The Ghost Brigades
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi is the sequel to Old Man’s War. Scalzi turns in another fine volume in this one. I enjoyed it quite a lot–at least as much as the first book. For this review, I’ll assume you have read Old Man’s War and so will give out details of that book that I didn’t mention in my first review. If you haven’t read Old Man’s War then go do it before reading farther here.
In this book, we look into the Ghost Brigades (GB)(unsurprisingly) that we saw a little bit of in the latter part of Old Man’s War. We open with a meteor striking a planet near a research station. Various things occur and we meet the researcher Cainen. Various other events happen and Cainen is taken prisoner by Jane Sagan. Jane is the special forces officer (called the Ghost Brigades) that we met in Old Man’s War. The special forces, of the Colonial Defense Forces, members are formed from the genetically modified DNA of people who had volunteered for the CDF but then died before actually joining. Instead of then having an existing consciousness transferred to them, the GB member is awoken and then fed information via their embedded computer (BrainPal.) This results in combat ready troops within a couple of months. Jane’s DNA base, in particular, is derived from the dead wife of John Perry. We found that out last book.
After being captured by Jane, Cainen reveals that there is a plot by three alien races to attack the Colonial Federation. This attack has been spurred with information from the scientist Charles Boutin.
Boutin had vanished from his lab some time before, but been presumed dead as he had left a cloned body behind that had apparently committed suicide. He had also left behind an imprint of his own consciousness. It had been heretofore unknown that such a thing could be done. It had also been thought that in order to transfer a consciousness required two living brains. But, a plan is hatched to create a special forces body from the DNA of the clone of Boutin and use that to implant the consciousness within. The body could then be questioned and the alien invasion forestalled. That, at least is the plan.
A few interesting ethical questions arise during the course of the book and we also begin to get some insight that there are indeed things going on in the background of why the CDF exists and why all these aliens are fighting (or not.) We get some insight, but there are plenty of questions left for the two more books in the series (so far at least). And, I intend to proceed ahead as Scalzi does a fine job of keeping the entertainment at a high level.