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Tarkin (Star Wars)
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(Star Wars Disney Canon Novel)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  15,735 ratings  ·  1,383 reviews
"Of power, I could tell you much. One must seize the moment, and strike." --Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin

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 thro
ebook, 288 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Del Rey
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Chris Larue There are sooo many books to read in the Star Wars universe. It depends on you really. Tarkin is considered Canon (the current storyline). Honestly if…moreThere are sooo many books to read in the Star Wars universe. It depends on you really. Tarkin is considered Canon (the current storyline). Honestly if you want to go in chronological order using the canon books I would start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks. I also HIGHLY recommend watching The Clone Wars (Cartoon TV Series) the story lines there also tie into the canon story line. If you are just looking for a really good read and awesome backstory you MUST read the Han Solo Trilogy. (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Alex Ronke Dooku's entire philosophy is different than Tarkin's, so I'm not sure "smarter" or "better" is necessarily the right comparison. Dooku is a charismati…moreDooku's entire philosophy is different than Tarkin's, so I'm not sure "smarter" or "better" is necessarily the right comparison. Dooku is a charismatic agent of chaos. His tactics were intended to destabilize a fragile status quo, forcing the Republic to abandon its principles. He was the Chaos that made Palpatine's Order so much more attractive.

Tarkin is argubly as cruel as Dooku, but his focus is on maintaining order through fear. Tarkin enthusiastically embraces tyranny as a means of taming the universe and satisfying his own ambition. He's a calculating strategist, but he uses his skills to unravel plots rather than create them. He's an enforcer, not a warmonger.

If Palpatine had just been a popular tyrant (like Caesar or Napoleon), rather than a supernatural and powerful Sith, Tarkin could have been Palpatine's post-Count "apprentice."

As for your final question, I don't think Dooku was so much manipulated as betrayed. He wasn't a completely unwitting pawn. He knew that his role was to create an excuse for Palpatine's rise to power, and he played his role well. He just misunderstood the full details of the endgame, and he didn't see himself as disposable as Sidious saw him.(less)

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Indeed a very GOOD novel about EVIL


Then evil will have to do.

Sometimes is odd the development of books where the villain is the main character since not matter that he/she is the main character and very likely the very reason of why the readers chose to read the novel, still, the narrative tend to point out how incorrect is to support evil, stating how awful they are, and even sometimes they even lose at the end.

Don't get me wrong, i
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Princess Leia Organa: No! Alderaan is peaceful! We have no weapons, you can't possibly...

Governor Tarkin: [impatiently] You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system! I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: *Where* is the rebel base?

Princess Leia Organa: ...Dantooine. They're on Dantooine.

Governor Tarkin: There. You see, Lord Vader, she can be reasonable. Continue with the operation; you may fire when ready.

Princess Leia Organa: WHAT???

Governor Ta
Sean Barrs
After Rogue One: A Star Wars Story I wanted to read a little bit more into Tarkin’s backstory. I wanted to see exactly what made this man so effective; he is not a Sith Lord or a Jedi, but he is easily one of the most dangerous men in the galaxy.

What makes this imperial so intimidating?

Ruthlessness, domineeringness and heartlessness.

Tarkin is willing to do anything to secure the future of the Empire. War is easy, murder is simple and mass genocide is a necessity. For him the ends justify
Nov 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

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


EPISODE III (and then some)

It is a dark time for the Empire.
Although the Clone Wars have ended,
most of the vile Jedi been destroyed, and
the Enlightened Emperor enthroned,
still there are those who subvert the peace.

Moff Tarkin was a valiant defender
of the Republic until the betrayal
of the Jedi Council. Since then he has
sworn allegiance to the Empire and
diligently enforced its edict to
maintain its perfe
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’ve been a great admirer of James Luceno’s Star Wars work in the past, especially his book Darth Plagueis about the eponymous Sith Lord who was the master of Darth Sidious. Having experienced Luceno’s approach to writing Star Wars villains and the credit he does them, I didn’t hesitate to add Tarkin to my reading list with high hopes for the author’s insight into the formidable Grand Moff.

Even if you’re only passing famil
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
It was a bit daunting to read a Star Wars book since it had been years since I read one and even though I still love Star Wars I just don’t watch the movie that often nowadays as I did when I was younger. Also, this book is about Tarkin, a character I never really cared about in the movie. But Darth Vader was on the cover also so that made this book seem a bit interesting to read.

But, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading the book. It's a really, really good. Yes, i
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-review, arcs, e-book
This review originally appeared on my blog,


I’ve long been a reader of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. In fact, most of my favorite characters and storylines come from the books, not the movies. But Tarkin is one that caught my interest in the movie, and I’ve been waiting a long time for his story.

But TARKIN just wasn’t the book I hoped it would be.

First I should say that James Luceno’s writing style doesn’t always work for me, and this is one of those books where it really didn’
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Who Wants to Know What Makes an Ordinary Moff into a Grand Moff
One part traditional audiobook, one part old-timey radio serial drama complete with musical score and SFX, I confess that Tarkin was the most fun I've had with an audiobook during my daily commute in a long while. Only issue was lowering the volume a bit when sitting idle at a stop sign or a traffic light with my windows down so that the sound of blaster beams or Darth Vader's rasping breathing didn't freak out my fellow motorists or nearby pedestrians!

Art by Allen Douglas

(Art by Allen Douglas via

Jesse A
Jul 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Another SW novel I didn't particularly care for. Not a bad story just not anything special. ...more
Scott Rhee
It’s almost impossible not to see the parallels between the current American political landscape and the political landscape of “Star Wars”. Strangely enough (although not really, if you truly grasp human nature), most conservative Republicans who still support Trump are incapable of seeing themselves as the side of the Empire. To everyone else, it’s obvious: Republicans, whether they can admit it or not, represent the death knell of the Republic and the gradual but assured ascendancy of the Emp ...more
ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Tarkin is one of the main villains of the Star Wars universe and I was pretty excited to read his story.

Initially I thought this would be more like a chronological biography of Tarkin's life, but the author went in a different direction.
Most of the book is set between the third and fourth Star Wars movie, while the Empire is already reigning. Tarkin is already a Moff and govenor.
After an attack on a station he's in charge of, the Emperor
My first foray into the post-EU era reboot of the Star Wars novel series. Since this is "official" canon now, it's even more interesting to get a look into the backstory of Grand Moff Tarkin.

Overall, the story is pretty basic. Nothing special, other than that it's Star Wars. There's not a lot of adventure, though there are some battle scenes. The big draw here is the character development of Tarkin himself, the Big Bad of the very first movie. This was Star Wars when it was simply Star Wars. The
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
This is the second book I read set in the Star Wars universe (after "Kenobi") and it’s based on the figure of the Grand Moff Tarkin, a character seen in the movie "A new hope", in my opinion not valued enough there.

The story takes place five years after the birth of the empire. Darth Sidious rules with an iron fist, thanks to the help of Darth Vader who swept away what remained of the Jedi knights and Wilhuff Tarkin, ruthless governor from one of the Outer Rim planets. After having climbed the r
I finished the eARC in a couple of days. A fast read, but not a compelling one. I was intrigued to read the back story for Tarkin, who we barely got to know in the original Star Wars movie through the lens of Peter Cushing. I suppose I was hoping for a bit of redemption, as I am always looking for redemption for even the vilest characters, but Tarkin didn’t exhibit anything redeeming, beyond his uncanny military acumen.

I have given up on Emperor Palpatine. He’s beyond hope or redemption. I can s
Shane Amazon
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Perhaps it's just me.

When the new EU was first announced I saw the cover for Tarkin and was eager to learn more...and then I saw who was writing it. Over the last few years I have read many Luceno works; some I loved and some I wanted to throw against a wall. And although there were a few things I found entertaining in Tarkin, I have to say this is the most disappointing SW book I've read in a long time.

There are two things I know about writing good books. The first was best said by Anton Chekho
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-wars
A very good Star Wars novel that delves a bit into Tarkin's past and his ascension to Grand Moff. We also get a bit of a twisted buddy cop story with Tarkin and Vader. ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I didn't know I needed Tarkin in my life until I read it.

My second venture into the new EU, Tarkin effortlessly connects all elements of the new cannon: the prequels, The Clone Wars, Rebels and the original movies. It gives us a thorough examination of Tarkin's origins and background, but also delivers an engaging conspiracy plot and explains how the great triumvirate of evil - Emperor/Sidious, Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin - was created.

If you have only seen the movies, the Empire mu
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Increasingly, I find the popularity of the Empire disturbing.

The fact that cosplayers dress as Stormtroopers in massive numbers, that there are plushy Darth Vaders for sale (or cute little kid Vaders starting their parents' cars with the force), that our girls are meant to look up to First Order ultra-thug Captain Phasma (and it's supposed to be a positive step forward for women in general), that Empire aesthetic is cool, and that we now have peeks into the making of the Empire's greatest crimi
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-wars
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It can't always be about the good guys... ...more
DNF - I got to about 35% on the audiobook but it was too boring to hold my attention.

I WILL say the audiobook narrator was very good and did a great job voicing Darth Vader and Palpatine.
Neil R. Coulter
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Star Wars fans
Shelves: fiction, star-wars

I read James Luceno's Tarkin right after reading Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig. That was good for Tarkin. I probably would have enjoyed it no matter when I read it, but coming right after what must surely be one of the worst Star Wars books, it shines even brighter. My expectations were low, but I was pleasantly surprised: this is a good Star Wars story.

Luceno's writing style has an easygoing, natural feel to it. He knows the Star Wars universe, but his trivial knowledge doesn't come across as fan-

The Review: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c....

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

He’s the scion of an honourable 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
Phoebe Prince
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The real joy in this book is learning about Tarkin’s childhood on his home Outer Rim planet of Eriadu; the Tarkins were one of the first settling families of the hostile planet, but grew wealthy after Eriadu became a major exporter of lommite. Tarkin grows up in a wealthy, patrician branch of the family, but he’s not spoiled or treated softly by his parents. His parents tell him that someday, he’ll have to go out to the Carrion Spike, and young Tarkin doesn’t know what this means, but he builds ...more
I ended up enjoying it, but there are a couple rough spots that almost brought my rating down to 3.5. There is a throw away plot about rebels doing rebellious things, and our plucky hero, Tarkin, must stop them from succeeding. It had something to do with Tarkin's old ship that the Empire had to get back, for some reason. Enter Tarkin & Vader bromance (so not kidding...and, oddly, it worked). The scenes with these two were gold and fun as hell. Vader was a highlight of the story. By far the most ...more
Paul Brooker
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Star Wars fans rejoice, the second novel in the post Lucas era of Star Wars is here. Tarkin tells the story of one of the grandest of Grand Moffs, Willhuff Tarkin. Leceno easily delivers a novel that easily will satisfy the multitudes of fans of the EU, while still laying the groundwork for the new canon.

Set five years after Darth Sidious became Emperor, Tarkin blends the coming of age story of a young Willhuff with the seeds of growing dissent in the post clone wars universe of the new Empire.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, sci-fi
As an avid Star Wars fan, I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of this book, provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book is set between Episodes 3 and 4 of the Star Wars movies, and tells the story of Wilhuff Tarkin, who rises through the Imperial ranks to become one of the Emperor's best.

I loved reading his back story and learning more about how he came to be the cold perfectionist who is in charge of the construction of the Empire's Death Star. It might be fun to see thi
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Emperor Palpatine sets ups his two favorite people, Vader and Tarkin, up on a hot date bonding exercise. But alas hijinks ensue and they must trail some Pre-Rebels all over the galaxy causing them to bond while remembering Tarkin's bloody childhood on Eriadu.

But for real this book was a good time and definitely more solid writing wise than many of the new canon novels I've read. If you want to know more about Tarkin, his dynamic with Palpy and Vader, or the early days of the empire this is a gr
Stephen Richter
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
In my quest to read the best of the Star War novels, this got the most shout outs in blogs and comments on the controversy of Disney's decision to slim down the extended universe. James Luceno has written the biography of the Tarkin. Starting with his teenage years, you find out the make up of Darth Vader favorite General. The book flows very nicely and the audio production has all sorts of nice touches. A fun read. ...more
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging and well-written story.

The tale is very character-driven. Tarkin’s character lets Luceno use elements of different genres, such as mystery and survival, and it works since Tarkin isn’t a lunatic or somebody who’s conflicted, so Luceno can shift tone effectively. While it’s not a huge element, parts of the story also show space warfare, and Luceno does a good job showing how bigger capital ships fight. Another part of the story that’s well done is that nobody really knows why Palpatin
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Star Wars Legends...: Tarkin 16 17 Apr 02, 2021 03:15PM  
Star Wars Codex: Tarkin 4 9 Dec 14, 2020 05:09PM  
Any one else? 3 43 Oct 13, 2017 10:04AM  
Star Wars: Fun Stuff 2 8 Dec 08, 2016 11:08PM  
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The Star Wars Stacks: Star Wars: Tarkin 6 32 Jan 26, 2015 03:34AM  

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James Luceno co-wrote a lot of books with Brian Daley as Jack McKinney.

He is a New York Times Best-Selling author currently living in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and youngest child.

Other books in the series

Star Wars Disney Canon Novel (1 - 10 of 56 books)
  • Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: The High Republic)
  • Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic)
  • The Rising Storm (Star Wars: The High Republic)
  • Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars)
  • Master and Apprentice (Star Wars)
  • Queen's Peril (Star Wars)
  • The Phantom Menace (Star Wars: Novelizations, #1)
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“Tarkin smiled. “Someone once said that politics is little more than the systematic organization of hostilities.” 9 likes
“Moff Tarkin sends his regards.” 6 likes
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