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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

Review

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

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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

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.”

2

Blows Against the Empire

The door to Tarkin’s quarters whooshed open, disappearing into the partition, and out he marched, dressed in worn trousers and ill-fitting boots, with a lightweight gray-green duster draped over his shoulders. As the adjutant hurried to keep pace with the taller man’s determined steps, the strident voice of the protocol droid slithered through the opening before the door resealed itself.

“But, sir, the fitting!”

Originally a cramped garrison base deployed from a Victory-class Star Destroyer, Sentinel now sprawled in all directions as a result of prefabricated modules that had since been delivered or assembled on site. The heart of the facility was a warren of corridors linking one module to the next, their ceilings lost behind banks of harsh illuminators, forced-air ducts, fire-suppression pipes, and bundled strands of snaking wires. Everything had an improvised look, but as this was Moff Wilhuff Tarkin’s domain, the radiantly heated walkways and walls were spotless, and the pipes and feeds were meticulously organized and labeled with alphanumerics. Overworked scrubbers purged staleness and the smell of ozone from the recycled air. The corridors were crowded not only with specialists and junior officers, but also with droids of all sizes and shapes, twittering, beeping, and chirping to one another as their optical sensors assessed the speed and momentum of Tarkin’s forward march and propelling themselves out of harm’s way at the last possible instant, on treads, casters, repulsors, and ungainly metal legs. Between the blare of distant alarms and the warble of announcements ordering personnel to muster stations, it was difficult enough to hear oneself think, and yet Tarkin was receiving updates through an ear bead as well as communicating continually with Sentinel’s command center through a speck of a microphone adhered to his voice box.

He wedged the audio bead deeper into his ear as he strode through a domed module whose skylight wells revealed that the storm had struck with full force and was shaking Sentinel for all it was worth. Exiting the dome and moving against a tide of staff and droids, he right-angled through two short stretches of corridor, doors flying open at his approach and additional personnel joining him at each juncture—senior officers, navy troopers, communications technicians, some of them young and shorn, most of them in uniform, and all of them human—so that by the time he reached the command center, the duster billowing behind him like a cape, it was as if he were leading a parade.

At Tarkin’s request, the rectangular space was modeled after the sunken data pits found aboard Imperial-class Star Destroyers. Filing in behind him, the staffers he had gathered along the way rushed to their duty stations, even while others already present were leaping to their feet to deliver salutes. Tarkin waved them back into their swivel chairs and positioned himself on a landing at the center of the room with a clear view of the holoimagers, sensor displays, and authenticators. Off to one side of him, Base Commander Cassel, dark-haired and sturdy, was leaning across the primary holoprojector table, above which twitched a grainy image of antique starfighters executing strafing runs across Rampart’s gleaming surface, while the marshaling station’s batteries responded with green pulses of laser energy. In a separate holovid even more corrupted than the first, insect-winged Geonosian laborers could be seen scrambling for cover in one of the station’s starfighter hangars. A distorted voice was crackling through the command center’s wall-mounted speaker array.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Jim Canitz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Carrion Spike
Reviewed in the United States on May 13, 2019
Understanding Tarkin. Little known by the Star Wars readers. Misunderstood. Brilliant tactician. Ruthless adversary. Had a Sith Lord, Darth Sidious not been in the picture, perhaps we might have seen an Emperor Tarkin. Now revealed as one of three... See more
Understanding Tarkin. Little known by the Star Wars readers. Misunderstood. Brilliant tactician. Ruthless adversary.

Had a Sith Lord, Darth Sidious not been in the picture, perhaps we might have seen an Emperor Tarkin.

Now revealed as one of three leaders of the Galactic Empire. Grand Moff Tarkin is the designated Overseer to the Rim Worlds. Destined to command the Empire''s ultimate weapon, the fear inspiring Death Star.

Had Luke Skywalker not been as good at bombing womp rats, who knows what the future held for Wilhuff Tarkin.

Perhaps some enterprising author will resurrect Tarkin in a tale of fancy in which he takes Admiral Piel''s advice and escapes from the destruction of the Death Star. Only to return to more adventures in a Galaxy far, far, away.
12 people found this helpful
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Marcello Milanezi
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
All over the galaxy
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2018
As the title indicates, the reader should be ready to be taken through the origin story of Grand Moff Tarkin, just as one might have read about Darth Bane and Darth Plagueis. However, unlike those titles, it seems that the writer did not plan ahead since the... See more
As the title indicates, the reader should be ready to be taken through the origin story of Grand Moff Tarkin, just as one might have read about Darth Bane and Darth Plagueis.

However, unlike those titles, it seems that the writer did not plan ahead since the story is, quite certainly, all over the place. After a brief and very fast paced intro, the reader gets shot right into Tarkin’s formative years, as a teenager, but that quickly ends in a desperate attempt to make cameos of other movie characters.

Before you know it, Tarkin is going in an adventure alongsise Darth Vader, which turns out more like a Three Stooges act than anything else.

If not for the brief telling of Tarkin’s teenage years, this book would be an utter disaster. By the end of it you’ll still be asking yourself “why did Tarkin become a Gran Moff”, and that is not how the reader is supoosed to feel.
6 people found this helpful
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William A. Ronke
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tarkin and the Imperialism of Genre: Moriarty, Rhodes, and Nelson
Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2016
"Tarkin," like many Star Wars novels, is not a book of one genre. While it''s certainly part of a greater space fantasy environment, "Tarkin" has much in common from genres of historical fiction set in the Victorian and Napoleonic eras. James... See more
"Tarkin," like many Star Wars novels, is not a book of one genre. While it''s certainly part of a greater space fantasy environment, "Tarkin" has much in common from genres of historical fiction set in the Victorian and Napoleonic eras.

James Luceno, who wrote the excellent "Star Wars: Darth Plagueis" shortly before the Lucasfilm canon reset, takes a rather different tone with his villainous protagonist. Wilhuff Tarkin isn''t a Sith Lord. He''s not the sort of boldly despicable villain that you love to hate. He''s not maniacal or all-powerful. He''s neither Byronic nor dashing. He doesn''t have a complicated inner good person struggling to get out. Tarkin is cold and calculating, and as the novel shifts between the genres of mystery, savage survival, and naval warfare, Tarkin echoes characters of Imperial literature and history like Professor Moriarty, Cecil Rhodes, and Admiral Nelson.

Like Moriarty or his rival, Tarkin has strong deductive reasoning skills. A good portion of the novel reads like a Victorian-era Sherlock Holmes mystery, albeit with a ruthless amoral genius at the helm rather than a drug-addicted defender of the meek. Tarkin doesn''t make it through the novel without making a few incorrect predictions, but his mind is sharp, and his ability to unravel conspiracy is impressive.

Interspersed throughout the mystery are flashbacks to the Tarkin family''s brutal rites of passage on the planet Eriadu. Like Cecil Rhodes, most infamous of Victorian colonialists, young Wilhuff adapts to survival in the savage savannahs and jungles of his homeworld. Accordingly, Eriadu''s Carrion Plateau could have been the setting of a Star Wars "Heart of Darkness." Eriadu is the Darkest Africa of diamond mines and Boer wars, and like a good Victorian, Tarkin is taught the importance of order and fear. He rises to power treating both the natural and civic aspects of his universe as things to be tamed.

Finally, like Lord Horatio Nelson (or the fictional Horatio Hornblower), Tarkin takes on the role of Napoleonic-era naval strategist. Star Wars media more often depicts dogfights between small craft, making quick turns and dodging beams of energy. Though the space battles of this novel are exciting, they primarily focus on larger, slower vessels. So instead of evasive maneuvers, the novel''s ships have to predict the path of their bulky opponents, turning and positioning their starboard cannons to hit the enemy''s port with a massive broadside. This last element of "Tarkin" is less dominant than the others, but the relevant passages could have come from a C S Forester novel.

I quite enjoyed Luceno''s "Tarkin." It won''t be everyone''s cup of tea, as the protagonist is neither particularly likeable nor particularly fascinating. Wilhuff Tarkin''s shade of evil is instead a bit too close to home, embracing an ugly imperialism that has shown its face frequently on our own little planet.

One final aside for fellow Star Wars enthusiasts: fans of "Darth Plagueis" should be happy to see some small details from this previous work pop up in "Tarkin." It''s not particularly explicit, but Luceno references a few characters and plot points from his earlier book as if it had never been extricated from the canon. It''s almost as if Del Rey should publish a second edition of "Darth Plagueis," revised to fit the new editorial and canon standards but with at least 75% of the story intact. One can dream.
17 people found this helpful
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Ian Snow
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Borrow if you can...
Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2016
For transparency, I''m a huge Star Wars fan, I loved a lot of the EU (and thought some of it just plain sucked), I always knew it wasn''t cannon like the movies, and so I didn''t get butt hurt when Disney made the decision to not follow any of it. That said...... See more
For transparency, I''m a huge Star Wars fan, I loved a lot of the EU (and thought some of it just plain sucked), I always knew it wasn''t cannon like the movies, and so I didn''t get butt hurt when Disney made the decision to not follow any of it. That said...

This book is part of Disney''s and Lucasfilm''s "new" Star Wars cannon, and it''s not a bad story, but it''s not exactly a good one either. The part I enjoyed was the "current" parts, showcasing the older Tarkin, as well as his interaction with Darth Vader. The part that showcased Tarkin in his younger years was boring, and much like Anakin as a little boy, I didn''t feel needed to be told. In fact, it just felt like it was there to pad the book out. Another thing I didn''t like was Palpatine showing an interest in Tarkin when he was younger. I always hate when they tie things together like that, as it just makes a large galaxy seem so small. Oh, and I hated that they gave Palpatine a first name, and made it the dumbest thing imaginable. When I first read that his name was "Sheev Palpatine", I legit thought to myself, "yeah, I''d turn to the dark side too if I had a name like that".

Oh, and I would like to totally thank both Disney and Lucasfilm for the fact that whenever I try to type the word "when" on my phone, it tries to auto correct to "Sheev", as though to taunt me...
13 people found this helpful
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Mario A. EscamillaTop Contributor: Star Wars
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A solid entry in Star Wars canon
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2021
A great novel, it''s easy to see the experience of James Luceno at work here. It''s fluid, never lingers, descriptions and recollections are clear but deep and rewarding at the same time. It''s basically a detective novel, but in this case, the detective is our bad... See more
A great novel, it''s easy to see the experience of James Luceno at work here. It''s fluid, never lingers, descriptions and recollections are clear but deep and rewarding at the same time.

It''s basically a detective novel, but in this case, the detective is our bad guy number one, and I can almost compare what Luceno does here to what George R.R. Martin does with the character of Jamie Lannister, where after hating him for three books, you get to relate him once he finds himself down on the ground.

Vader is masterfully taken and you can simply hear Peter Cushing voicing every line in the book.

Tasked with overseeing the construction of a nightmarish battle station, Tarkin finds himself embroiled in a sabotaging campaign again Imperial assets and is summoned by the Emperor himself to capture the dissidents, with the unexpected help of a certain Lord of the Sith, whom who he will end striking if not a friendship, a fruitful alliance.
One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Vague and Narrow
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2015
If viewed as a stand alone Star Wars story this novel is very good. It tells of the adventures of Tarkin and Darth Vader as they travel around in space to stop a band of rebels who stole an Imperial ship. It lacks as a Star Wars novel because much of the book is in space... See more
If viewed as a stand alone Star Wars story this novel is very good. It tells of the adventures of Tarkin and Darth Vader as they travel around in space to stop a band of rebels who stole an Imperial ship. It lacks as a Star Wars novel because much of the book is in space and because it is mostly gray-scale in backdrop. Intertwined in the novel is the story of Tarkin''s youth as he is taken on survival training trips on his homeworld. These parts are short and don''t utilize a lot of the exotic planets that is common in the Star Wars universe. This Vader/Tarkin adventure takes place entirely before the events of Episode IV. The story takes place in a manner of days and doesn''t explore the relationship between Tarkin and Vader as it existed before or after. It mentions Trakin''s suspicious of Darth Vader once being Anakin Skywalker but doesn''t explore it any more than a mere mention.

I read this book after reading the author''s previous novel Darth Plagueis. By comparison Tarkin is not as good. Darth Plagueis goes into great details about the histories of Senator Palpatine, his master Darth Plagueis, and his protege Darth Maul. Darth Plagueis has a great tie-in to the Star Wars movies and was very wide in scope and has great character detail. Tarkin by comparison is very narrow in scope and vague in details. Tarkin meets the requirements for Star Wars "canon" where Darth Plagueis is just an extended universe novel. Because of this I felt like Tarkin was restricted from going into many areas that the reader would like to explore. Too much detail about the Death Star construction or about Tarkin''s last moments might conflict with the anthology movie Star Wars: Rogue One to be released in 2016. The book is lacking because of this. We do not get a great sense of Tarkin''s motives or the actions that were going on in between the scenes during the movies like the destruction of Alderaan or the Battle of Yavin. When I think of Tarkin those are the most infamous moments Star Wars fans know of him and what a book about him should be about.
8 people found this helpful
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Anthony Sikorski
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent read about a brilliant tactician
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2020
This book is what I expect when reading about a character in a different universe. It talks about what shaped him growing up, his rise to power, struggles, etc. You get into his mind and understand how he looks at the Emperor and Vader. You also get a bit of a fun... See more
This book is what I expect when reading about a character in a different universe. It talks about what shaped him growing up, his rise to power, struggles, etc. You get into his mind and understand how he looks at the Emperor and Vader. You also get a bit of a fun adventure tossed in. One of my favorite Star Wars novels. I enjoy novels focused on fun adventures and Jedi/Sith books too but when exploring a certain character like this book does, I thought it did so outstandingly.
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M Burks
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tarkin &.Vader Vs. Space Hipsters
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2016
Very well written and a deep character insight into Tarkin but there isn''t much of an actual story. We get tons of backstory and exposition into Tarkin and his way of thinking reflected upon his past. But the story itself is thin,like nothing of significance really... See more
Very well written and a deep character insight into Tarkin but there isn''t much of an actual story. We get tons of backstory and exposition into Tarkin and his way of thinking reflected upon his past. But the story itself is thin,like nothing of significance really occures.

We have a cluster of space Hipsters who go on a joyride in Tarkin''s ship to show the galaxy the Empire aren''t nothing. Thats pretty much the plot in a nutshell. Though I did find some of the hijackers interesting, the plot they were grounded in wasn''t too much action as most Star Wars novels deliver. I did appreciate the character study however, even in the original Star Wars, before there was an entire universe that reinforced it, Tarkin held that loom of power. We knew he was a bigwig hailing from a powerful family, but now with this novel we get to Peel back the layers as to what made him.

Overall Tarkin is a well rounded, character driven novel. If you''re into deep characterization, then this novel is for you.
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Marshall Lord
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Backstory of an iconic Star Wars villain
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2017
Star Wars: "Tarkin" by James Luceno provides the backstory to Grand Moff Tarkin, Peter Cushing''s character in the first Star Wars film published (e.g. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope [DVD] [Region 2] (English audio. English subtitles)) and one of the more...See more
Star Wars: "Tarkin" by James Luceno provides the backstory to Grand Moff Tarkin, Peter Cushing''s character in the first Star Wars film published (e.g. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope [DVD] [Region 2] (English audio. English subtitles)) and one of the more memorable villains of any space opera or other science fiction story.. Exactly how the Empire''s hierarchy worked was never quite clear in the original films but Tarkin appears to be the only person in the empire whose relationship with Darth Vader approximates to one between equals - Vader kneels only to Emperor Palpatine who he calls "My master" while everyone else bar Tarkin in the imperial hierarchy has good reason to be terrified of a man who can personally execute senior admirals on a whim, but Tarkin is the only person who addresses him as a friend, and the only individual other than the Emperor who can ask Vader to stop doing something and have his wishes respected, however sinister the response "as you wish" may sound. Tarkin''s reputation has only grown among fans of the Star Wars universe as a result of recent films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [DVD] [2016] [2017] (the creators of which did an incredible job of making Guy Henry look like Peter Cushing''s Tarkin) and books like Timothy Zahn''s Star Wars: Thrawn. Both present him as an extremely strong-minded and powerful character. In this book James Luceno explores some of the backstory of Grand Moff Tarkin, his role in the creation of the Death Star, his family history, relations with Palpatine who he first met as a new Senator, and with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. At one point Palpatine describes himself, Vader and Tarkin as the three most powerful men in the galaxy and adds that it is no coincidence that their homeworlds of Naboo, Tattoine and Eridu are relatively close together and none of them particularly near to the galactic capital at Coruscant. The story is mostly set between the end of "Revenge of the Sith" and the start of "A New Hope" but has a lot of flashbacks to Tarkin''s youth on Eridu, his home planet of which he was later governor (one of many jobs he held during his rise to power.) In particular the book suggests how how Tarkin''s family upbringing in a sector where his family, and soon himself, are the main bulwark protecting the people from pirates and brigands forged him not just as a supporter, but a wielder, of strong and ruthless government authority as the only way to preserve order from chaos. A well crafted and entertaining book which manages to be both original and yet almost entirely consistent not just with "A New Hope" but with most of the later films and books in which Tarkin appears.
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Rob Kemp
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The heart of Tarkin revealed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 27, 2020
Tarkin Darth and Wilhuff – or bad cop & good cop – I think the key word linking these two is ‘Respect’. Vader can appreciate the bravery, guile and cunning of the man who becomes his effective equal partner in the Empire (pre New Hope ending). The story of how Tarkin became...See more
Tarkin Darth and Wilhuff – or bad cop & good cop – I think the key word linking these two is ‘Respect’. Vader can appreciate the bravery, guile and cunning of the man who becomes his effective equal partner in the Empire (pre New Hope ending). The story of how Tarkin became who he did I think is fabulous story and I wish it were possible to have others prior to ‘Rogue One/NewHope)’ – alas. The plot and narration is very well driven and it’s good to ‘see’ other aspects etc of the Empire’s role post Revenge of the Sith. The Emperor himself gets reasonable ‘time’ in the book too with a minor nod to another Luceno book, Darth Plagueis. Overall this is a worthy addition to the overall picture of the universe kindly bequeathed to us by George Lucas.
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Ashley
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent Worldbuilding, Insightful Look into the Early Empire
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2018
I read this book not because I have any interest in Tarkin''s character (although there''s backstory in spades here ... presented in a rather tedious fashion) but because I was curious to see the transition from Republic to Empire through the eyes of the top brass. (And...See more
I read this book not because I have any interest in Tarkin''s character (although there''s backstory in spades here ... presented in a rather tedious fashion) but because I was curious to see the transition from Republic to Empire through the eyes of the top brass. (And because it seemed to be common knowledge on the internet that Tarkin had an inkling who Vader really was and the chance to read a Tarkin/Vader buddy-cop story was too good to pass up.) And I wasn''t disappointed. There are so many excellent callbacks to The Clone Wars (even Ahsoka gets name dropped) and there''s a particular chapter that details a conversation between Tarkin and Dooku before the war breaks out that is extraordinarily insightful. Like, if the machinations of the Clone Wars and the disintegration of Republic politics have any interest for you, read this book. There''s a new cast of rebel characters that are more or less take ''em or leave ''em, but the action surrounding them does allow for Luceno to expound on hyperspace tech, which is worthwhile. A great addition to the worldbuilding canon of GFFA. My one complaint is that while the "deep space mobile battle station" is mentioned a number of times and we meet a lot of other high-ranking Imps, Krennic is never once named, and the Krennic-Tarkin feud is a central plot point of Luceno''s Catalyst. But I suppose Krennic hadn''t made his big-bad debut in RO when Tarkin was written so he wasn''t really "around" yet.
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Lindsay Anderson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tarkin, through and through
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2021
I''ve been reading the more recent "Thrawn" books, expertly written by Timothy Zahn and thoroughly enjoying them. "Tarkin" was a logical next choice as the two exist in the same timeline and though the Empire is vast, know of eachother''s existence. "Tarkin" was quite the...See more
I''ve been reading the more recent "Thrawn" books, expertly written by Timothy Zahn and thoroughly enjoying them. "Tarkin" was a logical next choice as the two exist in the same timeline and though the Empire is vast, know of eachother''s existence. "Tarkin" was quite the change of pace! James Luceno perfectly captures the essence of this formidable character. The prose are stern and calculated, and riddled with militant political jargon as though written by the Governor himself. It makes for a harder read, bringing the prequel movie trilogy to mind in that it is full of extraneous detail on the inner workings of the Empire, but for a true fan this only serves to enrich the experience. You will learn of Moff Wilhuff Tarkin''s upbringing on Eriadu and the rites of passage he underwent that ultimately shaped him into the ruthless military strategist we know and love to hate. You will also enjoy the development of his relationship with Palpetine and Vader and find out how they rose together to become the triad pinnacle of power in the galaxy. Thoroughly enjoyed!
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Lillian Bush
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Honestly, quite boring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 6, 2020
To me this isn''t a story about Tarkin, he is just a vessel for the name of his ship. And this is not the Garmin from the films of animated series, it''s all wrong. I wanted to read about a cool, calculated leader. But all I got was this emotional, clawing for approval and...See more
To me this isn''t a story about Tarkin, he is just a vessel for the name of his ship. And this is not the Garmin from the films of animated series, it''s all wrong. I wanted to read about a cool, calculated leader. But all I got was this emotional, clawing for approval and promotion, this sleaze sycophant. And also facts are taken from The Clone Wars animated series and then other statements are completely wrong. This book has so much redundant detailing that I spent half the time trying to sift through the irrelevant information to find the story. It''s a flashback story up until chapter 15 when it actually starts. This book is a filler and I''m disappointed as I thought this would be good.
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