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Book Reviews

October, 1998

The Parafaith War
The Parafaith War, - L.E. Modesitt, jr Paperback, RRP $16.95, Orbit, ISBN 1-85723-558-4

The Parafaith War starts with a very Young Trystin Desoll defending his chunk of front on a planet being terraformed for colonization. The problem is that there is another group of people that also want the planet, but prefer that the bulk of terraforming be finished before they take it over for their ever expanding population.

Trystin, and others like him, are humans with enhanced senses, musculature, nervous system and the ability to mesh with the computer systems that are part of their society. The enhancements allow them to speed up their metabolisms to move faster ... there is a debt to be paid later, but it has enabled Trystin to survive in conditions that would have otherwise killed him.

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After some encounters on the surface of Mara, the planet being terraformed, Trystin is wounded severely enough to earn a long stay in a medical facility as well as some leave home before moving onto the next stage of his military career ... being a space pilot. However, this move also results in his growing and starting to question the very basis of the war in which he is participating. The questions continue to grow throughout his time in space and he is almost relieved to be sent to a planet based position.

The relief is short lived, as he discovers that the war is not going as well as he believed, his mother has died due to an incident caused by his family looking like the enemy. The economy on his home planet is steadily going hill as more and more resources are being used to simply keep the war is a stalemate position.

His assignment to a planetary based position comes with a promotion and a new assignment that is almost certain to get him killed without having any real impact on the war ... this is something he spends the last third of the book working around.

In all, it is very much a book about the growing up of a soldier to be considerably more than he initially believed he could be. It also shows that there are other ways to make an impact, but they ALL carried considerable costs. Trystin must make decisions towards the end that could shorten both the war and his life expectancy.

This was a good read and I finished it in about two and a half days. I have yet to find anything by this author that is not a good read.

Richard Hryckiewicz

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