Author: John W. Otte
Publisher: Marcher Lord Press (now Enclave Publishing)
Length: 395 pages
Save the girl… or his soul?
Crusader is numb. He feels neither emotion nor pain, a divine gift that allows him to be the Ministrix’s best assassin. Whether it’s heretics from within or heathen from without, Crusader is the sword in the True Church’s hand. And if he remains obedient to his superiors, he will be able to let go of his guilt.
But then he’s ordered to kill Isolda Westin. It shouldn’t be a problem. A target is a target. When Crusader sees Isolda’s image, though, something strange happens. He experiences a moment of panic, a wave of emotions, the first he’s felt in as long as he can remember.
In that moment, he realizes he can’t fulfill his mission. He can’t kill Isolda Westin, even if it means he’ll be condemned as an enemy of the Ministrix.
Soon Crusader and Isolda are on the run. Will they be able to learn why the Ministrix wants Isolda dead? Or will they both face the harsh justice of the “True Church”?
Isolda is determined to keep secret the location of a hidden base, thereby keeping safe her friends. Crusader chooses to protect rather than carry out his orders. A secondary character speaks briefly about a choice he had to make: destroy innocent colonists or defy orders (he chose the latter).
A faction called the Ministrix sees itself as the “True Church”, and hunts down those who disagree or believe otherwise; it also has twisted Scripture (which is pointed out in the book), and refers to God as wrathful. Isolda and a secondary character explain that works do not secure salvation. Isolda is mentioned as the daughter of the King (God); she is also seen praying.
Crusader shoots several people, and is shot and shot at himself. He also uses his knife to carry out assassination orders. Isolda shoots at Crusader, as does a secondary character. There are battles, a fistfight or two, and reflection on how an innocent colony of people were destroyed by the Ministrix. Another minor character is also knifed in the back. As far as actual blood spilled, it is minor, and none of the injuries noted are detailed upon.
One usage of he**. There are a few usages of “moron(s)”.
Other negative elements:
It is mentioned briefly that Isolda’s mother and one of the Ministrix officials had an affair (that resulted in Isolda).
Crusader and Isolda kiss.
Numb, despite being science fiction, opens your eyes to the sad reality that some still think works can get them to Heaven. With it’s interesting plot and complex characters, Numb is a must-read.