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The Ghost Brigades [Hardcover]

John Scalzi , Vincent Chong
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 30 2008
They are the special wing of the Colonial Defence Forces, elite troops created from DNA of the dead and turned into the perfect soldiers for the CDF's toughest operations. The universe is a dangerous place for humanity, as three hostile races combine to halt our further expansion into space. Their linchpin is a turncoat scientist, Charles Boutin, who unfortunately knows the CDF's biggest military secrets. And to prevail against this alliance, they must find out why Boutin did what he did.Jared Dirac is the only human able to provide answers, being a superhuman hybrid created form Boutin's own DNA. Jared's brain should therefore be able to access Boutin's electronic memories ...but when that appears to fail, Jared is instead passed on to the Ghost Brigades. Then, just as time is running out, Boutin's memories slowly begin to surface within him...but all this while the enemy is planning something much worse for mankind than just military defeat. Praise for "Old Man's War": 'Clever dialogue, fast-paced story and strong characters.' - "The Times". 'An original idea, which is brilliantly executed' - "Sc-Fi Now".
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

This fast-paced interstellar military drama doesn't quite meet the high expectations set by its predecessor, Scalzi's acclaimed Old Man's War (2005), but it comes impressively close. Shifting focus from seniors in young bodies to infants in old bodies, it follows Jared Dirac, a superhuman soldier, from unusual birth to ambiguous death. Dirac is an altered clone of Charles Boutin, a military scientist who betrayed humankind to alien aggressors, and the Colonial Defense Forces' only hope of finding Boutin lies in transplanting his memories into Dirac's brain. When the transplant seems to fail, Dirac is sent to Special Forces, known as the Ghost Brigades for their habit of creating new soldiers from the DNA of the dead. His indoctrination there comes in handy when Boutin's memories begin to surface. Scalzi pays gleeful homage to Ender's Game, The Forever War and Starship Troopers, sometimes at the expense of originality. All he needs to make the jump from good to great is to trust in his own ideas. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Scalzi's riveting and original Old Man's War (2005) introduced readers to the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF), an Earth-based galactic army composed of senior citizens rejuvenated by high-tech wizardry into youthful warriors. In this equally engaging, battle-driven sequel, the CDF's latest operation entails tracking down renegade scientist Charles Boutin, who is responsible for handing over deadly military secrets to humanity's extraterrestrial enemies. Fortunately, a computer-based replica of Boutin's consciousness is on file and ready for transfer into newly cloned special-forces soldier Jirad Dirac, who shares Boutin's DNA. When the consciousness transfer doesn't quite take, Dirac is handed off to a battalion for routine but closely monitored training. Just when Dirac is getting comfortable with his own identity, however, Boutin's memories kick in, and Dirac and his team are summarily dispatched to an enemy planet to capture Boutin and solve the mystery of his treason before humanity is destroyed. Scalzi skillfully weaves together action, memorable characterizations, and a touch of philosophy in a first-rate military sf outing. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
John Scalzi won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Gee, I wonder why?

While not as fantastic as his debut, Old Man’s War, Scalzi still sets the bar high with his followup novel, set in the same universe where mankind has ventured out into a hostile universe populated with hundreds of alien species, and responds with engineering, perserverance, and small feats of bio engineering like the Ghost Brigades.

The Ghost Brigades were introduced briefly in Old Man’s War in the form of Jane Sagan, a nine year old with some of the DNA of the lead character’s dead wife. The soldiers in the Ghost Brigade are grown, given “BrainPal” computers in their head, and then linked to their squad mates.

Jane Sagan plays a back-up role here. The main plot follows Jared Dirac, a Ghost Brigade soldier who is built to put a presumed dead traitor’s consciousness inside his head. It doesn’t take at first, so he becomes a member of the Ghost Brigades. It does take later, but to detail more would mean spoiling the story.

Scalzi continues to expand upon the universe of aliens he has created, and to explain the science the humans are using to combat them in clear, logical terms. (Science and fiction, get it?) The humans seem to be beset on all sides by agressive aliens, but which side is really the aggressor?

John gets into some excellent philosophical discussions about choice and right to choose, which is right in line with the “created for a purpose” ghost brigades.

An excellent story, a quick read, a new fav author. On to the third in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Book For Fans of Old Man's War July 28 2009
By Daiken
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I think if you read Old Man's War and enjoyed it, then you'll probably love this book too. While the story focuses on Jane, it was still a fantastic read. It's a bit more philosophical, but really the best thing about the book is the story in my opinion. The characters are likable, the book has good pacing, flows well, has deeper meaning for those that care to look for it, and is overall just fun. I still consider Old Man's War a better book, but this still met my expectations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets May 9 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
A lot of extra details building on the first book. Some more of the details and secrets are revealed. Good read!
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