Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy
Author: A.C. Crispin
Published By: Spectra
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Have you ever wondered about Han Solo's past? Why is he such a loner? Why does he have such a cavalier attitude? Why can't he trust anyone? All of these questions and more are answered in the Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin. So you’re a diehard Star Wars novel fan, are you? Well, then you probably already know that there’s another Han Solo Trilogy out there written by Brian Daley. But much of Crispin’s trilogy deals with adventures that take place long before the Daley trilogy revealing how Han Solo became a pilot, how he met Chewbacca, his time in the Imperial Academy and more.
In the first book of the trilogy, The Paradise Snare, we meet Han Solo at the age of three, orphaned and homeless. Rescued by a ruthless Fagan-like character, Garris Shrike, Han is forced to beg and steal to appease his benefactor. He dreams of attending the Imperial Academy and becoming an officer in the Imperial Navy, but realizes he must escape Shrike if he ever hopes to achieve his goal. With help from a trusted friend he manages to escape, though not completely unscathed, and heads to the planet Ylesia, where he hopes to find a job as a pilot. The planet is toted as a religious paradise, but as Han continues to discover, things aren't always what they seem.
The Hutt Gambit, the second novel in the triology, begins a short period after The Paradise Snare. The book opens with a very drunk Han Solo seated in a tap-cafe with a furry alien creature, mulling over his unfortunate past. Joining the Imperial Academy had been one of the most important events of his life and receiving his first commission had made him proud, but watching the Imperials and the cruelties dealt their alien slaves proved to be more than Han could stomach. He was drummed out of the Imperial Navy for rescuing one such slave - the Wookie seated next to him known as Chewbacca, who, as payback for the rescue has sworn a life debt to Han. At first Han finds the prospect annoying, but he soon realizes how advantageous it is to have a Wookie around - especially when you have a price on your head. Han's former employer, a t'landa Til, has not taken kindly to being robbed and played the fool by Han Solo and has offered a considerable bounty for him. While dodging bounty hunters, Han and Chewie become partners, trying to push their way into the smuggling trade. They eventually apply for work with the Desilijic, a Hutt-run syndicate. But when the Hutt's homeworld comes under the notice of a greedy Imperial Moff, Han and his smuggler friends must think fast and devise a plan to save their world.
Rebel Dawn, the final installment of The Han Solo Trilogy, begins with Han Solo entering one of the biggest sabaac tournaments in hopes of scoring big. Han Solo lucks out and wins big, scoring himself a new transport - the Millenium Falcon. Her first important voyage is to Chewbacca's homeworld to find his sweetheart Mallatobuck. Meanwhile, Han Solo’s old flame, Bria Tharen, has become a high ranking officer in the Corellian Resistance. She has hurt the Basadii Hutt clan by returning to the planet Ylesia and raiding the so-called religious settlements. Having spent time as one of the followers at one of the settlements, Bria knows they are actually slave camps where followers of the t'landa til priests are forced to work in spice factories in exchange for the intoxicating Exultation. Vowing to take no quarter where slavers are concerned, Bria earns a hefty bounty placed on her head by Teroenza, the chief priest of Ylesia. While she travels across the galaxy in an attempt to bring the growing number of resistance groups into a united Rebel Alliance, Han journeys to the Corporate Sector, ducking overtures of marriage from his new girlfriend Salla. And on top of it all, the war between the Basadii Hutt clan and the Desilijic Hutt clan heats up to supernova levels!
Having read other A.C. Crispin novels, I had hopes for this series. Although the author had never written novels featuring Star Wars characters before, A.C. Crispin is an accomplished science fiction writer, producing books in the Star Trek and V series. A.C. Crispin has a knack for having a full grasp of the characters she is writing about. In this trilogy, Crispin is completely in touch with Han's character from the first page to the last. This is the origins of the Han Solo we know and love and Crispin makes certain not to deviate from the path.
The Han Solo Trilogy reveals a great deal about the reckless, carefree and cavalier Han Solo we meet in Star Wars: A New Hope. By the end of this series, we now understand Han’s relationship with the Hutts and how past dealings with this race of creatures may have had an adverse affect on how Jabba the Hutt chose to deal with him after the great spice-dumping debacle. In addition, we learn quite a bit about the world of the Hutts, gaining insight into their lives, most especially that of Jabba. The best part about these novels is that they allow us more insight into some of the most important occurrences in Star Wars history, such as Han's coming into possession of the Millenium Falcon, the marriage of Chewbacca to Mallatobuck, the forming of the Rebel Alliance and more.
Crispin makes certain that there is plenty of action in these novels to hold readers’ interests, including dogfights, romance and appearances by fan favorites. Star Wars fans will be delighted by appearances by Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, Winter, Mon Mothma, Prince Xizor, Guri, Greedo and more. Readers will also become vested in the new characters Crispin created for the trilogy, adding them to the list of favorites they already had. I, for one, can definitely see the reason for the attraction that existed between Han and Bria – the Bria from the third novel is very much like the Leia Organa of A New Hope.
A.C. Crispin ties everything up rather neatly in this series, leading up to the moment when Han sits down with Chewbacca, Ben and Luke in the Mos Eisley cantina to discuss fees for a charter flight to Alderaan. The most telling line of the novel is at the end of the book. It simply ends with the words "THE BEGINNING". Fast-paced and filled with adventure, The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin is a must read for any Star Wars fan, particularly fans of our favorite rogue – Han Solo.
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