SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Scoundrels

Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head—and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba—and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.

All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers . . . or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both—including his indispensable sidekick Chewbacca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike—and pull off the heist of the century—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?

Taking place between the films A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Han and Chewie decide to take on this risky height in hopes of paying off his debt to Jabba. The two then begin collecting a motley crew of various specialized traits from thieves to con men. Sounds like the premise to the TV show Leverage, especially since they’ll be helping a man get back what was original stolen from him. The characters are all unique and colorful. And the author smartly focused on the new characters and their fascinating traits. I look forward to further stories from Zahn hopefully focusing more on Winter, Michele, and some of his other character creations.

It’s been a while since I read a Star Wars novel, but as this is a standalone story, you only need to have seen the films to jump right in. Once again, Zahn has penned a fantastic, complex story with plenty of suspense, danger, and intrigue. It’s brilliantly unpredictable and impossible to put down. From beginning to end, Scoundrels is a masterful new story filled with excitement and adventure. This science fiction saga returns with a few familiar faces and several new that any Star Wars fan would surely enjoy.

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