- "In our second upcoming novel created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Tarkin the Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life."
- ―Del Rey announcement
Tarkin is a canon novel written by James Luceno which was published by Del Rey on November 4, 2014. The novel is set in 14 BBY, five years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, and it focuses on Wilhuff Tarkin and how he became a Grand Moff. A paperback edition of Tarkin was released on June 30, 2015, and the novel was later included in the 2015 book The Rise of the Empire.
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.
Defending Sentinel BaseEdit
In 14 BBY, during the early years of the Galactic Empire, former admiral and adjutant general Wilhuff Tarkin is assigned to the desolate Sentinel moon in the Outer Rim's remote Arkanis sector. Sentinel moon is home to Sentinel Base, a major Imperial base. While Tarkin's assignment appears to be a punishment post, he is secretly engaged in a clandestine Imperial enterprise. The novel opens with Tarkin discussing his newly designed Imperial military uniform with an RA-7 protocol droid. While reflecting on a childhood outing with his uncle Jova Tarkin in Eriadu's Carrion Plateau, Tarkin is informed of a priority dispatch from Rampart Station.
At Sentinel Base's command center, Base Commander Cassel informs him that Rampart Station is under a sneak attack from enemy Tikiar and Z-95 Headhunter starfighters. After corresponding with the base's commander Lieutenant Thon, Tarkin deploys the Venator-class Star Destroyer Electrum to the Rimward edge of the Sentinel Base system. Shortly later, a former Separatist carrier emerges from hyperspace and attacks Sentinel Base with droid starfighters. Springing the trap, Tarkin has the Electrum exit hyperspace and ambush the mysterious attackers, who are using Separatist technology. Outgunned and ambushed, the attackers are forced to retreat. Tarkin reveals to his subordinates that the Rampart Station holotransmission was a counterfeit designed to draw Imperial forces away from Sentinel Base. He determines that someone had managed to introduce a false realtime feed into the local HoloNet relay.
Under Tarkin's supervision, forensic technicians examine the former Separatist droid starfighters. The technicians speculate that the mysterious attackers obtained former Separatist ships and equipment from junk dealers and criminal elements. While pondering on the identity of the mysterious attackers, Tarkin receives a communique from Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, who informs him that the Emperor Palpatine has requested a private audience with him on Coruscant.
The making of TarkinEdit
In a flashback chapter, Tarkin reflects on his childhood growing up on the Outer Rim world of Eriadu. Tarkin's family were the descendants of hunters, freelance pilots, and mining contractors who had built Eriadu's militias into a formidable sector military. Despite accumulating wealth and power, Tarkin's parents never forgot their frugal origins and instilled the values of discipline and order in their son. In his adolescence, Tarkin had joined his uncle Jova on several hunting expeditions in the dangerous Carrion Plateau, a relic of Eriadu's primeval past. Through Jova, Tarkin learned the importance of triumphing over nature and bringing order to chaos.
While traveling to Coruscant aboard his personal transport the Carrion Spike, Tarkin relieves Ensign Baz of duty for spice addiction. The Carrion Spike is a custom-built corvette fitted with a Class One hyperdrive and stealth technology, rendering the ship invisible to ordinary scanners. In a flashback passage, Tarkin reflects on his service as a member of the Outland Regions Security Force, which fought pirates and privateers in the Seswenna sector. One of his foes was the female pirate Q'anah and her Marauders, who harassed commercial shipping around Eriadu.
Tiring of Q'anah's depredations, the-then eighteen-year old Lieutenant Tarkin and his cousin Ranulph Tarkin had devised an ambitious plan to allow the Marauders to steal container ships whose hyperdrive motivators had been infected by a computer virus. This trap worked and the infected container ships transported the pirates to a realspace destination where they were surrounded by Outland warships. To end the threat of the Marauders once and for all, Q'anah and her crew were dumped on a container ship that was programmed to send the ship slowly into the system's sun. The captives' plight was broadcast over the pirates' own communications network, trapping their would-be rescuers who were destroyed by Outland ships. As a deterrent to other pirates, Tarkin relayed the container ship's audio and video feeds of the pirates' death throes.
Arriving at the Imperial Palace, Tarkin is greeted by Grand Vizier Amedda and Rear Admiral Nils Tenant, one of his classmates at the Prefsbelt Fleet Camp. Nils asks about rumors of a mobile battle station but is silenced by Tarkin. In a flashback, the young Cadet Tarkin meets the-then Senator Palpatine, who saw potential in the young Eriaduan and helped him secure a place at the elite Judicial Academy. As a member of the Judicial Forces, Tarkin had taken part in a joint Judicial–Jedi mission to subdue a coup on the Colonies world of Halcyon. While Tarkin was awed by the Jedi's lightsaber skills, he was less impressed by their political and strategic naivety. During the Halcyon crisis, Tarkin developed a reputation as an effective leader. Tarkin later used his early contacts with Palpatine to forge connections with the Supreme Chancellor during the Clone Wars.
Amedda brings Tarkin for a private audience with Darth Vader in the lower levels of the former Jedi Temple. Tarkin and Amedda witness Lord Vader addressing a meeting of alien crime lords, whom he orders to relocate their operations to the Outer Rim. As a warning, Lord Vader Force chokes the Twi'lek Prefect Phoca Soot, killing him. After informing Vader about the progress of the work at Sentinel, Tarkin meets with the Emperor. The two discuss the matter of reintegrating former Separatist worlds into the galactic community, the Death Star project, and the attempted security breach at Sentinel Base.
Tarkin then attends a meeting of the Ruling Council with other high-ranking Imperial officials including the Emperor, Lord Vader, and Grand Vizier Amedda. The Imperial Security Bureau's Deputy Director Harus Ison informs the gathering that his agents had uncovered a cache of communications devices on Murkhana, which suggests evidence of a potential stratagem to incapacitate HoloNet. ISB Colonel Wullf Yularen suggests that political dissenters are planning to launch a propaganda operation similar to the wartime Shadowfeeds. When Sate Pestage raises the matter of Tarkin's encounter with the insurgents at Sentinel Base, Dodd Rancit of the Naval Intelligence Agency vouches for Tarkin's role in frustrating Separatist propaganda efforts during the Clone Wars. Tarkin recommends that the Joint Chiefs issue an advisory to Imperial base commanders to double-check the encryption codes for all Imperial HoloNet transmissions.
Mission to MurkhanaEdit
Following the briefing, Darth Sidious instructs Lord Vader to accompany Moff Tarkin to Murkhana to investigate the communications cache in order to sidestep the Imperial bureaucracy. After being briefed about the Murkhana mission, Tarkin makes arrangements to delay his return to Sentinel Base. He sends back most of his crew apart from the Carrion Spike's captain and communications officer. In a flashback scene, Tarkin reflects on leaving the Judicial Department and working with Senator Palpatine to engineer Finis Valorum's downfall.
The following day, Tarkin and Darth Vader depart aboard the Carrion Spike. Vader's stormtroopers transport a flattened black sphere aboard the corvette. One of the troopers is the aging Sergeant Crest, a veteran Clone survivor of the Clone Wars. While observing the loading, Tarkin reflects on the fall of the Jedi and Count Dooku's attempt to persuade Tarkin to bring Eriadu into the Separatist with the promise of lucrative business opportunities. Tarkin had declined Dooku's offer. After being informed by the protocol droid 11-4D about the Carrion Spike's departure, Sidious reflects on his efforts to bring Tarkin and Vader together during the Clone Wars.
On the ruined world of Murkhana, Tarkin and Vader visit the site of the communications cache. They discover evidence that the devices were deliberately placed so that they could be discovered. Tarkin speculates that whoever found the cache used some of the components to engineer the false distress call transmitted to Sential Base. Vader demands to speak with the ISB asset who first reported the find. Traveling to the Imperial compound, Lord Vader and Tarkin question the ISB asset, the Koorivar male Bracchia. Bracchia informs them that he did not discover the cache but was merely tasked with verifying his ISB case officer's report.
Governor Tarkin is then contacted by Sergeant Crest, who had received a holotransmission order purporting to be from Tarkin to return to the former Corporate Alliance building after offloading the cargo from the Carrion Spike. Tarkin recalls not making any orders and tells the Sergeant to return to the ship. Crest then contacts Tarkin and Vader to inform them that the Carrion Spike has been stolen with the captain, comm officer, and two stormtrooper sentries killed. Lacking a starship of their own, Darth Vader forces an old ally, a Sugi crime lord Faazah, to lend them his personal starship Parsec Predator.
Hunt for the Carrion SpikeEdit
Aboard the hijacked Carrion Spike, the shipjackers former Republic Intelligence agent Berch Teller, the Mon Calamari Dr. Artoz, the Gotal Salikk, and the Koorivar Cala, the former journalist Anora Fair, and the Zygerrian Hask Taff make themselves comfortable aboard the stolen vessel. They discover they are being followed by the Parsec Predator through hyperspace. Teller decides to lead their Imperial pursuers on a chase.
Meanwhile, Tarkin sits in the cockpit of the Parsec Predator with Vader. He reflects on Vader's killing of the Sugi crime lord and his henchmen. Tarkin suspects that the perpetrators who attacked Sentinel Base were the same ones who stole the Carrion Spike and disabled her slave and communications systems. Tarkin thinks that the Murkhana communications cache is part of a larger unfolding plot. He reveals that the Carrion Spike's weakness is the spine where the main fuselage meets the aft flare. Only concentrated fire while lowering the shields would weaken the structure. Despite the Carrion Spike fleeing into hyperspace, Vader reveals that he can track the ship using the mysterious black sphere he had transferred to the Carrion Spike.
On Coruscant, Darth Sidious learns about the theft of the Carrion Spike and that Lord Vader has procured a replacement ship. With Lord Vader heading to the Fial system, Rancit suggests that the Carrion Spike's thieves are the same assailants who attacked Sentinel Base. Darth Sidious orders Admiral Rancit to divert ships in the Belderone system to aid Lord Vader and Governor Tarkin. Imperial efforts to recover the Carrion Spike are punctuated by interagency rivalry between the Imperial Security Bureau and Military Intelligence. In the Fial sector, the Carrion Spike is pursued by the Parsec Predator. Teller orders Salikk to prepare for a jump to Galidraan, where the Empire has a space station above Galidraan III.
Vader and Tarkin follow in pursuit and emerge in the middle of a dogfight between the hijacked Carrion Spike and Imperial V-wing and Aggressive ReConnaissance-170 starfighters. The Carrion Spike disables the Predator's systems, leaving the ship dead in space. However, the Predator manages to inflict damage on the Spike's weak point. Before fleeing into hyperspace, Berch Teller's rebel cell destroys Galidraan's hyperspace buoy to prevent their pursuers from following them. Tarkin laments that the shipjackers have not only rendered themselves invisible but also untraceable.
Back on Coruscant, the Ruling Council is briefed about the hijacked Carrion Spike's recent theft. Heeding Tarkin's warnings, Rancit advocates preparing Imperial bases in the Outer Rim for a "campaign of destruction." The Council learn that the shipjackers have attacked TaggeCo's mining operations on Lucazec and that they are using the Carrion Spike to transmit holovids of their attacks. Aboard the Star Destroyer Liberator, Vader receives his personal Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor from the Empire. Studying the shipjackers' travel patterns, Tarkin suspects they were working with the warship that attacked Sentinel Base. Vader suggest that the shipjackers are being aided by the same insiders who provided them with the confiscated communications cache. Due to the Carrion Spike's unique fuel requirements, Tarkin speculates that the ship would travel to either Gromas in the Perkell sector or Phindar in the Mandalore sector.
The Phindar debacleEdit
While Berch Teller and his rebel discuss their next strategy, Tarkin arrives at a facility of the Phindar system aboard the Venator-class Star Destroyer Liberator and warns the Phindian administrator about the dangerous capabilities of the Carrion Spike. The Phindian then transmits a photo of the shipjackers' self-styled commander, who is impersonating Commander Abel LaSal. Tarkin and Vader deduce that their enemy is well acquainted with Imperial procedure. Vader and Tarkin lead starfighters in pursuit of the Carrion Spike, which has docked with a tanker. Following a brief dogfight that results in several Imperial casualties including the tanker, the Carrion Spike escapes into hyperspace.
Despite their injuries, a bruised Teller and his comrades vow to continue their insurgency against the Empire. Teller recounts Governor Tarkin's ruthless efforts to purge the Seswenna sector of pirates, criminal elements, and illegal migrants during the last days of the Galactic Republic. Teller credits Tarkin's rise to power to the machinations of Palpatine. Teller vows to turn Tarkin's own flagship into a weapon against the Imperial technocrat. Back in Phindar space, Tarkin learns that the tanker was destroyed by an explosive device concealed inside a fuel cell and realizes that the insurgents had wanted to lure him into a trap. Due to a tracking device installed on the Carrion Spike, the Imperials are able to track the ship to a set of coordinates in the Expansion Region near Thustra and Aquaris.
On Coruscant, Vice-Admiral Rancit convinces the Emperor to deploy interdictor vessels against the hijacked Carrion Spike. Amedda informs the Emperor that the cache of communications jammers was discovered on Murkhana by an ISB asset tasked with investigating the find by his case officer. Darth Sidious summons the ISB asset and his handler for a meeting. Meanwhile, Teller and his comrades discover that Tarkin has been tracking them through a paralight tracker, a kind of HoloNet transceiver that parses commands from the ship's navicomputer. To trick the Imperials, Teller decides to supply Tarkin with the coordinates into a very busy star system but to avoid jumping.
In the Obroa-skai system, Tarkin's interdictor cruisers receive the faux coordinates. Instead of the Carrion Spike, they yank several civilian freighters and a Mon Calamari luxury liner out of hyperspace. This results in a space collision with multiple casualties including the deaths of 1,100 civilians aboard the luxury liner. Lord Vader and Tarkin deduce that the insurgents fed them the false coordinates to throw them off the scent. Despite this failure, the Imperials destroy the Lux-400 yacht Truant, which was on the wanted list for smuggling. Vader and Tarkin aggressively question the Koorivar captain of the surviving freighter Reticent and learn that a human broker named Knotts sold them the ship and job. While Vader questions the Koorivar, Tarkin continues the search for the Carrion Spike.
An enemy within the ranksEdit
Meanwhile, Teller briefs Anora about his plan to attack an Imperial facility. Cala has destroyed the Imperial homing beacon to throw them off scent. At the Imperial Palace, Darth Sidious interrogates the Koorivar Imperial intelligence asset Bracchia and the ISB case officer Stellan. Under questioning, Stellan reveals that the information about the Murkhana communications cache was provided to the ISB by Military Intelligence. Sidious also deduces that the holovid was a counterfeit created by someone with access to Imperial codes and to devices capable of subverting the HoloNet.
Aboard the Star Destroyer Executrix, Moff Tarkin deduces that the shipjackers are being aided by Imperial assets with high clearance. Vader also interrogates the other Reticent crew and learns that the fuel cells had been procured through the auspices of the human broker Knotts. Delving into classified Imperial files, Tarkin discovers that Knotts had been a Republic Intelligence sub-contractor stationed on Antar 4 during the Clone Wars. Following the establishment of the Empire, Tarkin had presided over the Antar Atrocity, which had seen the arrests, executions, and massacres of many Koorivar and Gotal loyalists. Tarkin's actions had generated much criticism in the Imperial media including two Coruscanti journalists Anora Fair and Hask Taff. He also determines that Knotts was connected to Captain Berch Teller, a dissident Republic Intelligence officer who opposed the Antar Atrocity. Tarkin also learns that Teller was briefly stationed at Desolation Station, the outpost responsible for overseeing much of the Death Star's research, before disappearing.
Meanwhile, the heavily-damaged Carrion Spike exits hyperspace ten parsecs away from Nouane. Teller's cell had barely escaped an Imperial trap in the Nouane system. Anora realizes they have been betrayed. Still, Teller is determined to proceed with their plan. Meanwhile, Vader and Tarkin discuss Vice Admiral Rancit's intelligence that the dissidents are planning to attack the Imperial Academy on Carida as a final stand. Tarkin tells Vader about how he defeated a pack of veermoks in his youth by pitting the alpha male Lord against a contender named Shadow before killing them. As a result, the veermoks abandoned the hill and the Spike. Vader opines that the lesson was that the veermoks brought themselves down by turning on their leader. The two then ascertain that Vice-Admiral Rancit is the traitor who has been aiding Teller's rebel cell.
Above the Carida Imperial Navy Deepdock Facility Two, the Carrion Spike exits hyperspace. Before Vice-Admiral Rancit can give the order to fire, Darth Vader enters the bridge and belays that command. Vader orders the crew of the Secutor-class Star Destroyer Conquest to scan the ship for lifeforms. After finding the ship empty, Vader tells Rancit that his co-conspirators abandoned the ship before fleeing into hyperspace. After ordering the commanders of the task force flotilla to stand down, Vader confronts Rancit for his treason. To cover his tracks, Rancit had planned to lure Teller's cell into a trap on Carida and kill them. However, Teller's cell had realized Rancit's plan and transferred to another ship to continue their insurgency. As punishment for his treason, Lord Vader orders Lieutenant Crest to dump Vice Admiral Rancit in an escape pod. Once in space, Rancit is forced to issue the fire order that destroys the pod.
Neutralizing the insurgentsEdit
Meanwhile, Berch Teller and his cell are traveling aboard a former Separatist Providence-class dreadnought over a barren moon in a star system Coreward of the Gulf of Tatooine. While Teller recognizes that his group will not be able to bring down the Empire on their own, he decides to ambush a convoy delivering material to the secret Death Star project. He tasks Anora and Hask with making a holovid. Teller's plan was to use the Carrion Spike to divert Imperial forces away from the Death Star convoy.
Moff Tarkin comes to the convoy's aid with the Star Destroyer Executrix. While the Executrix bombards the enemy capital ships, Tarkin orders his starfighters to protect the convoy at all costs. With the tables turned on the dissidents, Salikk and Anora buy enough time for Teller to escape on a Headhunter starfighter. Tarkin's tactic works and the Imperials succeed in knocking out the master control computer controlling the dissidents' droid starfighters. The Executrix is reinforced by two more Star Destroyers Compliant and Enforcer. While Darth Sidious mediates on his quest for galactic dominance, Tarkin greets his captives including Knotts, Anora Fair, and Hask Taff.
The Empire triumphantEdit
Tarkin spends the next three weeks after the convoy attack interrogating the captured conspirators and collaborators, who were subsequently executed in secret. In a meeting with Vader and the Emperor, Tarkin explains that Rancit was motivated by the perceived slight that he had been stripped of his command of Sentinel Base for objecting to the Empire's actions on Antar 4. Tarkin credits Rancit with supplying intelligence and materials to the dissidents. Vader also informs them that the Empire has punished the warehouse workers, salvagers, and scientists at Desolation Station who aided the dissidents. The dissidents' former Separatist warship was also assembled at shipyards in the Bajic sector, jointly owned and operated by the Tenloss Syndicate and Crymorah syndicate. Despite finding Teller's Headhunter on Christophsis, they were unable to find any trace of the man.
In the wake of Rancit's treason, the Emperor ordered a reshuffle of his Ruling Council and the incorporation of Naval Intelligence into Military Intelligence. The Emperor also tasks Tarkin with tightening the Empire's hold over the Outer Rim and promotes him to the rank of Grand Moff. Grand Moff Tarkin is placed in charge of the entire Outer Rim and the Death Star project. In the wake of his promotion, Tarkin gives lengthy interviews to the media, which coin his statements as the Tarkin Doctrine. Tarkin also take steps to clamp down on dissent and preserve the secrecy of the Death Star project.
Weeks later, Tarkin returns to the Spike on Eriadu where he reunites with his uncle Jova. Intent on revenge, Berch Teller tracks Tarkin down but falls into an improvised pit trap. Tarkin confronts his nemesis, who is nursing a broken ankle. Tarkin refuses to divulge details about the Death Star project but offers to let Teller go if he can climb out of the pit before nightfall. Teller rejects Tarkin's offer and the younger Tarkin leaves his uncle to watch over Teller should he cause trouble. Later, above the secluded world of Geonosis, Tarkin watches over the construction of the Death Star.
The novel and its title were announced on April 25, 2014. It was written in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, making it part of the new canon. James Luceno submitted his manuscript for the novel by May 5, 2014. A preview for the novel was released in an Exclusive Advance Reader's Edition of A New Dawn at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con.
Wullf Yularen's first name was misspelled as "Wulff."
- ISBN 9780345511522; November 4, 2014; Del Rey; US hardcover
- ISBN 9780553392890; November 4, 2014; Del Rey; US eBook
- ISBN 9780553392906; June 30, 2015; Del Rey; US paperback
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