The Galaxy’s Deadliest Imperial – Star Wars: Tarkin (Book Review)

Sep 27, 2015

Star Wars: Tarkin, a novel by James Luceneo, published by Del Rey. Part of the new official canon.

Wilhuff Tarkin is a complicated man. Born on the Outer Rim world of Eriadu to a high class family, his parents ensured that young Wilhuff would never forget that comfort and fortune are fleeting, and one must always be prepared to do whatever is needed to survive. Now an older man, Moff Tarkin is assigned to Sentinal Base; A secret Imperial Facility in the Outer Rim. The base is suddenly attacked by a ship made up of many different pieces of former Separatist ships and carrying a contingent of Droid Fighters. After repelling the initial attack, Tarkin is called to Coruscant to investigate.

After meeting with the Emperor, Tarkin reveals details of the attack, and is informed that a cache of Clone Wars era communications equipment has been discovered on the planet of Murkahana. Tarkin and Darth Vader are tasked with investigating as a squabble between the Imperial Security Bureau and Naval Intelligence threatens the security of the Empire. Neither entirely trust each other in the beginning, and the Emperor instructed them to decide on their own who would be in charge of the mission. Both have respect for each other, but Tarkin begins to suspect that Darth Vader was originally Anakin Skywalker.

While en route to Murkahana, in his highly modified and state of the art stealth corvette, Tarkin thinks back to his past and how his upbringing has made him into the man he is today. While investigating the supposed cache of Clone Wars era equipment, Tarkin and Vader walk right into a trap. The rebels who had planted the equipment steal Tarkin’s ship. Tarkin and Vader then race to acquire a new vessel to try to track the stolen ship. The only one with the armaments and speed is one owned by a vile gangster. Both Vader and Tarkin show their utterly ruthless side as they bargain for and acquire the gangster’s ship.

TarkinCoverMeanwhile, the band of rebels who stole the modified corvette start their campaign of terror and disruption against the Empire with Vader and Tarkin always one step behind. While chasing the rebels, Tarkin begins to suspect that all is not how it seems. The rebels seem to know too much about the Empire and how it operates.

The investigation story is broken up with more glimpses into Tarkin’s past, and how he met the then Senator Palpatine and become one of the three most powerful men in the galaxy.

I enjoyed reading this book so much that I couldn’t put it down. It took me just two days to devour it. I am a fan of the original Expanded Universe (now called Legends), so I wasn’t originally sure how I would take to the new canon, but I appreciated the writing style and pace set forth by the author. I really liked the way the author developed the Tarkin character and backstory. It was also enjoyable to see the relationship between Vader and Tarkin grown from passing respect to admiration and even perhaps the beginnings of a friendship among equals. For Star Wars fans, this is a must read.