The Ghost Brigades

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The Ghost Brigades
Ghost Brigades.jpg
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author John Scalzi
Country United States
Language English
Series Old Man's War series
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 384[1]
ISBN 9780765354068
Preceded by Old Man's War
Followed by The Last Colony

The Ghost Brigades is the second book by John Scalzi set in the Old Man's War universe.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) learn that one of their top consciousness transfer scientists, Charles Boutin, has turned traitor and sparked an unprecedented alliance between three other species to wipe out humanity. While investigating Boutin's clumsy attempt to fake his own death, the CDF discovers that Boutin had successfully stored a copy of his consciousness in a computer. The colonial Special Forces, nicknamed "The Ghost Brigades," create a CDF soldier body with Boutin's DNA to try to implant the copy of Boutin's consciousness into the new brain, to learn where Boutin has escaped to and what his intentions really are. The attempt fails, so the soldier becomes a private in the Special Forces, is given the name Jared Dirac and is assigned to a platoon commanded by Jane Sagan. In the off-chance that Boutin's consciousness does emerge, Sagan and her superiors are determined to keep an eye on Jared. It does emerge, so Jared has to deal with memories of a life he hasn't lived, while trying to find out who he really is himself. When the extent of Boutin's treachery becomes known, it's clear there will be some difficult choices required to stop Boutin's alliance with the Rraey, Eneshan and Obin. A mission to the moon where Boutin is helping the Obin build their counciousness transfer technology, led by Sagan and Dirac, is on the verge of complete failure, as Boutin is aware of the weaknesses of the CDF soldiers. Still, CDF special forces finally succeed in killing Boutin, and recover his daughter Zoe. John Perry and Jane Sagan decide to adopt her, and the Obin are willing to sign a treaty with the CDF that ends hostilities.


All of the colonial defense forces are given genetically altered bodies with all sorts of upgrades, with the special forces getting the most. These soldiers are born into these bodies, and only through their BrainPal do they know what to do. This universe is a hostile place and these upgrades are the bare minimum the CDF can give them just to hold their own. Travel in the universe is done by skip drive, an instantaneous means of transportation. Jane Sagan, Harry Wilson and John Perry are the only primary characters returning from Old Man's War.

Races Introduced in The Ghost Brigades[edit]

  • Eneshan: Human-sized insectoid race descended from a termite-like creature. Nominally allies with the CDF. Society is hierarchical, matriarchal and highly tribal, with much inter-tribal conflict.
  • Obin: Evolved on the moon of a gas giant, they were given intelligence but not individual consciousness by another alien species, the Consu. The Obin are described as a hermaphroditic species that resemble a cross between a spider and a giraffe. They generally do not interact with other races, except to attack; they are brutal, merciless, and unrelenting when they do.
  • Gameran: These are actually a subspecies of humans, designed by the CDF to live natively in space. They appear similar to large rock turtles, and can hide easily among asteroids, planetary rings, etc. They also have the first generation of BrainPal that is entirely organic.


  1. ^ a b "Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi". Powell's Books. Retrieved 10 May 2015.