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Scalzi's hectically paced and philosophical continuation of the Old Man's War series is an invigorating and morally complex interstellar thriller with heart. The human Colonial Union has lost the trust of neighboring worlds due to allegations that it's been delaying Earth's technological development so it can "farm" Earth for colonists and soldiers. When the Polk, a Union ambassadorial starship, is obliterated while on a secret diplomatic mission with the alien Utche, the Union sends in a "B-team"-rebellious and unorthodox Lt. Harry Wilson, meek diplomatic assistant Hart Schmidt, and aggressive ambassador Abumwe-to seal negotiations and discover who (or what) destroyed the Polk. Scalzi injects the thrilling wonder of escapist science fiction with the painful despair of human betrayal and selfishness, focusing as much on conflicts of the heart as on warring alien civilizations. First released as digital serial installments, the book's chapters reverberate with cliffhanger suspense, building and resolving a central conflict while building on more complex story arcs. Deeply realized characters and stinging webs of political and social deceit lend mystery and emotionally harsh realism to a thrilling setting of deep space and distant worlds. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.