Book Review: We Monks and Soldiers

Translated from the original French text, this collection of short stories presents a dark peek at humanity’s possible future. The seven tales are roughly connected by the general threads of being set at a time when humanity is dying out and the remnants that remain are controlled by the all-encompassing Organization. Agents are sent out on spy missions and assignments yet have no clear direction who they should be keeping under surveillance or what their assignments are. Insurrections are dealt with using a heavy hand while staging performances that have little to do with the truth. One solder-monk sets out to exorcise a home but with highly questionable results as it becomes apparent that things are not quite how they appear.

The boundaries between reality and dreaming become blurred and continually shift throughout this collection leaving readers wondering right along with the characters, which perspective is true and whether it matters. Bassmann’s view of the future is decidedly grim as a couple of the stories are set during mankind’s last remaining generations yet all is not lost as it opens the way for a new species to rise up. Vividly imagined, thought provoking and spare, this is an unusual collection is worth searching out.

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