Monday, January 07, 2008

In Praise of the Nick Seafort Saga

Recently, my wife presented me with used copies of the entire Nick Seafort Saga. I began reading this seven-volume science fiction series by David Feintuch for the second time. It has been a great joy.

I have never found a character in fiction as compelling as Nicholas Seafort, the central figure of these novels.

Beginning with the 1994 novel Midshipman's Hope, Feintuch's creation is a combination of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, C.S. Forrester's Horatio Hornblower, and Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Or perhaps, better put, imagine a science fiction series written by Richard Baxter, and you have the Nick Seafort Saga.

Nick Seafort begins his journey as a seventeen year-old midshipman on board an interstellar starship, making a year-long journey to a distant colony. After a series of fatal accidents, he finds himself the senior officer on board and therefore the captain. In the years that follow, he saves his ship and Earth from great calamities, often at the cost of the lives of the troubled young men who seem drawn to him.

Along the way, he maintains a very troubled relationship with the distant and harsh God that he knows. Nick's God is a reflection of his own stern father who was devoid of affection and was never pleased with Nick's performance or attitudes. Nick becomes convinced of his own damnation after breaking an oath, but maintains personal honor as the compass of all of his decision-making.

I am now reading the last novel, Children of Hope, written before Feintuch's death in 2006. Nick appears to be in his late 60s. His explosive temper has mellowed and been replaced with a gentle and forgiving manner. When a boy attempts to murder him, Nick's response is not to execute him, but to adopt him. When an old enemy appears, Nick sees an opportunity to find redemption that had been lost from him for forty years.

As I said, I know of no more compelling character in fiction than Nick Seafort. I highly recommend reading the Nick Seafort Saga.


Brett Royal said...

I put a hold on it at the library. Looks like my kind of book.

John said...

You won't be disappointed.

Brett said...

I'm about finished with Midshipman's Hope. It took a while for me to get used to reading from the first person perspective, but got used to it very quickly. I love the book. I should finish tonight or tomorrow. The library doesn't have Challenger's Hope, so I ordered it today from amazon.
Thanks for recommending it. I now know the difference between "aye aye" and "yes sir."

John said...

Middy, my compliments to Mr. Voorhees, and would he instruct you the difference between "aye, aye sir" and "yes sir".

Brett said...

"aye, aye sir"

I'm about a third of the way through Prisoners Hope (Book 3). I've had some trouble locating copies, I've had to purchase used copies of Challenger's Hope and Prisoner's Hope from Amazon.
I am still greatly enjoying the series.

Anonymous said...

I have the entire series except for Children of Hope. It's hard to get, I even tried to pirate it.