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The Chaplain's War Kindle Edition
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|Length: 544 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Coming from other authors such as John Ringo's various military sci-fi stories, I looked into this to be another of the same type. I don't think of it in the same category though. Which is a fine thing because I think it's given me a better idea of a space opera in general.
It's a good, quick, read and enjoyable. I'll be looking for more from author Brad Torgersen after this.
Unlike Heinlein’s shorter novel, Torgerson interweaves his hero’s training in the past with the present-tense story of the interaction with the aliens, and the crisis of faith the Chaplain’s assistant is having after long years as a prisoner of war. It is handled delicately. There is no proselytizing in Torgerson’s writing. It is, simply, an exploration of faith itself. If we are not the center of the Universe, and after our death, nothing, then we are forced to consider those who live around us. This is central to The Chaplain’s War. The mantid aliens have no faith, only themselves, in a semi-automated existence that forbids them even companionship in ways humans would understand. Because of this, they relentlessly crush any sentient races they come across. They are the center of the Universe, and others are competition alone.
The humans in Torgerson’s book are not saints. They suffer, they falter, they doubt. But in their earnest seeking, they convey to the curious aliens that the Universe may just be larger than only one race needs.
If you are looking for a philosophical throwback to the days when Science Fiction explored the really big stories of ‘what is human?’ then you will enjoy this book. Although the two threads are not close at first, they do merge by the end of the book, and they are both needed for the full tale. Yes, you could skip through and just read the present-day story of the aliens, the Chaplain, and Adanaho, but why? Enjoy, savor, and finally, put it down with your mind full of dreams and hope and a small spark of faith in humanity.
Torgersen breaks the linearity of the plot into two primary timelines, giving the reader a chance to see Harrison Barlow, the Chaplin’s Assistant, grow and plant the seeds of the man he will become. Religion, and more importantly faith, is an important theme in the novel, but don’t worry, Torgersen never turns preachy, and even as an Atheist myself, I never felt there was a time when this novel was turning into a morality tale. Torgersen raises difficult questions, and he doesn’t seem to be afraid to face the outcome of answers that aren’t simple.
But it’s not just a novel of intellectual and spiritual debate. Torgersen has populated a world at war with an intriguing enemy for mankind to face. And if you’re fan of traditionally military science fiction, there will be plenty of action, gunplay, and big hardware to whet your appetite. There’s also plenty of internal intrigue within the military to make this a very well rounded story.
I guess my only real complaint is that there wasn’t more story here, but luckily Brad seems to be a pretty prolific writer, so hopefully we’ll see more great stories from this young master in training. Buy this book. I do not think you will be disappointed.
I was wrong. This well-written story satisfies in the religious department as well. Although I am more inclined towards the idea that aliens (if any) would be mindless, soulless killing machines of the biological or automated variety, the author's alien Mantes were well- written enough to allow me to suspend disbelief. As for the ecumenical nature of the book's religious theme, I found it deftly handled and not at all the syrupy we-all-God's-chilluns-now schtick so common in popular media depictions of religious belief these days.
Conclusion: if the idea of a space-war story told from the point of view of a religious man intrigues you, you will enjoy THE CHAPLAIN'S WAR.