The following review and extended summary were written in June
Decent, once again, but nothing really ground-breaking. It
didn't hold my interest for too long.
As usual, this book starts with Han trying to find work outside the
Corporate Sector. And, as usual, it ends with him running away from a
disastrous encounter with his employer and heading back to the Corporate
sector to find illegal work.
In this case, the first two chapters end amusingly as Han dumps a load of
fertilizer on his previous employer, and then ends up destabilizing an entire
planetary government because a group from that government tries to cheat
The real action comes when Han returns to a planet and finds his old
companion Badure (whom I believe we meet for the "first" time in The
Paradise Snare, or The Hutt Gambit), who taught Han how to make the Kessel
Run, and who saved Han and Chewie's lives, so Chewie owes the man a life
debt. I'm not sure how this life debt works, but if Chewie had to owe
everybody who saves his life a debt like that, I think he'd be exhausted
trying to honor it all!
So barely knowing anything about yet another run, Han and Chewie take
Badure up on his offer. It turns out that Badure has found the logbook
to a treasure vessel of Xim the Despot, a tyrant who lived well before the Old
Republic. Hasti, Badure's associate, whom I didn't trust, has the access
codes to the logbook. She turns out to be dependable, after all, though,
so my worries were unfounded. But I still expected Han to be
They cannot access the logbook once they
reach the vaults, though, and proceed back to the Falcon, only to come under
attack by some competitors, who nearly kill the group, and capture Han's
The others are ready to give up, but Han will not leave without his
ship. So he hires a group of natives to row him across the large lake
separating the city from the mines, where the Falcon is being held. A
competition between rowing businesses nearly drowns them in a sort-of amusing
fight and race, but they finally get across, barely!
Crossing over the mountains to the mine is much more difficult,
however. They pass through a field of some sort that drains their
energy, putting them to sleep. When they wake up, they are left alone
for some time, and Han and Hasti start to fall in love. They kiss, but
Hasti pulls away, because she knows that Han will never really let anybody into his
life. This seemed much more real to me than the relationship with Bria
in the Paradise Snare.
It turns out that some native colonists, who have managed to keep out of
contact with any Republic, Imperial or Corporate sector forces for millennia have captured
the small group. With the help of Bullox, Blue Max and the alien
Professor Skynx, they are able to determine that the natives plan to sacrifice
these people to their gods. But using a technique that would later
be adapted for Indiana Jones and the Temple of
Doom, Chewie uses a large gong
as a shield as the team escapes.
Skynx also determines that these natives are what is left of the crew of
Xim the Despot's treasure ship. Unfortunately, before they can take
advantage of this information, the religious natives activate Xim's robotic
army. As Han battles his competitors for possession of the Millennium
Falcon, Gallandro appears, wanting both revenge for the events from the last
book, and a part of the treasure. Luckily, the robotic army arrives just in
Bullox and Blue Max try to stop the army, both with access codes they had
scrounged and with reasoning, but they only manage to get the army to spare
the Falcon. Finally, the two robots lure the army onto a bridge that
breaks with the loading due to the frequency of vibration in time with the
bridge's natural frequency. Gotta love physics!
Gallandro teams up with the group, and they prepare to rob Xim's
vault. But Gallandro turns on Han once they find the vault, and injures
him. But he also sets off the defensive systems by pulling a gun in the
no-weapons zone that served as a vestibule to the vaults, as he tried to kill
Skynx. The defensive systems cut him down and burned him beyond a
recognizable body. I don't know where Anja heard about her father's
death, but her accusations towards Han, as made in Return to Ord
obviously not well researched!
As we know, though, Han does not get rich, so something had to happen that
prevented him from getting the treasure. So it stands to reason that the
treasure is not what it seems. It was priceless millennia ago, when
traveling through the stars was more dangerous, and shielding technology was
primitive, but today, the entire treasure couldn't buy a used starship, let
alone the planets Han intended to buy! Only Professor Skynx is happy, as
there are documents and artwork here that describe the state of the Galaxy
before the Old Republic. That is priceless in its own way. But not
to Han, who still tries to find a way to make money out of this
Good hand-to-hand battles and some decent character work make this a fine
addition to the Star Wars saga. Han and Chewie are true to form, though
the author spends a lot of time describing things that seem to be of no
use. But that's storytelling, and items are just a part of the Star Wars
universe as the characters are.
The Han Solo adventures are not the best books in the saga, but they are
true to the adventurous spirit. And thus are worth the read.