It was the "single greatest disaster in Alliance history". The most prominent loss was the destruction of the I. Alexander and the loss of all 4, souls aboard; elsewhere, about soldiers were captured.
Shepherd's Notes: Job
Book was immediately discharged without trial and thrown into an escape vessel in disgrace. He lived as a derelict for six years after until he experienced an epiphany about his place in the universe while staring into a bowl of chicken soup. He was suddenly seized with purpose, and joined the Southdown Abbey where he remained for a decade, until he finally chose to leave the abbey—on good terms and with encouragement—and become a missionary. He then joined the crew of Serenity.
Book frequently made references to Christian theology and consulted and quoted the Bible. He was not a passive figure in the events leading up to his death; he defended Haven and shot down the A. The character is almost always referred to as "Shepherd Book" and is a Christian of an unknown denomination.
The original script for pilot episode "Serenity" includes this scene establishment:. Book's character during the series is that of a preacher, and though Glass discussed with Whedon about making him more Buddhist, Whedon explained that the character of Inara Serra was to be the Buddhist-type and Book more of the "fundamentalist Christian guy. It was the hook in terms of being able to make that adjustment. I wasn't born Buddhist, so I do have some other traditions to pull from.
Whedon conceived the character because he felt that faith was important to people dealing with being that far out in space. As Whedon states, "Shepherd Book is somebody I would probably get along famously with, except we don't agree about anything. One of the underlying aspects of the show is Shepherd Book's secret past. He holds some sort of priority status within the Alliance , and on numerous occasions has demonstrated a depth of knowledge in a number of fields one would not expect a clergyman to be familiar with, including space travel, firearms, hand to hand combat, and criminal activity.
Glass enjoyed this aspect of the role as well: "Though rather mysterious, it was absolutely clear that he had had a very full life before he went off to the monastery and took on that responsibility. I loved the fact that he could save your soul but he could also kick your ass. That's a really great combination to play. Early only replies, "That ain't a Shepherd. He also comments that Early's methods for dealing with each crew member are custom-tailored to their personalities.
Early disposes of Mal in a straightforward manner; Joss then notes that Early's method for taking out Book is equally straightforward, alluding to a similarity between the two otherwise different characters. Another hint to Book's mysterious past is shown in the episode " Safe ". When Book is accidentally wounded, Mal is forced to seek medical help from the I. Magellan , a Tohoku-class cruiser. The commanding officer , after tersely dismissing Mal, changes his attitude once one of his officers shows him Book's IdentCard. Though the exact information on the card is never shown, the crew does note that it affords Book access to the medical facilities on board.
On the Browncoat Cruise , Ron Glass revealed with Whedon's permission that Derrial was not in fact the shepherd's real name, but the name of a man he had killed. Around the time of the Serenity film, fans speculated that Book was an "Operative" before his time, due to his extensive knowledge of how the Alliance would react, as well as the know how of The Operative despite said character theoretically "not existing," believing that the theory was supported by the fact that the Operative has full access to secret Alliance files and classified documents, while Book's identity card affords him priority access to Alliance facilities as seen when he was wounded.
Readers learn in the comic Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale that Book was an Independent fighter who joined the Alliance before the war began, to serve as a mole. He moved quickly through the ranks and was known for his single goal: to end the war by whatever means possible. Shelve Shepherd's Notes: John. Acts by Dana Gould. Shelve Acts. Revelation by Edwin A. Shelve Revelation. II Corinthians by Dana Gould. Shelve II Corinthians.
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