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The Hutt Gambit (Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy, Vol. 2) Paperback – Unabridged, August 11, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Here is the second novel in the blockbuster new trilogy that reveals the never-before-told story of the young Han Solo.  Set before the Star Wars(r) movie adventures, these books chronicle the coming-of-age of the galaxy's most famous con man, smuggler and thief.

Solo is now a fugitive from the Imperial Navy.  But he has made a valuable friend in a former Wookiee slave named Chewbacca, who has sworn Han a  life debt.  Han will need all the help he can get.  For the Ylesian Hutts have dispatched the dreaded bounty hunter Boba Fett to track down the man who already outsmarted them once.  But Han and Chewie find themselves in even bigger trouble when they agree to lend their services to the crime lords Jiliac and Jabba the Hutt.  Suddenly the two smugglers are thrust into the middle of a battle between the might of the Empire and the treachery of their outlaw allies...a battle where even victory means death!

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Han Solo, former Imperial officer, sat despondently at a sticky table in a dingy bar on Devaron, sipping an inferior Alderaanian ale and wishing he were alone.  Not that he minded the other denizens of the bar--horned Devish males and furry Devish females, plus a smattering of nonhumans from other worlds.  Han was used to aliens; he'd grown up with them aboard Trader's Luck, a large trading ship that wandered the spacelanes of the galaxy.  By the time he was ten, Han had been able to speak and understand half a dozen nonhuman languages.

No, it wasn't the aliens around him.  It was the alien beside him.  Han took a swig of his ale, grimaced at the sour taste, then glanced sidelong at the cause of all his troubles.  The huge, hairy being gazed back at him with concerned blue eyes.  Han sighed heavily.  If only he'd go home!  But the Wookiee--Chew-something--utterly refused to go home to Kashyyyk, despite Han's repeated urging.  The alien claimed he owed something called a "life debt" to former Imperial Lieutenant Han Solo.

Life debt .  .  .  great.  Just what I need, Han thought bitterly.  A big furry nursemaid trailing after me, giving me advice, fussing over me if I drink too much, telling me he's gonna take care of me.  Great.  Just great.

Han scowled into his ale, and the pale, watery brew reflected his countenance back at him, distorting his features until he appeared nearly as alien as the Wookiee.  What was his name?  Chew-something.  The Wookiee had told him, but Han wasn't good at pronouncing Wookiee, even though he understood it perfectly.

Besides, he didn't want to learn this particular Wookiee's name.  If he learned his name, he'd likely never get rid of his hairy shadow.

Han rubbed a hand over his face blearily, feeling several days' stubble.  Ever since he'd been kicked out of the service, he kept forgetting to shave.  When he'd been a cadet, then a junior lieutenant, then a full lieutenant, he'd been meticulous with his grooming, the way an officer and a gentleman should be .  .  .  but now .  .  .  what difference did it make?

Han raised his glass in a slightly unsteady hand and gulped the sour ale.  He put the empty tankard down, and glanced around the bar for the server.  Need another drink.  One more, and I'll feel much better.  Just one more .  .  .

The Wookiee moaned quietly.  Han's scowl deepened.  "Keep your opinions to yourself, hairball," he snarled.  "I'll know when I've had enough.  Th' las' thing I need is a Wookiee playin' nursemaid for me."

The Wookiee--Chewbacca, that was it--growled softly, his blue eyes shadowed with concern.  Han's lip curled.  "I'm perfectly capable of lookin' after myself, and don't you forget it.  Just 'cause I saved your furry butt from being vaporized doesn't mean you owe me a thing.  I tol' you before--I owed a Wookiee, long ago.  Owed her my life, coupla times over.  So I saved you, 'cause I owed her."

Chewbacca made a sound halfway between a moan and a snarl.  Han shook his head.  "No, that means you don't owe me a thing, don't you get it?  I owed her, but I couldn't repay her.  So I helped you out, which makes us even .  .  .  square.  So will you please take those credits I gave you, and go back to Kashyyyk?  You ain't doin' me any favors staying here, hairball.  I need you like I need a blaster burn on my butt."

Affronted, Chewbacca drew himself up to his full Wookiee height.  He growled low in his throat.

"Yeah, I know I tossed away my career and my livin' that day on Coruscant when I stopped Commander Nyklas from shootin' you.  I hate slavery, and watchin' Nyklas use a force whip ain't a particularly appetizing sight.  I know Wookiees, you see.  When I was growin' up, a Wookiee was my best friend.  I knew you were gonna turn on Nyklas before you did it--just like I knew Nyklas would go for his blaster.  I couldn't just stand there and watch him blast you.  But don't go tryin' to make me out as some kinda hero, Chewie.  I don't need a partner, and I don't want a friend.  My name says it all, pal.  Solo."

Han jerked a thumb at his chest.  "Solo.  In my language, that means me, alone, by myself.  Get it?  That's the way it is, and that's the way I like it.  So .  .  .  no offense, Chewie, but why don't you just scram.  As in, go away.  Permanently."

Chewie stared at Han for a long moment, then he snorted disdainfully, turned, and strode out of the bar.

Han wondered disinterestedly if he'd actually managed to convince the big hairy oaf to leave for good.  If he had, that was reason for celebration.  For another drink .  .  .

As he glanced around the bar, he saw that over in the corner several patrons were gathering around a table.  A sabacc game was forming.  Han wondered whether he ought to try to get in on it.  Mentally he reviewed the contents of his credit pouch, and decided that might not be a bad idea.  He usually had very good luck at sabacc, and every credit counted, these days.

These days .  .  .

Han sighed.  How long had it been since that fateful day when he'd been sent to assist Commander Nyklas with the crew of Wookiee laborers assigned to complete a new wing on the Imperial Hall of Heroes?  He counted, grimacing as he realized that he'd lost days on end in there .  .  .  days probably spent in a dark haze of ale and bitter recrimination.  In two days it would be two months.

Han's mouth tightened and he ran an unsteady hand through his unruly brown hair.  For the past five years he'd kept it cut short in approved military fashion, but now it was growing out, getting almost shaggy.  He had a sudden, sharp mental image of himself as he'd been then--immaculately groomed, insignia polished, boots shining--and glanced down at himself.

What a contrast between then and now.  He was wearing a stained, grayish shirt that had once been white, a stained, gray neo-leather jacket he'd purchased secondhand, and dark blue military-style trousers with his Corellian bloodstripe running down the outside seam.  Only the boots were the same.  They were custom-fitted when each cadet was commissioned, so the Empire hadn't wanted them back.  Han had been commissioned just a little over eight months ago, and no junior lieutenant had ever been prouder of his rank--or of those shining boots.

The boots were scuffed now, and worn.  Han's lip curled as he regarded them.  Scuffed and worn by life, all the spit and polish gone .  .  .  that about described him these days, too.

In a moment of painful honesty, Han admitted that he probably wouldn't have been able to stay in the Imperial Navy even if he hadn't gotten himself cashiered for rescuing and freeing Chewbacca.  He'd started his career with high hopes, but disillusionment had quickly set in.  The prejudice against nonhumans had been hard to take for someone raised the way Han had been, but he'd bitten his tongue and remained silent.  But the endless, silly bureaucratic regs, the blind stupidityof so many of the officers--Han had already begun to wonder how long he'd be able to take it.

But he'd never figured on a dishonorable discharge, loss of pension and back pay, and--worst of all--being blacklisted as a pilot.  They hadn't taken his license, but Han had quickly discovered that no legitimate company would hire him.  He'd tramped the permacrete of Coruscant for weeks, in between alcoholic binges, looking for work--and found all respectable doors closed to him.

Then, one night, as he'd tavern-hopped in a section of the planet-wide city near the alien ghetto, a huge, furred shadow had flowed out of the deeper shadows of an alley and confronted Han.

For long moments Han's ale-fogged brain hadn't even recognized the Wookiee as the one he'd saved.  It was only when Chewbacca began speaking, thanking Han for saving his life and freeing him from slavery, that Han had realized who he was.  Chewie had been quite direct--his people didn't mince words.  He, Chewbacca, had sworn a life debt to Han Solo.  Where Han went, from that day forward, he would go, too.

And he had.

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Product Details

  • Series: Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy - Legends (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks (August 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553574167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553574166
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann's historical fantasy for young adults, TIME HORSE, is now available as an ebook for Kindle. It's the story of Danielle Tomasky, who is twelve years old and wants nothing in the world but a horse to ride. She finds a horse that turns out to be something extraordinary, and that takes her on a magnificent adventure back to a time that tests every one of Danni's equestrian skills to their limits.


A. C. Crispin's major original science fiction undertaking is the StarBridge series. These books, now available as Kindle ebooks and in audiobook editions from Audible, center around a school for young diplomats, translators and explorers, both alien and human, located on an asteroid far from Earth. There are seven StarBridge books: StarBridge, Silent Dances, Shadow World, Serpent's Gift, Silent Songs, Voices of Chaos, and Ancestor's World.

A. C. wrote prolifically in many different tie-in universes, and was a master at filling in the histories of beloved TV and movie characters. Over the years, she became the unofficial "Queen of Backstory." Ms. Crispin had a unique talent for writing dialog that captured the essence of those characters. She began publishing in 1983 with the Star Trek novel Yesterday's Son, written in her spare time while working for the US Census Bureau. Shortly thereafter, Tor Books commissioned her to write what is perhaps still her most widely read work, the 1984 novelization of the television miniseries, V, which sold more than a million copies. She went on to collaborate on two more books in the V series, East Coast Crisis with Howard Weinstein, and Death Tide with Deborah Marshall.

For Star Wars, she wrote the bestselling Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn, which tell the story of Han Solo from his early years right up to the moment he walks into the cantina in Star Wars: A New Hope. She wrote three other bestselling Star Trek novels: Time for Yesterday, The Eyes of the Beholders, and Sarek.

Crispin and noted author Andre Norton wrote two Witch World novels together, Gryphon's Eyrie and Songsmith. Ann Crispin and Andre Norton were friends for nearly 30 years. Ms. Norton was the first woman to be declared a Grand Master in the field of science fiction and fantasy by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Andre Norton's passing brought increasing demand for her works, but a legal battle has tied up the rights to her collaborations with Ms. Crispin.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Handofthrawn on October 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Kudos to A. C. Crispin for a superb trilogy that, in my opinion, ranks right up there with 'heavy-hitters' like Zahn and Stackpole's books. An amazing feat has been accomplished in tying together dozens of tidbits of Han's life from numerous books and comics in one coherent, smooth, and effective storyline. The book itself is interesting on its own, but its historical value is incredible. Han's relationships with Lando, Boba Fett, Jabba, Shug Ninx, Salla Zend, Mako Spince, and others are given vibrant backgrounds and realistic beginnings. Granted, some stuff from the Academy would be nice, but I'm sure Lucas wanted it restricted. Heck, they even worked around it in the 'Chewbacca' comic. And besides, Han in the Empire would have nothing to do with the rest of the story. This is about Han picking himself up after being kicked out of the Empire and forming a new life on Nar Shaddaa.
Ah, the slums of the galaxy. Never before has the Galactic underworld been so vividly pictures. Black Sun from Steve Perry's 'Shadows' hardly seemed like an underground criminal syndicate. More like a mini-Empire that worked with the real one. Here we have the dirt of it all- Hutts, gang wars, and all of that nice stuff. Truly impressive and interesting. This is a side of Star Wars never before depicted. The Empire still is there, of course, and we get the great, dramatic Battle of Nar Shaddaa. The use of Baron Fel directly ties into Stackpole's 'The Making of Baron Fel', which is also a very nice touch. See what you people miss when you read only the books?
The huge, varied cast is prefectly done and balanced. All of the people from Nar Shadda in 'Dark Empire' get their backgrounds adeptly crafted here, and a huge amount of Han's life is revealed to us. Simply put, this is a highly, highly reccomended book for fans of Han Solo and the numerous books which this ties into.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Ann Minners on October 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Hutt Gambit begins a short period after The Paradise Snare ends. The book opens with a very drunk Han Solo seated in a tap-cafe with a furry alien creature as he mulls over his unfortunate past. Joining the Imperial Academy had been one of the most important events of his life. Receiving his first commission had made him proud. But watching the Imperials and the cruelties dealt their alien slaves proved to be more than Han could stomach. He was drummed out of the Imperial Navy for rescuing one such slave - the Wookie seated next to him known as Chewbacca, who, as payback for the rescue has sworn a life debt to Solo. At first Han considers this annoying, but then he realizes how advantageous it is to have a Wookie around - especially when you have a price on your head. Han's former employer, a t'landa Til, has not taken kindly to being robbed and played the fool by Han Solo and has offered a considerable bounty for Han. While dodging bounty hunters, Han and Chewie become partners, trying to push their way into the smuggling trade and eventually applying for work with the Desilijic, a Hutt-run syndicate. But, when the Hutt's homeworld comes under the notice of a greedy Imperial Moff, Han and his smuggler friends must think fast and devise a plan to save their world.
This book has something for everyone: a peek into Han's past, plenty of action - including some dogfights, some romance, and appearances by favorites like Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Durga the Hutt, Darth Vader, and more! The book is a quick read and thoroughly enjoyable for any Star Wars fan. This book deals heavily with Han's involvement with the Hutts, giving us clues as to how past encounters may have affected Jabba's dealings with Han in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W & T Perry on September 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
The 2nd book of the trilogy was better than the first as we are introduced to more familiar characters from the original Star Wars universe. This book has plenty of action as well. We find Han kicked out of the Imperial Academy for saving Chewie from being killed. Han hates slavery!
Well, Han and Chewie, find themselves looking for a ship on the Smuggler's Moon Nar Shaddaa, and Han volunteers to work for Jiliac and Jabba, both Hutt's. Meanwhile, the t'Landa til, Teroenza, wants Han's skin for what he did in the first book. The Besadii clan of the Hutt's who Teroenza works for, hire Boba Fett for to capture Han.
Han falls victim to Fett, but another familiar name in the SW Universe saves his hide, Lando. Afterwards, Fett does not have much of a role in this book.
While working for Jabba, the Desilijic clan of the Hutts, Han finds out that the Imperials are wanting to destroy Nar Shaddaa, and the smuggler's ways of life. Jabba does not want this and tries to bribe the local Moff, to no avail, then the Admiral of the ships, which works somewhat. The Imperials launch an attack on Nar Shaddaa, but the Smuggler's have tricks up their sleeves, and put up a good fight.
Finally, another acquaintence shows up toward the end, as Han is hiding on an Imperial vessel in a dark closet, he hears heavy breathing, as someone visits the admiral. Then a thump to the floor.
Welcome to the picture, Lord Vader! Great read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
A very exciting book by a great author for Han Solo and Chewie fans. The Hutt Gambit explains how Han Solo is thrown out of the Imperial academy, his life of crime, and how he met Chewbacca. I think that the most action packed scene of the book was the battle of Nar Shadd. Overall, I think that all people who like Han Solo should read this book to find out what he was like before the The New Hope.
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The Hutt Gambit (Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy, Vol. 2)
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