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. After a firefight with the CDF special forces killing Boutin, it is discovered that Boutin has a daughter named Zoe. John Perry and Jane Sagan decide to adopt her, and the Obin sign a treaty with the CDF that ends hostilities but leaves two protectors with Zoe to give thanks to Boutin, via his daughter, for giving the Obin consciousnesses.


All of the colonial defense forces are given genetically altered bodies with all sorts of upgrades, but it is the special forces that really get the most out of them. 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 and Harry Wilson are the only primary characters returning from Old Man's War.


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