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Specter of the Past
Author Timothy Zahn
Cover Artist Drew Struzan
Country USA
Language English
Era New Republic
Series Hand of Thrawn Duology
Galactic Year 19 ABY
Canon C
Subject(s) Star Wars
Genre(s) Science Fiction
Publisher Bantam Spectra
Released Hardcover:
1 December 1997
1 December 1998
Media Type Hardcover & Paperback
Pages Hardcover: 352
Paperback: 416
Size and Weight Hardcover:
1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
1.3 pounds
6.9 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
7.2 ounces
ISBN Hardcover:
ISBN 0-553-09542-0
ISBN 0-553-29804-6
Preceded by Showdown at Centerpoint
Followed by Vision of the Future

Specter of the Past is the first book in the Hand of Thrawn duology by Timothy Zahn. Chronologically, it is the fourth (of five) in the Thrawn series.



Specter of the Past is set in 19 ABY, ten years after the events of The Last Command, and six years prior to those of Vector Prime.



New Republic

The Empire



The Galactic Empire is continuing its slow but steady crawl towards non-existence. Ten years have passed since Grand Admiral Thrawn was killed, and Admiral Pellaeon is ready to admit defeat. He convenes a meeting with the Moffs to present his plan, but is met for the most part with unenthusiasm. Pellaeon then visits various Imperial outposts in order to gain support, and attempts to arrange a meeting with General Bel Iblis to discuss surrender.

One of the opposers to Pellaeon's proposals, Moff Disra, formulates a plan to use an actor, Flim, to impersonate the Grand Admiral Thrawn, in the hopes that Thrawn's "return" will cause uncertainty and disunity within the New Republic. With the aid of Major Grodin Tierce, Disra manages to convince several Imperial officers that his imposter "Thrawn" is genuine.

The New Republic, in the meantime, is seeing its share of internal dissension and bad blood. Disputes have erupted between various factions within the Republic. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker travel to the Core Worlds to settle a contention between the Diamal and the Ishori. While there, Luke witnesses an attack upon New Republic ships by a pirate band, and sets out on the pirates' trail. He follows them to their base, and after he manages to escape a cleverly-laid trap, the pirates sabotage the base and flee. Mara Jade comes to Luke's rescue; Luke then goes to a medical center to recuperate. While there, he has a vision of Mara Jade in which he sees her dead.

On Bothawui, Leia and Han attempt to deal with a controversy that has arisen over the Caamas Document, which implicates the Bothans in the genocide of the Caamasi people. Imperial agents incite mob activity, and the blame is mistakenly laid on Han. The peoples of the New Republic begin to take sides over the altercation.

Mara, meanwhile, meets up with Karrde, Corran Horn, and Booster Terrik aboard the Errant Venture. Shortly afterward, they are surprised by the appearance of a ship, similar in appearance to a TIE fighter, but of a severely modified design. The ship vanishes almost as soon as it arrives; Mara decides to follow it using the vector from its hyperspace jump. She tracks it to an alien planet, where all communication with her is suddenly lost. Luke learns of this from Karrde, and, worried by his vision, follows after her.

Pellaeon, at the rendezvous point for meeting with Bel Iblis, comes under attack by ships bearing the insignia of the Corellian Defense Fleet. His officers believe that Bel Iblis is behind the attack, but Pellaeon proves this wrong by pulling one of Bel Iblis' own stunts against the attackers, surprising and destroying them. Pellaeon then settles down to wait until Bel Iblis arrives.


  • Specter of the Past, 1st printing, 1997. Timothy Zahn. ISBN 0-553-29804-6


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