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. Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Nov 2014
From the book
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."
"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