Like Razor’s Edge, the previous book in the Empire and Rebellion series, James S. A. Corey’s Honor Among Thieves harkens back to a simpler time in the Expanded Universe.
Like it says on the tin, the book is Han-centric, and keeps a fairly close character focus – It serves the story, and this one feels even more back-to-basics than Razor’s Edge. Yes, it’s short, but
this isn’t a story that requires a tome – though Corey is more than capable of such, if you’re familiar with their Expanse books. It’s a quick, fun read, and despite a bit of potential galaxy-shaping consequences, there is not a lick of the Force.
Minor spoilers beyond this point.
Honor starts by sending Han and Chewbacca off in the Falcon to retrieve Rebel agent Scarlet Hark, but things soon spiral out of control. Han meets with an old ‘friend’ and assists Hark with completing her mission, only to uncover a greater threat. Teaming back up with Leia and eventually Luke and Wedge, they have to stop the Empire from taking control of an ancient device that could have disastrous consequences for the rest of the galaxy.
Some random thoughts…
- This book actually seems to be set a bit before Razor’s Edge, as Hoth is mentioned here as one of several candidates for the next Rebel base, while in Razor Echo Base is a foregone conclusion. The book’s novel timeline bears this out, placing Honor before Razor’s Edge (and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye right between them… It’ll be interesting to see where Kevin Hearns’ Luke book ends up, particularly in regards to Splinter’s disturbing Luke/Leia dynamic.)
- Scarlet Hark is an interesting addition to the character pool, and one I wouldn’t mind seeing again, particularly since it’s heavily implied that she and Leia are actually (gasp!) friends. Leia could use some more friends, particularly in this era. Some fans have been comparing her to Temple of Doom‘s Willie Scott but I don’t see it at all. (And no, neither she or Han seem particularly interested in
each other romantically.) And, yes: Another female character not defined by her love life!
- There’s a quick scene that highlights Leia’s – and Scarlet’s – political prowess that I actually might have liked to see more of. It was in a totally different vein from the sort of maneuvering we saw in Razor’s Edge. I wouldn’t say no to a Leia, Scarlet and Winter team-up, either.
- What the Empire has found on Trundalki IV is a nice reminder that not all ancient mysterious stuff has to do with the Force. It feels like a bit of a throwback to the Centerpoint days, without that pesky “Look at the size of that thing” issue.
- That’s not the only early EU throwback here – there’s a minor character that would be right at home at the blob races, though thankfully we’re not expected to take him particularly seriously. Intentional or not, you’ll know him when you see him.
Overall, I was pleased with Honor Among Thieves. It’s a fun, old-fashioned Star Wars read – although coming so close on the heels of Scoundrels and the Han/Leia vibe of Razor I am getting a tad sick of Han. (Sorry.) Still, this series continues to be just what it was promised to be, and I’m glad. Now, about that Luke book…