It is hundred of years in the future. Colonies have spread far from earth. A tunneling type of propulsion allows space travel between territories in weeks.
The territories are divided and ruled by two governments. The Ministrix rules through a corruption of Christianity. The God of this religion demands obedience. When a person fails, he can only earn God's approval by doing whatever his leaders require of him, even murder.
The Praesidium rules other parts of the inhabited universe. They have a Tolerance Law that essentially outlaws Christianity. The two governments have come to a tension filled agreement of peace.
The main character of the novel, Crusader, is probably the most efficient assassin the Ministrix has. He so good because he is numb. He doesn't feel pain nor does he have emotions. A God given gift, the Ministrix leaders tell him.
Crusader has been given the assignment of killing a woman, Isolda. But when he is ready to complete the task he himself is attacked by another Ministrix assassin. Crusader and Isolda manage to escape but it is only the beginning of a life and death adventure.
Isolda is a true Christian. Even though Crusader has continuing opportunities to kill her, he cannot. He senses something. He sometimes has feelings – just for an instant. He finds he cannot kill her. When Isolda is kidnapped, Crusader knows he has to go after her.
This is great science fiction. There are space ships and space stations. There are laser guns and space travel.
Yet, the best part of the book is the Christian aspect. Over the hundreds of years the Christian faith has been warped to give power to a few. The people of Ministrix are so brainwashed they are held within the leaders' powers. But there is a remnant of true Christians and they are Crusader's only hope.
This novel is continual suspense. I can't tell you how many times Crusader was captured or injured. And there are many twists in the plot – yet each one works perfectly. This is a great novel.
I am participating in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour of this book. Here is a list of others reviewing this book as well.
John W. Otte attended Columbia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, majoring in theatre. He received his Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in 2000. He now serves as a pastor in South St. Paul, Minnesota where he lives with his wife and two sons. You can find out more about him at his website.
Marcher Lord Press, 404 pages. You can buy the book here.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher.