This week I decided to review the re-release of Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy: The Hutt Gambit by AC Crispin.
The story starts a few weeks after Han is kicked out of the Imperial Navy for saving the life of the Wookiee Chewbacca, earning a life debt from the Wookiee in the process. At this point in their relationship, however, Han is trying to convince Chewbacca to stop following him around. Soon Han accepts a job to fly a ship and its cargo to a small planet in the Y’toub system, the center of Hutt power. After delivering the ship to a Hutt lord, Han receives a recommendation to Jiliac the Hutt, a relative of Jabba and leader of one of the most powerful Hutt organizations.
But the Hutt organization that runs Ylesia seeks vengeance for Han’s past actions and fighting off bounty hunters becomes a regular occurrence, and Han finds himself flying a wide variety of ships and jobs, including time serving as the pilot of Jabba’s personal yacht and an encounter with a small pirate force sent to assassinate Jabba. Han’s reactions to the ambush make Jabba and Jiliac suspicious and Solo has to explain his past. Even worse, soon Han is captured by Boba Fett but is swiftly rescued by new ally Lando Calrissian. Lando asks Han to teach him how to pilot his newly won ship, the Millennium Falcon, and Han falls in love at first sight, though he does his best to conceal this. In time, Han manages to lease a small transport from Lando, but soon the local Moff turns his attention to stamping out Hutt criminal activity and Han, Lando and their allies must race to assemble a fleet and prepare a battle plan to defend Nar Shaddaa, even as the Hutts themselves try to stay out of the coming battle. There are also a few scenes following Han’s former lover Bria Tharen and her efforts as part of the Corellian Resistance.
I give this book 9 out of 10. The battle sequences are handled much better then in the prior book in my opinion. It was also nice to see the birth of the friendship between Han and Lando and the early adventures of the Han and Chewbacca team, along with Han and Lando showing some use of skills which make their later positions as general’s a little more believable.. There are also a few little parts that serve as nods to the original Star Wars movie without disrupting the story's flow, which I found to be a very nice touch. However, I still feel that skipping Han’s entire Imperial military career, with the previous book ending as he is leaving for the Academy and this one beginning a couple of months after he is discharged, was a massive mistake