The mantis cyborgs: insectlike, cruel, and determined to wipe humanity from the face of the galaxy. The Fleet is humanity's last chance: a multi-world, multi-national task force assembled to hold the line against the aliens' overwhelming technology and firepower. Enter Harrison Barlow, who like so many young men of wars past, simply wants to serve his people and partake of the grand adventure of military life. Only, Harrison is not a hot pilot, nor a crack shot with a rifle. What good is a Chaplain's Assistant in the interstellar battles which will decide the fate of all? More than he thinks. Because while the mantis insectoids are determined to eliminate the human threat to mantis supremacy, they remember the errors of their past. Is there the slightest chance that humans might have value? Especially since humans seem to have the one thing the mantes explicitly do not: an innate ability to believe in what cannot be proven nor seen: God. Captured and stranded behind enemy lines, Barlow must come to grips with the fact that he is not only bargaining for his own life, but the lives of everyone he knows and loves. And so he embarks upon an improbable gambit, determined to alter the course of the entire war.
©2014 Brad R. Torgersen (P)2014 Audible Inc.
To me, three stars means: pleasant. The story was enjoyable though I did feel like it dragged on a bit sometimes. It didn't change my life. I wouldn't listen to it again. But I'm glad I did. Likewise, the narrator is good. I liked him. But I'm not in a rush to listen to anything else he's done. I'd still recommend this to friends who are interested in Sci-fi and religion.
The only thing I really didn't like was the constant shifting back and forth between past and present. It's a great device but it was overused and eventually got a bit tedious. That said, the beginning is really good and I thoroughly enjoyed the desert chapters.
"Excellent in every way"
As a real chaplain and fan of science fiction I can say this is one of the best books I've ever read. The alien culture is imaginative, thought-provoking and creative while still sharing the fun of standard bug aliens. The philosophical and religious questions of military and Chaplaincy are also very compelling and accurate. Plus the narrator has many sutle and diverse character voices
"Wonderfully written and narrated"
Starship Troopers meets The Lords of Discipline, flavored with a bit of The Gospel According to Gamaliel Crucis. Well written and expertly narrated. I really enjoyed how the story shifted back and forth from training and present day. Highly recommended.
"Refreshing take on religion in sci if"
This is a story of mankind's run up against a powerful and overwhelming alien. The story takes place after this conflict has started and details the impact that a couple of individuals can have on such events. Good stuff it is.
As for the religion part, it is there but is nothing overwhelming or even takes up much of the story. The refreshing part is that it is not something portrayed as bad or something that had negative influences within the world this story creates. That is much different in that most other stories, when they touch upon religion, make it out as a influence that drives evil or poor behavior and in many cases something that makes those involved backwards. This type of handling of religion is so common that it is a trope in science fiction and easily predictable and thus boring.
"An unexpected joy"
I didn't expect much of this story going in, but soon was surprised to realize this was an excellent, thought provoking story.
"Title a bit misleading IMO but good/unique SF"
Liked the aliens very much. Liked the fact that the Chaplains were decent people. No religion is pushed down your throat, but the good general principles of most religions are central to the story. In some ways reminds me of classic war novels. (Review by Rick)
"Stunning Debut Novel"
This book was amazing. It was so good that I began to fear the ending twofold. First, I was enjoying the story too much to want it to end, and second, the book was so enjoyable that I began to fear that the ending could only be a letdown.
"A lifeline during a TERRIBLE week for me"
I spent WAY too many hours in the car during the week that I listened to this book. I ran out of podcasts and was on a new medication. My brain was going Etch-a-Sketch, and I had the proverbial "miles to go before I sleep." George Newbern and Brad Torgerson kept me engaged and aware and interested all the way to my destination for several days. The story was fascinating, the performance was engaging, and the characters interesting. Get the Kindle book. Buy the audio book to go with it.
It was a good mix of sci-fi and the human condition. Great listen, looking forward to future books from the author.
"Awesome surprise. Great read."
Absolutely. I may even buy it for friends. I found it refreshingly original.
Well read. No complaints.
There is one point where I cried. Which was embarrassing as I was in a restaurant having lunch while reading at the time.
Just an all round good book. Well paced. I'm very happy to be able to recommend it.
"This book surprised me!"
I'm glad I stuck this book out. It was a little slow, and hard to get into, but once I did, I couldn't wait to finish it! I enjoyed the last part of the book as well. The narrator was good as well. I am not a religious person, but this was a good choice. I got it on the audible buy of day.
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