Star Wars: Scoundrels offers up an Ocean's Eleven style tale
Back in 1991, when the Expanded Universe of Star Wars began, I read the Timothy Zahn trilogy that launched a thousand more tales. I will say I eventually grew tired of the stories, mostly because I always felt the drama of putting our favorite characters in jeopardy always rang false. At the time, in the mid to late 1990s, it bothered me that a villain would, say, put a blaster to Princess Leia’s head and threaten to kill her is Han or Luke did not follow their plans. I knew it was never going to happen, and it “took me out” of the adventure. I came to the same conclusion with the Star Trek line of books a few years earlier.
Now, I understand that Chewbacca has died some where in the multitude of SW books that have come out in the last 20 years. Okay, it’s good that they killed off a continuing character. But it was, to be honest, an easy character to kill off. They still can’t kill off Luke, Leia or Han, so villains threatening their lives is pretty pointless.
To me, a good writer will not rely on cliches, but focus on creating better scenarios that engage the reader beyond those silly plot constructions that some authors rely on to fill out a certain page count. But overall, Zahn is perhaps the best of the Star Wars writers, in my opinion. His stories are more intimate, focusing on what excites me in books, TV and movies: characterization over plot driven stories.
Due the day after Christmas this year, Zahn returns with what looks like a hilarious, action/buddy tale called Scoundrels (which appears to be set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back). I may need to read it.
Here’s the plot description from Del Rey:
The Death Star has been destroyed. The Rebellion has had its first big victory. And Han Solo, newly conscripted to the Rebel cause, is on the run from the Empire and the bounty hunters eager to turn him in for the huge reward being offered by Jabba the Hutt. Now a mysterious stranger offers Han the resources to execute a daring robbery from a major crime lord. The mission is impossible, but the prize will make Han a free man. With no choice but to accept, Han Solo and his Wookiee partner, Chewbacca, set out to assemble a cast of rogues, knaves, and cons with the right combination of wits, skills, and derring-do to pull off an operation of this complexity and scale — the best scoundrels the galaxy has to offer. And then the game is on: a rip-roaring, intergalactic, Ocean’s Eleven-style heist adventure starring Han Solo, Chewie, and Lando Calrissian, written by #1 New York Times bestselling Star Wars author Timothy Zahn!