Friday, July 10, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: Tarkin

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno. The main story is set around five years after the end of the Clone Wars and the foundation of the galactic Empire, but it contains a number of flashbacks to survival tests Wilhuff Tarkin was put through in his youth facing the deadly beasts and harsh wilderness of his homeworld and incidents during his career prior to the Clone Wars, including his quest to defeat a legendary pirate queen once and for all, and his first meeting with then-Senator Palpatine, The main story opens with Tarkin’s fitting for a new uniform at Sentinel Base--which he commands--being interrupted by a distress call from a nearby base which claims it is under attack by an unidentified warship, a hybrid of several classes of Separatist warships used during the Clone Wars. Tarkin deduces that the signal is a fake and baits a trap for the enemy carrier, whose true target is Sentinel Base, but the carrier manages to escape. In the aftermath of the battle Tarkin is summoned to Coruscant to be briefed on the current situation. He is then assigned to work with Darth Vader as part of a small force sent to investigate a recently discovered Separatist communications equipment cache, believed to be the source of the equipment used to create the fake message sent to Sentinel base. The team escapes a trap, but soon discover that this is actually just a diversion to allow the rebels to seize the Carrion Spike, Tarkin’s one of a kind corvette. Tarkin and Vader deal with a local crime lord to optain his personal vessel and set out in pursuit, but the Spike manages to escape. Once free, the rebels begin launching devastating raids using their communications equipment to broadcast their raids throughout the region. And as the hunt for the Carrion Spike and the struggle to anticipate its next destination continues, Tarkin must also attempt to discover how the renegades are obtaining the information, funding, and equipment for their campaign and their true objective before their final attack. But the renegades may have an agent closer to Tarkin than he believes possible…

I give this book a 9 out of 10. The author does a great work of getting us into Tarkin’s head and raises the idea of Tarkin being a true believer. He’s certainly a fanatic and not adverse to wealth or power, but while sometimes I’ve wondered if maybe Tarkin was plotting to betray Palpatine and seize the throne for himself, this story makes it clear that he truly believes that Palpatine’s reign is what’s best for the galaxy despite the bloodshed involved in enforcing it. It also does a wonderful job of showing us both the forces that forged Tarkin’s mindset, and that of his family. And the author clearly did a lot of research into Star Wars lore for this. While this book is part of the new canon continuity rather than the older Legends continuity, the author pulled in bits and pieces from the older continuity whenever appropriate, and while many of these bits and pieces were either fairly common knowledge, or from the author’s prior works, others were from far more obscure source which I believe shows just how much the author cares about the work and setting.The battle sequences weren't the best in Star Wars history but thy were well above average, especially for those from recent years,

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