Han Solo At Stars' End by Brian Daley
2 years BBY
This is one of the originals. Written in 1979 (you'll recall, just before the release of Ep V in 1980), this is a truly classic Han Solo adventure.
Han Solo, hotshot smuggler and pilot of the Millennium Falcon, will do anything for a fast fortune. This time, the money brings Solo and his first mate, Chewbacca, to the far reaches of the Corporate Sector, one of the few parts of the galaxy not yet controlled by the ever-expanding Galactic Empire. However, in order to gain access to the untouched treasures of this vulnerable sector, Solo and Chewie must first complete a dangerous mission to unravel the mystery of the abrupt disappearance of several citizens by the hands of the Corporate Sector Authority.
The first thing I liked about this book was its date. Because it was written before the release of Episodes V and VI, the author had quite a bit (though not infinite) creative space with Han's character development. In this book we get to see the true nature of Han Solo- 90% rogue, 10% hero. However, as we know, that inner-hero takes charge when the people he cares about, or the ship he loves, are in need.
You have to be into Han Solo to dig this book. Like most of the stories during this particular stretch of time, you will get little to no lightsaber-swinging, Jedi action. That's one of the things I've come to cherish about reading this through in order. While the Prequel Trilogy and before were all about the Jedi order, its missions, and it's philosophies, the Dark Times (between Episodes III and IV) bring a totally different vibe. Han Solo At Stars' End is the epitome of this period- a time where everyone is out for themselves under the vice-like grip of the Empire. Those brave few with a shred of selflessness are considered fools.
While this is not my absolute favorite Solo book (Rebel Dawn quickly becoming that), I would definitely recommend this book to old school Star Wars enthusiasts.