For 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 most 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, whose brain is uniquely able to access Boutin's electronic memories. But when the memory transplant appears to fail, Jared is given over to the Ghost Brigades.
Jared begins as one of these perfect soldiers, but as memories begin to surface, he 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.
©2006 John Scalzi; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
"Solid....[Scalzi] sidesteps most of the cliches of military science fiction, delivers fast-paced scenes of combat and pays attention to the science underpinning his premise." (San Francisco Chronicle)
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This is a nice followup to Old Man's War. Scalzi again creates a great ride, that is deeply enjoyable and with great characters.
It helps to have read Old Man's War, but you could pick this one up and start here. This story takes place a few years after the events in Old Man's War. Jane Sagan is a Lt in the Ghost Brigades and assigned to the Kite. She uncovers a plot against the Colonial Union, and that there is a traitor helping out the enemies plotting against the Union. Most of the story follows the rather unusual method they use to track down the traitor... Very well written, held my attention throughout.
If you liked OMW, then you'll like The Ghost Brigades. It's fast paced sci-fi military action with a mystery element. The protagonist is compelling & sympathetic. Some characters from OMW also play an important part.
A fun listen and worthy successor to "Old Man's War". Scalzi writes his books with a very Heinlein'esque feel...in a good way.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
This novel is down to earth, to paraphrase a trite and incorrect saying I guess, shoot 'em up Si Fi. I agree with other reviewers, though, and think I'd rather have read this novel instead of listening to it. Some authors,who do an excellent job of writing tight dialogue as Scalzi does, use "He said", " She said' a lot. A lot... A lot.... It gets redundant and a bit tiresome to listen to but isn't bad when it's being read...Lee Child's Jack Reacher books are the same way.
However, as I did download the book, I continued to listen and finally got accustomed to the redundancy as annoying as it could become. I know this is the terse way Scalzi writes and I enjoy hearing William Dufris narration during the exciting parts sufficiently that it's worth listening.
Neither of the protagonists from "Old Mans War" follow us into "The Ghost Brigades" and it took a bit of a getting used to for me but I quickly grew to appreciate the new character, who was as well developed a character as John Perry over the books length and who I really connected with.
A new secondary character is introduced as a child in the end of this book, Zoe, who becomes important in the winding up of the series. The book becomes quite complicated as regards who is related to who about 2/3 of the way thru the book and it's important to keep things straight. If you can.
I also really really like the way Scalzi writes the characters of his aliens. They aren't faux humans but instead are actually alien in thought, mental processes, culture and looks as any alien I've read previously. It's simply superb and I admire the individual books and the development of the series. I think I'm going to be sad to have it end-and have already bought the last 3 books.
And about those books. The ending of "The Ghost Brigades" is an ideal place to listen to Scalzi's hour long short story, ""The Sagan Diary". This was written after the series was finished to fulfill an obligation and fleshes out the character Jane Sagan, who is reintroduced in "The Last Colony" , is written from the female first person point of view and, IMO, is one of Scazis best pieces of writing. He does a fantastic job of interpretation a woman's deepest thoughts as she writes her diary, including a slightly steamy sexual chapter. Not to be missed.
John Scalzi..your writing is really beginning to grow and I hope you have years of excellent work ahead of you.
The Ghost Brigades is the second book in the Old Man’s War series and although it is a relatively stand-alone story the first book provides some necessary background context and I recommend you read it first. In book 1 the main character is CDF soldier John Perry and the Special Forces play a secondary role, but in this book the Special Forces take over the main storyline and there are just a few occasional references to John Perry.
Jane Sagan returns from the first book and provides some continuity for a host of new characters, including Special Forces solider Jared Dirac. The story starts off in a disjointed way as events occur without much explanation as to why they matter, but then it all comes together in the end to set the stage for Jared to make some interesting moral choices. Scalzi reveals a lot more about the various non-human races and gives a glimpse into the galactic politics faced by humanity. As the actions of the CDF on this grand stage are slowly revealed to him, Jared has to sort out the truth from the half-truth and decide if the CDF that created him is good or bad for human-kind. Does he have an obligation to protect humanity as he was bred to do or is he just a disposable slave being used to move forward a hidden CDF agenda?
Although the book can be predictable at times it is still enjoyable science fiction and reveals just enough about the bigger picture to encourage you to move on to the next book in the series which I plan to do. William Dufris does a decent job as narrator even if though he is forced to utter “he said” “she said” a few too many times. If you enjoyed the first book then you can confidently spend a credit to give this one a listen.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
The Ghost Brigades is the second novel in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR saga. It focuses on the Ghost Brigades — the Special Forces soldiers that the Colonial Union (CU) creates by genetic engineering and who have special powers because of the BrainPal computers in their heads. They’re born in adult bodies and are rapidly assimilated into the Special Forces, though they are a little immature because of their mental age and they lack some of the personality and social skills that come from interaction with “real-born” people in a normal environment. The Ghost Brigades give the regular CU soldiers the heebee-jeebees.
In this story the Colonial Union has discovered the existence of a traitorous scientist, Charles Boutin, who has faked his death by cloning himself and has aligned himself with three alien species who plan to wipe out the humans. Part of his motivation is that he blames the CU for the death of his daughter Zoe who was on a planet the CU blew up. Boutin is helping the aliens by giving them information about Special Forces’ BrainPals. This will allow them to have such technology themselves and perhaps find a way to hack into the BrainPals of the Special Forces soldiers.
This is not good; Boutin must be stopped. When Special Forces discover a source for Boutin’s DNA and his consciousness which he uploaded for safe keeping, they decide to clone him so they can have a soldier who may have Boutin’s memory and who may think like Boutin. (They realize that this could go badly awry.) And so they create Jared Dirac and it’s up to Jared to stop his “father.” Commander Jane Sagan (who we remember from Old Man’s War), is skeptical and worried that instead of catching a traitor, they may be creating another one.
The Ghost Brigades is an exciting story with lots of action, cool ideas, and some of John Scalzi’s humor (but not as much as in Old Man’s War). Scalzi takes the opportunity to make us think about nature vs. nurture, free will, the role of the environment on personality formation, the ethics of cloning, the role of consciousness in the arts, and the relationship between brain, mind and soul.
Scalzi also decides to throw some mud in the water. At this point in the OLD MAN’S WAR story, it’s becoming clear that war is a murky business. Are we supposed to be rooting for the Colonial Union? They’ve got some seriously questionable ethics and our villain is somewhat sympathetic. Has Earth been mistreating her soldiers and/or holding back human technological development? I look forward to learning more in the next book, The Last Colony and its companion, Zoe’s Tale.
I’m reading the audio version of OLD MAN’S WAR which is mostly narrated by William Dufris who, as usual, gives a stellar performance. I recommend this series on audio.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Scalzi's science fiction world is a bit derivative, but this and Old Man's War are entertaining reads that contain enough moral dilemmas to be interesting, but don't take themselves too seriously. Picture a more tongue-in-cheek version of Starship Troopers or Ender's Game.
Scalzi's special forces soldiers, born into adult bodies with preprogrammed, networked minds, are intriguing characters, and the scenes in which Scalzi examines their childlike personalities are both humorous and surprisingly touching. Other times, the story devolves into a straight shoot-em-up with cliched dialogue and inane science, but the author does use plot effectively and got me involved in the characters enough to keep turning the pages.
John Scalzi's style of writing does not make a good audio book. Every sentence starts with or ends with 'he said' or 'she said'. To the point where I dreaded conversations.
Yes, its a great book
I love this book as much as book 1. Books 3-4 are the same story but from different points of view and its not a great story at that. This story is great and it throws you right into the heart of the CDF's best technology and explains it all from the inside out.
...and Woman to "Switch" bodies, fight random wars around the universe and engage in extremely casual sex with multiple partners. Drawbacks? well only if you call getting a beat down by your dead wife who does not recognize you a drawback.
kept me on my toes and enthralled from beginning to end. This is the kind of book that I wish I could erase from my brain so I could enjoy it for the first time again.
No skips in audio file, no hiss and medium bit rate as normal with Audible. overall very good recording.
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