Ship of Fools is creepy as hell. Read it with the lights on, no matter how shiny your kindle is.
The take on religion is both honest and poignant. There are two religious main characters in Unto Leviathan: the bishop—grasping for power—and Father Veronica. The latter’s faith is true and deep. She believes firmly, and often retreats to the manufactured wilderness on the ship to pray and seek succor from God. The bishop, however, who has spent his life preaching and leading others, is revealed to have no faith. He uses religion like a boxing glove and a manipulative tool. Russo is a good enough writer that it’s easy to ignore the fact that the Church would not resemble itself after how many millennia from earth as we know it the ship is removed.
In the end, the story isn’t about individuals, or even about an institution as old and settled as the church. There are a lot of questions raised in the first part of the book. Who are the main character’s parents? Is the kid the son of the captain? How is it the dwarf hid from justice all those months? At first, it seems like finding out these answers will be part of reading the book. Part of me is irritated that these mysteries went unanswered—why set the mysteries up, if they won’t be explored? But the entire book skews when the danger of the alien ship is revealed. The author made a point to reveal these minor character threads as largely unimportant and petty against the menace and totality of the ship they found. It’s well done, but I still want the mysteries to be explained. That is simply how my head works.
Home to generations of humans, the starship Argonos has wandered aimlessly throughout the galaxy for hundreds of years, desperately searching for other signs of life. Now an unidentified transmission lures them toward a nearby planet-and into the dark heart of an alien mystery.