Star Wars: Specter of the Past: The Hand of Thrawn, Book 1 : Star Wars: Legends

  • by Timothy Zahn
  • Narrated by Marc Thompson
  • Series: Star Wars: Legends
  • 14 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Longtime fans should get considerable pleasure from this addition to the saga." (Publishers Weekly)

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What the Critics Say

"Zahn turns in his usual high-caliber performance." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Zahn is simply the best.

Where does Star Wars: Specter of the Past: The Hand of Thrawn, Book 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Timothy Zahn is the unparalleled master of the literary EU of Star Wars. Carrying on from the fantastic Trawn trilogy, which introduced the majority of the major EU players including Han and Leia's Children, the Noghri, Captain/Now Admiral Pellaeon, Winter, Talon Karde, Mara Jade, and most importantly Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn is and was the Empire lover's pinnacle character, neither good nor bad, uncompromisingly loyal to the Empire but not without mercy. A true Sherlock Holmes Sociopath. Zahn introduced a world where Star Wars was not so black and white but filled with grays. Of course the end story comes down good versus evil but he relegates those matters down to the force, not the political world of Empire vs. Republic. Zahn carefully crafts a story that shows good and evil on both sides, blanching from the flawless white knight rebellion his peers often write. The Republic in Zahn's world is one full of good intentions being poorly implemented, a government torn by politics and bad decisions and bureaucracy. The Empire is shown in much the same light with heroic figures butting heads with villainous partners vying for control and the future direction of the remnants of the Empire. The major flaw of this book, if it could be called one, is the lack of the legend himself, Thrawn, who was killed in the final book of the trilogy by his traitorous body guard. Though hardly a flaw of the writing, the book just doesn't have the same special feel to it. Even at its best it can't really compare to watching Thrawn and Pellaeon play they Sherlock and Watson routine as they slowly ground the vastly more numerous Rebel forces into dust through pure genius tactical planning. Pellaeon does his best in the Hand of Thrawn to use the tactics of his mentor, but he does't get enough page time and the harsh reality that the authors who took control of the EU between the Thrawn trilogy and duology had ground the Empire into an irrecoverable mess, placing it in the hands of poorly written one dimensional psychopaths and madmen, takes it's toll. The plot device of the Caamas documents is an interesting one, one showing the fragility of the New Republic, how one event could lead to a devastating civil war between it's loosely allied member states plays well into the Zahn theory of the good guys not always having the most efficient form of governance. I won't say too much more in effort to not spoil this masterfully written novel. I'm just glad the unabridged version has finally made its debut and am looking forward to the second part being released soon. Zahn, to me, will always be to the Star Wars literary world what George RR Martin is to ASOIF. There really is no substitute for the master.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Major Tierce is a fascinating new character, full of mystery and hidden goals. Excellently well written and fun to follow. Pellaeon will always be a favorite though. The big three, Han, Luke, and Leia are excellently well written as well. No other author truly captures that quintessential Star Wars feel with them. Even while you root for the heroes you find yourself admiring the villains and how simply cool they are. It helps in the case of the Zahn novels, that the villains are less one dimensional and villainous and instead simply other people on the other side of the war.


What does Marc Thompson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Marc Thompson is hand's down the best reader for the Star Wars stories. His mastery of the voices of each of the characters is as unparalleled as Zahns commanding storytelling.


Any additional comments?

Please record the rest of Zahn's books!!!

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- Ezekiel

Ok Rh, so where's the second volume?!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because it's Star Wars!


What did you like best about this story?

I liked the pacing. And I like the fact that I finally get to listen to it complete and unabridged.


What does Marc Thompson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mark nails the voices of course. He sounds very passionate about these stories and he keeps me wanting to listen until the last page. Well I suppose you could use the word page in this case.


Any additional comments?

I've been waiting for this duology to be released unabridged for such a long time and I'm glad it's here. Well, the first book anyway. My only complaint is that RH Audio didn't give us Vision of The Future on the same day as Specter. Here's hoping RH decides to give us unabridged recordings of the New Jedi Order series next as well as the Young Jedi Knights series. I'm unable to go out and purchase paperbacks due to blindness and it's a joy to be able to read these novels from cover to cover for the first time. I can't wait to see what I missed out on when and if RH decides to tackle the unabridged NJO books. I read this one and compared it with my old Bantom audio cassette abridgement of Specter from 97 and was amazed as to how much was cut out. Trust me, you want this one rather than the 3 hr version. Anthony Heald is and will always be one of my fav narrators in the SW EU but c'mon folks, this one's the whole thing.

Keep showing RH your support by purchasing these unabridged titles, gals and guys of audible. It really means the world to those of us who aren't able to enjoy these older titles the way they were meant to be the first time around. Thanks in advance and may the Force be with all of us.

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- bonita

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-17-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio