Book: The Ghost Brigades

Cover image

The Ghost Brigades

Author: John Scalzi
Publisher: Tor Books

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?

The Ghost Brigades are the Special Forces of the Colonial Defense Forces, elite troops created from the DNA of the dead and turned into the perfect soldiers for the CDF’s toughest operations. They’re young, they’re fast and strong, and they’re totally without normal human qualms.

The universe is a dangerous place for humanity—and it’s about to become far more dangerous. Three races that humans have clashed with before have allied to halt our expansion into space. Their linchpin: the turncoat military scientist Charles Boutin, who knows the CDF’s biggest military secrets. To prevail, the CDF must find out why Boutin did what he did.

Jared Dirac is the only human who can provide answers—a superhuman hybrid, created from Boutin’s DNA, Jared’s brain should be able to access Boutin’s electronic memories. But when the memory transplant appears to fail, Jared is given to the Ghost Brigades.

At first, Jared is a perfect soldier, but as Boutin’s memories slowly surface, Jared begins to intuit the reason’s for Boutin’s betrayal. As Jared desperately hunts for his “father,” he must also come to grips with his own choices. Time is running out: The alliance is preparing its offensive, and some of them plan worse things than humanity’s mere military defeat…


Barnes and Noble

The Ghost Brigades are the Colonial Defense Forces heavy hitters, super-modified human fighting machines created from the DNA of the dead—and they’re up against three alien races allied to wipe out humankind in John Scalzi’s second novel and sequel to 2005’s Old Man’s War.

When a captured alien administrator spills the beans about a scheme to exterminate humankind once and for all, Lieutenant Jane Sagan and her compatriots in the Colonial Defense Forces are shocked by the particulars: “a genocide planned in great detail, based on the heretofore unheard of cooperation of three races. And one human.” That one human is scientific genius Charles Boutin, who knows the CDF’s biggest military secrets. But why would a human ally himself with aliens who are bent on eradicating his race and taking control of the Colonial Union’s numerous planets? With time quickly running out before an interstellar war erupts—a conflict that humankind can never hope to win—a dangerous plan is hatched to create a Ghost Brigade soldier from Boutin’s DNA in hopes of accessing the scientist’s memories and knowledge. But the plan has unexpected results…

Scalzi has been compared to science fiction legend Robert A. Heinlein for good reason: His smooth blend of hard science fiction, military sci fi, and space opera is addictively readable; and his breakneck pacing and surprisingly deep character development make his novels practically impossible to put down. Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, and subsequent installments in this loosely knit saga could very well be the early 21st century’s answer to Asimov’s Foundation series. They’re that good. Paul Goat Allen

Related Works

Book:Old Man's War

Old Man's War

John Scalzi

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.

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