Tuesday, November 11, 2008

David's Review of The Han Solo Trilogy Vol. 2: The Hutt Gambit


4/5 Rancors - In this second book of the Han Solo trilogy, Ms. Crispin takes us on Han's journey from his days as a cadet at the Imperial Space Academy through a number of adventures working as a pilot for the Hutts and ending up fending off an attack by Imperial forces. At the Academy, Cadet Solo spends four years preparing for a career in the Imperial Navy and developing his skills as a pilot. He graduates and spends four years as an officer before his career is cut short when he rescues a Wookie slave from ill treatment at the hands of a superior officer. The result is a dishonorable discharge. However, the Wookie, who turns out to be our old friend Chewbacca, swears a life debt to Han and promises to follow him everywhere. Obviously the entire Star Wars experience is much richer because of this incident.

Han and Chewie then move on to Nar Shaddaa, the Smugglers' Moon, where they smuggle shipments of spice to designated locations and make various runs for the Hutts, including Jabba. It is also during this period that the High Priest on Ylesia realizes that Han Solo was in fact the individual who caused them so much trouble several years earlier. He contracts with the galaxy's best bounty hunter, who else but Boba Fett, to capture Solo and return him to Ylesia to be killed. Fett's efforts to capture Han are stymied by a new character, a charming rogue named Lando Calrissian. Such introductions are the most fascinating part of learning Han Solo's backstory. Han, Chewie, Lando, Boba, Jabba - they're all here.

The Empire begins to move against the Hutts' lawless territory by authorizing Moff Sarn Shild to blockade Nal Hutta and turn the Smugglers' moon into molten slag. Through a combination of bribes, devious machinations by the Empire, and heroic deeds by Han and his fellow smugglers, the Empire's forces are thwarted. At the end of the story, Han is trying to figure out how to make money and go on with the rest of his life. His plans include coming up with enough money to go to Bespin and participate in an extremely high-stakes sabacc game. I suspect there in the third book we will run in to Lando again and learn of the acquisition of the Millennium Falcon. All of this is simply great fun as we continue to understand the forces in Han Solo's life that got him to the character he was when we first met him in A New Hope. On to the third book of the trilogy.

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