Monday, July 10, 2006

Book 51: Ambush at Corellia

Ambush at Corellia is the first volume of the Corellian Trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen.  Han Solo is headed back to his home planet of Corellia for the first time in decades to attend a trade summit with his wife, the Chief of State of the New Republic, Leia Organa-Solo.  It will be something of a rare family vacation as they are taking their children, Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin.  Corellia is nominally part of the New Republic, but it is a planet (and system) at risk of falling apart and falling away.  Years of forced rule have made many there fairly insular.  Before they leave for Corellia, Han is warned by a member of New Republic Intelligence (NRI) that Corellia is not safe and that there is a mission in place.  Han could support the mission by acting in such a way to make people suspicious of him.  This is Han's normal behavior, so there isn't much of a stretch.  The agent who warned Han is nearly killed upon arrival in the Corellian spacelanes.  The Millenium Falcon is ambushed by a staged attack perhaps meant to frighten Leia. 
Once they set foot on Corellia Han and Leia see that the situation is much worse than they had anticipated.  The entire star system is on the verge of imploding (meant as a societal term, not a a physical stellar term).  The risk to the New Republic is great because there are not strong ties keeping the fledgling government together.  It has only been 14 years since Return of the Jedi.  As the novel progresses we see just how big the threat is to the New Republic and to the Corellian system. 
Happily, the nature of this threat is quite a bit different from other Star Wars novels.  We are not faced with the "superweapon", not exactly, and it is more of a political threat than a galactic threat.  There is still action and there is still intrigue, but Ambush at Corellia has a different feel to it than many other Star Wars novels.  It doesn't "feel" like the same old same old, and I've read at least sixty of them by now.  Roger MacBride Allen has done a good job setting up the trilogy.  The scope of the story is enlarged and we get a glimpse of what is to come, but we don't know exactly how this is going to play out.  Sure, our heroes are very likely to live, but we don't know what is going to happen to them or what is going to happen to Corellia.  I had one of those "bad feelings" that this was going to be a crappy trilogy like the Black Fleet Crisis, but I'm very happy to be wrong.  This was a solid opening novel.  I hope the following two novels expand on the story and improve on a solid beginning. 

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