It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC.
His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.”
But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.
First of all I will say I got a copy of this book from Netgalley and I was only 25% through when I went out and bought a physical copy. I really enjoyed this book. It was a fascinating look at what could happen to religion if humans found life on another planet. But I have to admit I really liked the fact that you don’t have to be religious in any way to enjoy this.
It brings up so many moral questions. Is it right to preach to these aliens when they barely understand human language. Is it right to give them medicine when its not clear if the aliens even understand what its for. I couldn’t help but feel that these characters were breaking the Prime Directive in some way, even though its from Star Trek. One of the most interesting questions was brought up by one of the characters. Jesus died for our sins but did he die for these alien’s sins as well.
Not only is this book a really interesting look at religion its a fantastic science-fiction novel too. The main character Peter is able to communicate with his wife back on Earth via a messaging system and we find out that all sorts of natural disasters have been occurring back on Earth. So we also see how Peter is torn between teaching the aliens about Christianity and worrying about his relationship with his wife and everything that is happening back on Earth.
I really enjoyed this book. The only problem I had was that the ending was very anti-climactic. I was left with more questions than answers about the situation back on Earth. But still a good read.
*I received a copy of this book from Hogarth in exchange for an honest review.