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Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn #1) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1998

269 customer reviews

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Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn #1) + Vision of the Future (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn, Book 2) + The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 3)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Timothy Zahn is the master of the Star Wars novel. His trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) did almost as much as the movie trilogy's re-release to create new interest in Luke, Leia, and Han Solo. Specter of the Past is the first of a new series, The Hand of Thrawn. Princess Leia is trying desperately to hold the loose coalition of interests known as the New Republic together long enough to see the evil Empire finally vanquished. But in a stunning setback, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker discover that the pirate ships raiding New Republic transports are staffed with clones under the command of someone who claims to be Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Empire's most powerful warlord, believed dead for 10 years. Thrawn's plan for destroying the fragile New Republic seems well on the way to completion--unless Han, Leia, and Luke can stop it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

More intergalactic capers from the author whose best-selling Heir to the Empire launched the current Star WarsR craze.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553298046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553298048
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Timothy Zahn is the Hugo Award-winning author of more than a dozen original science fiction novels and the bestselling Star Wars trilogy Heir to the Empire, among other works. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ella Little Bull on May 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review is about the digital edition only...

...which was apparently not proofread at all. It has more typos than any ebooks I've ever read, including free public domain works that were compiled through donated time. The ebook sequel to this series (Vision of the Future) is even worse.

Both books read as though the text was scanned in, then converted to electronic text. Periods are misplaced, but the sentence capitalization remains intact. Words are misspelled, replaced with words that look sort of like the proper ones, but aren't. Hon in place of Han, for example, or, as in Vision of the Future, "Entante Venture" instead of "Errant Venture." It's incredibly distracting to have to parse through errors when you're trying to just focus on the story.

The publisher should be ashamed and embarrassed to put out such a product, especially when it's restricting Amazon to a retail price as high as the print version, which shows no signs of these egregious errors.

If I could return all my ebooks in this series from this publisher, I would. But apparently Kindle purchases must be returned with 7 days, and I'm a few days too late. I've never even thought of returning an ebook until now, but this series certainly qualifies.

If you have the choice, stick to a paper version - preferably used, so this lazy publisher doesn't gain any further profit. In my opinion, companies that shortchange customers shouldn't be rewarded.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Kanouse on February 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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...
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brendan L. Agnew on February 16, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By puritymatters on April 16, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books of the Star Wars expanded universe. It is written by the forerunner in SW fiction, Timothy Zahn (check out his first Star Wars trilogy, Heir to the Empire). Zahn continues on from the strained relationship between Luke Skywalker and the Emperor's (Former) Hand, Mara Jade. This story is wrought with the fall of the Empire, the rocky state of the New Republic, and the tensions between everyone involved. What I love most about this book is that this is the culmination of the relationship between Luke and Mara. Without giving spoilers away, this is their story. :)
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Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn #1)
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