Han Solo and the Lost Legacy is the final book The Han Solo Adventures, Brian Daley’s Han Solo trilogy, and the last Star Wars novel Daley ever wrote (though he went on to write the radio dramatizations of the original Star Wars Trilogy). I enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy, so I was excited to read the finale.
This book came out in August of 1980, three months after The Empire Strikes Back premiered in theaters. The books and comics were no longer the only “continuing adventures” of Star Wars at this point. More movies were now coming out, and Star Wars was growing massively in popularity.
Following in the tradition of the first two novels, the first chapter of Han Solo and the Lost Legacy shows us what Han and Chewie are up to before the main plot of the book actually begins. This time, Han and Chewie are working as the pit crew for an air show, after having a streak of bad luck in the smuggling business. They hate their job, but they’re pretty desperate for money, so they stick with it. One day, after a particularly frustrating day of work, Han is approached by somebody who offers him a job transporting supplies to a university on the planet Rudrig. Han is eager to quit this current job and accepts.
Once on Rudrig, after successfully delivering the supplies to the university, Han runs into an old smuggling friend named Alexsandr Badure. Han and Chewbacca owe Badure a Life-Debt, since Badure once saved both of their lives. Badure, like Han and Chewie, has fallen on hard times. Along with his business partner, a young red-haired woman named Hasti, Badure tries to recruit Han and Chewbacca for a mission, because he needs “a ship with a punch” and “a skipper I can trust”. Han declines, not interested in going on any risky runs at the moment, and goes off to find Chewbacca.
When he finds Chewbacca, Han tells him that Badure tried to recruit them to go on a mission with him and that he declined. Chewbacca is furious with Han, since the two owe Badure a Life-Debt, and Wookiees honor Life-Debts above all else. Chewbacca is determined to fund Badure and help him, and Han reluctantly agrees.
This is the first mention of Life-Debts in Star Wars that I can recall. If Life-Debts were mentioned in either of Daley’s previous novels, or in Foster’s novelization of A New Hope, I don’t remember it. This may be the first time Life-Debts are explained in Star Wars. If they were mentioned in any of the original Star Wars comics, or in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special I could be wrong about this.
Badure tells Han and Chewie that he knows where to find the fabled Queen of Ranroon, a ship full of treasures of an ancient warlord named Xim the Despot. Han is immediately suspicious, and tells Badure that the Queen of Ranroon is just a fairy tale from children’s bedtime stories. Badure has a pretty compelling reason to believe that the ship is real, and that he can find it, and Han and Chewbacca end up going with him to find the treasure, along with Hasti, Bollux, and Max.
One thing I really like about this book is that it isn’t just a rehash of the last two novels. This story is more the story of a treasure hunt than a smuggling mission. It feels almost like an Indiana Jones story, to be honest, only in space. Heck, even the cover of the book reminds me of Indiana Jones!
There is a portion in the middle of the novel that sort of loses momentum, and gets a little boring, but the novel both starts off and finishes strong. In fact, the final act of this novel is probably the most exciting ending to any of Daley’s Han Solo books. This story is the first Star Wars story to my knowledge that featured a droid army, nineteen years before The Phantom Menace did it. And I have to say, the droid army in this book was way cooler.
Another thing that I liked about this one was that the Corporate Sector Authority weren’t the antagonists of the story, like they were in the previous two books. In fact, they are barely even mentioned. I thought it was sort of strange that the first two books in the trilogy were all about “the Authority” and had no mention of the Empire. In contrast, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy makes quite a few references to the Empire and to Imperials (though they are only mentioned, and are not really a part of the story at all). I wondered why Daley chose to use the Authority in his first two stories instead of the Empire as the antagonists. Recently, while flipping through the book Star Wars: Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle, I found the answer. About the first book in the trilogy, Han Solo at Stars’ End, the book says “Because editorial constraints require the Han Solo and Chewbacca adventure to be set before the events of the first Star Wars movie, but without any other principal characters or interaction with the Empire, Daley sends the smuggling duo to a new region of space, the Corporate Sector.” So, there ya go. I guess this was no longer an issue after The Empire Strikes Back was released, thereby allowing Daley to include the Empire in his final Han Solo story.
Another thing I loved is that although this is the conclusion to Daley’s trilogy of Han Solo stories, on the last page of the novel he sets up for stories that came after. Han says he wants to do another Kessel spice run for some easy money and tells Chewie that maybe he’ll get Jabba the Hut (still spelled with only one “T”) to back them for a cut. Not only does this tie nicely into the original Star Wars movie, but from what I’ve been told, the story of these events that leave Han Solo owing Jabba so much money in the movie is later told the final novel of A.C. Crispen’s Han Solo trilogy, Rebel Dawn, which was released in 1998. It is a story I am eager to read eventually.
And, as always, I loved the characters Bollux and Max. They are very important characters in these novels, and they play a crucial role in the success of Han and Chewie’s adventure in The Lost Legacy. From what I understand, this book is the last we ever get to see of them in the Star Wars universe, which makes me sad. They have been two of my favorite characters I’ve encountered reading Star Wars novels so far. These guys will be missed!
Brian Daley’s Han Solo trilogy was a lot of fun to read. Though my favorite of the three books was Han Solo at Stars’ End, the second and third books are also very good. Han Solo and the Lost Legacy is a satisfying conclusion to The Han Solo Adventures. We get to say goodbye to some of the reoccurring characters from this trilogy and it sets up for other Han Solo stories that were eventually told in later years. Daley did a great job of capturing the personalities of Han Solo and Chewbacca, which made reading these books really feel like Star Wars. I would definitely recommend these books to any fans of Star Wars, and any fans of Han Solo.
Here are my ratings for this book, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, and for The Han Solo Adventures trilogy as a whole:
Han Solo and the Lost Legacy: 7/10
The Han Solo Adventures (trilogy): 7.5/10