THE UNITY OF THE HUMAN RACE IS AT STAKE
Lieutenant Harry Wilson has an impossible mission. He must help preserve the union of humanity's colonies, in the wake of a terrible revelation.
For years the Colonial Union has protected its citizens from the dangerous universe around them. But the people of Earth now know the ugly truth. The Union deliberately kept Earth as an ignorant backwater - and as a source of recruits for its war against hostile aliens. Now, other alien races have formed a new alliance against the Union. And they've invited the incensed people of Earth to join them.
Managing the Colonial Union's survival will take all the political cunning and finesse its diplomats can muster. And Harry and his team will be deployed to deal with the unexpected - for failure is unthinkable.
PRAISE FOR THE OLD MAN'S WAR SERIES
"Clever dialogue, fast-paced story and strong characters." The Times
"Great fun" Daily Telegraph
Great, but for the wrong audience
While the other books explore outwards, describing amazing new places, creatures and technology, books 5 and 6 explore inwards, fleshing out the Colonial Union and the Conclave and the relationships between entities.
This creates a very different feel: with the focus on diplomacy, bureaucracy and politics, the things that originally drew me (and I assume most readers) into the world are pushed to the sidelines.
The books are also created to function as a series of short stories, meaning the characters and the overall story are back to being very one dimensional, but without the mysteries that allowed the first book to get away with it.
If you want to find out about the inner workings of the political entities in this universe, or read decent short stories with commentary about space fascism as the through-line, then keep going, but be warned that the stories are a little worse than the previous books, or at least are aimed at a slightly different audience, so expectations might need to be reeled in a bit.
Consistently good work from Scalzi.
When a series concept does well I usually find the quality degrades. Scalzi avoids this with judicially moving to other characters and by changing the structures of his stories. This is a series of stories presented as a novel. Like a casebook of Sherlock Holmes but with a strong overall story arc. Plus he's a good writer.