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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn #1) » User review

Great political intrigue, but a bit much

  • Sep 15, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3
Of all the Star Wars Expanded Universe books, this one and its sequel Vision of the Future (known as the Thrawn Duology) are second only to Timothy Zahn's original Heir to the Empire Trilogy. The political intrigue in this book is riveting, with a brilliant plot twist - the discovery of a document implicating Bothan spies in mass murder - that throws the New Republic into chaos.

My favorite parts of the book are those dealing the Imperials. I really appreciate that Zahn cares about his villains as much (if not more so) than the heroes. Gilad Pelleon in particular has some thoughtful dialogue as he tries to convince the Empire that peace is the only alternative. I also thought Zahn treated Mara Jade and Luke with great respect, subtly moving their relationship from awkwardness to romance. It's very nicely done and never anything abrupt. In terms of character development, Zahn is the master in the Star Wars universe.

As much as I liked the plot twist, I thought the book just spread itself a bit too thin and tried to cover too much. For example, it throws a lot of Expanded Universe names out there, like Corran Horn and Kueller. I've read the books involving those characters, but don't remember the details, and so lost some of the references Zahn made. At some points, Zahn seemed to want to cram some of his favorite characters into the plot, even when they don't advance the story much at all. Shada the Mistryl for example has some points to add to the story, but often just seems like an unrealistically omnipotent bodyguard (she can even take out Noghri!). Meanwhile, some characters are sent on side quests that just seem to be worth following all that much. I would have preferred if Zahn had consolidated the plot threats and focused more on the tensions within the New Republic.

Overall, I definitely recommend reading this book and its sequel if you like the original Heir to the Empire Trilogy. It wraps a lot of the plot threads up very well and sets the Star Wars universe up for the next chapter (the invasion of the Yuzhan Vong).

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More Specter of the Past (Star Wars... reviews
review by . September 09, 2010
Of all the Star Wars Expanded Universe books, this one and its sequel Vision of the Future (known as the Thrawn Duology) are second only to Timothy Zahn's original Heir to the Empire Trilogy. The political intrigue in this book is riveting, with a brilliant plot twist - the discovery of a document implicating Bothan spies in mass murder - that throws the New Republic into chaos.     My favorite parts of the book are those dealing the Imperials. I really appreciate that Zahn cares …
About the reviewer
Dominic J Nardi ()
Ranked #79
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … more
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Wiki

Timothy Zahn is the master of the Star Wars novel. His trilogy (Heir to the Empire,Dark Force Rising, andThe 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 Pastis 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.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0553298046
ISBN-13: 978-0553298048
Author: Timothy Zahn
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
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