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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  11,590 ratings  ·  168 reviews
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
ebook, 420 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by LucasBooks (first published January 1st 1997)
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Jul 06, 2010 Ron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: Wendell Andrea
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
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
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
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
Sarah Maddaford
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maico Morellini
Nel 1991 Timothy Zahn creò uno dei più carismatici e riusciti personaggi dell’Expanded Universe di Guerre Stellari: il Grand’Ammiraglio Thrawn. Lo fece confezionando una trilogia ambientata cinque anni dopo ‘Il Ritorno dello Jedi’ che rispettava, per tematiche e sviluppo narrativo, l’impianto del Guerre Stellari cinematografico. Nel 1991 la Nuova Trilogia era un sogno (o incubo) di cui ancora nessuno sospettava e la sete di Guerre Stellari era placata solo dai videogiochi della Lucasarts, dai fu ...more
This was a solid 3.5 stars for me. I am no longer a Star Wars book virgin. I have read Zahn's cobra series, so familiar with the author, but I had never tried any Star Wars stories until I started the Hand of Thrawn.

At first I found it very weird, I have the audiobook and whilst the narration was excellent, it just seemed strange having the characters I have known from the movies in different stories. At first I didn't much care for it as it seemed a bit contrived. But as I got further and furth
Steven Shinder
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Timothy Stone
There are many, many, MANY entries in the so-called “Star Wars Expanded Universe”. This term encapsulates any books, comics, or games outside of the six films. After the “Expanded Universe” pretty much ended with the completion of Marvel's Star Wars run in the mid-1980's, there was a desire to see more adventures from the galaxy far, far away. This desire was fulfilled with the publication of the first new Star Wars novels in 1991.

Timothy Zahn, who wrote those novels, later called The Thrawn Tr
Star Wars specter of the past by Timothy Zahn is a great book about the empire is almost defeated and barely surviving and the republic is in control of most solar systems. But the republic is facing the problem of these systems hostility with one another. Princess Leia and Han are trying to keep the new republic in order but Moff Disra is trying to blame the brothans for a terrible crime that could lead to a civil war, while Luke handles mysterious pirates with clone crews but the surprise to e ...more
Spectre Of The Past is the first of a two-book series and is the continuation of Timothy Zahn's Grand Admiral Thrawn Trilogy.

When I was in Junior High I was given a copy of Heir To The Empire, the first of the Thrawn Trilogy and the launching of the Star Wars alternate literary universe. I was blown away. Remember that at this point there was no such thing as episodes one through three. If you wanted to see the Star Wars films you had to be lucky enough to catch them on cable or you had to get
I found it a struggle to get through. Despite having seen the films and knowing how characters like Luke, Leia and Han Solo look and what they sound like I couldn't really conjure them up in my mind while reading this book. I didn't really care about the characters in this book or care about what was happening to them. I persevered to the end but it was with a sense of relief that I read the last page. This book felt like a chore to be got over with as quickly as possible.

There wasn't much wron
The Empire have finally realised that the only path to survival is to lay aside their differences and pull a truce, ending the long war between Imperials and the New Republic. The only obstacle that remains though is will the New Republic truly accept their offer? The New Republic already has a bigger problem, a struggle with an uprising Caamas issue urging on a civil war and possibly leading to the downfall of the New Republic. Bantam Spectra’s Spectre of the past is book one of the Hand of Thr ...more
Mary Fan
Loved the Thrawn Trilogy, and this book, the first in the Hand of Thrawn duology, is a fun continuation. The New Republic, as well as our favorite characters, have all matured by several years, which brings about new kinds of problems. The republic is threatening to fall apart as member worlds squabble over old grudges, and Luke experiences strangeness with the Force. The interstellar politics are all very intelligently written, and of course, there's a healthy dose of Star Wars-y action. I only ...more
I bought the Thrawn trilogy for a friend's son for Christmas. It sat on my desk as the holidays approached. I picked it up. I read the first bits. And even though I had marked it as "read" on goodreads, I could not, for the life of me, remember having read them.

So, I did. My friend's son's copy. Carefully, so as not to bend the spine because I didn't want to ruin the gift.

If I had read it before, I certainly didn't remember it.

So, I gobbled up the entire Thrawn trilogy and then turned my attent
Mark Oppenlander
Timothy Zahn returns to the Star Wars expanded universe with this novel and reminds everyone else just how it should be done.

The Empire has been reduced to a small shell of its former glory, and the remaining military apparatus, under the leadership of General Pellaeon, are actually contemplating surrender. But then an opportunity arises to foment trouble for the New Republic through the release of information implicating the Bothan race in a genocide many decades old. As riots break out and as
While this book is basically the set-up to Vision of the Future (and in fact I read Vision first, and didn't suffer much from doing so,) Specter is great because it's just packed with Zahn's dense plotting and awesome characters, especially Pelleaon.

Also a fantastic fix-fic, as Zahn course-corrects the ridiculousness of several years' worth (both in RL and in the EU chronology) of Luke Skywalker Abuse -- via preposterous inflation of powers, via bizarre behavior, via serially-weird speed-dating
Eirik Hafskjold
This started out bad for me. I loved the conclusions in the last book, but I didnt like how this one started out and how it evolved to begin with. Too much New Republic politics and plotting. (this takes place 10 years after 'The Last Command'). Did not like the new bad-guys that much either. But that was the first half of the book, it picked up some speed towards the end and ended in a pretty good cliffhanger. Im guessing I just wasnt prepared for the change of pace from the trilogy. But there ...more
"Point," Insert-Character-Name conceded.
Eric Farr
With Specter of the Past, Timothy Zahn took everything great about The Thrawn Trilogy and improved upon it. There is epic plot, tight pacing, heroic adventure on the part of the Star Wars protagonists, and gripping political intrigue. In fact, the political intrigue was my favorite part of the novel. Old documents are recovered which show the involvement of the Bothans, significant figures in the Republic Senate, in the decades-old bombardment of the pacifist Caamas. This leads for calls of repa ...more
Just another fairly average star wars book. Nothing much to comment really other than I think that maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I read it rather than listened to the audio book. As good as the star wars audio productions are, they begin to sound a little generic and detract from the story. I have only enjoyed the very first book of Timothy Zahn's foray into Star Wars books and have been underwhelmed by the rest.

I still maintain that my favorite book from Timothy Zahn is Icarus Hunt. Pl
Sixteen years after the battle of Yavin, and eleven years after Thrawn’s final defeat, Admiral Pellaeon looks out over the dwindling Empire and draws the only conclusion left to draw: it is time to surrender to the New Republic and seek compromise that will end the continual bloodshed but also preserve the Empire’s thousand remaining systems. There is no other way for the Empire to survive, and he knows it. He sets in motion his plan to surrender, but he is not the only one setting plans in moti ...more
Jonathan Harbour
This book was pretty dull, sad to say. Take out every character, scene, behavior from past Star War novels--even from the Thrawn trilogy--and there's just nothing left here that's original in any way. The Star Wars stuff is okay, I mean, you know what you're getting into when reading one of these books. But, it's almost becoming a cliché, which is lazy writing.

We know all about these characters, you don't have to drum their behaviors into us poor readers in every other paragraph. Han the rogue
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.
Luigi Del Gesso
Il ritorno di Timothy Zahn dopo la "Trilogia di Thrawn". Non appassionante come la trilogia.. Ma un buon lavoro. Potrebbe anche non esserlo.. Ma quando si parla di Jedi o di guerre nella galassia, la mia mente parte per un bellissimo viaggio. Questo tema mi affascinerà sempre e la storia ha la giusta suspense per tenerti incollato al libro fino all'ultima pagina. Ora non so se leggere direttamente il secondo capitolo di questa mini saga oppure leggere qualcos'altro e prolungare l'attesa di saper ...more
Timothy Zahn is easily one of the best writers in the Star Wars expanded universe, but I couldn't get behind this one. It meandered around too long, spent too long setting things up, and didn't have a clear direction (other than the Caamas Documents, which wasn't very exciting anyway).

There were some good, interesting ideas--the mysterious ships, for example--but these were ultimately left for the second book in the duology.

There was no real climax, no real conclusion, which made me wonder if th
Specter of the Past delivers on the expectations Zahn set up with his original Thrawn Trilogy. The work is somewhat different in character from those books: it is, as many other reviewers have pointed out, dedicated to setting up action that I'll presumably get to in the sequel, and it's a lot more focused on politics and intrigue than on military strategy and character struggles. I expected myself to hate this, since I generally dislike Star Wars novels that try to 'replicate real politics' - t ...more
A lamentable lack of Threepio/Artoo interaction as well as Chewbacca/Falcon scenes.

I didn't enjoy this book nearly as well as Zahn's original Thrawn trilogy. I felt the character interactions were forced and repetitive of what he had already accomplished. For example, the relationship between Ardiff/Pelleaon was practically identical to Pelleaon/Thrawn. Tierce/Disra : C'Boath/Thrawn. Also, the main characters have remained pretty stagnant. Han/Leia have 3 children, but it seems like the 15 year
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Timothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he bec ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn (2 books)
  • Vision of the Future (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, #2)
Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #1) Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #2) The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #3) Vision of the Future (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, #2) Outbound Flight (Star Wars)

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