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#217 John Scalzi: The Ghost Brigades

John Scalzi: The Ghost Brigades

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (May 2007)
ISBN-10: 0765354063
ISBN-13: 978-0765354068
Category(ies): SF

After Old Man's War, here is the second novel in the sequence. In the earlier novel, the hero John Perry encountered specially raised super soldiers, made from the cloned flesh of those who'd volunteered for the Colonial Defence Forces once they reached 75, but who'd died before they made it.

In this novel, Scalzi switches away from Perry's story to follow one such clone - Jared Dirac. Dirac is not quite a normal Ghost Brigade soldier either - an attempt was made to impose the personality of a traitor on his unformed mind before he is born, but the attempt fails. However, when he is thereafter assigned to the squad of Jane Sagan, he has to live with two things - firstly that he's two days younger than the rest of the squad, and secondly, the possibility that the traitor might break through at an inopportune moment.

Thereafter, we follow him through training (a little more accelerated, and a lot more intense, than that which Perry endured). And then into service, where a number of missions occur, with Dirac eventually being the key to success. This works well as an action adventure, but does so without being mindless entertainment.

One amusing idea Scalzi has is for the Ghost Brigade soldiers to be named after famous scientists, but with different forenames. Is it a coincidence that one ends up named Gabriel Brahe? Perhaps Scalzi is a Penny Arcade fan. He certainly does elsewhere use another naming convention (not one mentioned in the text) for a different group, calling a small bunch of strongly modified people Martin, Pohl and Stross.

Another view into his future world, and future war.
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