Review: Tarkin – James Luceno

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: LucasBooks; Reissue edition (June 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553392905
ISBN-13: 978-0553392906
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Details the life and career of Wilhuff Tarkin from early childhood to his promotion as Grand Moff. As the Emperor’s third in command, he is given command of a ship known as the Carrion Spike. While he and Vader are in the middle of a mission the Carrion Spike is stolen. Tarkin and Vader travel across the Galaxy on the trail of the pirates.


Wilhuf Tarkin – Imperial Moff
Teller – Human Pirate Leader
Dr. Artoz – Mon Calamari Technical Specialist.
Salik – Gotal – Pilot
Cala – Koorivar – Op Specialist
Hask Taff – Zygerrian Munitions Specialist
Anora Fair – Human Female


Grand Moff Tarkin was always one of the more out there characters from the Star Wars universe but a lot was never known about him. That changes with Tarkin by James Luceno. Tarkin is the second entry in the new Canon of the Star Wars novels. All previous novels in the expanded universe were made null and void, with a few exceptions. The new canon was kicked off after the announcement of Star Wars Episode VII.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the Pirate Crew led by Teller. I liked that they kept upsetting Tarkin’s day. It was nice to see the man who oversaw the future destruction of Alderaan before all those events. The best parts of Tarkin’s story to me were about his youth on Eriadu. I wish more of the book had focused on his life and how he got to be that psychopath later in life. A large focus of this however, was his obsession with getting the Starship Carrion Spike back from the pirates who stole it. At the same time, he’s trying to determine who is orchestrating hits against imperial installations.

While there is a lot of interesting detective work being done, I just felt that this Tarkin wasn’t the guy I’d imagined him to be. I expected a lot more viciousness out of someone who is the third in line to the Emperor.

All that being said, I really enjoyed the book. All the Star Wars entries in the new canon so far have been enjoyable, but I found there were things about this one I could have liked a lot more. If you’re a fan of Star Wars though and want to get in on all the new storylines in the buildup to The Force Awakens, then grab a copy of this. If you’re just a casual fan, nothing really is revealed that you’d miss out. If you do read it, be sure and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

A former studio musician and carpenter, James Luceno has been writing professionally for twenty years. His early novels were action tales based on his experiences as a guide for an adventure-travel company. A Fearful Symmetry, his first foray into science-fiction, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award. Collaborating with the late-Brian Daley, Jim wrote scripts for several animated television series, and under the pseudonym “Jack Mckinney,” he and Daley adapted the anime series, Robotech. Since 2000, Jim has worked almost exclusively in the STAR WARS universe, contributing six novels to the franchise, all of which have made the NY Times best-seller lists. He has also written novelizations of Mission: Impossible, The Shadow, and Indiana Jones. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and son.

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