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  • Tarkin: Star Wars

  • Written by: James Luceno
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (221 ratings)

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Tarkin: Star Wars

Written by: James Luceno
Narrated by: Euan Morton
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Publisher's Summary

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

Best-selling 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 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 through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly….and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin's guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel - by intimidation…or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin - whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire's supremacy…and its enemies' extinction.

©2014 James Luceno (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Euan Morton channels the outstanding late British actor Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin, evil master of the Death Star, in the original Star Wars movie. One hears a voice that is precise and unspeakably heartless as he shrugs at ideas such as planetary destruction. Here is Tarkin’s biography from childhood to the time he is promoted to Grand Moff by Emperor Palpatine, learning a few tips from Darth Vader himself (nicely portrayed) as they both grow in influence and power. It’s better not to overanalyze the situations presented in the plot. Instead, listeners should just pretend they’re 14 again, hear the familiar music and sound effects, and enjoy." (AudioFile magazine)

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What listeners say about Tarkin: Star Wars

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good story but sadly now out of date

seems to be older continuity due to lack of certain people and events, but an amazing story about the character and his background.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Ok story, lackluster performance

story was ok, but the performance was a bit weak. All the north American accents sounded like they were said by a robot or through a text to speech editor.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable

Overall a good listen. I found it to be a good Origin and lead up to the movies for Tarkin, though it felt like it was missing something I cannot place. otherwise enjoyable and certainly worthwhile.

1 person found this helpful

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Exceptional

Love star wars? Great! you'll love this book! The book has left me wanting more, the only thing I disliked was the fact that the story ended short of my expectations in the timeline. but overall it is a very great Brook!

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AWESOME!

Gives background to Tarkin who was a main character in the 77 film. It doesn't wander off , it stays true to the Star Wars story

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Most memorable book.

a really good look into the imperial Moff Tarkin and his life and the events that shaped him. very good use of existing characters in the Empire and gives quite a bit of back story to other characters as well.

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  • kalei
  • 2014-11-20

Solid, but not earth-shattering

I don't know that Tarkin got the "Darth Plagueis treatment" as the description states. It was a great book, a gripping story, and an in-depth look at the man who came to command the Death Star and how he came to this position of power, but it didn't do for me what "Plagueis" did. Plagueis changed my appreciation and understanding the Expanded Star Wars Universe, gave me a reason to appreciate the Episode I-III movies, and set off my ongoing fascination with Sith history and philosophy. I felt no irresistable urge to watch Episode IV after this book, and can't say that I feel any greater attachment to the character or that corner of the Star Wars Universe. It's certainly worth the read, hence the 4-star rating, but it's not Plagueis.At least not to me.

53 people found this helpful

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  • Troy
  • 2014-11-04

The Mind Behind the Imperial War Machine

James Luceno has made a niche for himself in penning the stories behind the greatest villains in Star Wars history. Thanks to him, fans have crawled inside the heads of Darth Plagueis, Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Vader. At long last, the man who controlled the Death Star takes center stage.

Taking place 5 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, this book offers both amazing insight into the buildup and workings of the Imperial war machine as well as flashbacks into the rise of Tarkin under Palapatine's guidance. Luceno builds on story points from the prequel films and The Clone Wars TV series, showing us how those events helped to shape Tarkin as a person, then driving the story forward to organically lay the groundwork for what is seen in the original trilogy. As a character study, it is a master class, and worthy of Luceno's already gifted reputation.

According to interviews I've read, Luceno revisited early Hammer films to help craft Tarkin's mannerisms and speech patterns, relying on performances from the late, great Peter Cushing. Between Luceno's writing and Euan Morton's narration, the effect is remarkable, as if Cushing is being channeled from the beyond. As a bonus, a flashback sequence with Count Dooku before the beginning of the Clone Wars offers the idea of reuniting Cushing with his friend and counterpart, Christopher Lee. Little moments like this and the little references Star Wars history add to the geek level, but the story itself is far bigger than such things. New threats and ideas are built out of the rubble from the Clone Wars, making this story worthy of a man of Tarkin's caliber.

Bottom line, this is one story that needed to be told. Whether you're a casual Star Wars fan or one dedicated to understanding the full canon, this has plenty to offer. Tarkin is unassuming at first by comparison of those like Vader or the Emperor, but his contributions to the Empire are undeniable. This book takes on the same sort of character. It starts a bit slow, and you might wonder if you really need to read it. Once the story gets going (which it does in short order), it's easy understand why Tarkin is a giant in the saga's lore.

34 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • George
  • 2014-11-26

Maybe i was expecting too much.

I absolutely loved "Darth Plagueis" it was a fascinating story and added a lot great information to the extended Star Wars cannon.

Hence, when i heard that James Luceno was doing a book on "Tarkin" i pre-ordered it immediately. Unfortunately, this book failed to deliver for me. The main plot line is closer to an extended comic book rather than an epic story. About a 1/5 of the book focuses on Tarkin's background, but the rest focuses on single mission Vader and Tarkin undertake. At the risk of spoilers, i will only say that Tarkin and Vader both appear pretty incompetent and are outwitted over and over again as they play an intergalactic version of "Dude, where is my space ship?"

To me this book does nothing to really reinforce the background story and the Star Wars cannon or add any depth. Also the narrators voice for Darth Vader is the worst i have ever heard.

23 people found this helpful

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  • William
  • 2014-11-15

Look into the early years of the Empire

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The story felt rushed. There was A singular story that was doggedly when I felt there could have been more subplots woven in or expanded upon.

Would you recommend Tarkin: Star Wars to your friends? Why or why not?

For diehard fans I would recommend it because it does give one a look at the early years of the empire. However if they were not a huge fan of the series or not that into sci-fi there are better Star Wars books I would recommend they start with.

What about Euan Morton’s performance did you like?

His performance was well done. He did a great job channeling Peter Cushing.

Was Tarkin: Star Wars worth the listening time?

As a diehard fan I enjoyed it.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Z
  • 2014-11-11

it was ok

Would you try another book from James Luceno and/or Euan Morton?

yes both great at what they do

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

more detail about vader and tarkin alliance before vader and after.

Have you listened to any of Euan Morton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

yes he is very good

Do you think Tarkin: Star Wars needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

yes more plot less about worthless rebels

Any additional comments?

please do the new jedi order books unabridged and also karen traviss republic commando series repost and like review if you agree lets get noticed

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaye
  • 2014-12-07

Lots of Backstory Makes for a Confusing Listen

Because of the intermixing of backstory and "present" plot, and because I couldn't just sit and listen to this all the way through, I found this difficult to follow. Whenever I'd stop and then pick it up again, I had a hard time remembering if what was happening was a flashback to the past or part of the novel's present-day plot. And that really affected my ability to enjoy any of it. And because of the continuous flashbacks/backstory, it was really hard to get a firm footing in what, exactly, the present-day plot of the novel was supposed to be. Every time the story seemed to be about to get some momentum going, it paused for a long flashback or backstory dump.

As a regular listener of audiobooks, I found the music and sound effects in this quite distracting (especially on a road trip when I kept having to pause the playback to find out what that funny noise was that my car was making---only to figure out it was sound effects in the audiobook).

I found myself jumping from chapter to chapter waiting for the story to actually move along---so much of what's in this is flashback/background. I'd have been better off getting the book about Obi-Wan (Kenobi), as I'm much more familiar with and fascinated by that character. Also, I haven't watched the Clone Wars show or read a lot of the pre-ROTJ EU novels, so I was getting confused by all of the name-dropping of characters, places, and battles that take place after Episode III and before the opening of this book (during the Clone Wars).

Still, it was an interesting portrait of the person who became the destroyer of Alderaan.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gustaf
  • 2015-01-23

ok, not Great.

hoped for more of a story interesting and smart story like the story of the thrawn trilogy.
I don't regret having read it but I won't read it again.
Darth Bane is the best book! read it!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt Moore
  • 2016-01-22

Deep and Dark

A bold foray into the psyche of Wilhuff Tarkin. It's an intriguing read that open doors to the Star Wars canon.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • John the Skeptic
  • 2015-05-03

Did not enjoy this.

I did not enjoy this book. By the time I reached the final three hours, I was just wanting it to end. I wanted to finish it so I would get any nuggets of Star Wars background, but honestly there is nothing interesting about this book. The narrator was bad, too. He didn't distinguish between Tarkin's voice and the narrator's voice (this book is written in third person). So, it was hard to follow sometimes--not that I really wanted to. The story is just plain boring.

Want me to sum it up? (SPOILER ALERT). Tarkin's ship gets stolen, so the emperor sends him and Darth Vader on a mission to see how they work together. Tarkin does a good job, so palpatine promotes him to grand moff. The end. The characters suck. I am not interested in the characters at all. I had ZERO emotional attachment (or antipathy) to anyone. This is a story about the bad guys; I realize that. But a story about bad guys should still make me hate them. But I don't. I just don't care. This book adds no depth to them. In fact, it flattens them. I am less interested in Darth Vader after this.

I wish I could have my credit back.

4 people found this helpful

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  • nathan
  • 2015-01-20

Darth Vader voice a little silly sounding...

great overall, book is enjoyable and performance is good, nice voices that vary for each character - highly recommended by a star wars fan.

4 people found this helpful