Title: The Hutt Gambit
Author: A. C. Crispin
Page Count/Review Word Count: 358
There’s a bit of history behind this review, and I feel like it’s some sort of coming of age – this is the second book in Crispin’s Han Solo trilogy, set before Star Wars (i.e. A New Hope) and featuring a young Han Solo. The first book is called The Paradise Snare, and I first read that when I was a youngster – I recently reviewed it and felt nostalgic, so I decided to get its sequel.
The thing is, I’m now twice the age I was when I read its younger sibling, and the author has sadly passed away – I was lucky enough to receive a tweet from her shortly before her death, which somehow makes it sadder. It was a sobering perspective to have while reading the book, but an interesting one – it reflected the change that Han went through between where the first book left off and the second book took up.
The great thing here is that the two books work well as standalone novels, although it’s not repetitive and so it won’t be a problem if you read one after another. Characters and storylines from the first novel are referred to here, in the second, but they’re explained concisely and naturally as Crispin segues between sections of the narrative. There’s no awkwardness here, no unsuspension of belief – you’ll feel like you’re really there, on Nar Shaddaa.
And there are a whole host of well-known characters here too, as well as a good selection of new ones – Han met Chewbacca in the time between the first and second novels, and he makes friends with some guy called Lando Calrissian about half way through. He even develops a certain fondness for Lando’s ship, The Millennium Falcon.
In all honesty, I enjoyed this novel so much that I’m gutted I can’t re-read it with the same sense of tense expectation and enjoyment. But nevermind – there’s still the third novel in the series, Rebel Dawn. I, for one, can’t wait to read it. I’ve been missing out!