Ossus Library Index Star Wars Timeline




An e-book by Timothy Zahn (2012, Del Rey Books)
2 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Entered in a gambling tournament, Lando is caught up in a criminal scheme that goes deeper than the original thieves believed.



Read on March 28th, 2013 on my Kobo Vox  
    Lando always falls for the ladies, no matter the story. In this case, they ask his advice and he ends up working with them on their scheme, against his better judgment. The story is well-written, with a good mix of suspense and unforeseen plot twists. As usual with this author, the story feels like it's part of the Star Wars universe, because he really uses as much of it as he can, even though the story is so short.

Full spoiler review:

I've always liked Lando as a character, despite the way he is often written. There were the boring Lando Calrissian Adventures, and his various love interests and business ventures as the authors tried to figure out what to do with him, which were often hit-or-miss. At least he was the level-headed one in Champions of the Force, playing against Han for the Falcon. Then he met Tendra in Showdown at Centerpoint, and the authors gave him stability; he's been written pretty well since then, especially during the Yuuzhan Vong War, but even beyond, where other characters have gone a little strange.

This tale takes us back a while, to when Lando was single, and the Empire still ruled the galaxy. Looking to make his fortune, he enters a sabaac tournament, where two spots are remaining at the table betting on the grand prize: the Tchine sculpture, one of only seven in existence, and worth millions of credits.

Before he even gets to the first table, though, he meets Bink and Tavia, with their sabaac-playing partner Zerba. They plan to use the distraction of the tournament to steal valuable artifacts from the organizer's collection. Apparently Lando knows the girls from previous adventures; I'm not sure I've read about those adventures.

Bink and Tavia decide to bring him in on their plot when they discover that Jydor (the organizer) has two Tchines in his collection, when he is publicly known to have only one, and the others are apparently accounted for. Thinking that one is a fake, Lando agrees to help them figure out which one, especially since he has apparently already seen one Tchine up close in a previous adventure.

I like the way their efforts are completely misdirected half the time. If the plot had gone as it appeared to be going, the book would have been over several times, and I was wondering how it could be stretched to fill the remaining pages.

The group decides to make a scan of another Tchine, which coincidentally resides with its owner in the same city, so they can compare it with Jydor's statue, as the seven Tchines are absolutely identical, through some unknown mastery of sculpture. But after Bink breaks into Lady Vanq's estate and discovers hers is missing (and Vanq is dead, shot, but still on her bed), they realize that Jydor has stolen it and that both Tchines are real.

Vanq's house droid appeared to have been reprogrammed, so Tavia (the computer expert) goes back to see if there is any trace of the programmer left at her house. There they discover a murder note left by Vanq, implicating Jydor -and to be sent to the police once the house droids notice that she's dead. As strange as that seems, Jydor was very upset with Vanq about a deal gone bad, which cost him a great deal of money, so he has the motive.

Lando and Zerba play long games of sabaac, trying to stretch out the sessions to give Tavia time to work. But during a break, as Lando is getting an update, he is brought before Jydor's business manager, Chumu. Lando bluffs his way through the questions, where Chumu is obviously suspicious of him, until Bink calls him, pretending to be a person who makes copies of rare sculptures, in business with Lando. It's pretty funny to read this section, and it makes complete sense. Chumu gets nervous when Lando tells him they made a copy of Lady Vanq's Tchine, implying the grand prize at the tournament might be a fake, so he asks to see Bink, who offers to make a scan of the Tchine.

Bink and Tavia are really fun to read, as they are identical twins, so change places often, and though they have different skills and different personalities, they often think alike. Both have nervous thoughts that the other is better at what they do, especially when they change places.

They and Lando come to the conclusion that Chumu is behind everything, so they stage a trap for him, involving getting one of the Tchines back to Vanq's vault so Chumu can see that there might have been two of them (Bink tells him the one he has is a fake, so the original must still be in Vanq's vault). Then they change the message and trigger it to the police, indicating that Vanq committed suicide.

Chumu's motive was to get Jydor out of the way, as well as his two rivals, so he could take control of all the businesses on the planet of Danteel. Lando had noticed that one of the patrons had been cheating, but not for himself -allowing one of the others to win, making it seem less obvious. I liked the way Lando tried to delay the game time and again, and even folded his hand to exit the game before the police came.

They ruined Chumu's plot, but then they catch him threatening Lando on camera, so he is taken away.

The book was well-paced, and gave equal time to Bink and Tavia, and to Lando. They all do different things (Bink stealing, Tavia computer systems, and Lando gambling, of course), so they all contributed to the story. There was a bit of humor, some tense moments, and a happy ending where Lando gets a warm and fuzzy feeling by doing the right thing, knowing that he'll find another way to make money and fund his next venture. It was never over-the-top, which was nice -I could believe everything that was being done. I could do with another story like this one.


Back to Top

All Star Wars material and covers are Copyright Lucasfilm Ltd and the publishers.
All reviews and page designs at this site Copyright (c)  by Warren Dunn, all rights reserved.