The Chaplain's War
Brad R. Torgersen
Baen, Oct 7 2014, $15.00
In the middle of the twenty-second century, the alien Mantes cyborgs invaded human space with one objective: total genocide. The humans fought back but the enemy proved superior. Five years ago the Mantes defeated an invading force and captured Chaplain Assistant Harrison Barlow and many other soldiers on a planet the POWs call Purgatory. With the Chaplain dead, Harrison helps his fellow prisoners keep the faith though he avoids any specific religion. Two years ago he completed a chapel for those who want to pray alongside him to God for deliverance.
A Mantis, who tells Harrison he is equivalent to a Professor, visits him constantly to learn more about the Holy Man’s belief in an invisible God. The Professor explains humanity is the third essence the Mantes have met that believes in an indiscernible guiding spirit. When Harrisons asks the Mantis what his race believes in; the Professor responds “nothing”. While Harrison teaches the Professor about human spiritualty, some of his race feels he betrays them while some of the Mantis’ race insists it is insignificant what the enemy thinks.
This intriguing science fiction is told in three parts (with one and two modifications of previously released “The Chaplain’s Assistant” and “The Chaplain’s Legacy”) and the third section ("The Chaplain’s War") totally new. The expansion enhances the fascinating focus on two species at war with differing social values especially highlighted by a to believe or not to believe in a deity; ironically most members of each race share in common the competitive drive for all out victory. Thus the Chaplain Assistant and The Professor are outliers as they thrive for understanding of each other’s respective species, which is a step towards all out peace.