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The Parafaith War Hardcover – February, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Parafaith Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The primacy of ideas over characterization-a hallmark of (John) Campbellian science fiction-distinguishes Modesitt's current novel from his popular Recluse series and the delightful Of Tangible Ghosts. Trystin Desoll is a young Eco-Tech officer who is fighting two enemies: the opposing Revenant forces, and the prejudice of his own people against his looks, which are more rev than Eco-Tech. Employing his impressive wits and skills, he creates innovative solutions to each, ultimately devising a ploy aimed at ending the war by using the Revenants' faith-based culture. All this is potentially interesting, but Modesitt leaves too much unsaid (e.g., the reason for the interstellar war). Trystin is too stolid a character as well, barely reacting as several family members, friends and lovers are lost or forgotten. Modesitt is capable of turning out provocative, entertaining SF-but this, despite some good ideas, isn't that.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Echoes of both Joe Haldeman's The Forever War and Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers: dense, gritty, strong on technical detail." --Kirkus Reviews

"Mr. Modesitt's novel is a thoughtful commentary on the comparative influences of science and religion in the human story." --The Washington Times
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (February 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031285904X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312859046
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the kind of novel that sci-fi is about. It is a novel about a war that speaks to a major social issue.
The first half of the book sets up a universe at war. This part of the book goes into large detail, about the defense of a devoloping world, from religous radicals. The action sequences are for the most part very good, with the execption of a couple of sceanes where the description loses focus and becomes vague.
The second half of the book is about the main characters attempt to find a solution to the war, by acting as an itellegence agent for his race.
This book is smart, and does a good job devolping the atomoshere that the two societies have twords the war. More than any other war novel that I have read, this book gives the war experence as a combination of combat, as well as the social aspects of the war that each side faces as consequence of the fighting. This allows the book to look at the reasons and modivations of both sides of the conflict, and to show how the war itself makes both sides reason for fighting obsolete. The most interesting part of the book is where one side character points out that one side is fighting for land that they will never need, and the other side is taking so many casualties, that they no longer need the new land.
WARNING: This book may offend some deeply religous people due to the way that religon is protrayed in the book. A church that is a little too like the Mormon church is protrayed in a way that could be taken badly.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of Mr. Modesitt's more ambitous novels...this one explores the meaning/impact of war in and on human society and the individual. It contrasts two human societies operating from opposing frames of reference. I enjoyed the novel..and unlike alot of scifi today it does raise questions that stay with the reader. However, Mr. Modesitt fails to give the opposing culture "Revs" sufficent depth, esp. when the hero travel to the home planet. And the entire question of the Meaning of War is wrapped up a little to neatly. Still a worth buying.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have always meant to read books of Modessit, but have been hesitant to start a series form a writer I don't already like, unless I have personally heard high praise from someone I trust. So what I sometimes do... is buy the first book in a series and give it to my Dad for his birthday etc. My Dad has read on average a book a day for the last sixty plus years, so I never have to wait long to read my "presents", and... my Dad is among the best judges of any Sci-Fi or Fantasy book that I know. I had meant to get him some Modessit, but his Birthday is so close to Christmas, that our favorite authors often have a new book out then so, it just hadn't worked out.

In any case, my Dad, came into possession of "The Parafaith War" without any help from me and gave me a qualified recommendation for this book. He was worried that the "anti-Mormon" feel of the story would offend me, as I am the lone Mormon in his family, and a "Returned Missionary" to boot ,he thought it might shake me or something... The whole idea of a violent aggressive Mormon society is pretty funny, and one that had suicide bombers, well it just is the result of a good writer with very little actual experience with the LDS culture.

But the bottom line is this, this is a well written thoughtful essay on the futility of war at the same time showing some things are worth fighting for. A stark look how misunderstanding can continue until everyone forgets the point. Now is using such overt pointing at the LDS culture misplaced? I can't image basically comparing Mormonism to Radical Islam serves any good purpose , but I didn't take it personally, and I feel this is a book worth recommending and sharing.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a good, fast-paced, action story that is an interesting read. The societies involved are fairly well thought out and the reader does not get hung up in the backgrounds, which, nevertheless, support the story well.
Two problems do not detract much from the story line. The author seems not too familiar with weapons, even though the first half of the book depends upon use of military firepower, For example, the author has the hero "switch to semi-automatic" fire on an assault rifle and has the rate of fire increase! using more ammo. The opposite, of course would occur.
The other problem I had was with the homelife and society of the religious fanatics being apparently a clone of common American 20th century society. Any religious society I know of has the fanaticism imbedded within their cultural interactions at home as well as when addressing foreigners.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story has all the elements of an incredibly goos sci-fi story, capable of being gripping both technically and philosophically.

Unfortunately, an unusual sort of writing structure that is neither boring no exciting dominates this book, which doesn't really bring out the most interesting details of either the societies represented in this book, or the technology they employ.

Luckily, I'm not the type of person to demand an exciting, action packed, Michael Crichton type book. As such, I can appreciate the solid foundation of the book, even as I bemoan the fact that this book fails the realize it's potential to turn a solid foundation into an explosive and gripping story.

Still, the slower, somber way in which it is written has a strange sort of value, and makes it memorable in it's own way, and I can only assume that, since this writing style is continued in the sequel (The Ethos Effect), Modesitt prefers this kind of not-quite-exciting writing style as well.

Just remember, this kind of book is not for impatient and spontaneous readers, but those who can take their time reading a book, and actually enjoy doing so.
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