Star Wars The Bounty Hunter Wars #3: Hard Merchandise

Star Wars The Bounty Hunter Wars #3: Hard Merchandise

by K. W. Jeter, Timothy Zahn

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Boba Fett fears only one enemy—the one he cannot see....

Feared and admired, respected and despised, Boba Fett enjoys a dubious reputation as the galaxy's most successful bounty hunter. Yet even a man like Boba Fett can have one too many enemies....

When Boba Fett stumbles across evidence implicating Prince Xizor in the murder of Luke Skywalker's aunt and uncle, Fett makes himself an enemy even he fears: the unknown mastermind behind a monstrous deception, who will kill to hide his tracks. Fett also finds himself in possession of an amnesiac young woman named Neelah, who may be the key to the mystery—or a decoy leading Fett into a murderous ambush. Fett's last hope is to run through the list of Xizor's hidden enemies. And since Xizor's hidden enemies are almost as legion as Fett's, the chance of survival is slim—even for someone as skilled and relentless as Boba Fett.

© 1999 Lucasfilm Ltd. and TM.  All rights reserved.  Used under authorization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553578911
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/06/1999
Series: Star Wars: The Bounty Hunter Wars Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 152,201
Product dimensions: 4.14(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.92(d)
Age Range: 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

NOW . . .
(during the events of Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi)

Two bounty hunters sat in a bar, talking.

"Things aren't what they used to be," said Zuckuss morosely. As a member of one of the ammonia-breathing species of his homeworld Gand, he had to be careful in establishments such as this. Intoxicants and stimulants that produced feelings of well-being in other creatures often evoked a profound melancholy in him. Even in a high-class place that supposedly catered to all known physiologies—the soothing, programmed play of lights across the columned walls, the shifting spectra that were supposed to relax weary travelers' central nervous systems, struck Zuckuss as crepuscular and depressing as the faded hopes of his youth. I had ambitions once, he told himself, leaning over the tall, blue-tinged glass in front of him. Big ones. Where had they gone?

"I wouldn't know," said Zuckuss's companion. The droid bounty hunter 4-LOM sat across from him, an untouched drink—perhaps only water—in front of him. A mere formality: the drink had been taken away twice already and replaced with exactly the same thing, so the charges could be rung up on 4-LOM's tab. That was the only way that nonimbibing constructs such as droids could make themselves welcome in any kind of watering hole. "Your attitude," continued 4-LOM, "implies a value judgment on your part. That is, that things were better at one time than they are now. I don't make those kinds of judgments. I merely deal with things as they are."

You would, thought Zuckuss. This was what he got for hooking up with a cold-blooded—cold-circuited, at least—creature like 4-LOM. There were plenty of excitable droids in the galaxy—Zuckuss had run into a few—but the ones that were attracted to the bounty hunter trade all shared the same vibroblade-edged logic and absolute-zero emotional tone. They hunted, and killed when necessary, without even the tiniest acceleration of electrons along their inner connectors.

The bar's soft, dirgelike background music—it was supposed to be soothing as well, with harmonic overtones of almost narcotic languor—made Zuckuss think of his previous partner Bossk. The Trandoshan bounty hunter had been cold-blooded, literally so, but one would never have guessed it from the way he'd carried on.

"Now that," said Zuckuss with a slow, emphatic nod, "that was real bounty hunting. That had some passion to it. Real excitement." He extended the retractable pipette from the lower part of his face mask and sucked up another swallow of the drink, though he knew it would only deepen and darken his mood. "We had some good times together, me and Bossk . . ."

"That wasn't what you said when you agreed to become partners with me once more." 4-LOM's photo-optical receptors kept a slow, careful scan around the bar and its other occupants, even as the droid kept up his end of the conversation. He talked for no reason other than to avoid drawing attention to himself and Zuckuss as they waited for their quarry to make an appearance. "Value judgments aside, the exact record of your statement is that you had had enough of Bossk's way of doing business. Too much danger—if that's what you mean by 'excitement'—and not enough credits. So you wanted a change."

"Don't use my own words against me." Zuckuss knew that he had gotten what he had asked for. And what could be worse than that?

"Mourn the old days if you want," said 4-LOM after a few moments of silence had passed. "We have business to take care of. Please direct your waning attention toward the entrance."

Worse than dealing with Boba Fett, grumbled Zuckuss to himself. At least when you got involved with Fett, you were assured that you were face-mask-to-helmet with the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, someone who had plenty of reason for taking such a high-and-mighty attitude. Where did 4-LOM get off, lording it over him this way? If it hadn't been for some stretches of bad luck, and a few unfortunate strategic decisions, it would have been the droid that had been looking to hook up with him again, rather than the other way around. Though they had been partners before, and for a lot longer than Zuckuss had been hooked up with Bossk, the relationship between them could never be the same. Back then, 4-LOM had even saved Zuckuss's life, when he had been dying from his ammonia-breathing lungs having been exposed to an accidental inhalation of oxygen. The two of them had even made other plans together, of working for the Rebel Alliance in some way . . .

Those plans hadn't worked out, though. Their time as members of the Rebel Alliance—double agents, actually, since they had kept secret their new allegiance to the Rebel cause—had been occupied with one significant operation: an attempt to snatch from Boba Fett the carbonite slab with Han Solo frozen inside it, before Fett could deliver the prize to Jabba the Hutt. The plan, using several other bounty hunters as unwitting dupes, had had disastrous results. It hadn't succeeded, and 4-LOM had needed a complete core-to-sheath rebuild to get back on his feet. And, mused Zuckuss, he wasn't the same after that. This idealism that had led 4-LOM to join the Rebel Alliance had all but evaporated, replaced by his former cold-spirited greed. Zuckuss supposed that came from hanging out once again with the other bounty hunters; he had felt their mercenary natures rubbing off onto him as well.

Plus there was one factor that both of them hadn't counted on when they had joined the Alliance. A factor that made all the difference in the universe—

Being a Rebel didn't pay.

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Star Wars The Bounty Hunter Wars #3 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Star Wars: Hard Merchandise¿ is the third installment in a trilogy of books by K.W. Jeter inspired by the famous American pop-culture movie, with the books adding elaboration to the roles of ¿filler¿ characters seen in the movies. I enjoyed reading these books because of a certain character in them I find particularly amusing. The books star a popular Star Wars character, Boba Fett, a ¿ruthless bounty hunter and mercenary¿ in the Star Wars movies. The book trilogy mainly serves to expand the adventures and possibilities of Boba Fett, but also adds names and backgrounds to characters only glimpsed in the movie, with whom Boba interacts. Like other authors of the genre, Jeter takes the liberty to create his own fictional species and people, and succeeds nicely in adding character and personality. Jeter shows true skill in crafting action among the key players, and both their individuality and conversations demonstrate complexity in characterization. However, personal emotions are represented rather weakly. This is disappointing, since genuine anger and sadness are frequently called for in the novels. To his credit, Jeter arranges fantastic situations for both action and suspense, making the books definite ¿page-turners.¿ The intricate plots, along with maintaining a compelling mystery throughout all three books, render the entire trilogy a space drama of epic proportions and exciting adventure.
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ColoradoBR More than 1 year ago
I can not reccommend this book. It had so many slow parts within the story that it took a great deal of patience on my part to get through it. Read the first two novels and stop there.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book rocks
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally the conclusion to the trilogy. Some might complain about the story line being weak but I found it keeping my in suspence all the way to the end. I thought some of the information in the other two books in the trilogy to be unnecessary but the information became very important for this final book. If you did not pay attention to those little facts you can not truly appreciate the series nor the conclusion. Buy this book and the trilogy and you will not be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Boba Fett stumbles across evdence of implicating Prince Xizor in the murder of Luke Skywalker's uncle and aunt, Fett makes himself a new enemy even he fears:the unknown mastermind behind behind a monstrous decption, who will kill to hide his tracks The Star Wars novel Hard Merchandise, the 3rd in the bounty hunter wars, takes place on a number of planets and the leathal Slave 1. I give this book 4 stars, I thought it was a great book for Star Wars fans and Boba Fett fans everywhere.