An Unfortunate War

A novel about resisting tyranny

An Unfortunate War is a novel about the people living on Haven, a planet which was colonized by Earth 250 years ago. The story begins with a description of Earth's food shortage and a demand by the President of the United States that Haven's government furnish more food to Earth at reduced rates. Haven cannot produce enough food to satisfy Earth's immediate needs.

To overcome this problem, the President intends to send millions of farmers to Haven in order to increase Haven's food production. Haven's government has rejected this idea and is preparing for war because Earth plans to send an invasion army to Haven and force the planet to accept more immigrants.

Creating the characters

When you think about characters in novels, authors typically let the reader formulate his/her own image of the characters. If you have read this novel, you already have images of the main characters.

While writing "An Unfortunate War," I selected persona of people I have known in order to create the characters in this book.

Because each character is a composite of personalities, my next challenge was giving a "face" to each person. This was especially important to me while writing conversations among the characters. Based on an extensive Internet search, I found pictures of real people who fit the characters I was creating. The following is my image of the main characters in the book. I also include a description of each character.

Main Characters

picture of John Collins The main character in “An Unfortunate War” is John Collins. John is a resident of Haven in his mid-twenties. John is single, lives in an apartment, but maintains close ties with his family. He is a highly-skilled construction worker who operates a tracked excavator digging foundations for commercial buildings. His boss is very appreciative of John’s work ethic and skill with the excavator.

Because Haven believes a war with Earth is imminent, John and many others are quickly drafted to serve in Haven's militia. Prior to his being drafted, John has no experience with the military.

Most of the book is written from John’s perspective. This guy is not perfect but he does have some redeeming qualities. He is intelligent, hardworking, confident, honest, and has a sense of humor. His physical appearance gets lots of attention from women and he enjoys their company. He also has an innate ability to lead others. His leadership is recognized early and his skills are honed in officer's school and in combat.

On the negative side, John's ego is somewhat fragile and he has a temper. His fragile ego is on display when John fails a simple driver’s test in front of his peers. John’s temper is exhibited when he encounters his boss; a beautiful armor officer who is about John’s age but a woman who treats him with a total lack of respect.

picture of Helen Ramses The main female character in “An Unfortunate War” is Helen Ramses. Helen is a complex character. She is a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties who enjoys being a military leader. In spite of this, Helen is a loner. Her military lifestyle is all-consuming which excludes personal relationships.

Helen’s parents are farmers who immigrated to Haven when Helen was ten years old. She has grown up on Haven and considers the planet to be her home. Not content with being a farmer, Helen joined the Haven Militia after graduating from school and has been recently promoted when this story begins.

As a warrant officer, Helen is a stickler for discipline and military protocol. She is intolerant of people she perceives as lazy and incompetent. Helen is highly competitive and is not satisfied unless she and her armored team are winning training exercises. Members of Helen’s fire team follow her because she always puts herself in front and leads her five team members into mock battles.

When Private John Collins is assigned as her vehicle mechanic, Helen rudely announces her expectations; letting John know that she is in charge and his job is to maintain her vehicle. Displaying this superior attitude toward a man who, until a few weeks ago, was completely independent causes immediate friction.

picture of Bill Anderson The chief villain in “An Unfortunate War” is Lieutenant William “Bill” Anderson. Bill is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and has been assigned to the 415th Armored Battalion stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bill is an exceptionally violent person who can be goaded into a rage during which he uses his physical strength to literally beat people into submission. He has narrowly escaped severe disciplinary action on more than one occasion. Bill’s conscience is unaffected by these violent acts.

Almost by chance, Bill begins dating one of his fellow officers who helps him stay out of trouble. Additionally, after his unit is selected to join the invading force bound for Haven, Bill appears to settle down and becomes more focused on being an effective leader.

On Haven, Bill executes some militia prisoners during his first day and appears to get away with this war crime. Several months after the invasion, Bill begins to fret from inactivity and recommends a daring plan to capture Haven militia members. His commander approves the plan just to get Bill ‘out of his hair.’ Bill’s plan gets him away from people who would challenge his actions and it gives Bill an opportunity to exercise total mental and physical control over a select group of Haven residents.

Bill is not a normal soldier but people with his warped personality trait have existed throughout history. Examples are: Genghis Khan - considered by many to have been a genocidal ruler; Heitaro Kimura, who brutalized Allied prisoners of war during World War II; Joseph Stalin – Russian dictator who has been credited with the deaths of 20 million people; and Pol Pot - a Cambodian ruler who killed at least 1.5 million of his own people.

picture of Rebekah Lloyd Another character of importance in “An Unfortunate War” is Rebekah Lloyd.

Rebekah is a spoiled rich girl who is given a warrant officer’s rank in Haven’s militia due to the political influence of her uncle. Rebekah is young, beautiful, a former sorority president, and has absolutely no military experience. Because the militia is desperate for leaders, Rebekah is put in charge of an armored fire team and is forced to rely on the knowledge and ability of Corporal John Collins; her second in command.

Conflict arises when John declines Rebekah’s romantic invitation. Rebekah is unaccustomed to being turned down and has difficulty accepting rejection.

Through the leadership skills of Corporal Collins, Rebekah’s fire team is activated for duty and sent into combat. What happens next becomes a pivotal moment in Rebekah’s tenure as a military leader.

Later on in the story, Rebekah and John are reunited when they are assigned to the same military unit. This new unit is almost immediately thrown into the fiercest combat of the war. Even during a series of battles, Rebekah continues thinking of John as a potential romantic partner.

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