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on 9 May 2011
"I wasn't born a Shepherd, Mal."
"You have to tell me about that sometime."
"No, I don't."

A graphic novel about Shepherd Book was never going to be as good as a Book-centric episode of Firefly. But wait - it is. (And hell,
he deserves it for his meager role in Serenity.)

"A Shepherd's Tale" is a heavily biographical series of flashbacks through the life of Shepherd Derrial Book. It illustrates where Shepherd
Book was as a child, a teen and a grown man, and does so in a spectacularly unexpected narrative style. There are more than a few twists in
the Shepherd's Tale, and for all those Browncoats eager to discover just how he knows so much about the Alliance, this is a necessity.

If, like me, you are not an avid comic-book reader, there are a few things you should remember. This is not simply a book. The visuals are
as relevant as the text, if not more so. Incredible love and care have been put into the illustrations. Treat this graphic novel like another
episode of Firefly, not like a novel. Read it slowly. Ron Glass played Book with cool wisdom and Zen-like composure, and these qualities
are prominent throughout the story - the narrative style fits Book's character perfectly.

Of course it's not as snappy as an episode of Firefly. There's no music, and the dialogue is less playful. But Malcom Reynolds is a
young man. Book is not. Just appreciate what there is here.

And if you are a graphic novel fan, well, why haven't you bought a copy already?
The book itself is a treasure. Hardcover, high-quality printing, great cover art, and an author's note at the back. Very well presented,
and well worth the money.
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This is an excellent episode in the Firefly serial, which through a series of well-chosen flashbacks, takes us sequentially backwards through the life of Shepherd Book, starting from the settlement we saw him living in in Serenity [Blu-ray] [Region Free], through his leaving the crews of Serenity, to his leaving his abbey, through his leaving his down and out life as he finds a religious calling (and one of the best religious awakenings I have seen portrayed), through his leaving his military career with the Alliance, through his leaving the Independence movement, through hs leaving his life on the streets, through him leaving his home... and so on. Each flashback scene reveals something about the preceding (future) scene, usually something you were not expecting, and all reveal something about the lives that Shepherd Book kept leaving behind him.

This is a superbly scripted and well-illustrated story that fills in some of the history of the Firefly/Serenity continuum. It is completely `in-continuity' and gives away no spoilers of anyone else's storylines, while fully illuminating the life of Shepherd Book.
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on 27 January 2011
I'm a bit of a secret sci-fi fan - I don't enjoy all of it, and I prefer fantasy, but I love Serenity and Firefly. It helps that my other half likes it too, and it's nice to have something we both enjoy. I am a comic book and graphic novel fan too, and when I saw this for a very reasonable price, I had to get it. It's a fantastically written little bio of Shep, and I couldn't put it down. The only down side is that it's not very long, but on the flip side, this does allow for your imagination to fill in the gaps without having to make too much up for yourself. Definitely worth reading, but if you're not a collector, I'd see if you can borrow it from someone
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on 7 February 2011
I loved it, the only issue is that it's too short! The Shepherd's Tale gives a great insight into one of Serenity's most complex and interesting passengers. The art work is wonderful and the story, written by Zach Whedon the brother of Firefly/Serenity creator Joss Whedon, goes a long way to explaining the mysteries of Shepherd Book. It made me sad all over again that Firefly was cancelled so we could never see this story interwoven with the 'verse as it should have been. This is a definite must have for any fan of Firefly and Serenity, and Shepherd Book in particular.
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on 30 November 2016
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on 2 May 2015
I spent every episode of 'Firefly' wondering who Shepherd Book really was; he obviously had skills beyond those expected of a preacher. I loved the way that this graphic novel peels back the layers to show not only how he found God in a bowl of soup, but how he gained all those skills we catch glimpses of, how he came to have the I.D. that gained top class medical treatment from the Alliance.
To go with the well constructed storyline, this novel offers some excellent art-work that is worth taking your time over. Although it takes us back in time to reveal how Book came to be, it stays true to the characters created by Whedon.
A thoroughly excellent read that I would recommend to anyone.
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on 22 December 2013
Arrived in perfect condition. Didn't realise it was a hardback till it got here, was a nice surprise, i should read descriptions more cafefully. Will be perfect for a friend who is a fan of everything serenity/firefly quantum mechanix stuff
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on 27 May 2014
This short book (only 48 pages of story) does what it sets out to, it's a prequel to the Serenity movie, filling in Shepherd Book's mysterious background in a series of short flashbacks taking us in stages backwards from the Serenity movie back to his childhood. This obviously means that the rest of the Firefly crew barely appear, but then this is Shepherd's story, not a Firefly episode. While Book's back-story is something viewers have been waiting for for a long time it's presented here as a series of events rather than as a story, so rather than a tale in which we learn about Book's dark past, instead we get his life flashing before him, which may have worked beautifully within the context of a larger story, but her it feels a bit like reading a resume.

The artwork is lovely inky brushwork by Chris Samnee, with colour by Dave Stewart, reminding me a lot of Batman Year One. The art's nice & clear & easy to follow (unlike a lot of modern comics) & Samnee nicely captures Book's likeness (the brief cameos of the other Firefly characters fare less well, relying on clothes & hair colour to identify them, but it's still clear who's who).

The story by Zack Whedon is based on an outline by Joss Whedon (judging by comments in Zack's Afterword Joss' outline was probably extremely sparse), so don't expect anything recognizable as Joss Whedon's work (no funny bits or quirky language, not even any imaginative cursing in Chinese).

Overall this is a nice read with excellent art, that fills us in on the backstory that the TV series never got a chance to tell, but the brevity of the book means that this feels more like information than entertainment. This is not the way the story would've been told if it had been told in the Firefly series, but it's the only option we've got. So 5 stars for finally giving us the backstory we've been waiting for, but cut back to 3 for not feeling like a lost episode of Firefly.

Maybe it would've worked better as an audio adventure read by Ron Glass (Book in the series), similair to the Doctor Who audios.
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VINE VOICEon 22 February 2011
I tried to sum up my thoughts in the title for this review. The comic is told piece by piece from the present day to the earliest years of Book. The best comparison for the story method is the film memento which starts now and works it's way backwards.

As for the big secret about Book's past...I wont spoil that here. I will say that all secrets are told and sadly it doesn't quite give you the complete satisfaction that you are looking for. Maybe it is simply because this story was never told on screen.
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on 4 January 2014
Really enjoyed this book,

great to finally get some answers about the Shepard and see where he comes from. Can recommend this to ANY Firefly fan.

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