I’ve made it apparent, time and time again, how much I mourn the loss of the previous Star Wars Expanded Universe. Those books and comics were my childhood; my nerdy dirty little secret, and something that’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Losing them to fan-fiction status was like finding out Santa doesn’t exist... But, that was in no way going to stop me from reading any of the new books that are coming out after the Big D acquisition. Tarkin drew my interests because he is one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars universe. He’s a fandom favorite, the Imperial Admiral Ackbar if you will, for those of us who pick the Dark Side. Because, you know, not all of us are Rebel Scum.
Tarkin is written by James Luceno, who is a champion of the Dark Heroes in the Expanded Universe. If you like Sith, and intrigue, and the dark, make sure to read Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader and Darth Plagueis by him. Luceno’s style compliments the methodology and quick crescendo of the hunt, a part of Tarkin’s character and a theme of the book. While we jump across the galaxy in pursuit of Tarkin’s prey, we’re slowly opened up to who Tarkin is…and why he is. This is the man who so easily, so eagerly, eliminated Alderaan. A Grand Moff and equal with Vader in the grand scheme of the Empire. The Hammer.
“The Empire would conquer and rule, he thought: through might and fear.”
Unraveling the past of (not Grand yet) Moff Tarkin spans from his childhood training to his rise in the Imperial Ranks. Throughout this story weaves the Emperor and Anakin/Vader, and how Tarkin entered the Galactic Game of Thrones. Like every really interesting Big Baddy, we learn the dark past that molded him. Slowly understanding why he named his ship Carrion Spike, his testing grounds on his home of Eriadu. Luceno helps us understand the practicality of the man, the harsh reality. The greater good. Tarkin is not an evil man, and that’s the complex, interesting thing about him. It’s not power he seeks, necessarily. At least not Power for Power’s sake. He is what he seeks, order. Oh, and he’s old man sexy.
Tarkin is also a great novel because the Force isn’t a part of it. While I love the whole Sith vs. Jedi, Dark vs. Light thing, it’s not the whole universe. It’s not the gritty reality. Tarkin is a formidable bad guy and threat, but through intelligence, ingenuity, and cunning (Which makes him a Slytherin if you were wondering). Even a staunch Light Sider will root for Tarkin while reading this book. Even though he’s chasing down Rebels, you want them caught. Tarkin is the consummate hunter, and watching a Master at work is a thing of beauty.
Basically what I’m saying is, read it. Or, listen to the e-book. It’s narrated by Euan Morton, which you all may recognize as the Male Inquisitor from SWTOR. Which is pretty frakking cool. You can use THIS, and if you haven’t already done so, you might get it for free! Oh, and is it wrong I totally envision Benedict Cumberbatch as a “young Tarkin”. #swoon