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A novel by A.C. Crispin (1998, Bantam Spectra)
Book 3 of the Han Solo Trilogy
10 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

The Rebel Alliance is formed, and makes numerous attacks. Han wins the Millenium Falcon, and becomes a great smuggler. The Hutt clan rivalry comes to a head.



2 stars

Read January 7th to 12th, 2000  
    Rebel Dawn must refer to the Rebel Alliance, not Han Solo, as I had assumed before reading the book.  For Han Solo does not play more than a small part of the whole book!  I find that amazing, for a trilogy called the Han Solo Trilogy. 

  First, I have to say that the author seems to miss out on what the Alliance was actually formed for.  As I recall, and it may be me who is wrong here, Mon Mothma formed the Alliance to Restore the Republic out of a bunch of resistance bands.  It became known as the Rebel Alliance by the Imperials first.  But that is a minor point, because all this evolution could have taken place behind the scenes. 

  What I don't believe for a moment, is that rebels didn't have any big combat experience against the Imperials until just a few months before the Death Star encounter.  I think they must have had many skirmishes and big attacks before attacking the Death Star. 

  The book doesn't really pick up where the last one ends, but that's okay.  I don't need to know how Han gets out of the lifepod and gets back to Nar Shadda.  The point is, he did. 

  He manages to make his way to Cloud City, where he joins in on a giant Sabaac tournament.  Through many rounds, he succeeds, and finally wins the whole match.  He gains a lot of credits, as well as a voucher for any ship on Lando's lot.  Of course, the chapter is set up so that the Millenium Falcon is sitting on that lot, and Han grabs at the chance, though Lando didn't mean that ship.  I loved it.  That is exactly the way I figured it should happen, I just didn't know it!

  Han goes to Kashyyk, the Wookie homeworld, on his first stop with his new ship, so that Chewie can meet up with his lost love.  She is, of course, still waiting for him, and they end up getting married.  The wedding wasn't anything splendid, but I loved the proposal.  I don't know if I'm getting mushy for these things since I proposed, but it brought me near tears!  More than halfway through the book, we find out that Chewie has become a father.  That leads into the Wookie Storybook.

  The Falcon also does wonders on the Kessel Run.  Han beats record after record.  He has his ship fixed up by the best mechanic in the galaxy, until he hears of another, even better mechanic in the Corporate Sector.  Suddenly, he and Salla Zend are racing in the Kessel Run.  She gets overeager to beat him, and makes risky moves, damaging her ship, and nearly killing herself.  Han has to save her.  Then she becomes distant, and begins planning their wedding, much to Han surprise.  That's when he decides to take off for the Corporate Sector, and that's when the Han Solo Adventures take place.  For three chapters in the book, Han is completely absent, except at the end of each, where he thinks about home. 

  I disagree with the thoughts he has.  He should be way over Bria by now.  Sure, he'd think about his other friends, but not Bria.  They were not together for long, and it's been nearly ten years!  It just felt wrong.

  Through all this time, Durga believes his father was murdered.  It takes the resources of Black Sun, and millions of credits to prove this, and to dispatch his rivals for clan leadership.  Finally, he takes a grudge duel to Jilliac, and in a very well written fight chapter, he ends up killing Jilliac.  Jabba doesn't prevent this, because Jilliac has been neglecting business while caring for its baby, so he can take over. 

  According to this book, Bria has also been busy, trying to ally her resistance group with others.  Finally, Mon Mothma is able to create the Rebel Alliance.  But it was mostly through Bria's work.  Apparently, she was the most important person to bring this about. 

  But she has a bounty on her head.  She has been raiding Ylesia, and both Durga and the Ylesian priests are getting very annoyed.  Boba Fett captures her, but a pirate raid, and Lando's quick thinking gets him paid to give her up.  She immediately tries to get information on Han from Lando, who is very forthcoming.  Then she goes to Jabba, to try and get him to finance a rebel attack on Durga's Ylesian operation. 

  Jabba agrees, once Jilliac is killed.  Han is back by that time, so she sees him, too, and tries to convince him that he and the smugglers could join in on the attack.  He is uncharacteristically harsh towards her, but then relents.

  I liked the subtle behind-the-scenes work on the attack.  The assassins take out the priests very nicely.  But, of course, the High Priest still lives, because he has to confront Han and Bria in person.  But they are in no real danger, because Durga has hired Boba Fett to kill the High Priest for daring to poison his father. 

  Now the ending is where I think the author totally dropped the ball.  First, the Rebels cheat the smugglers out of their promised profit.  This gets the smugglers mad at Han, who encouraged them to join in.  Specifically, it allows Han to say "that was a long time ago, I'm sure [Lando] has forgotten about that", when he approaches Cloud City in Empire.  But, in actual fact, it wasn't a long time ago.  And that's the only betrayal we see that would conceivably fit. 

  If the Rebels want to count on the smugglers in other operations, there is no way they should cheat them now.  They know about something big (the Death Star), so they should try to make as many contacts as possible. 

  Han gets a sudden call from Jabba to ship some spice.  This call comes straight out of the blue, when Han is barely away from the Ylesia attack.  It is so sudden that it really feels like a cheat, as if the author needed to fit this in, so that everything would fit for Star Wars.  The last Kessel Run feels cheated, as well.  The distance-vs-time of the Run seems completely fake, compared with what is described in the Jedi Academy Trilogy.  And totally wrong and beside the point. 

  However, Han's misfortune with the spice does feel right.  He goes to Tatooine to talk to Jabba, but Jabba sends Greedo to meet up with him instead.  Boba Fett is there, too, but only to tell Han that Bria's dead, which is a promise he made to her once. 

  Bria died in the attack that caught the Death Star plans, in a series of events that I think was written horribly in the Star Wars Radio Drama.  I did not want to be reminded of them.

  In total, I think the Hutt parts were best.  They were new, intriguing, and fun.  I enjoyed almost every single one.  But I do wish we knew how Durga fared against Xizor, rather than hearing about payment plans.    The Solo bits were not all that interesting, but there were few of them in this volume.  The rebel parts were completely mixed.  I liked some of them, but others felt completely wrong.  I still don't think one person can be so instrumental, be it Leia, Luke, or Bria.  I don't think Lando or Han would have anything to do with the Rebellion for a very, very long time after what they went through here, so I can't believe it happened like this just a few months before A New Hope.


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