Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In our last installment Luke and Lando snuck onto the Imperial homeworld to rescue Leia, which is what Xizor had planned to happen. Our heroes are going to meet one of Lando’s contacts. Let’s see how that goes?
Let’s get the tedious stuff out of the way, which means Xizor. Actually it starts with Vader, who learns of crew chief that attacked Luke back in the early chapters, after their failed attempt to snag Han from Boba Fett. It’s just more evidence; circumstantial, perhaps, but it’s piling up. And that makes Vader happy.
As for Xizor himself, he spills the beans to Leia about how he’s actually the one trying to kill Luke, and Leia is just part of the trap. Xizor now wants to kill Luke on the Imperial home turf, which will just make Vader, currently running things while the Emperor is seeing to Death Star II, look even worse. Remember, Xizor is out to embarrass Vader over the death of Xizor’s family. Then Xizor goes to his usual meetings with the closer “friends” Black Sun has, and this is the tedious part. It just shows how Xizor conducts business, pays off snitches in the Imperial army (while mentioning other loyal members of the Friends Of Black Sun littered throughout the Empire), and other stuff. It’s not exactly high action or tells us anything we don’t already know. As Leia notes, he’s brilliant, evil, and twisted. Not much else.
The interesting part is Luke and Lando. When our heroes get to a plant shop with one of Lando’s contacts, they find Chewbacca already there. The shop keeper is tied up for appearances, and then they’re all shot at. Whether it’s Black Sun tracking them down (Xizor is surprised they arrived so soon) or someone who has it in for Stormtroopers, which Luke and Lando are still dressed as, they’ll never know because they’re saved by Dash Rendar. While still hurting over his previous mistake, he’s ready to dust himself off, get back in the pilot’s seat and give the Empire a little payback. Dash has a good character arc in this book and here’s where it completes. While he still does this for money, this time it’s personal. Good moment. And thanks to the Force, Luke may have a plan to rescue Leia.
(And yes, it is explained how Dash found them. He even used the same trick to sneak onto Coruscant, which Guri and Dash both know is a fairly well-known trick in the smuggling game. Nice try, Han and Lando.)
A good chapter outside of sitting through Xizor’s boring meetings. At this point I don’t think it matters how deep Black Sun is entangled with the Empire. We know it won’t help them, and next time we’ll see what our heroes have planned.