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3.3 9
by John Love

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Moby Dick meets Duel in John Love's debut novel of Space Opera and Military Science Fiction! Faith is the name humanity has given to the unknown, seemingly invincible alien ship that has begun to harass the newly emergent Commonwealth. 300 years earlier, the same ship destroyed the Sakhran Empire, allowing the Commonwealth to expand its sphere of influence. But now


Moby Dick meets Duel in John Love's debut novel of Space Opera and Military Science Fiction! Faith is the name humanity has given to the unknown, seemingly invincible alien ship that has begun to harass the newly emergent Commonwealth. 300 years earlier, the same ship destroyed the Sakhran Empire, allowing the Commonwealth to expand its sphere of influence. But now Faith has returned! The ship is as devastating as before, and its attacks leave some Commonwealth solar systems in chaos. Eventually it reaches Sakhra, now an important Commonwealth possession, and it seems like history is about to repeat itself. But this time, something is waiting: an Outsider, one of the Commonwealth's ultimate warships. Slender silver ships, full of functionality and crewed by people of unusual abilities, often sociopaths or psychopaths, Outsiders were conceived in back alleys, built and launched in secret, and commissioned without ceremony. One system away from earth, the Outsider ship Charles Manson makes a stand. Commander Foord waits with his crew of miscreants and sociopath, hoping to accomplish what no other human has been able to do — to destroy Faith!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Some hundreds of years in the future, humankind and several alien races have formed the galaxy-spanning Commonwealth. After a mysterious spaceship called Faith destroys the Sakhran Empire, the Commonwealth eagerly fills the power vacuum. Then Faith begins harassing Commonwealth colonies, killing off armed resistance and showering cities in sewage before disappearing. The Commonwealth’s best weapons against it are the Outsider ships, a Dirty Dozen–like fleet of brutal and expendable soldiers. When Faith and its mysterious crew threaten a Commonwealth world, the Outsider ship Charles Manson is called on duty, and Cmdr. Aaron Foord decides to destroy Faith even if that means demolishing Commonwealth ships that get in his way. While the story eventually devolves into murky faux-profound allegory and Love’s decision to make two of his three protagonists former rapists feels gratuitous and jarring, Love’s deft touch with complex characters and ethical quandaries make his work worth reading. Agent: Paradigm. (Jan.)
Wired.com's Geek Dad
If you're looking for a good ship-vs-ship story with a thought-provoking plot and an ending that will leave you surprised, maybe angry, possibly confused (until you think it over for a bit), and definitely entertained, you'll discover that Faith is one of those rare science fiction stories with plenty of twists and dozens of questions... and those don't come along all that often in my opinion.
The book closely resembles a military thriller—a daring commander tracking an enemy sub across the seas—but Love provides readers with plenty of sf color: aliens whose history seems drawn from ancient Eygptian influences, human warships named after psychopaths and crewed by dysfunctionals like the hero, Commander Foord of the warship Charles Manson, and other fun stuff. Love has a quirky style—a character's eyes are "as warm and golden as urine"—and it seems virtually impossible to imagine an sf fan who won't thoroughly enjoy the tale.
Stefan Raets
Faith is a science fiction debut of the highest order. It has fascinating, well-rounded characters who will remain with you for a long time. It has gorgeous, understated prose. It is chock-full of tension, making it a compulsive page turner. It has an intriguing fictional universe which, I hope, will host more novels in the future. It's got one of the highest signal-to-noise ratios I've encountered in a long time, which, if you think about it, is really something, given that the vast majority of it describes one long, protracted battle. Faith is a novel I maybe would have expected from the mind of Iain M. Banks—and if that isn't a compliment for an SF debut, I don't know what is. What I do know is that it's only early January, and I'm already sure that this novel will end up on my list of 2012 favorites.

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Night Shade Books
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Meet the Author

John Love spent most of his working life in the music industry. He was Managing Director of PPL, the world’s largest record industry copyright organization. He also ran Ocean, a large music venue in Hackney, East London. He lives just outside London in north-west Kent with his wife and cats (currently two, but they have had as many as six). They have two grown-up children. Apart from his family, London and cats, his favorite things include books and book collecting, cars and driving, football and Tottenham Hotspur, old movies and music. Science fiction books were among the first he can remember reading, and he thinks they will probably be among the last.

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Faith 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
amaysingstories More than 1 year ago
Faith was a very well-written book with some very clever lines, turns of phrase, and at times an almost poetic, lyrical form of prose. It's pretty and the synopsis of the book provides in broad strokes exactly the kind of book that I'd normally love. I didn't love Faith unfortunately. It devolved into being more about style than substance. What hurts it is its tendency to meander and stall. The book glosses over matters of important world-building, background, character history, cultural elements, species details and such, making allusions to them that profoundly affect the choices made by the characters, but then the author is coy, not providing you the details to agree or disagree with those choices. The main character is apparently preternaturally clever and capable, even while acknowledging himself and his crew as unrepentant sociopaths, but the author just tells you he is clever and capable, insisting you accept it without any demonstration. He achieves near-victory in one battle with a set of low-tech missiles, but never provides you with the reason these missiles went undetected when other, more subtle attacks failed. He tells you the Outsider ships must fight alone, without once proving it is a necessity. The science of the book is atrocious, attempting to go the route of "so advanced it's magical" vice providing any explanation for the weapon or drive-system abilities. The author disregards inertia, conservation of energy, and any rational basis throughout the book. The enemy sometimes knows the future and demonstrates abilities utterly outside of conventional physics, and at other times is limited and virtually unaware. At any time, the Faith vessel could have destroyed the Charles Manson, but it prefers to toy with them without consequence. The ending is especially unsatisfying, virtually glossing over the final battle and the deaths of the only sympathetic characters and trying to wrestle out a grand meaning from the alien's presence, finally only providing oblique references to the Book of Srahr which apparently knew what the Faith was and what it meant all along. It never pays off. The characters are unpleasant and cryptic solely for the sake of appearing deep or mysterious for mystery's sake. The universe is not well-constructed. The Faith, its presence, its reasons, and its capabilities are never adequately explained, not even in the final coda. The battles do not make sense, though they are described incessantly and in excessive, crawling detail (with the exception of the photon burst in the asteroid belt - I liked that, and perhaps the strike of the two special missiles). If you are looking for social SF or the New Weird with space battles, this might be for you. If you are looking for good prose with a futuristic flare, this might be for you. Any fan of hard SF, military SF, space opera, or a fun read though will want to try it only as an exercise for what not to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the ship to ship battle accounts as well as the different types of technologies mentioned but the book seems to take quite a few meandering paths before the attempt at a philosophical ending. Personally, it felt unfulfilling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an interesting read. Rather gritty in parts. Illogical in parts. And it drags in parts. Would I read it a second time? Probably not. I wouldn't have wanted to pay $13 for it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, but it made me want more of this universe. I want more stories, want to know more about the outsiders.