Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves
Lately, the powers that be at Del Rey and Lucas Books have been publishing stories that fill in the gaps between the major Star Wars movies. Thus far, we've learned what happened to Ben Kenobi after leaving for Coruscant with an infant Luke Skywalker, what happened to Han's reward money after leaving Yavin and what Lando Calrissian's beef with him was in The Empire Strikes Back. In the new novel, Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves, we learn some more about Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca's adventures between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
The Rebellion is through celebrating the small victory in destroying the Emperor's Death Star at Yavin, but they have even more to worry about now. First, Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker must navigate the unknown space around the Seymarti system, an area like our Bermuda Triangle where many a ship has entered and none have returned. Second, Princess Leia Organa must attend a very large and potentially dangerous conference on Kiamurr where she hopes to drum up more support and funds for the Rebel Alliance. But even worse is the news Leia learns from the Rebel spy Han Solo and Chewbacca have recently rescued from the Imperial planet Cioran.
Apparently, the Empire's lead astrocartographer, Essio Galassian, has discovered the location of a planet with some very special properties. According to Scarlet Hark, Galassian has made it clear that this find is incredibly important. Unfortunately, the information regarding this find was stolen by a low-level con artist named Hunter Maas. The bad news is that the Empire has exactly what it needs to get to this important find. The good news is that Hunter Maas is actually headed in Princess Leia's direction. Hoping to find the right buyer for his stolen information, Maas is headed to Kiamurr. The Rebels hope to purchase the information from Maas before the Imperials can triangulate on his position.
Making matters difficult is a Mirialin smuggler turned bounty hunter hot on Han Solo's tail. Baasen Ray, once an acquaintance of Han, is indebted to Jabba, more than enough to make him desperate to return Han Solo dead or alive to the Hutt. And as if things weren't bad enough, the Rebel fleet has lost contact with Wedge and Luke. Can the Rebels capture the information needed and stop the Empire from getting to whatever important find Galassian has dug up without losing Han to a bounty hunter and Leia to the Imperials? And just what exactly is this find of Galassian's that makes it so important to the Emperor?
When I was first introduced to Scarlet Hark in Silver and Scarlet, I was intrigued. Scarlet was a mix of Han Solo, Mara Jade and Winter all in one. An operative used to going undercover and getting out of dodge in a hurry, Scarlet appeared to be a tough as nails expert at espionage and information retrieval. But she wasn't without heart. She was a thrill seeker with a human side and a strong female character who could be appreciated by any Star Wars fan. I couldn't wait to read more about her and James S. A. Corey did not disappoint, revealing quite a bit about the Rebel spy and inserting her into the story as a possible love interest of Han's, creating a nice love triangle between Scarlet, Han and Leia...if only in Han Solo's mind anyway. It was fun to read how Han was dealing with this supposed love triangle in Honor Among Thieves.
I also found it interesting to read Han's thoughts on the Rebel Alliance and the fact that he was worried he was becoming to involved with their mission. His thoughts on government in general were insightful, after all, just because the world would be better without the oppressive Emperor, who said that whoever takes over next wouldn't be just as bad, if not worse. Han's realization that he was becoming very close to Luke and Leia was also revealing, considering that Han was a bit skittish about getting too close to anyone except Chewbacca since getting burned in the days before the Rebellion.
Although not a regular in the Star Wars novel authors group, James S. A. Corey (which is actually a pen name for the combined effort of two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) works extremely well in this genre. The writing is fluid and the action fast-paced. The characters are well-written and believable - not an easy task considering what Star Wars fans expect from their favorite heroes. The new characters provided by Corey are well-thought out and written and Star Wars fans will find them quite interesting and enjoyable additions to the Expanded Universe.
I enjoyed the moral dilemma presented to our heroes once they found out exactly what the Empire was up to in this book. A difficult question indeed - would it be more beneficial to destroy what Galassian found, thus preventing the Empire from using it at all? Or would it be better to keep the find for the Rebels, thus effectively ending the war, but possible causing another empire to rise in the old one's place? Nice touch and quite thought provoking.
All-in-all, I have to say that Honor Among Thieves is one of the most enjoyable additions to the Expanded Universe that I have read in a while. The story is well-thought out and enjoyable, the action is fast-paced, the known characters are on par with what we expect and the unknown characters are interesting enough to peak our interest. This book is just the shot Del Rey needs to perk up more interest in the Star Wars Expanded Universe of novels. I worried that he series might start to get stale, but Honor Among Thieves has allayed that fear and made me excited for the future novels coming our way.