Note: This review of of the abridged version of the audiobook.
Zahn brings the Bantam era of the Expanded Universe to a satisfying conclusion, giving us some a really great and enjoyable finale to his ‘Hand of Thrawn’ Duology.
Following on from ‘Spectre of the Past’, The New Republic is in turmoil, with different systems turning on each other with old feuds raising their heads, threatening civil war if all isn’t sorted. The only thing that could rectify the situation is locating a copy of the Caamas Document. However the document is difficult to come by, with both Talon Karrde and General Garm Bel Iblis venturing on different missions to find a copy.
Meanwhile, Han and Leia try to get away for some much needed rest and relaxation which of course doesn’t go to plan, and they end up in a skirmish which disables a number of the Falcon’s systems leads them to be saved by a group of Clones, created by Grand Admiral Thrawn using the DNA of a notorious TIE Fighter Pilot, Baron Fel who only want to be left alone. She is later approached by Eligos A’Kla and Ghent who have pieces together a message meant for General Iblis, inviting the General to negotiations for peace between The Empire and The New Republic. It becomes Leia’s mission to open negotiations with Admiral Pellaeon on board The Falcon, docked on The Chimera. However, the supposed return on Grand Admiral Thrawn throws a spanner in the works.
Pellaeon begins his own investigation, learning that Thrawn is onboard ‘The Relentless’, which is commanded by Moff Disra. Pellaeon visits Disra and the Moff becomes clearly agitated by the Admiral’s questions. He finds an excuse to leave the room which gives Pellaeon the opportunity to break into Disra’s hidden files and steal Data Cards containing all the information on Disra’s plot involving an con-man to act as Thrawn. Before he can act, Disra escapes with Major Grodin Tierce to ‘The Relentless’.
Luke, following a vision of Mara Jade in trouble, arrives on the planet Nirauan and is met by a species called Qom Jha who his Jade for two weeks, keeping her safe. Upon Luke’s arrival, the Qom Jha Agee to carry Luke, Mara and R2-D2 to a stronghold where blue skinned creatures patrol the area. The three of them get into the fortress, called ‘The Hand of Thrawn’ and locate a chamber where a clone of Grand Admiral Thrawn is gestating. After R2 becomes hysterical at finding something in the computer files they are attacked by a pair of Sentinal Droids. During the battle, the two Jedi experience a sort of vision in the Force, which causes them to open their very beings to each other, causing them to fall in love. As a way to end the fight, Mara exploits a structural weakness caused by water damage, causing the room to flood. However, this also traps them. Luke proposes to Mara who accepts and the two of them devise a plan to escape the flooding room. Once out and back on Mara’s ship, they find out that the reason R2 was getting excited is that he had located Thrawn’s copy of The Caamas Document.
General Iblis’ attempt to locate a copy of the document leads him, on board Booster Terrik’s Star Destroyer, ‘The Errant Venture’ into a trap. They attempt to escape but the hostilities end when Admiral Pellaeon, along with Talon Karrde and his companion Shada D’ukal arrive on board The Relentless and put an end to Disra’s plot, reveal Tierce to be a Clone, created by Thrawn and obtain command of the Inperial Remnant from the Thrawn imposter, allowing the peace negotiations between The New Republic and The Empire to begin in earnest.
Later, the Peace Treaty is signed on board The Chimera, with Leia, Han, Karrde, who has become a legitimate information broker between the two factions in attendance as well as Luke and Mara who join them later.
The ‘Vision of the Future’ audiobook does a good job of cramming as much as possible into the three hour run time to give the duology a satisfactory conclusion. However, as decent as it is, I couldn’t help but feel like a lot was being missed out.
Of course, the abridged audiobooks always miss portions of the book out, but in the case of this one, Han Solo appears and reappears almost at random. One minute he’s taking Leia on a vacation and they end up meeting the Baron Fel clones, the next minute he’s already gone off on an adventure with Lando whilst Leia takes the Falcon on the peace negotiations. It is of course explained briefly, however it could get quite jarring.
However, the abridgement of ‘Vision of the Future’ is much better than the previous part of this Duology, Spectre of the Past which was all over the place and very disjointed.
I think it was a great choice to have Timothy Zahn bookend the first era of the Expanded Universe with two Thrawn stories and finally bringing an end to the New Republic/Imperial war after a number of the stories in this era focused on the ongoing conflict.
Unfortunately, the abridgement has leafy me wanting a lot more, and much like ‘Spectre of the Past’ I find myself wanting to pick this book up and read the whole story.
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