Crusade by David Weber and Steve White

Published: 1991

Genre: space opera science fiction

Length: 432 pages

Setting: various locations in outer space, far future

Interest: it was a random book picked off my Kindle while we were on vacation

Summary: The Terrans and Orions (a cat-like race of aliens) have managed a wary truce after bitter fighting. That truce is about to be tested when an Orion ship is destroyed by an unknown fleet using ancient human ID codes. Turns out, the fleet is from a previously unknown planet called Thebes. Humans reached the planet when a group of colonists escaped the Orions during a previous war, and then provided technology to the natives on that planet. The Thebans are now on a holy crusade to return humans to the True Faith (that was created on Thebes but was allegedly an ancient human religion) and kill the Orions. There are many battles to stop the Theban fleet from destroying the wicked humans and evil Orions, and even some guerrilla fighting on a planet they were occupying. Eventually, the humans get to Thebes and have to figure out how to take out the upper level Church figures so someone will surrender instead of allowing the whole planet to be destroyed.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed all the action in this story, once I got past the problems of the beginning. For one things, the names for the Orions were incredibly long and seemed just a random string of characters. (I’ve since learned the book is based on a video game, so perhaps the naming was preexisting?) There’s also a fair bit of infodumping and one-off characters that seem to die as soon as they’re introduced. Once you get to the main characters, though, the action and tension build up quickly. There’s a fair bit of political wrangling shown to allow for all the space fighting as well.

Title comes from: The Thebans were on a Crusade to spread the Writ of Holy Terra to all the infidels (which made them hard to fight since most would rather die in their faith than surrender).

Reading challenges fulfilled: 57/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge

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