Tarkin: Star Wars

Narrated by: Euan Morton
Series: Star Wars, Book 9
Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7,587 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

Featured Article: 20 Best Star Wars Audiobooks to Explore a Galaxy Far, Far Away


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What listeners say about Tarkin: Star Wars

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

50 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

19 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

31 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

I couldn't put this one down. James Luceno is one of my favourite Star Wars authors and never disappoints. This has got to be one of his best yet!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Small Story for a Large Figure

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I can't quite recommend this book. While it provides early background development material for Tarkin, the main plot is underwhelming. It felt like a "buddy story" for Tarkin and Vader to recover a piece of stolen equipment. The main characters are always reacting to situations, which is the opposite of the commanding presence they emanate in the movies.

Would you be willing to try another book from James Luceno? Why or why not?

I've enjoyed Luceno's other stories, so I was hoping to enjoy this one more. The primary story seemed like a minor adventure for such a large character.

2 people found this helpful

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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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Fun Read!

Nice to see a 'behind the scenes' work, giving some background to Tarkin. I was happily surprised at how much Darth Vader and Darth Sidious featured in this! Luceno really has the dark side down ... I loved Plagueus and Rise of Darth Vader. Now, I'm planning on reading everything else he has written.

Docked a star on performance because while the Tarkin and Sidious voices were great, the Darth Vader voice wasn't fantastic. But it doesn't really detract from the overall work.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pu3r360
  • 05-15-19

Vader & Tarkin crossover we needed

this book gave me something I never knew I needed. Tarkin and Vader teaming up. if your a fan of the empire winning this book is for you, if your a fan of Vader this book is for you. it's gripping and reveals the dark past of a character who up to this point rarley has been fleshed out. this audiobook comes highly recommended

5 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 07-09-19

Terrible voice acting

The voice acting for Tarkin was decent, the only one in the whole audiobook. The performnace done for Vader and the Emperor was shameful, it sounded like a guy trying to mimic Vader while he was drunk. Other Star Wars audiobooks have very good voice acting for Vades and the Emperor(Thrawn books, Lords of the Sith).

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-19

Tarkin is a boss

Great back story for tarkin and full of Vader and Imperial might vs the Rebels

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Wonderful
  • 04-14-20

Tarkin's Origins

I really enjoyed this! Even though I still don't know the meaning of a lot of the words in this. Such as ISB? The start was fast paced and fun, the middle slowed down a bit. The ending was exhilarating. The narrator was very good, and the sound effects throughout made you feel like you were there. Shall we say this story shows a more human side to Grand Moff Tarkin.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 09-25-19

brilliant

loved it good novel well read. well written. would recommend this book. tarkin is a deep and interesting character

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-07-20

Great narration and enjoyable origins story

Excellent narration and production. Great origins story for those wanting to delve deeper into Star Wars. Some 'hidden' details which (I find) help to explain the wider Skywalker Saga story

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-19-20

A nice Star Wars listen

It is good. Not a masterpiece, but still a very enjoyable listen. The sound efdects of a holo-comunicstion are a mess tho.

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  • Brian
  • 09-15-20

The making of a Grand Moff

Enjoyable book. Well read and executed. Good to have a back story for Tarkin although I am still unsure why he was given Vader orders in a New Hope

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  • TA MCGRADY
  • 06-08-20

Loved it all

Enjoyed every minute of it, shame it was a little short but was a good listen and I've always wanted more tarkin.

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  • phil wilson
  • 03-25-20

Just Awesome!

Really enjoyed this! The narration is pitch perfect-good story, just a really fun journey in to the Star Wars universe! I have listened to allot of Star Wars books now and this is in my top 5 for sure!!

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  • Isaac Mitchell
  • 06-03-20

Interesting and enjoyable.

I was skeptical when I saw this book wasn't narrated by Marc Thompson, or Jonathan Davis, as most other Star Wars novels are and before reading this I had only mild interest in the character of Tarkin. I was however pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel, it was well paced and drew me in to Tarkins backstory, as well as the main plot. The sections from the emperor's point of view also helped fufil part of my desperate want of a Palpatine novel.