50 Page Fridays: Timothy Zahn


Every Friday, we here @ Del Rey Spectra will place a 50 page excerpt of a selected title on Unbound Worlds. Whether it is science fiction, epic fantasy, alternate history, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, the possibilities are endless.

This week we’re excerpting the newest Star Wars adventure–and the first to star Leia, Han, and Chewy in ages–Star Wars: Scoundrels. Big surprise: Han’s once again gotten himself into a corner he won’t be able to get out of alone. He enlists a group of thugs, friends, and long time partners–his “scondrels”– to help him pull of the heist of the century. Let’s hear from DRS editor Shelly Shapiro on just how this new novel came together:

“San Diego Comic-Con, July 2011. Tim Zahn greets me and says, “Do you have time to talk? I have an idea for a book.” So yeah, of course I carve out the time. I’m curious: Does he have further plans for those cool renegade stormtroopers who call themselves the Hand of Judgment? Or more ways in which Luke and Mara Jade can almost meet but not quite (I really liked those close calls in ALLEGIANCE and CHOICES OF ONE!)? Nope, this is a totally new one: Han Solo meets Ocean’s Eleven, in which Han and Lando pull together a team for an impossible heist. Now THAT’s an idea! I liked it so much I went straight to Lucasfilm (literally: walked right over) and asked them to approve the idea. Which they did. On the spot. So a happy Tim Zahn went off to ponder turning an awesome idea into a real story.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, same year, Dragoncon in Atlanta. Tim is one of the guests at the convention, and he suggests we get together to hash out some of his ideas. Which we did—along with his wife Anna and son Corwin, and Betsy Mitchell, then Del Rey editor in chief (who was not involved with the project but, really, who could resist being part of a brainstorming session like this one? Plus, she’d been Tim’s editor on Heir to the Empire, so came to the table with some familiarity and ideas of her own). We met in the incredible bi-level hotel suite the Zahn’s somehow lucked into, and we talked for a long time. What characters should be involved? What could the heist possibly be? It had to be something that would not impact Han and Lando’s lives down the road (since their futures were already mapped out), but something “big” enough to warrant the whole escapade. Tim took lots of notes, and went off to ponder further.

It was a while later when the idea that affected the ending lit up everyone’s world. It was a perfect fit for the whole story and situation set up so far. That was when I knew we REALLY had a book to remember!

Read on for a taste of this amazing Star Wars novel. I’m betting you’ll like it whether you have never read a Star Wars-related book in your life, or you’ve read every single one, or if you’re somewhere in between. And then I hope you’ll go read the entire novel. Twice. Trust me.”

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Please enjoy this excerpt of STAR WARS: SCOUNDRELS, on sale January 1st!

STAR WARS: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn, Excerpt