading this one anyway. Don't get me wrong, it's decent. (view spoiler)[Sigh. I vowed I wouldn't read this book because I don't want to accept the fact that Thrawn died at the end of The Last Command. Yes, I know that's technically not canon anymore, but whatever. I was SO mad and disappointed that he died because he's my FAVORITE CHARACTER EVER. But I digress. Anyway, I didn't want to read any books taking place in a post-Thrawn world... but I love Timothy Zahn's writing so much that I ended up reading this one anyway. Don't get me wrong, it's decent. But 1) there's no Thrawn (though Moff Disra's Thrawn impersonator, Flim, is pretty darn convincing) and 2) from what I've heard, this book is kind of a lead-up to set the stage for the really amazing stuff in the sequel, Vision of the Future. So there you have it. It does end on a huge cliffhanger, so I think I'll be reading the next one, despite my aversion to a post-Thrawn world, as I said above. I blame Timothy Zahn, both for killing off an amazing character, and for being such a good writer that I can't not read his books. ;) (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rage

    this was maybe not the best book to start with in terms of being new to reading star wars books. but, Timothy Zahn did a great job of introducing a ton of characters, all doing different things in different places, while explaining clearly who they were and where they were coming from, without the story getting bogged down (although someone who's already familiar with the characters might feel differently). there's political intrigue, action, children carefully shoved off-screen, curiouser and c this was maybe not the best book to start with in terms of being new to reading star wars books. but, Timothy Zahn did a great job of introducing a ton of characters, all doing different things in different places, while explaining clearly who they were and where they were coming from, without the story getting bogged down (although someone who's already familiar with the characters might feel differently). there's political intrigue, action, children carefully shoved off-screen, curiouser and curiouser alien species, etc. a lot of ideas are repeated, because we are given sooo many different perspectives, and everyone has to comment on how divided the New Republic is, that the senate can't satisfy everyone, that the Empire is broke and defeated boo hoo, unless... THRAWN, etc. again, I think Zahn balances all of these different characters well. frankly, sometimes I can get all the way to the end of a book and be like, were the bad guys having that conversation? who are you? but I didn't feel that way about this at all, so I think the characters are fairly well drawn and defined. I want to read the three books that came before this and of course the conclusion to this story! (one of my favorite things on the internet.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    A compelling and well-written story. The story is more toned-down and low-key than the Thrawn trilogy, and most of the plotlines deal with political intrigue and espionage. The characters are believable, and the action is good. Zahn succeeds at giving depth to all sides. Mara, Karrde, and Pellaeon also show up, and he has a good grasp of these characters. There’s a lot of different plotlines, few of which get resolved in this volume.. There’s also references to other EU material. There’s not much A compelling and well-written story. The story is more toned-down and low-key than the Thrawn trilogy, and most of the plotlines deal with political intrigue and espionage. The characters are believable, and the action is good. Zahn succeeds at giving depth to all sides. Mara, Karrde, and Pellaeon also show up, and he has a good grasp of these characters. There’s a lot of different plotlines, few of which get resolved in this volume.. There’s also references to other EU material. There’s not much action, but the book is still interesting and intense. A lot of EU writers use the Force as a mere plot device, often for the sake of convenience, but Zahn does a good job making it a key element to the plot. There are a couple dull, slow, or tedious moments, and you often wonder why you should care about this or that development. There’s parts of the book where nothing seems to be happening. Other moments felt forced or predictable. Luke’s mission to rescue Mara has very little to do with the galactic crisis at hand (even other characters remark on this), and Luke then disappears midway through the book. The characters could also have been handled better. Chewbacca is mostly a prop. Han and Leia don’t seem to do much but recap the plot over and over again. Leia often comes off as whiny, indecisive and in over her head, never knowing what to do and always being caught by surprise. Also, the book begins with Pellaeon sending a message of surrender to the New Republic, but a cabal of officers prevent it from reaching them. For some reason or other, Pellaeon never checks up on it. At one point he notes that the Republic is taking forever to respond, but he basically just shrugs and goes “Weird, why is this taking so long? Oh, well.” I thought Pellaeon was supposed to be cunning? A fast-paced tale, readable and interesting enough, but it doesn’t always grab you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    A decade after the death of the brilliant Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Concluding that defeat by the New Republic is inevitable, Thrawn's protégé and successor as the Empire's supreme military commander, deicides that the best option remaining is to seek peace with the New Republic. Yet a corrupt Grand Moff has other plans. Allying with a con man and a former royal guardsman, the trio foster the belief that Thrawn has returned and is fomenting civil war wi A decade after the death of the brilliant Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Concluding that defeat by the New Republic is inevitable, Thrawn's protégé and successor as the Empire's supreme military commander, deicides that the best option remaining is to seek peace with the New Republic. Yet a corrupt Grand Moff has other plans. Allying with a con man and a former royal guardsman, the trio foster the belief that Thrawn has returned and is fomenting civil war within the fragile New Republic by reopening old wounds that had been long neglected in the face of the Imperial threat. With politics riven by tensions and riots breaking out on dozens of worlds, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, and Han Solo work desperately to discover the perpetrators behind a decades-old crime. Soon a race is underway, one that will end in the truth — or the collapse of everything that they have worked for. In this book, the first of Timothy Zahn's "Hand of Thrawn" duology, the author makes a welcome return to the Star Wars franchise. His book displays all of the strengths of his original Thrawn trilogy, with intricate plotting, exciting action, and memorable characters. The story zips along nicely, though it suffers somewhat from Zahn's decision to focus on setting up events for their resolution in the second book. Though it makes for a less satisfying reading experience than his previous series, it is nonetheless an entertaining work that will leave readers eager to pick up the concluding volume the moment they get to the last page.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Donovan

    The Hand of Thrawn Duology is set about 16 years after Return of the jedi. It consists of: Spectre of the Past Vision of the future This series is everything you expect from Timothy Zahn and is a great 'filler' that provides an important step from the outcast Empire becoming a viable political party within the new Republic. This short duology also further enhances the characters and defines the relationships of the main characters within the Star Wars universe - most notable is the blooming love be The Hand of Thrawn Duology is set about 16 years after Return of the jedi. It consists of: Spectre of the Past Vision of the future This series is everything you expect from Timothy Zahn and is a great 'filler' that provides an important step from the outcast Empire becoming a viable political party within the new Republic. This short duology also further enhances the characters and defines the relationships of the main characters within the Star Wars universe - most notable is the blooming love between Luke and Mara. The pace and intrigue will keep most of the Star Wars fans hooked and provides certain plot epochs that are developed further in future time-line novels. I certainly found it to be an easy read and flew through both novels it within a couple of weeks in my spare time. They can easily be read together as a stand-alone series and a must for the serious Star Wars fan. Plot ***Spoilers*** Spectre of the Past The Galactic Empire is continuing its slow but steady crawl towards non-existence. Ten years have passed since Grand Admiral Thrawn was killed, and Admiral Pellaeon is ready to admit defeat. He convenes a meeting with the Moffs to present his plan, but is met for the most part with unenthusiasm. Pellaeon then visits various Imperial outposts in order to gain support, and attempts to arrange a meeting with General Bel Iblis to discuss surrender. One of the opposers to Pellaeon's proposals, Moff Disra, formulates a plan to use an actor, Flim, to impersonate the Grand Admiral Thrawn, in the hopes that Thrawn's "return" will cause uncertainty and disunity within the New Republic. With the aid of Major Grodin Tierce, Disra manages to convince several Imperial officers that his imposter "Thrawn" is genuine. The New Republic, in the meantime, is seeing its share of internal dissension and bad blood. Disputes have erupted between various factions within the Republic. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker travel to the Core Worlds to settle a contention between Diamal and the Ishori. While there, Luke witnesses an attack upon New Republic ships by a pirate band, and sets out on the pirates' trail. He follows them to their base, and after he manages to escape a cleverly-laid trap, the pirates sabotage the base and flee. Mara Jade comes to Luke's rescue; Luke then goes to a medical center to recuperate. While there, he has a vision of Mara Jade in which he sees her dead. On Bothawui, Leia and Han attempt to deal with a controversy that has arisen over the Caamas Document, which implicates the Bothans in the genocide of the Caamasi people. Imperial agents incite mob activity, and the blame is mistakenly laid on Han. The peoples of the New Republic begin to take sides over the altercation. Mara, meanwhile, meets up with Karrde, Corran Horn, and Booster Terrik aboard the Errant Venture. Shortly afterward, they are surprised by the appearance of a ship, similar in appearance to a TIE fighter, but of a severely modified design. The ship vanishes almost as soon as it arrives; Mara decides to follow it using the vector from its hyperspace jump. She tracks it to an alien planet, where all communication with her is suddenly lost. Luke learns of this from Karrde, and, worried by his vision, follows after her. Pellaeon, at the rendezvous point for meeting with Bel Iblis, comes under attack by ships bearing the insignia of the Corellian Defense Fleet. His officers believe that Bel Iblis is behind the attack, but Pellaeon proves this wrong by pulling one of Bel Iblis' own stunts against the attackers, surprising and destroying them. Pellaeon then settles down to wait until Bel Iblis arrives. Visions of the Future Admiral Gilad Pellaeon admits that the Empire, down to only a few sectors, is now fighting a losing battle. He initiates preliminary peace talks with Princess Leia, who acts as the New Republic representative. However, several Imperial officials are vehemently anti-surrender, the most notable being Moff Disra. He hires a con artist, Flim, to impersonate Grand Admiral Thrawn, the idea being that Imperial Forces would rally, and many systems would rejoin the Empire, due to Thrawn's "returning from the dead." Another Imperial plot is underfoot, to provoke civil war in the New Republic, involving the Caamas Document. Caamas was a world destroyed by the Empire shortly after the Clone Wars, and it is revealed in the book that this was made possible by Bothan sabotage of that planet's planetary shield. Various alien races take sides over treatment of the Bothans and what would be justice for Caamas; more than a hundred alien warships gather in orbit over the Bothans' homeworld of Bothawui. Several of this book's plotlines revolve around major characters seeking an unaltered copy of the Camaas Document, in an attempt to settle the issue. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian travel to an Imperial base at Bastion in an attempt to find it. Meanwhile, Garm Bel Iblis attempts a raid on an Imperial Ubiqtorate base at Yaga Minor. The Empire hopes that the confrontation over Bothawui will reach a flash point, and three Imperial Star Destroyers lie in wait to 'finish off' the survivors. Furthermore, an Imperial sabotage team successfully knocks out a major section of the Bothawui planetary shield. Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade successfully sneak into a fortress called the Hand of Thrawn (so called because of its 'four fingers and a thumb' shape). Many secrets are revealed there, including mention of an expedition by Thrawn to the galaxy's Unknown Regions. Luke and Mara are about to die, when Luke proposes to Mara, she accepts. They escape and at the end of the novel, a peace treaty is signed by Admiral Pellaeon and New Republic president Ponc Gavrisom.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    While it's not quite as fresh or epic in scope as the trilogy the preceded it, Zahn's 'The Hand of Thrawn' duology is still a favourite of mine for its further mediations on the consequences, political and otherwise, of a galaxy in turmoil. The major highlight of 'Specter of the Past' for me is the Imperial plot to shatter the New Republic with neither the Dark Side nor military force this time, but with the clever maneouvering of political secrets and public opinion - the weak spot of a fledglin While it's not quite as fresh or epic in scope as the trilogy the preceded it, Zahn's 'The Hand of Thrawn' duology is still a favourite of mine for its further mediations on the consequences, political and otherwise, of a galaxy in turmoil. The major highlight of 'Specter of the Past' for me is the Imperial plot to shatter the New Republic with neither the Dark Side nor military force this time, but with the clever maneouvering of political secrets and public opinion - the weak spot of a fledgling democracy in turmoil. Well, that, and the high ratio of scoundrels in the cast with Han, Lando and Talon Karrde all being back at it again.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike Kazmierczak

    Of all the Star Wars authors, Timothy Zahn has given us the best stories and the most interesting plot lines. He also develops the characters and each acts as what you would expect them to do. And this is another example where he does all the right things. And to top it off, he brings back the best character / villain in a way that will make you wonder why no one else has done something similar. I only have one regret: that I finished it too fast and there's not more too read. Well, there is the Of all the Star Wars authors, Timothy Zahn has given us the best stories and the most interesting plot lines. He also develops the characters and each acts as what you would expect them to do. And this is another example where he does all the right things. And to top it off, he brings back the best character / villain in a way that will make you wonder why no one else has done something similar. I only have one regret: that I finished it too fast and there's not more too read. Well, there is the second book which concludes the story so I guess I can also regret that there won't be a third.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brayden

    Believe it or not this was my first dive back into the Legends realm since the Canon changed. At least I am pretty sure it is. Anyways this novel is great. It reminded me of the many characters we have lost in the new continuity but at the same time some of the references to events reminded me of all the garbage that is now gone. Of course Zahn crafted a spectacular story and for what its worth parts of me wish this was still the true story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Not very much of Luke and Mara, but it was still good. Han and Leia are never going to get a real vacation.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Allen

    Loved it. Timothy Zahn is a master at the feel of the Star Wars galaxy. Top tier of Star Wars authors.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian Carr

    Took me a really long time to read this one. It just doesn't grip me the same way Zahn's original Thrawn series did.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meggie

    For 2020, I decided to reread (in publication order) all the Bantam-era Star Wars books that were released between 1991 and 1999; that shakes out to 38 adult novels and 5 anthologies of short stories & novellas. This week’s focus: the first book in the Hand of Thrawn duology, Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn. SOME HISTORY: After Timothy Zahn finished The Last Command, he was insistent that Luke and Mara were merely friends. Fans thought otherwise, though, so Lucasfilm chose to nix any of Luke’s For 2020, I decided to reread (in publication order) all the Bantam-era Star Wars books that were released between 1991 and 1999; that shakes out to 38 adult novels and 5 anthologies of short stories & novellas. This week’s focus: the first book in the Hand of Thrawn duology, Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn. SOME HISTORY: After Timothy Zahn finished The Last Command, he was insistent that Luke and Mara were merely friends. Fans thought otherwise, though, so Lucasfilm chose to nix any of Luke’s potential romances and bring Zahn back on board to ensure that Luke Skywalker would become engaged to Mara Jade at the conclusion of the Hand of Thrawn duology. Specter of the Past presumably did well sales-wise, but as with other Bantam releases, I couldn’t find any data that it made the top fifteen of the New York Times bestseller list for any week after its release. MY RECOLLECTION OF THE BOOK: Some aspects of this book--Luke’s pirate hunt and the Imperial triumvirate’s scheming--were familiar to me. I was surprised, though, by how little of Leia and Han’s plotline I had remembered. The big bullet points were there, but the details were a surprise to me. A BRIEF SUMMARY: The Empire stands at the brink of total collapse, until shocking news leaks out that Grand Admiral Thrawn has returned from the dead. Admiral Pellaeon takes the first steps towards a peace treaty between the New Republic and the Empire. Han and Leia begin a desperate race against time to prevent the New Republic from unraveling in the face of the Caamas Document Crisis. Meanwhile, Luke aims to track down a mysterious pirate ship with a crew of clones. THE CHARACTERS: My main problem with how Zahn approaches the main trio is that they spend the whole book reacting to events outside of their control. Leia and Han are dispatched to various conflicts, and while that feels realistic because of their roles--High Counselor and shipping liaison--it also leads to them feeling a bit less dynamic than usual. Leia happens to be in the right place at the right time when the corrupted Caamas Document is revealed, and seems to be forever chasing its aftereffects. Zahn also dispatches the Solo children and Chewbacca out of the story fairly early on (they go to Kashyyyk for safety reasons), but it feels like a cheap trick. Luke is once again trying to figure out his role in the Force, so Zahn takes the opportunity to start retconning like mad. I don’t like Luke as a Superman figure, but I’m not sure that all his changes mesh with me. Luke seems to veer towards the opposite extreme here, declining to use the Force even in situations where I think it would be helpful. We also have a reinterpretation of the failure of his relationship with Callista; Anderson implied it was because Callista couldn’t feel like his equal without the Force, and then Hambly retconned that into Callista being too vulnerable to the Dark Side and not wanting to drag Luke down with her. Zahn swoops in with another retcon: “And then there was Callista. A woman he’d loved...who had run away from him because his power had somehow intimidated and frightened her.” I never got the sense that Callista was scared of his power, but whatever. And while I thought that The Last Command made it clear that Luke and Mara were now friends, subsequent books didn’t really follow up on this. So we now have Luke and Mara interacting in a very awkward manner. They’re in their mid-to-late thirties, you’d think that they’d be able to get along in an adult manner. Lando has another business venture under way, and gets drawn reluctantly into the Caamas Document Crisis. Karrde is still trying to remain neutral, but once again finds himself drawn to the side of the New Republic. And Shada the former Mistryl guard is trying to determine where her loyalties now lie. Fortunately, the Imperial characters in this book are far more intriguing than the main cast. Admiral Pellaeon is a noble character (like his namesake, Pelleas the Arthurian knight), and as Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet, he realizes that there’s no way for the Empire to win. They keep losing territory and ships, and a peace treaty with the New Republic is their best option of retaining what they still have. He faces considerable opposition (particularly/subtly from Disra), but his course is one that you can root for. I’m not keen on this complete rehabilitation of the Imperials--they’re space fascists!--yet I still like Pellaeon a lot. And then we have our true bad guys, with the triumvirate of Moff Disra, Major Tierce, and Flim the con man. We know right off the bat that the reemergence of Thrawn is a con, and the triumvirate are our key players. Disra is the money man, Tierce is the strategic mind, and Flim is the face of their fraud. I love the power play between the trio here, with Disra initially in charge but Tierce increasingly taking over and expanding the scope of their deception. ISSUES: Here we have yet another victim of first book syndrome. Specter of the Past is mostly set up, which makes sense. However, the end especially falls prey to a lot of blatant manoeuvring as Zahn tries to move his characters into the proper places. Luke is off to rescue Mara, since Karrde asks him and he had an ominous vision about her. (Han and Leia are understandably upset, since this takes him out of commission during a very fraught time.) Han and Leia are off to Pakrik Major for a conference, which places them near one of Thrawn’s sleeper cells on Pakrik Minor. Karrde and Shada take off in search of Jorj Car’das, Karrde’s former boss, who miiiight have an intact copy of the Caamas Document. It’s needed development, but it’s just so clunky and obvious. Then I started to question the basic premise of the book. Would the New Republic really fall apart over something like the Caamas Document Crisis? Zahn talks about how the NR has gotten too big and they’re trying to delegate more authority to the sector and system and local level, but it feels like everyone uses the Document Crisis as an excuse to immediately resume old conflicts, and I’m not sure that I believe that the NR government could be so completely flabbergasted by that. It seemed like Zahn wanted to save a lot of the major battles for book 2, so we ended up with some needless action scenes. For example, what was the goal of Luke’s failed undercover surveillance of the Cavrilhu Pirates base? Surely he could have guessed that they have scanning equipment? And with their base exploded and the pirates fled, he’s essentially back to stage one on his investigation. I was also surprised that with Luke investigating clones, no one seriously considered whether returned Thrawn was actually a clone. They talk about it briefly, then rule it out, saying “he must have recovered off somewhere.” Seriously?? A clone feels more logical than “it was only a flesh wound that took him 10 years to get over.” On the whole, though, the Hand of Thrawn duology feels like a swan song to the Bantam era. The license would revert from Bantam back to Del Rey in 1999, so this duology both wraps up some loose ends--the war between the Empire and the Rebellion--as well as foreshadowing the developments to come. IN CONCLUSION: Specter of the Past features some great Imperials: both good guys (Admiral Pellaeon) and bad (the triumvirate of Disra, Tierce, and Flim). Unfortunately our main trio spend the whole book just reacting to things around them, and there is some blatantly clunky setup and maneuvering of characters. Next up: the fourth Tales collection, Tales from the Empire edited by Peter Schweighofer. My YouTube review: https://youtu.be/Ss3WiaPNESM KJA interview from 2008 (see questions 17-20 for the progression of Luke’s love life): https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Wook...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ian Reay

    After reading Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars trilogy, and finding that it was good, I, being an avid SW fan, set my sights on the dozens of other books written afterward. They. . . weren't so good. In fact, some of them were downright bad, either using a tired device over and over again (superweapon anyone?) or destroying the characters. I began to lose faith in the franchise as literature-worthy. Then Zahn wrote Specter of the Past, the first of The Hand of Thrawn Duology, and I believed again. W After reading Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars trilogy, and finding that it was good, I, being an avid SW fan, set my sights on the dozens of other books written afterward. They. . . weren't so good. In fact, some of them were downright bad, either using a tired device over and over again (superweapon anyone?) or destroying the characters. I began to lose faith in the franchise as literature-worthy. Then Zahn wrote Specter of the Past, the first of The Hand of Thrawn Duology, and I believed again. While his Thrawn Trilogy is usually considered best, this is perhaps his most daring work. With his first trilogy, he had no canon material he had to follow, allowing him an essentially clean slate with which to work. However, after five years and over a dozen novels, there was a lot of histroy that he just couldn't ignore. However, once again, Zahn proved to be more than equal to the task, using characters and events from the earlier and inferior novels to further his story or expand his characters. And, being Zahn, it worked. The story of Specter of the Past is one of galactic conflict on a familiar Star Wars scale, but it also weaves threads intrigue and shadow plots into the play, giving the novel a fresh feel from the usual "The Imperials have a new superweapon!" arc, and it works well. One of the two main threads focuses on the supposed return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who we saw die in The Last Command, in all his strategic genius and glory. The second thread involves the framing of the Bothans for the destruction of a pacifist planet. While Leia tries desperately to hold the New Rupiblic together in the face of a catastrophic backlash, Han and Lando struggle to acertain if Thrawn really has returned. Meanwhile, on a covert mission, Luke and Mara run into an Imperial style ship manned by clones, which vanishes into deep space. As Mara gives chase, she discovers a strange planet with a mysterious link to Grand Admiral Thrawn. Luke, recieving a disturbing premonition of her possible death, races to join her. Behind it all is a brilliant mind and a daring con, backed by a ruthless and greedy warlord bent on galactic domination. However, where others have failed, they may very well succeed. All the characters that Zahn introduced us to are back, and better than ever. Captain Pelleon holds a nominal authoritative position in the Imperial Remnant, struggling to find a way to end the decades-long conflict that has toppled an empire, while also wondering at the possible return of his mentor. Talon Kardde, smuggler and business man, journeys to the edge of the galaxy to meet a man he betrayed to uncover the truth about the Bothans. And Mara Jade is, of course, just as we remember her; smart, sassy, strong, and a perfect foil for Luke. Damn, but they make a great team. While there's plenty of swashbuckling and space battling in Specter of the Past, the stage is only being set for something much MUCH bigger. Zahn is creating something grand in this volume, something which has ties not only with the SW books by other authors, but also brings back seemingly unimportant details from the Thrawn Trilogy as all too important. It really makes you admire his genius in storytelling and planning, and wonder whether he had planned follow-ups to the Thrawn Trilogy from the very beginning. Any way you slice it, The Hand of Thrawn Duology is a wonderful addition to the Star Wars franchise, and is a wonderful set-up for a grand finale.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Dobbs

    So Thrawn is back, but not really. But thankfully the SWEU didn't dip into the 'clone' well again. That trick was growing tiresome. No, this novel was wonderfully written - riveting at times, with each branch of the storyline as interesting at the others. It had all the great characters from Luke, Han, Leia and Lando (Chewie was absent, but you likely wouldn't notice), as well as the classics who were introduced in the expanded universe such as Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, Admiral Pellaeon and even So Thrawn is back, but not really. But thankfully the SWEU didn't dip into the 'clone' well again. That trick was growing tiresome. No, this novel was wonderfully written - riveting at times, with each branch of the storyline as interesting at the others. It had all the great characters from Luke, Han, Leia and Lando (Chewie was absent, but you likely wouldn't notice), as well as the classics who were introduced in the expanded universe such as Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, Admiral Pellaeon and even Corran Horn. Pellaeon has convinced the Moffs to agree to peace with the New Republic. But while he tries to make contact, an old disciple of Palpatines (a member of his Royal Guard) named Major Tearce has teamed up with Moff Disra to trot out a new Thrawn - a con man who they had dye his skin blue and change his hair and eye color. While they tried to cause disruption throughout the Republic with staged violent demonstrations, Thrawn made appearances at key times and places which drummed up support for the Empire. Meanwhile, Leia was trying to hold the New Republic together. And that was difficult because information was discovered that fingered a handful of Bothans as responsible for turning over information to the Empire years earlier that had led to the wiping out of a planet and most of a race. This is the only area where things were really absurd - we, the reader, had to be convinced that there were hundreds of planets/races out there who demanded retribution on the entire race of Bothans. All of them had to pay for the acts of 10 or 20. All 500 million, or whatever their numbers are, they all had to pay for the acts of about 15. Or else there would be war and millions would die. Anyway, as long as you didn't focus too much on such a stupid plot point - and it was a key plot point because everything revolved around stopping that war - then you'll enjoy the story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Writing the same review for both installments of this. I’m reading this Duology for the second time and I will say that I definitely got more out of it and understood more of the references having had read more of the Legends universe than I had before my first read. On the down side, the story is a bit dense at times and earlier on I had a harder time staying engaged with everything. In the midsection of the story there’s just a little too much going on in my opinion. There’s also a lot of poli Writing the same review for both installments of this. I’m reading this Duology for the second time and I will say that I definitely got more out of it and understood more of the references having had read more of the Legends universe than I had before my first read. On the down side, the story is a bit dense at times and earlier on I had a harder time staying engaged with everything. In the midsection of the story there’s just a little too much going on in my opinion. There’s also a lot of political intrigue that kind of falls flat. For me, where these books really shine is in how the relationship between Luke and Mara Jade grows and Mars really forces him to confront his failures over the years precious to this. She’s the one character that seems to challenge him and I have always liked how they play off each other. Speaking specifically to the audio edition, Marc Thompson is clearly a talented performer, having done the original Thrawn trilogy as well. And the production quality of these books is great - with good use of sound effects as well as refrains from the classic Star Wars score. I had some minor issues at times when he goes a little overboard with some of the alien voices. Hearing it spoken so many times also highlights some of the cheesier aspects of Zahn’s prose, how often characters growl or “bite off” lines of dialogue. Not critical but it’s there. The end is fantastic on pretty much all fronts. Zahn writes Star Wars well and this is no exception.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ilona

    Karrde: Mara is in danger and i need you to go save her. Luke: I can't leave i'm busy doing Jedi stuff Karrde: But- Luke: Ok you have persuaded me i will go and save her Karrde: *Ships it* Ok best be on your way then Luke: *Heroicly sets off to save Mara*

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    I picked this up immediately after reading the Thrawn trilogy hoping for more cheesy Star Wars action. However, this second series just isn't as good as Thrawn. The bad guys aren't anywhere close to as interesting or satisfying. The struggles the New Republic are going through are pretty boring. And Zahn's reliance on coincidence to put the same characters miraculously into the thick of things over and over again is so heavy-handed that it makes it actually strains credibility even for a hard-co I picked this up immediately after reading the Thrawn trilogy hoping for more cheesy Star Wars action. However, this second series just isn't as good as Thrawn. The bad guys aren't anywhere close to as interesting or satisfying. The struggles the New Republic are going through are pretty boring. And Zahn's reliance on coincidence to put the same characters miraculously into the thick of things over and over again is so heavy-handed that it makes it actually strains credibility even for a hard-core Star Wars fan willing to give lots of license to do such things. And, worst of all, the audiobook production starts to fall flat with the introduction of a few new alien species voices that are, frankly, annoying to listen to. Despite all this, overall it was an OK read, with a few action highlights worthy of Star Wars (Luke's capture by pirates and his escape basically makes this a 3-star vs. 2-star book; it almost single-handedly made the book worth reading).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Maddaford

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was not the last Star Wars book I ever read, but it was almost the last. I read this and the sequel, but they just didn't hook me as well as some of the earlier ones had. For one, I had a big crush on Luke Skywalker back then and seeing him get together with Mara Jade was a big deterrent. It had good pacing and all the other elements to make a good Star Wars story, but it just didn't appeal back then the way some of the other books did. I think I'll read it again just to see if my opinion h This was not the last Star Wars book I ever read, but it was almost the last. I read this and the sequel, but they just didn't hook me as well as some of the earlier ones had. For one, I had a big crush on Luke Skywalker back then and seeing him get together with Mara Jade was a big deterrent. It had good pacing and all the other elements to make a good Star Wars story, but it just didn't appeal back then the way some of the other books did. I think I'll read it again just to see if my opinion has changed.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.