The Word Reclaimed by Steve Rzasa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Word Reclaimed is an Excellent Christian military SF novel told from multiple viewpoints. In the distant future, Mankind has spread out across the stars and the majority of humanity is ruled by an imperial family who control a number of star systems in what is called the Realm of Five.
To maintain stability, the royal family has banned religions that claim to have an exclusive grasp of religious truths. A highly efficient secret police enforces the ban ruthlessly, pursuing violators across human-controlled space.
Baden Haczyk, the son of a freighter captain finds a rare book on board a mysteriously destroyed freighter that soon embroils everyone he loves in a far-flung conflict for control of the empire.
Steve Rzasa has written a tightly woven, fast-paced tale of empire, intrigue, belief, and battle that fits in well with classics like Jerry Pournelle's Mercenary, Poul Anderson's Star Fox, and Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Space and ground battles and the associated military technologies are well-conceived and exciting without drowning the reader in a mass of detail.
The characters a believable and compelling. Character development is on par for a multiple viewpoint story. I would have liked have seen more character development for some of the story's heavies. Nonetheless, I was thoroughly engaged and rooting for the good guys.
Rzasa handles religious issues well, since they are integral to the story. His even-handed and thought-provoking approach is commendable.
As part of a two-part story arc, the book does lead tightly into the sequel, The Word Unleashed, which I very much look forward to reading. The Word Reclaimed can be read on its own, but if you're like me, you will want to find out what happens to your favorite characters.
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