Old Man's War
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.
The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.
Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.
John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.
A traitor to humanity is helping a trio of alien races destroy humanity—all of it. His motivations are unclear, his whereabouts unknown. But the traitor left something behind: a recording of his consciousness. That consciousness is poured into Jared Dirac, a warrior born as an adult to fight the battles no one else will take. As Jared fights, he learns more about the man whose personality has been placed in his head—and learns why he turned traitor. But can Jared, bred to save humanity, be trusted not betray it instead?