Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia

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Author: Dave Wolverton {DAYSSINCEBIRTH(birth=1994-05-01,birthphrase=Release)}{DAYSSINCEBIRTH} I read: June 11 - June 19, 2007 Non-spoilery short description:
~8 ABY, Leia is proposed to by a man of great power. Han whisks her away to Dathomir to convince her to marry him, but of course there's trouble there.
Totally spoilery summary:

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|<td>Isolder, prince of Hapes, fell for Leia when she visited their world, having not even met her. He comes to the New Republic bearing great wealth as engagement gifts. Many hope Leia accepts for the advantage such an alliance would give the New Republic in the fight against the remains of the Empire. Han wants to gift her with something equally impressive, and by getting a loan with the Falcon as collateral, enters high-stakes sabacc games, eventually winning the planet Dathomir, which he presents to Leia as someplace for the remaining people of Alderaan to live on. However, turns out it's in the territory of an Imperial warlord. Elsewhere, Luke in search of Jedi records and teachings also learns he should investigate Dathomir. Leia's getting close to Isolder, so Han takes desperate action: kidnapping Leia on a forced trip with him so he can convince her to marry him. Han figures if they sneak by warlord Zsinj's outer defenses unnoticed, it will be safe to check out Dathomir.

<p>Needless to say, they're being followed by various forces, most notably Isolder's people led by his mother, the matriarchal ruler of Hapes. Isolder wants to cut time, though, so he goes off with Luke, whose Jedi abilities allow them to shave a few days off the trip, so they reach the planet about the same time Han and Leia do. However, they didn't realize the place was a base of Zsinj's, so pretty soon the Falcon is making a crash landing, and Luke and Isolder are fake-crashing thanks to Luke's abilities. Han/Leia/Threepio/Chewbacca head off vaguely in the direction of possible civilization, get caught by some Imperials, but then get recaught by witches riding Rancors. "Good witches", I should say; descendants of a Jedi from centuries ago. The darksiders on the planet are called the Nightsisters. The Nightsisters want off the planet, which with their abilities would be a Bad Thing.

<p>Elsewhere, Isolder/Luke/Artoo are walking about trying to find the others, and come across an old crashed Jedi ship, which Luke wants to examine for records. While starting to bust it open, though, they're enslaved by Teneniel Djo, one of the "good witches". Enslaving men is the way things roll on Dathomir. Once they help her fight off Nightsisters, though, she essentially keeps them enslaved in name only, so that when they get back to her clan others don't claim them instead. Once there they meet up with the others.

<p>The plan is that the Singing Mountain Clan will help them retrieve and fix up the Falcon ASAP in exchange for the planet, but the Nightsisters led by Gethzerion will be wanting it themselves. The protagonists slip into a Nightsister-run Imperial political prison facility (to prevent them from getting off planet the Empire abandoned their installations and men there, who now work in fear under the Nightsisters) and got the parts they needed. By the time they return to the Singing Mountain Clan, though, so have the Nightsisters and battle ensues, though it ends inconclusively with losses on both sides and Luke quite injured. Zsinj puts up a series of satellites around the planet, which refract light in such a way that the planet will soon freeze and die unless those down below do as he says.

<p>Gethzerion strikes a deal with Zsinj to get off the planet and cause trouble for the New Republic if she can get him General Solo. She threatens to kill prisoners if Han doesn't give himself up, so he does... bringing a bomb... that the Force-powerful sisters deactivate. However, super-Force-tapping Luke, piloting the fixed Falcon comes to the rescue, blows up the Nightsisters' ship, and takes out enough of the satellites to break the chain and allow light to pass through normally again. Once they can see past orbit again, they can see Zsinj's Star Destroyers are fighting Hapan Battle Dragons. During the battle the Falcon (piloted by Han now) takes out Zsinj and his ship by destroying its command deck once the shields are down.

<p>It's clear that Leia chooses Han. Isolder and Teneniel decide to wed as well. Though that pisses off his mother, with Teneniel being Force-powerful she can't put up much resistance. During this period of demands, Isolder also makes it clear Hapes will join the New Republic. Luke talks to a very old member of the Singing Mountain Clan who was around at the time of the crashing of the Jedi ship, and gives Luke many many discs of Jedi information that she'd been hiding away.

<p>Later, Han and Leia wed. </td></tr>

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