The Ambush At Corellia is pure suspense. We find out pretty quick there is danger for our heroes in the near future, we just aren’t sure what or how. There is an interesting family dynamic here, with typical kids being kids (except they are as bright as their Grandsire and they already know about the Force). But it’s hard to be a normal family when the Leia is a Chief of State and part trained Jedi, and Han is a trouble magnate, plus a Jedi Master for an Uncle. This is the first of a trilogy so don’t expect a wrap up and it doesn’t stand alone.
The author is Roger Allen MacBride, story published in 1995 and hit number 5 in the New York Times paperback fiction list.
Ambush At Corellia by Roger Allen Macbride, Synopsis
Han, Leia and their three kids are about to go on an important trip to Han’s home world of Corellia. It is to start as a vacation, and end with a trade summit where Leia will help encourage them to get the Corellian economy, now under New Republic control, going again. But not everyone is happy with the new system. And a mysterious enemy with plots an ambush to gain power that puts them all in danger.
It’s nice to have the whole gang involved in this adventure. Han, Chewie, Leia and the kids are well utilized in Ambush at Corellia. I did find it a bit odd that no matter how much the family wants to be together, Leia would take the kids if she had any idea of the danger. Han has a good role, as he should, as it is his home planet. We see the devastation through his eyes and memories, which is good especially if you’ve not read any other books. We also see some of Corellia through the eyes of the children, as they play, explore and discover things in a way only a Force sensitive child can.
The kids are old enough in Ambush at Corellia, to have some interesting Force talents and awareness. You can read more about young Anakin Solo’s gift used in this here but be warned it might be a spoiler. Jacen and Jaina of course are just slightly older, but nearly the age a young Anakin Skywalker started podracing, so you can imagine the hijinks that Skywalker plus Solo blood are likely to get into. Their talents, just as their other family members, can lead to exactly what they need to know, but put them in danger as well.
Lando and Luke’s role, along with the droids, is more humorous. Lando is hunting ….no I won’t say what. It would spoil the surprise. Luke is more or less helping (reluctantly), as are R2 and C3PO. Their efforts range from fun to dangerous to embarrassing. Only at the end do they connect to the crisis.
Mara Jade, the fan fav, makes an appearance but doesn’t get much chance to do more than show up. Leia has a great scene in the beginning involving Luke and a lightsaber (and if you want details read the book!) I did not think Leia’s reaction to encountering Mara entirely consistent with their relationship in other books, and I thought it slowed things down. But they are set into position for the next book.
The new characters are well developed. Kalenda is an interesting one, a spy whose afraid her agency is compromised but cares deeply for the New Republic and Chief of State. Her thoughts do seem to slow the action down, but they also give the feeling of impending disaster, and draw out the suspense. Ebrihim and Q9 are bold new editions. Ebrihim is a character who well respects his employers position but isn’t fawning over her. Q9 is a new sort of droid, partly innocent (he has no idea of protocol), useful but entirely unique.
I do regret that there seem to be no further mention of the new characters in the Expanded Universe. One thing that did get me on reread is that Mon Mothma has no idea what she is asking by pushing Luke to get into politics. For that matter her ideas of what a Jedi should be come off as a bit arrogant to me. She lived through the era Jedi were still common. I believe it gave me pause even on first reading, but post prequels all I can remember is Obi-Wan’s words about how politicians are not to be trusted. Indeed, events of that era do seem to bear out his concerns!
One final thing that confuses me in Ambush at Corellia is Leia’s mentioned lightsaber color. It baffles me that it’s red. Given her earlier traumatic memories of Darth Vader, I wouldn’t think she’d have wanted one that color. It’s generally associated with dark siders and the Sith. Even if it weren’t, her own experience I’d have thought would turn her off. I’d be interested to know the authors reason for it.
Tie Ins to Ambush At Corellia
This book explores the Selonians and Drall cultures as well as explaining the Corellia system. It connects well with other stories that explore the system of the era. The Selonians and Drall appear in the rather war battered system in the Star Wars the Old Republic mmo, with minor variations. Not surprisingly the Han Solo books by Ann Crispin spend time here, in particular Paradise Dawn where we meet the enemy who was (in publishing chronology) established in At Corellia.
The short stand alone comic arc Rogue Leader also visits the world, where Luke takes the squadron for a break, to discusses with Wedge being given over Rogue Squadron command. At that time the Empire was cracking down, which fits with the history the Corellian trilogy gives as well.
There are a few mysteries and minor continuity bumps in Ambush At Corellia. Most of these regard terminology. A few were the bumps from writers preparing stories and not knowing all the details of the other authors telling stories. From an in universe standpoint, this is usually a point of view issue.
I don’t know why in Ambush at Corellia they are calling air speeders ‘hover cars’, sensors ‘detectors’ and on a more minor level, why there are wheeled ground cars on Corellia. One gets the idea that LFL had given up sending the WEG books to authors for the correct terminology (as reported by Timothy Zahn etc). Ground cars were established in Star Wars by Brian Daley’s Han Solo trilogy. But you’d expect them to be on outlier colonies not core worlds, no matter how run down it was by war.
The Assault at Corellia to have been published around the same time the first short story involving Corran came out (Missed Chance). Corran’s visit to his grandfather in I,Jedi (about seven years after Endor, which is not long before he joined Rogue Squadron) do suggest the planet was tightening and drastically changing at that time
When writing Ambush at Corellia, Roger Allen Macbride almost certainly didn’t know that a star destroying Sun Crusher or Mara Jade, were to appear in Jedi Academy Dark Apprentice. It appeared the summer before Assault at Corellia, probably while the story was in progress. So he’d not have known our heroes would’ve encountered a device that destroys stars before.
It’s suggested here that the Skywalker/Solo family hadn’t seen Mara Jade for years, however the New Rebellion, published a year after Ambush at Corellia, suggests she was involved in that crisis. However her involvement there was rather brief, so from an in universe view, that might not be enough to confirm Mara’s current status as an aly in their eyes.
The Hand of Thrawn duology published two years after Ambush at Corellia suggests that, unlike Mara’s view in the Assault on Corellia, the Empire isn’t totally dead. It is however dead as a force for power in the galaxy, very much pushed to a corner of it’s former territory.
The one contradiction I see is that Leia in this says she never built her own lightsaber. However the Heir to the Empire Sourcebook (WEG) has a short story of her building one, which she did practice with.