Book Review: Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon
We’re continuing with Lando’s solo adventures (no pun intended), with the second part of his trilogy.
Writer: L. Neil Smith
Publication Date: September 12, 1983
Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon is part of the Lando Calrissian Adventures trilogy, available on Amazon.
After making a colossal fortune from the life-crystals obtained in his previous outing, Lando and Vuffi Raa have lost a bunch of the cash through various bureaucratic fees. Fortunately, the wealth he had accrued got Lando an invitation to the Oseon system, which contains a network of retreats and resorts for the galaxy’s wealthiest, which means that Lando has an opportunity to play at some of the highest stake Sabacc tables in the galaxy.
However, on the way there, Lando and Vuffi Raa end up facing several attempts on their life, through bombings and finally an intruder on the ship after they’d docked. This last issue gets Lando in hot water, as Lando kills the intruder with his stingbeam blaster – a prohibited weapon in the system. Fortunately for Lando, the administrator of the system, Lob Doluff, is sympathetic to Lando, and is willing to drop the charges… if Lando will help them bust a shipping magnate in the system on drug charges.
Bohhuah Mutdah, a resident of the system who is filthy rich, receives very large shipment of lesai (which is basically Space Heroin), every year through the Flamewinds – a massive display of solar radiation which makes navigation of the system (and tracking ship traffic) borderline impossible. Lando and the Falcon will take the place of the normal delivery person, and they’ll make the drop. However, two cops will be on board Lando’s ship, and they will witness the delivery, allowing them to bust Mutdah.
The Falcon makes the trip through the Flamewinds, while also fending off an attack by what appear to be pirates – who are actually after Vuffi Raa. The pirates are from an alien civilization which was exploited by the Empire after they were, as far as they knew, sold out by Raa to the empire. In fact Raa was the catspaw of an Imperial anthropologist, who used the alien’s belief that Raa was not a droid, and was in fact an alien ambassador to gather intelligence and send that back to the Empire, prior to their invasion.
Upon arrival at Mutdah’s base, the sting almost goes down… but not as planned. One of the cops on board Lando’s ship is on the take – collecting money from Mutdah, and that cop kills the other cop (who isn’t on the take). However, the crooked cop is killed by Mutdah, who isn’t Mutdah at all, but who is actually Rokur Gepta, who set up all of this as a cunning plan to get to Lando. However, the pirates, who are still out there, disrupt Gepta’s plan by attacking the asteroid to get at Vuffi Raa, allowing Lando and Raa to escape.
- As with the Han Solo Adventures novels, we have non-humans in positions of authority within the Empire. This is something that will be ignored in the later EU.
- Much as with The Wheel, we have the Oseon system, a place where the elite go to relax, which means there are plenty of opportunities for intrigue here – especially when the Flamewinds (which are the reason people go there in the first place), can trap people on the asteroids. If West End Games planned sourcebook for the Lando Calrissian Adventures books hadn’t been canceled, this would have been something to make the book a borderline must-buy.
- The abilities of the Sorcerers of Tund are as much related to technological manipulation as to The Force – making them somewhat similar to the Technomages from Babylon 5.
Lando Calrissian: Considering that at this point Lando is hustling through Sabacc because their funds are starting to get tight, but otherwise, before this, he hadn’t been running cons – the book series sets up that even this early in his career Lando was someone who was much more inclined to go legit than Han Solo was, but he will run a con in a pinch.
The Empire finally has a presence in this book, but only effectively in the periphery. It is established that Rokur Gepta is able to command some Imperial resources, in the form of deniable assets. Either Gepta is using former Imperial materials and personnel (surplus ships and officers who had mustered out), or Imperial Intelligence is using them as off the book assets (which also leads to the question of what Palpatine thinks of his asset’s personal crusade against Lando).
This book is somewhat interesting, but it kind of comes apart at the very end. It wants to be a middle-chapter Noir thriller like the middle installment of the Han Solo Adventures was, but it just can’t pull it off. It spends too much time hiding in the Flamewind with some of the new characters (who are, frankly, rather annoying) going crazy. The twist with the dirty cop comes out of nowhere, and I have no idea how Gepta got to Mutdah’s asteroid before Lando did.