Vision of the Future is the second book in the epic two-volume series The Hand of Thrawn from Timothy Zahn, the bestselling, Hugo award-winning author of the original landmark trilogy based on George Lucas's legendary Star Wars films. Now the story begun in Specter of the Past comes to an explosive conclusion as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo are thrust into the middle of an impending civil war—and discover the shocking truth behind the rumored resurrection of the dead Admiral Thrawn.'
For a beleaguered Empire, desperate times call for desperate measures. Sowing discord among the fragile coalition of the New Republic, remnants of the once powerful Empire make one last play for victory. Having implicated the Bothans in the genocide of the Caamas, they now plan an attack on Han and Leia that is also blamed on the Bothans. If they are successful, the New Republic will be torn asunder. To prevent inevitable disaster, Luke, Leia, Han, and their friends must prove the Bothans innocent and reveal the Empire's treachery. But time is running out. The cunning Major Tierce has joined with the ambitious Moff Vilim Disra in the Empire's master plan. At its heart lies the most elaborate con of all: the rumor that the legendary Grand Admiral Thrawn, long believed dead, has returned to lead the Empire to a prophesied triumph. The news of Thrawn's return is already rallying Imperial forces against the New Republic.
As Leia travels to a secret rendezvous with an Imperial commander who claims to want peace, Han and Lando Calrissian journey into enemy territory to learn the truth of Caamas's destruction. Meanwhile, Luke and Mara Jade infiltrate a hidden fortress where Thrawn's most fanatical followers await his call to arms. And Talon Karrde returns to his underworld past and a brutal crime lord whose knowledge may save the Republic. But it is the truth about Thrawn that is most important. In his hands—alive or dead—rests the fate of the New Republic.
The Empire's master plan is under way. The New Republic is on the verge of civil war and the rumor that the legendary Admiral Thrawn has returned from the dead is rallying the Imperial forces. Now, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and their allies face the challenge of their lives. They must infiltrate a hidden fortress filled with Imperial fanatics, rendezvous with a double-dealing Imperial commander, and journey into enemy territory to learn the identity of those responsible for an act of unthinkable genocide. But most important of all is the truth about Thrawn. In his hands—alive or dead—rests the fate of the New Republic.
Thirty hours after repulsing the attack by an unidentified force, Admiral Pellaeon is informed by Captain Ardiff that the Chimaera has been repaired and is fully operational again. Pellaeon repeats his decision to remain in orbit over Pesitiin until they know for certain whether New Republic General Bel Iblis received his message. When Ardiff asks how much longer they can afford to wait, Pellaeon, after a moment's thought, decides two more weeks.
Aboard the Relentless, Moff Disra has accompanied "Grand Admiral Thrawn" (in reality the con man Flim) and Major Grodin Tierce (in reality a former Royal Guardsman) to the Kroctar system, a much deeper incursion into New Republic space than he is comfortable with. To his astonishment, the ship is hailed by Lord Superior Bosmihi, who eagerly petitions for the Kroctari's readmission into the Empire, having followed "Thrawn's" return with enthusiasm and fed up with Coruscant's lack of interest in their security. "Thrawn" appoints Disra to handle negotiating the finer points with Bosmihi. Aside, Disra angrily demands to know what Tierce is up to - even if Kroctar is legally free to defect from the New Republic, such a move will only increase the chances of Coruscant retaliating against the Empire, something it is definitely not ready for. He points out that Tierce is too good a tactician not to have considered this, and must have some greater scheme in mind, and Disra demands to know what it is. After a moment's thought, Tierce confides that while he was serving aboard the Chimera during the real Thrawn's campaign against the New Republic, Thrawn mentioned "The Hand of Thrawn" as the key to the Empire's ultimate and total victory. Tierce has never found any reference to the term in any Imperial record, and is not sure if the Hand is a person, a super-weapon, or some piece of vital information, but if the Hand is out there, then the best way of luring it or its holder into the open is to spread the word of "Thrawn"'s return.
Vision of the Future is chronologically the last Star Wars novel published by Bantam, and serves as an "ending" to their series of Expanded Universe publications. Only three more Star Wars novels were published by Bantam after Vision of the Future, all of which were installments in the X-Wing series. Del Rey, another subsidiary of Random House, took over the license for Star Wars novels in 1999, beginning with the novelization of The Phantom Menace.
Alex Winger makes her first appearance in a Star Wars novel on pp. 284-285. She last appeared in Charlene Newcomb's short story Betrayal by Knight. Zahn described Alex as having cybernetic fingers, prompting Newcomb to write Shades of Gray, a Hyperspace Exclusive Short Story, explaining what happened to Alex's fingers.
The German version of the book was split into two parts. Part one is titled Blick in die Zukunft, the German translation of the English title. Part two is titled Der Zorn des Admirals, which translates to The Admiral's Wrath in English.
- ISBN 0553100351; September 1 1998, Bantam Spectra, 528-page hardcover.
- ISBN 0553479210; September 1, 1998, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Audio cassette.
- ISBN 0593043383; December 3, 1998, Transworld Publishers, Hardcover.
- ISBN 0553578790; September 1, 1999, Bantam Spectra, 720-page paperback.
- ISBN 0553506900; October 1, 1999, Bantam Spectra, 694-page paperback.
- ISBN 0739316702; March 2005, Random House Audio, Abridged cassette.
- ISBN 3453171543; August 2000, Heyne-Verlag, German paperback.
- ISBN 8025200493; 2004, EGMONT ČR, 525-page Czech paperback (Vize budoucnosti).
- ISBN 9545283602; 2004, Trud, 672-page Bulgarian paperback (Поглед в бъдещето)
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