I did feel a little self-conscious checking out a Star Wars universe book at my local library. But with the first trailer for the Force Awakens out and the Comic-Con appearance of the stars young and old, I felt a little nostalgic for the original trilogy which is the only set of movies to my mind. (No matter how much you edit the abominations of Phantom, Attack and Revenge or re-order their viewing order.)
But after a long book on Alan Turing that nearly drained me, I needed something light and easy and Tarkin by James Luceno was just that. The book charts the rise of Peter Cushing’s DeathStar Grand Moff from his upbringing on the Outer Rim planet of Eriadu to commanding the construction of the destroyer of worlds.
Darth Vader and the Emperor are along for this novel too. Tarkin comes off as a supreme tactician who knows moves way before they happen, with Vader and the Force they seem unstoppable until they come across a rogue who can match them step for step with help from the inside of what will soon be the Empire.
It gets a bit repetitive with T&V making correct chess moves to match the rebel as they hop from planet to star system via lightspeed. Then it happens again and again. The flashbacks on Tarkin’s childhood are good as is how he rose in prominence in the power structure due to the fall of others but in the end this is all just backstory. Something that the actor probably didn’t have unless Lucas had an outline like it in his head. It serves as something that could be brought out in a bit of dialogue and actorly looks on set. But you can’t write every minor and sub-minor character their own backstory in a screenplay so if you are the completist type, this will scratch the itch for more on how Tarkin ended up on the original DeathStar.
Obviously, the beers to go with this are easy to pick. For SoCal locals Galaxy Defender from Monkish Brewing a Belgian-style blonde with grapefruit peels & Galaxy hops would be an excellent choice as would be the Citizens of the Galaxy IPL from Cismontane. No matter where you are in the country, there is probably a Galaxy hopped beer that will do the trick.