Adult Novel


James Luceno
14 BBY

BBY/ABY is used to position items along the Star Wars Timeline. BBY refers to Before the Battle of Yavin. ABY refers to After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin in Episode IV: A New Hope occured in 0 BBY/ABY.

Rise of the Empire

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Our Synopsis

No Spoilers

Compared with other villainous characters in the Star Wars universe, very little is known about Grand Moff Tarkin. Yet he remains one of the most hated Imperials of all time. He’s the one who gave the command that left Alderaan in ruins. He is unsympathetic and menacing. A man of true evil.

Leave it to James Luceno to craft a Wilhuff Tarkin origin story audiences never knew they needed. Five years after the birth of the Empire, we meet a man who has yet to rise through the ranks to become the tyrant we know he will become. Tarkin’s refusal to let anyone or anything stand in his path will get him exactly where he wants to go … but not without cost.

Publisher's Summary

Possible Spoilers

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.

Youtini Quick Notes

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Our Review




Very Good


An origin story that is more than befitting a Grand Moff. Luceno once again delivers.







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Staff Comments

- Charles Hanckel

- Eric Eilersen

- Heather Goldman

- Karl Sander

James Luceno has never been my favorite Star Wars author -- to be clear, I love all of them, just some more than others. His writing style can get very technical, and that's not always what I'm in the mood for when I pick up a Star Wars book. That being said, I absolutely LOVED this book. I loved the Clone Wars references, the flashbacks to his childhood, and it's one of my favorite endings to a Star Wars book to date. Not every villain needs their origin story told in a novel, but I'm glad we got this one. If you're not sure about it, I'd say go for it. I think there's something in here everyone will love.

- Meg Dowell

- Stacey White

It’s no secret that Luceno might be my favorite author in Star Wars, and Tarkin was no exception to his greatness. The book has density and complexity, but if you like that style of reading, you’ll love it. The book expanded on an incredible villain and provided much needed backstory to Tarkin’s quest for power. If you like villains and Imperial politics, you don’t want to skip this one.

- Corey Helton

Tarkin is exactly what we've come to expect from a Luceno novel, and I mean that with the utmost respect. His novels are complex, intriguing and cohesive stories that do exactly what an EU novel is intended to do. He also has a knack for greatly increasing appreciation for pre-established movie characters, and this one is no different.

- Andrew Bell

The second book in Canon continuity is an expertly written, Empire-centric, frightening piece of characterization for one of films greatest ancillary characters. You may be wondering if a Star Wars book can be enjoyable without extensive use of Jedi, lightsabers, and the Force—but Tarkin delivers, especially when it comes to characterization! Luceno nails the heart of Tarkin, Vader, and Palpatine in a way that transports you right back into the original trilogy. The stories of Tarkin’s past might have been my favorite aspect of the read. My main complaint is that the antagonists never quite seemed like much of a threat. But I can imagine it’s hard to look threatening in a novel about Tarkin and Vader! Overall the book can be a bit technical in typical Luceno fashion, but it greatly enhances your perspective on Tarkin that’ll forever change the way you watch A New Hope.

- Jared Mayes

- Wes Jenkins

- Nathan Emery

- Trevor Davey

Community Reviews

Technical Specs

Del Rey
Release Date:
November 4, 2014
Page Count:
Issues Collected:
Euan Morton


November 4, 2014
June 30, 2015
Back cover art
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