The Paradise Snare is a Star Wars Legends novel written by A. C. Crispin. It is the first volume of Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy, and it was first published by Bantam Spectra on May 5, 1997. A sequel, The Hutt Gambit, was published later that year. The complete trilogy was reprinted in The Han Solo Trilogy (1998).
Before the Star Wars movies, before the titanic battles that freed the galaxy from the iron grip of the Empire, here is the never-before-told story of the young Han Solo. In Book One of this exciting new trilogy, the famed rogue, con man, smuggler, and thief struggles to survive on a sinister world where the chief export is slavery.
He was a child without a past, a Corellian street urchin, abandoned, foraging for scraps of food, when the cruel Garris Shrike whisked him away to a nomadic band of spacefaring criminals. Now, years later, chafing under Shrike's sadistic tyranny, driven by dreams of adventure and glory, Han fights his way free. His goal: to become an Imperial Navy pilot. But first he needs hands-on experience flying spacecraft, and for that he takes a job on the planet Ylesia—a steaming world of religious fanaticism, illicit drugs, and alluring sensuality…where dreams are destroyed and escape is impossible.
Han Solo has spent nearly all of his nineteen years aboard the Trader's Luck, a pirate vessel commanded by the barbaric Garris Shrike. While on Corellia, Shrike had discovered Han as a street urchin and took him in to use as an actor in scams. By sending Solo and other children into the streets on various worlds to beg for money, Shrike made a fortune. Life aboard Trader's Luck is hard and cruel, but a young Solo finds solace and care from the Wookiee cook Dewlanna. From her, he learns to understand Shyriiwook and that not everyone in the galaxy is as vile as Shrike. Solo decides he has had enough with Shrike and makes plans to escape the Luck. Solo carefully plans to stowaway aboard a droid freighter bound for Ylesia, where he had heard about a need for skilled pilots. However, his plan is discovered by Shrike during his farewell to Dewlanna. Shrike is furious, and violence ensues; Dewlanna defends the boy and injures Shrike, but not before she suffers a mortal injury. Stricken with grief, Solo is reluctant to leave her. She tells him to leave and live so that her death will not be in vain. With Dewlanna dead and Shrike unconscious, Solo boards the freighter and begins his journey to Ylesia.
Working on Ylesia
Han Solo survives his arrival on Ylesia only by his natural skill as a pilot. The atmosphere on the planet is particularly turbulent, and he manages to land the freighter with minimal damage. The t'landa Til priests were impressed with Solo's skills and interview him, who uses the alias "Vykk Draygo." Ylesia is a tropical world with a few large islands amidst a vast ocean home to massive predators. As part of an elaborate scheme orchestrated by the Besadii Hutt clan, t'landa Til "priests" had set up a religious sanctuary that attracted thousands of Pilgrims to experience the "Exultation." Soon enough, Solo is hired as a pilot for transporting spice to and from Ylesia. Not only is Ylesia a religious sanctuary; it serves as the heart of the Besadii clan's spice refinement operations. Massive factories refine raw spice shipped from Ryloth and Kessel into a consumable form bound for Nar Shaddaa and other worlds.
To supposedly "protect" the new pilot, Teroenza, the High Priest, assigns him a Togorian bodyguard named Muuurgh. Like all Togorians, Muuurgh is very tall and exhibits many sharp teeth and extraordinary hunting abilities. Solo is aware that his obedience is more of a priority to Teroenza than his protection. Before he can begin flying, Solo becomes well-practiced in the simulator and begins to learn the lay of the land of Colony One. With Muuurgh, he tours the spice refineries and meets Pilgrim 921. He discovers that so-called religious pilgrims are, in fact, being forced into slavery within the spice refineries. 921, who eventually reveals her name to be Bria Tharen, is a Corellian woman.
Each evening, the slaves enthusiastically attend the t'landa Til Exultation, which they believe to be a spiritual experience that brings them together with "The One and the All." After reciting a scripted sermon, Teroenza, Veratil, and other Ylesian priests perform the Exultation. Solo actively resists the intense waves of pleasure and ecstasy produced by the t'landa Til. Around him, the slaves writhe in pleasure on the ground and are barely able to return to their dormitories. This jolt of pleasure, a natural t'landa Til ability used to attract females, becomes an addiction the slaves cannot refuse. In this manner, the slaves are kept on Ylesia.
Han Solo in love
When Solo discovers the scam, he alerts Tharen, who refuses to believe him. However, Solo had secretly recorded a discussion he had had with Teroenza about the secret of the Exultation. This revelation is an epiphany for Tharen, who loses all faith in her religious journey and is infuriated at her own folly. Nevertheless, she is unable to skip Exultations. By now, Solo has gained much experience as a pilot for the t'landa Til. With the trust of the priests, and Tharen at his side, Solo decides to leave Ylesia.
Muuurgh is furious and threatens to kill Solo upon learning of his intent. However, he agreed to take part in the plan when Tharen tells him about a female Togorian that had been at the colony. To Muuurgh's horror, her description matches that of Mrrov, his mate. According to Tharen, Mrrov has been relocated to another colony. After an Exultation, the three make their move.
Escape from Ylesia
Solo, Tharen, and Muuurgh create a diversion by blowing up the largest of the spice refineries. Panic ensues as billions of credits worth of spice goes up in flames. Solo and Tharen raid Teroenza's collection, stealing the most valuable items. As fire spreads around the Colony, secondary explosions cause damage to nearly all of the buildings, and the ceiling of Teroenza's collection room collapses onto the Besadii Hutt overlord, Zavval, crushing him. Their work done, the trio hijacks the Talisman, Teroenza's personal yacht, and rescue Mrrov. They blast away from Ylesia, suffering major damage from an orbiting CR90 corvette, but are able to reach Togoria safely.
While on Togoria, Muuurgh and Mrrov are married. After the ceremony, Solo and Tharen go on a romantic interlude and both admit their love. They decide to return to Corellia to meet Tharen's family and to sell the stolen goods from Ylesia. Wishing farewell to Muuurgh and Mrrov, the two lovers return to their homeworld.
Unlike Solo, Tharen had grown up wealthy and privileged. This was very evident upon visiting her family's massive estate. Much to her sadness, her mother and brother find Solo despicable and unworthy of being in their home. However, Tharen's father, Renn Tharen, finds a kindred spirit in Solo and likes him. Solo and Tharen leave Corellia after selling Teroenza's antiques. Solo intends to withdraw the funds from the Imperial Galactic Bank on Coruscant once he applies to the Imperial Academy.
Solo is refused his funds from the Imperial Bank after his Retinal scan matches Vykk Draygo and is nearly arrested by stormtroopers. He flees from the authorities into the darkest, deepest levels of the city to return to Tharen. Still fighting her addiction to the Exultation, Tharen leaves Solo with a note explaining that she feels she would only prevent him from achieving his dream at the Academy. Emotionally devastated, Solo applies to the Academy with a loan Tharen had secured from her father. Before entering the academy he undergoes cosmetic surgery to prevent any further discovery.
Solo passes the entrance exams and is accepted into the Academy. During his training, he becomes an exceptional pilot and exemplary cadet. On the night of his graduation, while standing high on a roof top and reflecting on his life thus far, he is ambushed by Garris Shrike, who had taken up bounty hunting in search of Solo. Shrike seeks vengeance for Solo's betrayal and audacity at leaving Trader's Luck nearly five months earlier. Solo fights for his life against Shrike. However, another bounty hunter kills Shrike, hoping to Solo. Solo kills the bounty hunter and trades clothes with the dead man, hoping this will prevent any further acts of retribution and finally set him free.
- ISBN 9780553574159; May 5, 1997; Bantam Spectra; US paperback
- ISBN 9780307796363; June 28, 2011; Del Rey; US eBook
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Notes and references
- The Essential Reader's Companion