Angelo Osic, an aging pharmacist in wartorn Panama, is drawn into a complicated political plot when he reaches out in compassion to help an injured woman fleeing shadowy forces. Osic kills a man, and is forced to flee Earth and make a new life among Latino refugee/mercenaries, hired to help a Japanese-derived culture on a distant planet defeat its cultural rival. Trained ruthlessly in war, he struggles to return to his own self image of a man of peace, a healer, and a man of compassion -- even as he sees these things fail and fade.
For a scifi lover, this book is a feast for the mind; nay, more than a feast: a smorgasborg. Neural implants, brain transplant, genetic alteration, jacked-in training, bioweapons, AI, space travel, future weapons; you name it. Yet all of these technological developments are worked into the plot smoothly and believably. And most important, they are not the focus of the novel: that focus is the moral development of a man struggling to make sense of what his life has become; struggling to regain moral agency in an immoral world. Yet there are many other interesting ideas on display, as well: culture clash, the nature of reality, what it means to be human, and what the meaning of culture is.
Most novels are fire and forget; they do not touch your self in any real way beyond the pleasure of escape. This one will have you thinking about it years after your read it for the nth time.