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Book first came in contact with the crew when Serenity docked on Persephone. He was wandering around looking at the ships, not the destinations, as Kaylee noted. He chose to join Serenity and Kaylee took an instant liking to him, for he had Strawberries which are quite hard to come by.
Kaylee: You're gonna come with us.
Book: Excuse me?
Kaylee: You like ships. You don't seem to be lookin' at the destinations. What you care about is the ships, and mine's the nicest.
Book: She don't look like much.
Kaylee: Oh, she'll fool ya.
His relationships aboard Serenity were often strained, due to his Christian beliefs. He eventually decided to leave Serenity because he felt, he was being corrupted, and he moved to the planet Haven. On Haven he was killed by an Alliance soldier, but before he died he managed to shoot down the attacker’s ship.
Shepherd Book was always somewhat of a mystery to the crew of Serenity. He has said he came from a Southdown Abbey, and that he never married, but that is all that is ever really revealed about his past. The name he goes by, Derrial, is not his own. Derrial was the name of a man he had killed. There is also the fact that Book seemed to have a secret past that had to do with the Alliance. He often demonstrated knowledge and skill involving weapons and the Alliance, far beyond what any clergyman should know. The suspicions about Book’s past is further supported in the Episode “Safe” where the Shepherd is wounded and he received immediate care from Alliance officers after they veiw his ID.
Shepherd Book was portrayed by Ron Glass in the TV series “Firefly” and the motion picture “Serenity”.
On November 24, 2010, Dark Horse is set to release “Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale”. This Graphic novel will be the third installment to the Serenity Graphic Novel series, and explore the back-story of Shepherd Book. It is said to reveal his true past, and who “Shepherd Book” really is.