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The Shepherd's Tale

(Serenity #3)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  10,724 ratings  ·  839 reviews
One of Serenity's greatest mysteries is finally revealed in The Shepherd's Tale, filling in the life of one of the show's most beloved characters—Shepherd Book!

Who was Book before meeting Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew? How did he become one of their most trusted allies? And how did he find God in a bowl of soup? Answers to these and more questions about Book's past
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published November 24th 2010 by Dark Horse Comics (first published November 3rd 2010)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,724 ratings  ·  839 reviews

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Amy Sturgis
My reaction to this graphic novel is quite mixed.

For the record, I am a long-time fan of Firefly and Serenity. I'm always on the lookout for more stories from the 'verse, and two of the unresolved issues that continue to fascinate me most are the mysteries behind Shepherd Book's identity and Inara Serra's choice to leave the core planets. I was thrilled, therefore, to read that this book would offer an in-depth study of Book Shepherd's history and character.

I'm very pleased that The Shepherd's
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Shepherd's tale, finally.

For me, Firefly's biggest mystery was not about the mad skills of River. It was the enigmatic Shepherd Books and his promise of a dark past. The viewers of the show were teased now and again about this evasive past and was not resolved during the movie.

Finally, we have an answer.

I truly enjoyed the structure of the story. Starting from the movie serenity, Jumping to firefly and then further back to the very beginning. (They could've called this 'The curious case of S
* A Reader Obsessed *
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, not-mm
4.5 Stars

Wow. I never really saw that revelation coming.

A different tangent for sure especially as this presents Book’s life from death to birth. Thing is, he has some major skeletons in his closet, and there's always the other side of the coin that contributes to one’s truth.

Smart and deftly told in a short 59 paged comic, making it no less impactful.
Liz Janet
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We finally get to know the story behind the Shepherd, this man has some past.

He seems all kind and loving, he is a man of God after all:

He doesn't judge.....




Then we see the signs:

The hair is the first to show....what a horrible thing....I still have nightmares about it.....

Then we have him cursing people to hell... he had a reason...but still....

Then he is okay with hurting people....they are bad people...very bad...but still.....

But I love him nonetheless, he was sch a brilliant character, the
Jen from Quebec :0)
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I had to re-read this today, in honor of the sad passing of the amazing Ron Glass. (aka 'Shepard Book', for those of you who do not wear Brown Coats.) This remains a great read, made greater by my being able to hear the words in Glass's unmistakable tones in my head whilst reading. Thank you for what you gave to the Big Damn (uni)Verse, Mr.Glass, through your amazing work on 'Firefly' and 'Serenity'. I am so happy that I own this book, especially today.

You can't stop the signal. --Jen from Queb
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
I got this because I'm a huge Firefly fan. I loved the series and movie and like I would suppose most fans own the DVDs. This reportedly was a story that would tie up the mysteries about Shepherd Book's background.

If you watched the series this was one of the building plot points that didn't get tied up. The series was canceled (mainly in my opinion because the executives didn't get it. The series had and has a large and loyal following.) during the first series. Book was an interesting characte
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
According to the author's afterword, this was written based on an outline by Joss Whedon. I found this statement particularly interesting, as the graphic novel itself struck me far more as a writers'-bible character outline than an actual story in its own right. Does it answer our questions about Book and his past? Mostly, yes. Does it make sense within the context of the character and the series? Sure. Does it bring any new insight to the character, or even stand on its own as an interesting st ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not Firefly fans
This is fanfic for the TV series Firefly/movie Serenity; previously published on Amazon.
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It's good to know what Joss intended for Book's backstory and the plot of this comic sort-of fits the character, but the major moments of Book's life are far too briefly dealt with, too disconnected & present a coarsely violent Derrial Book who never gets anywhere near evolving into the educated, thoughtful Shepherd seen in Firefly & Serenity.

Shepherd's Tale reads like a synopsis and it
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
There were so many loose ends that Firefly's premature end left dangling. Shepherd Book's backstory was one of them, a major one. This rather short graphic novel attempts to answer many of the questions, while still leaving holes and questions to maybe play with later. Book's story is told backwards, in short scenes that were important to his life told in reverse order, starting at the end of his life and going back to the beginning. It's an interesting way to do it, and probably more effective ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shepard was most intriguing charter in firefly and now we finally get his tale.Story starts from time of his death in Serenity than jumps couple of years in the past several times showing events that shaped his life.

I expected lot from Shepard's story and I was not disappointed it's just too bad we couldn't see it in the show.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
How cool to find out about Shepherd Book's backstory! ...more
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the big storyline mysteries that never got answered due to the show Firefly being canceled was “Who is Sheppard Book?” We are given hints that he is more than he seems. He is a man of great faith, with a shadowed and secret past. In the graphic novel The Shepherd’s Tale, we are shown who this mystery preacher really is, and how he ended up on the firefly captained by Mal, Serenity.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was the fact that it starts at the end of Shepherd Book’s life and goes ba
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Browncoats who want to know more about Book's mysterious past
Recommended to Eric by: Zach Connelly
While I still don't love the way the Serenity crew is animated, I enjoyed the self-contained story elucidating Reverend Book's mysterious background as opposed to the scattershot approach of Serenity: Those Left Behind, the last Serenity graphic novel I read. I also appreciated the risky reverse-linear, Memento-style presentation of the comic, which, if it had been done poorly, could have come off as contrived or gimmicky, but really helped add dramatic tension to Book's tale. ...more
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Much, much better than Better Days (I haven't read the other Serenity comics yet, so can't judge them in comparison). The art fits really well, I love the constant shifts backwards in time, and finding out Book's story is so ridiculously cool anyway - loved this. Not perfect but pretty gorram good. ...more
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Overall, I am really disappointed in this book.

Book is one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite short-lived sci-fi series, so you might think I would be a naysayer going into this one, but I honestly wasn't You'll have to take my word for that, of course, but I promise I wasn't one of "those people." I was looking forward to this one. I couldn't wait to hear more on the life of this fantastic character who ended up on the "wrong ship" somehow.

That, unfortunately, is not what I found
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I found out this hardcover comic existed last fall thanks to another reviewer on 50bookchallenge, and then purchased it for my husband's Christmas... and I just so happened to read it as well.[return][return]This slender book provides a much-wanted back story for Shepherd Book, one of many memorable characters from the show Firefly and movie Serenity. I won't go into incredible detail on the content, but the reverse order of the tale ends at his childhood. It shows the hardship of his life in st ...more
Sarah AlObaid
This was my favorite. Glad we finally got to know Shepherd Book's story, and glad to know it was worth knowing. It adds a lot of depth to his character, knowing his history. I loved the order of the events how we kept going back in time, i found that very interesting, as opposed to the story just being told in a chronological order. ...more
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-comics
I love that this book took all the theories about Book and the answer to them was "yes." Book's story is sad but not surprising. My only complaints are that the art doesn't always work for me, and I wish this volume was longer. ...more
Shepherd as an operative would have been nice. I'm not sure what this mess is supposed to be. ...more
Marie Burns Holzer

In a backwards timeline, we Browncoats finally learn why a shepherd knows so damn much about crime. Made me love Book even more.
Amber Lea
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it
omg, Shepherd's backstory! Finally!

I'm really disappointed this is only 56 pages. I want it to be AT LEAST 200 pages. It almost couldn't be shorter.

I'm also not a fan of the way the story goes backward from present day back to his childhood because it's really confusing. I had to read it twice to make sense of it. I only realized on the second read through that the "two years earlier" "six years earlier" "two years earlier" notes meant that many years further back from the last time jump and not
Riju Ganguly
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book's story was not completed here. But, in a sense, it would never be. Like all the memories of Firefly that twinkle, vanish, and yet refuses to go away, Book persists with his words, action, humour, pathos, enigmatic presence.
Poignant, sharp, non-linear, jarring...
If you are a browncoat, I suggest you get hold of this book. This is essential read.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of Book. We know that he settles on a planet that is attacked. This is the story of his life up till he meets our infamous crew. I’m not going to reveal his stories and ruin the surprises but they are heart rending.
Wonderful stories and wonderful art!
"We each get to be in the world a time. And I've had mine. It can be tough. It can be ugly. But I'm grateful for the journey and what I've stumbled across along the way. I found faith. I found family."

Oh, wow. Someone is out to break my heart.
And it worked.

I, and everyone else in the Firefly-fandom I reckon, love Shepherd Book. He is, aside from being a wonderful character, also the type of religious person I wish we saw more of. The type who found peace and strength with God, someone who does
Randy Lander
Nov 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A good read, with amazing art by Chris Samnee and Dave Stewart. I have only three real complaints, two of which are arguably nit-picking and the other one of which is insurmountable, but not really a fair complaint. They are:

1 - The reverse time narrative seemed like a fancy, unnecessary trick that didn't quite work. That said, I have to admit that I did reread it again, knowing everything I knew from reading it the first time, and that was an interesting experiment. So maybe it works better tha
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the book where we finally find out the great secret of who Shepherd Book really is. Finally an end to the wondering, why did the men on the alliance cruiser shut up and treat him when they saw his ident card? Who is he to the alliance? Where did he come from? How did he become a shepherd? Finally! Answers!

The story is told in a brilliant way, backwards through time. The opening scene is just before his death in the Serenity movie. And then the next scene is a skip back in time several ye
After all the waiting to find out about Derrial Book's past, this is kind of an anti-climax. It's hard to judge it for itself, and not based on the years of coming up with my own interpretations and reading about other people's ideas. It's a character-driven piece, only really interesting to those who already know and love Firefly, and to be honest I'm sort of not terribly moved by it. It didn't surprise me, and it gave me a couple of moments of, "Um, but..." I didn't feel like it explained some ...more
This is just a short graphic novel. I've wanted to read it for awhile, but the first edition went out of print when I tried to buy it and then I ended up forgetting about it.

A friend of mine got it from the library and let me borrow it from him before he read it.

I always wanted to know the deal with Book, and one of the most frustrating parts of the movie was they didn't explore that at all.

This book is a bit of a mixed bag. The story and art is good. I liked the way they transitioned back to d
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Here are all of Book's secerts revealed and I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. This short book dumps all the major parts of Book's life into one pot without any of the dramatic reveals or stories that would make it more interesting as a narrative.
The transitions are kind of rough and some plot threads get left unresolved (at least for me).
Also, I'm left with a few questions like, "If the Alliance is _________, then why did they _________ ?"
Nevertheless, it's Book and we get to see a ro
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Joss Whedon (born Joseph Hill Whedon) is an American screenwriter, executive producer, film and television director, comic book writer, occasional composer, and actor, and the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions and co-creator of Bellwether Pictures.

He is best known as the creator and showrunner of the television series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)', 'Angel (1999–2004)', 'Firefly (2002)'

Other books in the series

Serenity (5 books)
  • Those Left Behind (Serenity #1)
  • Better Days and Other Stories (Serenity, #2)
  • Leaves on the Wind (Serenity, #4)
  • Serenity: No Power in the 'Verse

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