Tarkin: Star Wars

Tarkin: Star Wars

by James Luceno


$22.40 $28.00 Save 20% Current price is $22.4, Original price is $28. You Save 20%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Eligible for FREE SHIPPING


Tarkin: Star Wars by James Luceno

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing the legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction.

Praise for Tarkin
Tarkin tells a compelling tale of mystery while revealing much about a character who has fueled debate among fans since 1977, as well as the oppressive regime he represents. [James] Luceno has proven once again that the villains of Star Wars are as much fun as the good guys.”—New York Daily News
“Another home run in the new canon . . . This is the highest and best distillation of Tarkin stories, old and new, we’ve ever been given.”Big Shiny Robot
“A spectacular novel, with the intrigue, action, and profound characterization we have come to expect from the pen of Luceno . . . [Tarkin] provides a nuanced, multi-faceted anti-hero who is captivating, ominous, and calculating; in many ways, this is an origin tale of the Empire [and] a fascinating portrait of one of the more popular characters in the Original Trilogy. It may very well be one my favorite Star Wars novels.”Coffee with Kenobi
“A fascinating look at the pathos of one of the galaxy’s most criminally underused characters.”TheForce.net

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345511522
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/04/2014
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 9.60(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

James Luceno is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novels Darth Plagueis, Millennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, and Labyrinth of Evil, as well as the New Jedi Order novels Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial and Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force, and the eBook Darth Maul: Saboteur. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and youngest child.

Read an Excerpt

Five standard years have passed since Darth Sidious proclaimed himself galactic Emperor. The brutal Clone Wars are a memory, and the Emperor’s apprentice, Darth Vader, has succeeded in hunting down most of the Jedi who survived dreaded Order 66. On Coruscant a servile Senate applauds the Emperor’s every decree, and the populations of the Core Worlds bask in a sense of renewed prosperity.

In the Outer Rim, meanwhile, the myriad species of former Separatist worlds find themselves no better off than they were before the civil war. Stripped of weaponry and resources, they have been left to fend for themselves in an Empire that has largely turned its back on them.

Where resentment has boiled over into acts of sedition, the Empire has been quick to mete out punishment. But as confident as he is in his own and Vader’s dark side powers, the Emperor understands that only a supreme military, overseen by a commander with the will to be as merciless as he is, can secure an Empire that will endure for a thousand generations . . .


The Measure of a Man

A saying emerged during the early years of the Empire: Better to be spaced than based on Belderone. Some commentators traced the origin to the last of the original Kamino-grown soldiers who had served alongside the Jedi in the Clone Wars; others to the first crop of cadets graduated from the Imperial academies. Besides expressing disdain for assignments on worlds located far from the Core, the adage implied that star system assignment was a designator of worth. The closer to Coruscant one was posted, the greater one’s importance to the Imperial cause. Though on Coruscant itself most effectives preferred to be deployed far from the Palace rather than anywhere within range of the Emperor’s withering gaze.

For those in the know, then, it seemed inexplicable that Wilhuff Tarkin should be assigned to a desolate moon in a nameless system in a remote region of the Outer Rim. The closest planets of any note were the desert world Tatooine and equally inhospitable Geonosis, on whose irradiated surface the Clone Wars had begun and which had since become a denied outlier to all but an inner circle of Imperial scientists and engineers. What could the former admiral and adjutant general have done to merit an assignment most would have regarded as a banishment? What insubordination or dereliction of duty had prompted the Emperor to exile one he himself had promoted to the rank of Moff at the end of the war? Rumors flew fast and furious among Tarkin’s peers in all branches of the military. Tarkin had failed to carry out an important mission in the Western Reaches; he had quarreled with the Emperor or his chief henchman, Darth Vader; or his reach had simply exceeded his grasp, and he was paying the price for naked ambition. For those who knew Tarkin personally, however, or had even a passing familiarity with his upbringing and long record of service, the reason for the assignment was obvious: Tarkin was engaged in a clandestine Imperial enterprise.

In the memoir that was published years after his incendiary death, Tarkin wrote:

After much reflection, I came to realize that the years I spent at Sentinel Base were as formative as my years of schooling on Eriadu’s Carrion Plateau, or as significant as any of the battles in which I had participated or commanded. For I was safeguarding the creation of an armament that would one day shape and guarantee the future of the Empire. Both as impregnable fortress and as symbol of the Emperor’s inviolable rule, the deep-space mobile battle station was an achievement on the order of any fashioned by the ancestral species that had unlocked the secret of hyperspace and opened the galaxy to exploration. My only regret was in not employing a firmer hand in bringing the project to fruition in time to frustrate the actions of those determined to thwart the Emperor’s noble designs. Fear of the station, fear of Imperial might, would have provided the necessary deterrent.

Not once in his personal writings did Tarkin liken his authority to that of the Emperor or of Darth Vader, and yet even so simple a task as overseeing the design of a new uniform was perhaps a means of casting himself in garb as distinctive as the hooded robes of the former or the latter’s signature black mask.

“An analysis of trends in military fashion on Coruscant suggests a more tailored approach,” a protocol droid was saying. “Tunics continue to be double-breasted with choker collars, but are absent shoulder-boards or epaulets. What’s more, trousers are no longer straight-legged, but flared in the hips and thighs, narrowing at the cuffs so as to be easily tucked into tall boots with low heels.”

“A commendable alteration,” Tarkin said.

“May I suggest, then, sir, flare-legged trousers—in the standard-issue gray-green fabric, of course—accented by black knee boots with turndown topside cuffs. The tunic itself should be belted at the waist, and fall to mid-thigh.”

Tarkin glanced at the silver-bodied humaniform couturier. “While I can appreciate devotion to one’s sartorial programming, I’ve no interest in initiating a fashion trend on Coruscant or anywhere else. I simply want a uniform that fits. Especially the boots. The stars know, my feet have logged more kilometers aboard Star Destroyers than during surface deployments, even in a facility of this size.”

The RA-7 droid canted its shiny head to one side in a show of disapproval. “There is a marked difference between a uniform that ‘fits’ and a uniform that suits the wearer—if you take my meaning, sir. May I also point out that as a sector governor you have the freedom to be a bit more, shall we say, daring. If not in color, then in the hand of the cloth, the length of the tunic, the cut of the trousers.”

Tarkin considered the droid’s remarks in silence. Years of shipboard and downside duties had not been kind to the few dress and garrison uniforms he retained, and no one on Sentinel Base would dare criticize any liberties he might take.

“All right,” he said finally, “display what you have in mind.”

Dressed in an olive-drab body glove that encased him from neck to ankles and concealed the scars left by wounds from blasterfire, falls, and the claws of predators, Tarkin was standing on a low circular platform opposite a garment-fabricator whose several laser readers were plying his body with red beams, taking and recording his measurements to within a fraction of a millimeter. With his legs and arms spread, he might have been a statue mounted on a plinth, or a target galvanized in the sights of a dozen snipers. Adjacent to the fabricator sat a holotable that projected above its surface a life-sized hologram of him, clothed in a uniform whose designs changed in accordance with the silent commands of the droid, and which could be rotated on request or ordered to adopt alternate postures.

The rest of Tarkin’s modest quarters were given over to a bunk, a dresser, fitness apparatus, and a sleek desk situated between cushioned swivel chairs and two more basic models. A man of black-and-white tastes, he favored clean lines, precise architecture, and an absence of clutter. A large viewport looked out across an illuminated square of landing field to a massive shield generator, and beyond to the U-shaped range of lifeless hills that cradled Sentinel Base. On the landing field were two wind-blasted shuttles, along with Tarkin’s personal starship, the Carrion Spike.

Sentinel’s host moon enjoyed close to standard gravity, but it was a cold forlorn place. Wrapped in a veil of toxic atmosphere, the secluded satellite was battered by frequent storms and as colorless as the palette that held sway in Tarkin’s quarters. Even now an ill-omened tempest was swooping down the ridge and beginning to pelt the viewport with stones and grit. Base personnel called it “hard rain,” if only to lighten the dreariness such storms conjured. The dark sky belonged chiefly to the swirling gas giant that owned the moon. On those long days when the moon emerged into the light of the system’s distant yellow sun, the surface glare was too intense for human eyes, and the base’s viewports had to be sealed or polarized.

“Your impressions, sir?” the droid said.

Tarkin studied his full-color holo-doppelgänger, focusing less on the altered uniform than on the man it contained. At fifty he was lean to the point of gaunt, with strands of wavy gray streaking what had been auburn hair. The same genetics that had bequeathed him blue eyes and a fast metabolism had also granted him sunken cheeks that imparted a masklike quality to his face. His narrow nose was made to appear even longer than it was courtesy of a widow’s peak that had grown more pronounced since the end of the war. As well, deep creases now bracketed his wide, thin-lipped mouth. Many described his face as severe, though he judged it pensive, or perhaps penetrating. As for his voice, he was amused when people attributed his arrogant tone to an Outer Rim upbringing and accent.

He turned his clean-shaven face to both sides and lifted his chin. He folded his arms across his chest, then stood with his hands clasped behind his back, and finally posed akimbo, with his fists planted on his hips. Drawing himself up to his full height, which was just above human average, he adopted a serious expression, cradling his chin in his right hand. There were few beings to whom he needed to offer salute, though there was one to whom he was obliged to bow, and so he did, straight-backed but not so low as to appear sycophantic.

“Eliminate the top line collars on the boots, and lower the heels,” he told the droid.

“Of course, sir. Standard duranium shank and toes for the boots?”

Tarkin nodded.

Stepping down from the platform, out from inside the cage of laser tracers, he began to walk circles around the hologram, appraising it from all sides. During the war, the belted tunic, when closed, had extended across the chest on one side and across the midsection on the other; now the line was vertical, which appealed to Tarkin’s taste for symmetry. Just below each shoulder were narrow pockets designed to accommodate short cylinders that contained coded information about the wearer. A rank insignia plaque made up of two rows of small colored squares was affixed to the tunic’s left breast.

Medals and battle ribbons had no place on the uniform, nor in the Imperial military. The Emperor was scornful of commendations for sand or pluck. Where another leader might wear garments of the finest synthsilk, the Emperor favored robes of black-patterned zeyd cloth, often concealing his face within the cowl—furtive, exacting, ascetic.

“More to your liking?” the droid asked when its cordwainer program had tasked the holoprojector to incorporate changes to the boots.

“Better,” Tarkin said, “except perhaps for the belt. Center an officer’s disk on the buckle and a matching one on the command cap.” He was about to elaborate when a childhood recollection took him down a different path, and he snorted in self-amusement.

He must have been all of eleven at the time, dressed in a multipocketed vest he thought the perfect apparel for what he had assumed was going to be a jaunt on the Carrion Plateau. On seeing the vest, his grand-uncle Jova had smiled broadly, then issued a laugh that was at once avuncular and menacing.

“It’ll look even better with blood on it,” Jova had said.

“Do you find something humorous in the design, sir?” the droid asked in what amounted to distress.

Tarkin shook his head. “Nothing humorous, to be sure.”

The foolishness of the fitting wasn’t lost on him. He understood that he was simply trying to distract himself from having to fret over delays that were impeding progress on the battle station. Shipments from research sites had been postponed; asteroid mining at Geonosis was proving unfeasible; construction phase deadlines had not been met by the engineers and scientists who were supervising the project; a convoy transporting vital components was due to arrive . . .

In the ensuing silence, the storm began to beat a mad tattoo on the window.

Doubtless Sentinel Base was one of the Empire’s most important outposts. Still, Tarkin had to wonder what his paternal grand-uncle—who had once told him that personal glory was the only quest worth pursuing—would make of the fact that his most successful apprentice was in danger of becoming a mere administrator.

His gaze had returned to the hologram when he heard urgent footsteps in the corridor outside the room.

On receiving permission to enter, Tarkin’s blond-haired, clear-eyed adjutant hastened through the door, offering a crisp salute.

“A priority dispatch from Rampart Station, sir.”

A look of sharp attentiveness erased Tarkin’s frown. Coreward from Sentinel in the direction of the planet Pii, Rampart was a marshaling depot for supply ships bound for Geonosis, where the deep-space weapon was under construction.

“I won’t tolerate further delays,” he started to say.

“Understood, sir,” the adjutant said. “But this doesn’t concern supplies. Rampart reports that it is under attack.”

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Tarkin: Star Wars 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
NJBiblio More than 1 year ago
Taking on one of the most intriguing characters in the Star Wars universe, James Luceno does an admirable job fleshing out the persona of Wilhuff Tarkin. Played perfectly by Peter Cushing in 1977, Tarkin has always been an enigma. How did this man become the commander of the Death Star and an equal to, or sometimes seemingly a superior of, Darth Vader himself? Luceno weaves a story filled with action surrounding a joint Tarkin-Vader mission for the Emperor and flashbacks to Tarkin’s childhood and adolescence. Set five years after the events in Revenge of the Sith, we are treated to a triple threat here: the growth of Tarkin into the man we see in Star Wars: A New Hope, the continued development of Darth Vader as he grows in the Dark Side, and the seeds of the Rebellion that will reach its pinnacle 15 years into the future. The action opens on the mysterious Sentinel Base where the newly promoted Moff Tarkin is overseeing a project of epic proportion for the Emperor.  The base is attacked by remnants of the Separatist Movement from the Clone Wars.  While he is able to deflect the ambush, Tarkin is recalled to Coruscant where he faces the Emperor and is tasked to lead a joint mission with Darth Vader to root out the Separatists and eliminate them completely.  While on this mission, the Moff’s cruiser, Carrion Spike, is hijacked and after being used by the Separatists to attack Imperial installations it is up to Tarkin and Vader to track the ship down before more damage can be done, all the while unraveling plots and conspiracies over two years in the making. To say I had high hopes and expectations for thie book would be an understatement   As a life long Star Wars fan, I have always been intrigued by Grand Moff Tarkin ever since seeing him on the big screen.  What made this ruthless Imperial tick?  How did he get to such a prominent position in the Imperial pantheon, especially command of the Death Star?  When I saw that James Luceno was taking the reins and fleshing out this story, I was even more excited, and was not let down! Tarkin reads more like an espionage thriller and psychological case study than a science fiction adventure, as with most other Star Wars Expanded Universe novels.  The pacing was deliberate and methodical, giving you a true sense not only of the way in which the main investigation in the story is handled, but also a look at the personality of Tarkin himself.  Luceno never lacks on the details, but the story does not get bogged down in them either.  By weaving in stories of Tarkin’s childhood and adolescence, as well as the trials he endured to shape him, we are treated to a wonderful character study that slowly reveals more complexity and layers to Wilhuff Tarkin than you would ever imagine existed.  Couple that with the asides and glimpses into characters such as Vader and the Emperor while interacting with Tarkin, and the entire triumvirate truly comes alive. There are some points where the action seems to drag, but, much like Tarkin himself, the story is well metered, calculated, and focused on its desired end.  Readers looking for lots of action will be disappointed, but hopefully not for long as they get to know and understand the personality of one of the most calculating and fearless leaders of the Galactic Empire.
Aelius More than 1 year ago
Tarkin, the second Star Wars novel of the "new canon," is a nice counterpoint to A New Dawn. While A New Dawn was an action-packed adventure full of excitement and wit, Tarkin is a slower-paced novel that focuses on getting in the head of a character. In this way it is similar to Luceno's best known Star Wars novel, Darth Plagueis. Avoiding any spoilers, I will simply state that Luceno does an excellent job portraying the characters of Tarkin, Vader, and the Emperor. When Tarkin talks in the book, you will hear Peter Chushing's voice in your head. The background Luceno provides for Tarkin reveals a lot about the character and makes it believable that he wouldn't feel bad about eventually blowing up a planet. From the reader's perspective, while he might not come across as a "good guy," he ends up being an anti-hero that I found myself rooting for. This is, however, not a 5 star book like Darth Plagueis. My main complaint is that Luceno goes into some exposition that can only be described as Tolkien-esque. Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings will know what I'm talking about - there is a certain length of conversation that is just not appealing for a reader to wade through, and Luceno pushes these limits a few times throughout the book. Overall a nice read.
Supreme_Mugwump_Palpatine More than 1 year ago
James Luceno masterfully allows the reader to enter the mind of the most enigmatic villain in the Star Wars franchise. I was upset about the EU sweep, but after this book and New Dawn, I find comforting to know that the great books coming out are already official parts of my favorite galaxy. Also, he "re-canonizes" something from the EU in this book, so look for that. If you took the time to read the reviews of this book, then I can pretty much guarantee you will like the book.
Tom8805 More than 1 year ago
I was extremely lucky to have received this book three weeks before it's release date. It's an amazing read! James Luceno has written great Star Wars novels in the past, and this book is no exception. We get to see Grand Moff Tarkin before his untimely demise aboard the first Death Star. This is what fans of Peter Cushing's imposing character have been waiting for. Get this book. You won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book about Grand Moff Tarkin. It shows where he came from to be one of the most feared Imperials in the Empire. It is an easy read for anyone who loves Star Wars.
ambernbarnes More than 1 year ago
This one started a little slow, but picked up in the middle and did not fail to disappoint! It is a great addition to the new Star Wars universe -- and fans of the Star Wars Legacy EU won't be disappointed either!
ryan1234500 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book based on film characters and film events in the new Star Wars canon, and it is a solid read. It reveals the history of Governor Tarkin, one of the saga's best villains and the least explored. The main tale is set five years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, but Tarkin's story is told from youth to gaining the title of Imperial Grand Moff, the third most powerful being in the galaxy. This is also the story of Tarkin and Darth Vader learning to respect one another and work together. The book was billed as giving Tarkin the "Darth Plagueis" treatment, but this book isn't as memorable or as interesting as Lucenos' exploration of Palpatine and his master. The history of Tarkin as a youth and his rise to power was fascinating, but the main story, particularly during the middle of the book, was hard to keep interested in. The end pulled everything together though and left me satisfied. The story of how Tarkin's upbringing would leave him a man willing to destroy an entire world to maintain order is a story worth telling, but there are several things in the book that make you wonder what the author was thinking. The best example of this is the first chapter, which is almost solely devoted to Tarkin and a fashion droid (yes, a fashion droid) designing Tarkin's Imperial uniform. What this really necessary? With regards to the new canon, this book could have been released two years ago and would have fit into the EU fine. It references several old books and lots of information established in the EU. But this is done in a way that someone who hadn't read those stories wouldn't even notice that they were references of something else. The big thing that many Star Wars fans with notice is that Palpatine is given a first name, "Sheev." The thing I found odd about this was that the name is said to have originated from George Lucas, who is now retired and didn't bother to give this name out at any point in the last 35 years. On top of this, Luceno was the author who gave the perfect explanation in Darth Plagueis that Palpatine choose not to have a first name. All in all a good story, but not a great one. And I am left wanting to go read Death Star which I imagine will make a good continuation of this story for me. Four out of five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LITERALLY couldn't put this down! This is the third (fourth if you count the e-book) by James Luceno where that's happened. It really gives insight to Tarkin's background, just as 'Darth Plagueis' did for Palpatine. Once again Luceno has added so much to the Star Wars Universe! A true must-read for any Star Wars fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 Tarkin is another great book by James Luceno. The backstory of Tarkin was really interesting and helped me understand why he was such an important character in the Star Wars’ lore.  Tarkin has appeared in the original trilogy, the Clone Wars series, and now in the Rebels series. This tale is about Tarkin and Vader searching for some rebels making attacks on bases. It was great to read the interactions between Tarkin and Vader and to witness their mutual respect for each other. I gained a new understanding and respect for Tarkin and what he went through to get where he was when we first met him in A New Hope. I actually found myself rooting for him throughout the story.  If you are already a fan of James Luceno then you can’t miss this book but if you haven’t read anything by him before give this book a try, you’ll definitely enjoy it. This is the second novel in the new “canon” but doesn’t change any of the history that fans have come to learn and enjoy.
AngelCassie15 More than 1 year ago
Great book for anyone curious to know how Grand Moff Tarkin gained as much power as Dearth Vader and how long he spent on Death Star construction duty. Also this shows How some early rebels tried to defeat the Empire by trying to disrupt early supply convoys And how inventive they were in there sabotage Of the Empire.
lskywlker44aby More than 1 year ago
James Luceno delivers again, and while I loved this book, I do think nothing really stood out about it or broke new ground. It is a story that is definitely worth a read or listen but to me nothing was really memorable about it.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Star Wars: Tarkin  by James Luceno Known as the vile Grand Moff Tarkin in the original volume 4 of Star Wars, this book looks into the life, youth, and advancement of Tarkin. Was he a man of ambition, was he a man of greed, and how did he play in the government of the galaxy? He was the third leg in control of the empire. How did he achieve his place in the governess of the universe? This book makes you connect to the characters in ways you would not expect. The mystery of Vader, the hope of the Emperor, and the cold hearted nature of Tarkin come into question. Your knowledge of black and white may be stretched by the author of this book as you hope they catch their man, find the criminals and save the Empire. This is a great book to suspend your sense of reality, and a great introduction to the other side of the force. 
StormyJ24 More than 1 year ago
Grand Moff Tarkin has never been a character I put very much interest in but when I heard that Luceno was helming this book I had to check it out. “Tarkin” is as much an origin story as it is a ship chase. We get glimpses of pivotal moments in Tarkin's youth that helped shape him into the, let's be honest, heartless creep that he is in both TCW and ANH. These are told through what amount to flashback sequences that mirror events as the Governor (and Vader) chase troublemaking shipjackers across the galaxy. The problem is that throughout the entire novel there's really very little dialogue compared to how much exposition and walls o' text there are. Luceno handles these wonderfully, but at times they were a bit of a struggle to get through simply because there was so much in one part of the story. Tarkin's relationship with both Darth Vader and Palpatine is given a little more substance and complexity than we've seen on-screen, so that's a big plus (honestly, if there were a book that was nothing but Tarkin and Vader sassing each other I'd tear through it in a heartbeat). The links and foreshadowing to the Death Star, Tarkin's own fiery demise, and even the change in Imperial uniforms are also pleasant nods that I quite enjoyed catching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this read. Showing the begging of the relationship between Tarkin and Vader is brilliant. How they have both shown insight into the other and their origins. Great character and plot development is important, especially when being asked to ignore the previous expanded universe. I believe this series can go a long way if it is pursued. More nuance and feeling towards the understanding of the Empire and the powers that dominated the outer ring and expansion on the universe and it's characters. Next book can't come fast enough.
bserkr More than 1 year ago
Grand Admiral Thrawn meets Darth Plagueis Tarkin by James Luceno follows the life of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin from his upbringing in a noble house on Eriadu through his mission with none other than Darth Vader to quell a group of rebels opposing the rule of the newly-established Galactic Empire. Maybe the word “rebels” has too many positive connotations, especially in regards to the Star Wars universe. Better words to describe them would be “dissidents” or “terrorists” as they go on a reign of terror destroying Imperial strongholds, killing innocent citizens, and spreading anti-Imperial propaganda to incite fear in the echelons of the Imperial government. Believing in the glory of the Empire’s cause, Tarkin is eager to work with the Emperor’s personal executioner to end this threat once and for all. Tarkin may be my favorite Star Wars antihero novel to date. This is because, unlike many other Star Wars books I’ve read, this book doesn’t have to rely solely on huge space battles, lightsaber duels, or crazy force powers to tell a consistent narrative, though there is some great action in this book. Instead much of the story is told through more subtle modes of storytelling: dialogue and narration. This helps to streamline the story by focusing it on the development of Wilhuff Tarkin which is absolutely necessary for antihero stories. Without this focus antiheroes simply become unlikable protagonists. No matter what scene he’s in, Tarkin always comes off as a precise, disciplined, and pragmatic individual. Simply from the way he acts to the way he speaks, more can be said about Tarkin’s character in a few pages than has been said about Luke, Leia, and Han over several books. It was also fascinating to read how other characters react to Tarkin, some with disgust, others with awe. This really helped to add additional depth to Tarkin’s character. Additionally the progression of the story in regards to Tarkin’s character is extremely well done. Although he comes from a noble household on Eriadu, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While it is definitely one of the more civilized planets of the galaxy, it still rests in the Outer Rim. As such Tarkin had to grow up experiencing both upper class life and the wilds of the galactic outskirts. This logically caused him to develop into a disciplined, efficient, man unafraid to be ruthless when necessary. When he finally grows up to be the man we all know in A New Hope, it is not only appropriate, but also inspiring given the trials he faces. Other interesting characters include the dissidents themselves who act as great foils to Tarkin. Luceno makes it no secret that the tactics they use aren’t too different from those of Tarkin’s. The Moff’s quote from Episode 4, “Fear will keep the local systems in line”, most certainly applies to the actions of the terrorists, only instead, they use fear to keep the Empire in line. (The definition of terrorist is “One who uses violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.” Doesn’t that make Tarkin a terrorist too? Hmm…) This really helps to make a black-and-white Star Wars concept, Empire vs. Rebels, into something most definitely wishy-washy grey and provokes the reader to ask the question of who is actually in the right. On top of using fear, both sides play mind games against the other by trying to predict the actions of the other. As expected from any good game of cat-and-mouse, these predictions don’t always ring true. This gives a Moriarty to Tarkin’s Holmes or perhaps a Superman to Tarkin’s Lex Luthor if you prefer. When this book was first announced I came in expecting Darth Plagueis meets Grand Admiral Thrawn and boy was I not disappointed! Just like Thrawn, James Luceno has crafted an extremely complex antihero who believes in order above all else and frequently has us rooting for him when the chips are down. In the end, if you can’t sympathize with Tarkin as a character, at the very least you will most definitely respect him. Though we may never get the Thrawn origin story fans so desperately want (between the Disney acquisition and the fact that Timothy Zahn is pretty tight-lipped about Thrawn’s past) I truly believe this makes up for it. ALTERNATE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: How about a few other great anti-hero stories in the Star Wars universe? I recommend Darth Plagueis also by James Luceno, Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover, and Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn. These books follow the lives of Darth Plagueis (and Palpatine), Mace Windu, and Darth Bane respectively. Additionally while Path of Destruction is the first of the Darth Bane trilogy it still serves as a standalone story so reading the second and third books is entirely optional.
strobson1 More than 1 year ago
well written and entertaining
Charizard More than 1 year ago
The second book in the new line of Star Wars novels is an expertly written, Empire-centric, frightening piece of characterization for one of films greatest ancillary characters – Grand Moff Tarkin. You may be wondering if a Star Wars book can be enjoyable without extensive use of Jedi, lightsabers, and the Force – but Tarkin delivers! Luceno is tried and true as one of the galaxy’s best authors, and Tarkin is no exception with his incredible vocabulary and plot design adding to what Luceno does best – characterization!  For me, here’s what I found to be the best elements of the book: Tarkin, Vader, and the Emperor interacting with one another. Luceno nails the heart of the three characters in a way that transports you right back into the original trilogy. The stories of Tarkin’s past might have been my favorite aspect of the read. Whether learning of his training on Eriadu or his rising in the ranks due to the manipulation of Palpatine, I loved the flashbacks. While overall, I’d give this book at least a 9/10, I’d have to say there were a few times when I wasn’t as pleased. The only thing worth mentioning is that the antagonists (if you can even call them that – whatever you call the enemies of the main character when he’s a villain in his own right) never quite seemed like much of a threat. But I can imagine it’s hard to look threatening in a novel about Tarkin and Vader! I’ll recommend this one to anyone who might be skeptical about the direction of the new EU, as well as to anyone looking to enhance their appreciation for the original trilogy of films. Thanks to Luceno’s excellent novel, I’ll never watch A New Hope the same way again.
Carsten More than 1 year ago
Tarkin is a great beginning to our new era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An engaging story that really develops characters we know from the films and balances the side stories in classic star wars fashion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lathare More than 1 year ago
This book is a fascinating "biography" on the life of Wilhuff Tarkin. The entire backstory of how his personal ship came to be known as the Carrion Spike was the most interesting angle in the book. It really paints a picture for the reader as to exactly how and why Tarkin became a leader, all the way up to the Grand Moff we know and "love". This book also provides what I believe to be some excellent background for the upcoming Rogue One movie. Much of the book details the construction of the mobile battle station aka DEATH STAR. This is a good book even if you are just looking to fill in some time gaps between the saga movies. It doubles as a lead in to Rogue One, as well as a colorful trip deep into the making of Wilhuff Tarkin's mind.
DarthRuiz More than 1 year ago