||While the concept of the story was
interesting, the execution, which felt more like a set of related short
stories, was unfortunately fairly dull.
The obvious comparison to be made here is
against Death Star, which promised to be a history of the battle
station, but ended up being about a small group of people in its last
days. Fortunately, Millennium Falcon does a better job.
It's probably hard to make a book like
this very interesting, and the author did an admirable job in trying to
find a way to present it without doing so in quite a linear manner. So
we don't see Han and Leia until we are several chapters into the book.
The main character in the book is actually a man named Jadak, who never
really owned the Falcon, but did fly it for more than ten years with his
partner. They wanted to buy the Falcon from the Republic Group, a bunch
of senators and some Jedi who opposed Palpatine's methods, related to
the Two Thousand senators from Labyrinth of Evil. Jadak even flew
through the wake of Anakin's falling ship from the beginning of
of the Sith to get to his contacts in the Senate. But Security Chief Isard saw the suspicious group of senators and Jedi, and Jadak's escape
from Coruscant resulted in a very damaged ship. Reverting to real space
at Nar Shaddaa, the Stellar Envoy collides with a cruiser leaving the
system, and Jadak goes into a coma.
So the trick to this novel is that we
learn about the Falcon's ancient past from Jadak and the people with
whom he interacts, and when Jadak returns to the real world, he
continues to search forward in time through the people who owned the
ship after he did. Han and Leia, on the other hand, search backwards,
starting with Lando.
It is partly believable that Lando
would name his son Lando, based on the pride the authors have given him
in these novels. But for a set of continuous stories like Star Wars, I
don't think it's appropriate. Lando's part of the Falcon's story is known from
Gambit and Rebel Dawn, as well as
The Lando Calrissian Adventures, so it
wasn't told here. But of course Lando has great information sources, and
his staff is able to decode the transmitter that Allana (known as Amelia
to everybody else) found on the ship.
Han and Leia, Allana and C3PO travel to
Oseon where they meet the children of a previous owner, who owns a huge
casino hotel there. That owner was forced to sell the Falcon after he
lost a bet on an Imperial/insurgent battle at Yag'Dhul. They point them
towards a traveling pet show, where the next-previous owner still lives.
He worked for a traveling circus at the time, where he tried to impress
a Twi'lek dancer and won her over. Their love was cemented while
traveling between worlds, when their animal-holding cargo ship was attacked by pirates,
and the circus animals were left behind on an uninhabited world. The
Millennium Falcon was used to transport the smaller animals back to
civilization, where they would not be eaten by the indigenous life. The
original owner of the circus obtained it from another long-lived human,
this time a woman who works at the life-extending Aurora facilities on
Oboa-skai, which is where Jadak was kept. Dr. Thorp actually knew Jadak,
but her interest is in telling them about the kind of clinics she ran
with the Millennium Falcon. She set up on numerous worlds, but finally
found one that piqued her interest, a world decimated by Imperial
forces, in which the people are very long-lived and seemed to be able to tell the
future. She thought they were Force-attuned, but Luke would have to test
them to be sure. Unfortunately, it seemed that the Imperials either
wiped them out, or they left for good, because Thorp found no trace of
them afterwards, and was not able to glean anything from the data she
recorded about them.
Thorp, on the other hand, had been
given the ship free by a member of the Rebel insurgency. The Millennium
Falcon arrives on Quip Fargil's planet at the same time as Jadak, who
poses as the former rebel to gain their confidence.
Jadak, for his part, went to Nar Shadda,
where he had lost the ship to begin with. The mechanic who restored the
ship after the collision was still alive, as was the crime boss who
actually bought the ship. We got his story earlier in the book, as he
made a deal with the insectoid Colicoids, but one of his crew mistakenly
showed his long neck, so the Colicoids went crazy and devoured a few
crew members before they were able to escape off planet. The buzz droids the Colicoids
manufactured were accidentally triggered, and when dumped from the ship
(after trying to disassemble it) promptly went after the Star Destroyer
that showed up. The resulting explosion put the owner in jail for life.
But he was able to make a deal with Black Sun, and although he can't
leave the prison planet, his life there is quite opulent. He agrees to
tell Jadak about who he sold the ship to if Jadak and the sidekick he
picked up on Nar Shadda perform a mission for him: capture a Colicoid
witness who is about to allow his species to re-enter galactic
civilization. Jadak does this, which results in some chaos on a world
based on lawyers, so everybody either follows the rules or sues people,
all with religious zeal.
It turns out the ship was impounded,
and ended up in the hands of a Sullustan ship thief. I think I liked the
story of Zenn Bien one of the best, as it had a few more unexpected
turns to it. With an Imperial defector, Bien stole the ship and brought
it to a refueling station, then toward the next rendezvous point, where
they were pulled out of hyperspace by an Interdictor, which was new at
the time. It turns out the ship smuggled various small species, such as
Jawas and Rodians, onto the Star Destroyer in order to steal its
hyperdrive and destroy its gravity well generators, delaying the
building of such ships for several years. So the ship ended up in the
hands of the Rebel Alliance, which fit it with incredibly high yield
explosives in order to hit the Imperial Bilbringi shipyards. But Fargil,
the Imperial defector,
fell in love with the ship, which he named Millennium Falcon, and
couldn't detonate the ship in the yards. Instead, he dumped his cargo,
which doomed the entire plan and gave it away. I couldn't believe Leia
would so easily forgive this person for bringing such a loss to the
I also had trouble with the entire
portion of the story where Jadak pretends to be Fargil. While he is
telling Fargil's story, Leia has nothing more than a vague feeling that
the man is not telling everything, even though his partner is actually
trying to steal the ship at the same time. I can not believe at all that
a slicer droid could get though Han's security, even though it didn't
amount to anything, because somebody else stole the Falcon afterward,
but Han's default programming brought it back to the spaceport. I have
more trouble with this kind of programming, because so many people have
flown the Falcon, from the young kids to others, while Han was either
incapacitated or captured or not around.
Jadak is after the Falcon because the
Republic Group of his last mission told him the ship was the key to a
great treasure that would restore honor to the Republic. Another
long-lived humanoid, a lawyer who actually represented the Colicoids as
they tried to re-enter galactic civilization, collects all sorts of
Republic-era artifacts. He twists the laws to his own benefit, and
offers to keep Han and Leia on the planet for a long time in legal
tangles if they charge the would-be thieves with anything. Leia knows
Lestra Oxic from her days on Alderaan, and knows him to be a good
lawyer, so they drop the charges. I fully expect Oxic to become one of
the lawyers that either defends Luke or prosecutes him in
Outcast, as it
is revealed at the end of this book that Luke will be charged with
Jacen's fall to the Dark Side.
We get a little information about the
Galactic Alliance at this point in the saga, interspersed with the story
of the Falcon. It seems that all the systems are behaving themselves, as
they said they would at the end of Invincible, which is equally hard to
believe. Daala is surrounding herself with Mandalorian guards, and the
Jedi are once again in the bad books. A young Jedi named Heff rescues
Han and Leia at the pet show (where Allana was kidnapped in an attempts
to blackmail Han into having Lando sell some terrorists his droids), but
seems to be going down the same road as Jacen. He "feels like Jacen"
according to Allana, and Luke can't control him.
There was so much promise for the Jedi
at the end of the Yuuzhan Vong war, but that seems to have been
squandered. I will probably repeat this when I start Fate of the Jedi,
but one of the biggest problems I had at the end of the Legacy of the
Jedi series (other than everybody being out of character and a lack of
believable situations) was that they killed off so many interesting
characters, like Pellaeon, Isoldur, Jacen, they ruined Tahiri, and so
on, but they didn't replace any of them. All we get is a grown-up Ben,
and now we have little Lando. New, characters, especially young ones,
are so rare that the series looks like it will become inbred rather
Jadak finally convinces Han to give him
a lift, and when alone, he sneaks into the cockpit and types a command
into the navicomputer, which activates the transmitter in Han's pocket.
That, in turn, takes them to a planet that has been transformed by the
Yuuzhan Vong, and is in the process of dying. But they manage to find
the place where the treasure would be, and Oxic follows them. The Falcon
has a bit of trouble getting inside, which seems strange, as the
Republic Group would have been unable to get its treasure if the Falcon
had been heavily damaged and they had to use another ship, for example.
The treasure? Of course it is not valuable now, but it is the seal of
the Republic that used to be in the Senate chamber. And it's a fake! Why
the trouble getting into the temple, and why a fake? It doesn't make
much sense, but I suppose it gets Jadak away again. Han and Leia also go
on their merry way, to join Luke at his trial.
As for the early days of the ship, the
mechanic on Nar Shadda found out about its turbulent birth, where it
nearly destroyed its sister ships in production testing -strong-willed
even then! It had been
sold to Corellian brothers, who used it to ship freight within that
complex system. One brother was killed by a smuggling consortium, while
the other lived a while longer, getting deeper into smuggling, until he
was killed by Republic forces, possibly in the
Stark Hyperspace War?
After that, it got into the hands of the Republic Group.
There were so many references to other
stories, which was really nice. I especially liked the references to the
Yuuzhan Vong war, and some to various prequel stories, and of course
Jacen's fall. Some authors are very obvious in their references, like
they were trying too hard. But in this story, the author managed to
weave them in seamlessly and naturally.
Was the story successful? I suppose so.
Was it interesting? Not very often. The conclusion, as half-expected,
was a disappointment, but fits in with so many other Star Wars treasure
hunts. Han even mentions the absurd ending of his adventure to the
treasure of Xim the Despot! I only hope that I can muster some
enthusiasm for the Fate of the Jedi series, which comes next.