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

  • by Timothy Zahn
  • Narrated by Marc Thompson
  • Series: Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn
  • 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

The Rerelease surpasses the Original

What made the experience of listening to Star Wars: Specter of the Past: The Hand of Thrawn, Book 1 the most enjoyable?

Marc Thompson delivers another amazing performance in "Specter of the Past", book 1 of the Hand of Thrawn duology. His voices for Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are uncannily accurate, and make it very easy to picture Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams as they might've portrayed the story in a film.

Not only do his voices for classic characters deliver, but he also adds greater depth to the Expanded Universe characters like Talon Karrde, Grand Admiral 'Thrawn', Moff Disra, Borsk Fey'lya, President Gavrisom, and Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, as well as many others.Thompson's performances in the Star Wars audiobooks make them truly a pleasure for my wife and me to listen to, and we always look forward to his performances when we're journeying through the Expanded Universe in chronological order.

Also, this re-release of "Specter of the Past" far surpasses the original, and not only because it's unabridged. I'm not saying Anthony Heald did a bad job on the original release. For its time, it was very good, but the simple fact is that Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novels are so rich and full of detail and intricate plot that having them abridged into little three-hour segments is like literary butchery."Specter of the Past" and its sequel "Vision of the Future" particularly suffered from the cutting block when produced by Bantam audio books, and I am absolutely delighted that these two are being rereleased, unabridged, on the heels of the Thrawn Trilogy's 20th anniversary rerelease!


What was one of the most memorable moments of Star Wars: Specter of the Past: The Hand of Thrawn, Book 1?

Hmm . . . how to pick just one memorable moment? I really like the inclusion of Shada D'Ukal more heavily in this story, because I really enjoyed her story in "Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina", as read by Laura Esterman (which, by the way, Audible doesn't have for some reason! ?), and seeing it more fully integrated into the larger tapestry of the Expanded Universe.

The reappearance of Grand Admiral Thrawn is also a fun moment, again made more so by Marc Thompson's brilliant performance! I can't wait to hear "Vision of the Future", which comes out next month!

The scenes with Admiral Pellaeon are also brilliant, as one of the most dedicated Imperials of the Expanded Universe seeks to end the war between the Empire and the New Republic once and for all. Marc Thompson's Pellaeon voice truly portrays the character's long career and old age. Excellent!


What about Marc Thompson’s performance did you like?

I've answered this in previous sections of this review, but I'll say it again - he's brilliant at portraying classic characters as well as Expanded Universe characters, and it's easy to picture other people with that voice, as opposed to some audio books where it sounds more like someone just reading aloud, instead of giving a performance.Marc Thompson is quite simply one of the best I've ever seen.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Ten Years Later, Grand Admiral Thrawn is back!


Any additional comments?

I'm very glad to see Random House giving some of the classic EU novels' audios a much needed overhaul, and I'd really hope to see more of these in the future!

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- Cam T. ""Reclusive Writer""

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