Scoundrels is a novel written by Timothy Zahn, and released on January 1, 2013. It was released in paperback on November 26, 2013 and includes the short story Winner Lose All. The novel takes place before the events in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and features Han Solo and Chewbacca in an "Ocean's Eleven-type heist caper." The book was first announced at the Del Rey Star Wars books panel at the 2011 New York Comic-Con.
To make his biggest score, Han’s ready to take even bigger risks.
But even he can’t do this job solo.
Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head—and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba—and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.
All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers . . . or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both—including his indispensable sidekick Chewbacca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike—and pull off the heist of the century—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?
The book took place in 0 ABY shortly after the Battle of Yavin. Han Solo had received his reward from the Alliance to Restore the Republic. However, his payment had then been stolen by the pirate Crimson Jack leaving him heavily in debt to Jabba the Hutt with no means to pay him back. Han responded to a job request at Reggilio’s Cantina on the planet Wukkar where after a brief encounter with the bounty hunter Falsta he encountered Eanjer Kunarazti.
Eanjer explained to Han that a local crime lord named Avrak Villachor murdered Eanjer's father and stole over 163 million credits from his family. Eanjer hired Han to assemble a team of con artists and thieves to break into Villachor's heavily protected vault in Marblewood Estate located in Iltarr City and steal the money back for an even split.
Han got into contact with local fixer Rachele Ree who in turn helped him track down the following members of their team: Bink Kitik, a ghost thief and her twin sister Tavia, the electronics expert, Zerba Cher'dak, a magician and sleight-of-hand expert, Dozer Creed, a shipjacker. While Han and Chewie flew around picking up their new team members a mutual acquaintance of Han and Rachele named Mazzic sent help in the form of Kell Tainer, explosives and droid expert, and Winter, a woman with perfect memory. Finally due to miscommunication Lando Calrissian also arrived as the group's front man despite Han and Lando having a falling out recently.
Meanwhile two Imperial Intelligence agents, D'Ashewl and Dayja arrived on the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Dominator tracking a Falleen Black Sun Vigo, Qazadi. Qazadi arrived on Wukkar and was staying as a guest in Villachor's estate. Both Dayja and Han's team discovered that an important VIP was staying at the Lulina Crown Hotel and was transiting back and forth between the hotel and Villachor's estate multiple times a day. Han's team put the hotel under surveillance and discovered that the Falleen Aziel was staying there with a large safe. The team decided to break into the safe and discover the identity of Villachor's guest as well as steal whatever was being guarded so heavily. As Bink, Winter, and Chewie broke into the hotel suite, Dozer and Kell distracted the guards allowing Bink and Winter to discover that the safe was guarding a cryodex, an ancient Alderaanian encryption device that was unhackable. Meanwhile Dayja discovered Han's team watching Villachor and Aziel and gets into contact with Eanjer and worked out a deal with him. In exchange for Dayja delivering additional intelligence, Eanjer would turn over the cryodex and the encrypted files that were being stored in Villachor's vault. Using the information from Dayja, Eanjer explained to the rest of the team that Villachor was heavily involved in Black Sun and that the encrypted files that were being stored in Villachor's vault was a cornerstone of Black Sun's power and that the files and cryodex to decode them were almost priceless.
Over the next week the team made preparations and cased the estate while Villachor hosts the Festival of Four Honorings, a grand affair where Villachor's estate was open to the public. As part of the plan Bink attached herself to Villachor's chief of security Lapis Sheqoa, Dozer attempted to bribe several of Villachor's security staff and Lando introduced himself to Villachor under the alias of Kwerve offering to help Villachor defect to a mysterious rival organization. Lando's offer was sweetened by him stating that his organization had a working cryodex which surprised Villachor as less then a dozen survived the destruction of Alderaan. Lando agreed to come back at a later date with the cryodex as proof of his offer. Meanwhile Villachor started to become very paranoid that Lando and all the other mysterious events caused by Han's team was really either Qazadi or even Prince Xizor attempting to test his loyalty or position him for failure and replacement.
Lando arrived as agreed with a fake cryodex that Winter had recreated from her brief inspection of the one held in Aziel's vault. Villachor demanded proof that the cryodex could actually decode a file and using information provided by both Han and Rachele, Lando was able to bluff his way through the meeting and convinced Villachor that the cryodex was legitimate. In the process they swapped out the datacard Villachor gave them with a fake card that contained sophisticated sensors so they could get readings from inside Villachor's vault. Soon after departing, however, Lando and Zerba, who had been carrying the cryodex in a case, were kidnapped by corrupt police on orders from Qazadi. They attempted to steal the cryodex but Han, Chewie, Winter and Kell were able to rescue them.
At the next opportunity Han made contact and offered to set up a meeting between Villachor and the leader of Lando's shadowy organization while the rest of the team made their final preparations. As more and more unexplained events happened, Villachor became paranoid enough to make preliminary contacts with the Imperials with the hope that if he defected and turned over information on Black Sun's organization that they could in turn protect him from whatever was going on however in the end he decided against it. Dayja warned Eanjer however Eanjer decided not to warn the rest of the team that Villachor might be taking an unexpected turn by dealing with the Empire.
Finally the day of the heist came and the entire team sprang into action. Han approached Villachor with a datacard that was supposed to have the time and place for a meeting however Villachor immediately took him prisoner. Dayja, who had been making his own attempts to infiltrate both Villachor's organization and estate was also spotted and captured. Bink, who had been flirting with Sheqoa throughout the whole festival stole his keycard to get access to the estate and then using one of Zerba's illusions she switched places with Tavia so Tavia was with Sheqoa and Bink was free to infiltrate the house. Sheqoa immediately suspected Bink to have stolen his keycard however as he was now with Tavia he could find no evidence of the theft. Even so Qazadi ordered her into the estate for a more in-depth interrogation.
With several members captured the team had to improvise. Lando dead dropped the cryodex in an attempt to ransom out Han but nobody on the team expected that to actually work. Instead they had realized that as Winter had copied Aziel's cryodex perfectly, Qazadi would immediately suspect his aide of treachery and would call him to the estate immediately. If the team could keep the real cryodex from being in the same room as the fake then Qazadi would keep the prisoners alive so he could get more information out of them. Winter and Dozer went back to the hotel to stall Aziel while Bink, Zerba, and Kell infiltrated the estate. Both Han and Dayja escaped their captors and Han joined up with his team while Dayja went to the roof to observe. Bink, Zerba, and Kell were able to cut their way into the vault chamber and using data from the fake datacard on the inside they were able to penetrate the vault completely. Meanwhile Winter and Dozer staged a landspeeder accident and then hotwired Aziel's landspeeder to operate by remote. Dozer took control of the vehicle and smashed Aziel and his bodyguards all over a parking garage before he opened the side door and grabbed the cryodex while the guards were too dazed to react. Dozer and Winter tried to escape but were stopped by a detachment of stormtroopers who put everyone under arrest. Unexpectedly D'Ashewl appeared and let Dozer and Winter go in exchange for the cryodex. When Winter communicated this out to the team they realized that Eanjer's contact had been with Imperial Intelligence and became aware that there was another operation underway.
Villachor realized that the intruders were already breaking into his vault and tried to get their in time but due to various delays organized by the team he was too late to catch Bink, Zerba, and Kell. Instead when he opened the vault chambers explosives went off that caused the vault, that shaped like a sphere, to roll out of the estate entirely and into the front lawn. Meanwhile Lando, Chewie, Bink, and Eanjer attempted to rescue Tavia from Qazadi's chambers. Bink arrived first but she was quickly incapacitated by the falleen's pheromones. While Chewie and Lando dealt with the last of Qazadi's guards Eanjer arrived and killed Qazadi with a hidden hold-out blaster pistol. Lando, Chewie, Bink, and Tavia quickly escaped from the estate while Eanjer stayed behind under the excuse that he had to finish his revenge on Villachor. Out on the front lawn Kell and Zerba emerged from the vault with both credits and blackmail files and the rest of the team arrived and picked them up. Lando left early, exchanging his share for the blackmail files. Dayja spotted him leaving with the box however and alerted the orbiting Star Destroyer to capture him. Unbeknownst to Lando and Dayja, Han had handed over an empty box instead of the blackmail files as he realized that Dayja had been watching.
Eanjer, meanwhile, hurried to the landing bay where the Millennium Falcon was parked and waited to spring an ambush on Han and Chewie when they arrived to leave. He realized too late, however, that what he thought was the Millennium Falcon was actually a decoy set up by Dozer. Han's team had learned that the real Eanjer had been killed six weeks ago, long before hiring Han and that the whole deal had been some kind of set up. Without the real Eanjer to unlock the credit tabs where the money was stored the team would have to settle for significantly less, about eighty-thousand credits each instead of 14.8 million. Han offered to exchange his share for the black mail files that he intended on turning over to the Alliance.
- "Just announced at our Del Rey Star Wars books panel: Drew Karpyshyn will write a fourth novel that will tie into The Old Republic for Fall 2012 and Tim Zahn will write a new novel starring Han Solo set in the classic films era. More details to come on both as they develop."
- ―Erich Schoeneweiss
Timothy Zahn announced via Facebook that his story was approved officially on February 22, 2012. The release date of this book was initially placed as "Winter 2012," which was later cemented as December 26, 2012. On October 1, 2012, the release date of all Random House books coming out on the twenty-sixth was pushed back to January 1, 2013.
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- The Essential Reader's Companion
- The official "Star Wars Books" Facebook page announces a new Old Republic novel and Timothy Zahn's next project
- Timothy Zahn on Facebook
- Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone 5 on edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com
- Star Wars: Scoundrels the title of Timothy Zahn's new heist novel, Entertainment Weekly
- Scoundrels on amazon.com
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Scoundrels hardcover first edition
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Zahn reveals the January release date. Timothy Zahn (October 1, 2012). Retrieved on November 29, 2012.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Essential Reader's Companion
- ↑ Announcement of the book. Erich Schoeneweiss (October 16, 2011). Retrieved on November 29, 2012.
- ↑ Zahn announcing a new Star Wars book. Timothy Zahn (February 26, 2012). Retrieved on November 29, 2012.
- ↑ Publisher updates. Frank Parisi (February 29, 2012). Retrieved on November 29, 2012.
- ↑ http://shelf-life.ew.com/2012/03/22/timothy-zahn-star-wars-scoundrels-cover-reveal/