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Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu

Gambler, rogue, and con-artiste, Lando Calrissian was born with a well-developed taste for the good life. More comfortable at the dealer’s end of a fast shuffle than at the rear end of a blaster, Lando always had his sensors scanning for the chance to pick up easy credits.

So when he heard that the planets of the Rafa System were practically buried in ancient alien treasure, he hopped aboard the Millennium Falcon and brushed up on his rusty astrogation. He never stopped to think that someone might be conning the con man…

Author: L. Neil Smith
Cover artist: William Schmidt
Release date: July 12, 1983
Pages: 182
ISBN: 0-345-31158-2

The trilogy of Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon and Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka – commonly known as The Lando Calrissian Adventures –  were among the earliest entries in the Expanded Universe, following on from Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and The Han Solo Adventures. Released in the months following Return of the Jedi, these pre-A New Hope tales did a lot to fill in the background and motivations of Lando Calrissian, coming at a time when the Marvel Comics series was also heavily focused on Lando.

At the time, what did we know about Lando? We knew his Bespin history, that he was a gambler and card player, he’d been involved in the Battle of Tanaab and that he lost the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo in a game of sabacc, but beyond that we knew little. As the first book, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu starts we join Calrissian in the Oseon, a system in the Centrality where he is involved in a sabacc game he wins. However, to claim his prize he is forced to journey to Rafa IV, where his gambling prize is in storage, an enigmatic droid named Vuffi Raa. But trouble is on the way. He is captured and beaten by the local police force and forced to search for a legendary artifact called the Mindharp by the systems governor Duttes Mer and sorcerer Rokur Gepta. An adventure begins which sees Calrissian and Raa beaten, left for dead, encounter the Toka, experience warping of space and time and ultimately finding out they’ve been on their quest for four months.

They learn that the Toka are the long lost Sharu, and by activating the Mindharp the lost Sharu civilisations will rise, destroying the new cities above. Activated, the Mindharp destroys Mer, and Gepta barely escapes in his ship.

It’s a fascinating book, especially in an age when there was so little else to access. Following the story from Calrissian’s perspective was fresh and unique, and gave a great insight into his motivations, confidence and insecurities. It’s from this book and the two that follow we learn just how smart Lando could be.

Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon

A solar system with little more than luxury hotels catering to the underemployed filthy-rich, the Oseon was every gambler’s dream come true.

And so it was for Lando Calrissian, gambler, rogue, and con-artiste. Until he broke the gambler’s cardinal rule: never beat a cop at high-stake games of chance.

Soon Lando and his feckless five-armed robot companion were being stalked by two enemies—one they knew but could not see, and one they saw but did not recognize…until it was too late.

Author: L. Neil Smith
Cover artist: William Schmidt
Release date: September 12, 1983
Pages: 181
ISBN: 0-345-31163-9

In Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon we find Lando and Vuffi Raa trying to make a living as freighter captains, not realising the logistical difficulties in running a ship and paying port fees. The chance to get involved in a sabacc game in the Dilonexa XXIII asteroid belt is too good to pass up, but little does Lando know that Rokur Gepta is on his way to exact revenge for Lando’s dealings in the Oseon.

Attacked by unknown assailants, Lando is arrested for using his concealed stingbeam. The use of beam weapons is punishable by death but he is offered a deal – transport two agents to the Oseon during the dangerous Flamewind season to capture a drug smuggler. Then he could depart, winnings and all.

Evading five attacking vessels Lando soon discovers that his recent troubles have been courtesy of the vengeful Rokur Gepta. Escaping from Gepta they encounter more vessels and destroy most of them, bringing aboard a pilot who accuses Vuffi Raa of destroying their world. Raa pleads his case, suggesting Lando gives a percentage of his recent winnings to Rentasia. Lando isn’t interested – the generous streak he shows in the movie trilogy is yet to develop.

Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka

For a year Lando Calrissian and Vuffi Raa, his five-armed robot astrogator, had roamed space in the Millennium Falcon, seeking or creating opportunities to turn an easy, but not too dishonest, credit.

But now their partnership seemed doomed—for Lando’s uncharacteristic impulse to help a race of persecuted aliens had suddenly made him and Vuffi vulnerable to several sets of their own enemies…not least of whom was the evil Rokur Gepta, the Sorcerer of Tund!

Author: L. Neil Smith
Cover artist: William Schmidt
Release date: November 12, 1983
Pages: 181
ISBN: 0-345-31164-7

In the final adventure, Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka a year has passed since their adventures in the Oseon and Lando is a more mature character. They encounter Lehesu of the Oswaft, a giant space faring creature travelling the stars away from his home of ThonBoka. When he travelled too close to the Centrality they became nervous, followed him home and threatened the Starcave. That’s where Lando and Vuffi Raa get involved.

Once again, Gepta’s machinations are at play and over the course of the book the threat to the Oswaft is negated, Rokur Gepta is destroyed by Calrissian and Vuffi Raa is revealed to have been sent out to record the experiences of sentients and was now set to go home. sad to part, Vuffi Raa leaves and Lando takes a hold full of gemstones provided by the Oswaft and starts a new, more responsible life.

In isolation, the The Lando Calrissian Adventures are a fascinating snapshot of a time before the explosion of the Expanded Universe, when stories were by design written to not include the Empire or other familiar characters and locations. By setting it in the Centrality, much like the Han Solo Adventures in the Corporate sector, it expands the Star Wars galaxy even more, revealing worlds, governments and races we’d not seen before and most likely won’t see again.

Star Wars: The Lando Calrissian Adventures
  • Del Rey
  • Smith, L. Neil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 06/01/1994 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)