The Ghost Brigades
Publishing Date: February 2006 (Tor Books)
10 Words or Less: Sequel to Old Man's War; reads like a stand-alone.
Cover Blurbage: 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…
Reviews: "The sequel to Old Man's War combines taut military action with keen insights into the moral issues revolving around developing technologies. Scalzi has a finely tuned sense of balance between personal drama and the 'big picture' ... Highly recommended." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"A mix of Starship Troopers and Universal Soldier, Ghost evokes awakening, betrayal, and combat in the best military sci-fi tradition." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Like Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades is thinking fans' space opera. And for all that Scalzi gives you to chew on intellectually, he doesn't skimp on the blow-shit-up factor. The book opens with a fantastic action scene that ends with a brilliant narrative bait-and-switch I didn't see coming, and climaxes with an even better one... The Ghost Brigades maintains Scalzi's standing as one of SF's most rewarding purveyors of thrilling, gut-wrenching, and thoughtful space opera." -- T.M. Wagner, SFReviews.net
"Scalzi has lost none of his flair for spare, evocative prose: the opening scene—in which a raid on a planetary installation turns out to be somewhat different than expected—is brilliant, and the scene that closes the first part of the book—another raid, this time on one of the enemy's home planets—is both gripping and poignant. But this book—like the first—is more than a fine war novel: it is also a meditation on why we fight, the nature of loyalty, the meaning of consciousness, and the moral significance of free will... An outstanding new work from an emergent author: highly recommended." -- David Hecht, SFRevu.com
"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 makes 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 - it's that good." -- Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble Explorations
"The premise of the schizophrenic soldier allows Scalzi to explore the essence of consciousness and the ways in which it is shaped and influenced by memory, experience and the individual's intrinsic personality. Combine that with good battle scenes, clever storytelling and the ability to juggle abstruse scientific principles without breaking a sweat, and it makes for an impressive piece of work." -- David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
"It's a fast and deep stream, military machinations mixed with gorgeous technical notions, and cut through by the arc of Dirac's life. I like the galaxy this author's playing in, the characters he limns, the situations he's playing with, and I'm glad there's at least one more volume on the way." -- Jim Hopper, San Diego Union-Tribune
"In Heinleinesque fashion, the book is loaded with scenes of comradeship, isolation, ruthlessness and the protocols, which govern the lives of active-duty soldiers. But this is where Scalzi, famous for his blog "The Whatever," surpasses Heinlein. Scalzi weaves in subtle discussions of humanity's growing fear of aging and our simultaneous attraction and repulsion to the Frankensteinlike creatures we are able to create." -- Aïssatou Sidimé, San Antonio Express-News
"Scalzi is a natural heir to Heinlein, and his second book in this series is a good old-fashioned space opera, which takes time to question the nature of free will." -- Dorman T. Shindler, St. Louis Press-Dispatch
Awards, etc: Featured Selection, the Science Fiction Book Club, March 2006; A "Sci-Fi Essential" Book, January 2006, Featured Selection, Barnes and Noble Explorations, March 2006
Foreign Language Sales: Russian, German, Chinese, French
Personal Notes: Somewhat darker than Old Man's War, but it was fun for me to delve into the lives of the Ghost Brigades after only sketching them in the first book. Also, I'm very pleased with the character of Jane Sagan in this book and I think readers will be, too.