And what’s a person who’s been only really trained for war do after being forcibly taken out of the war? This question is an escalation of the issues raised by the transition of a soldier to civilian life. Conflict arises as the soldier is underprepared for the transition, and the civilians fail to understand the POV of the soldier. This sci-fi tale grasps this scenario and runs with it.
By the 22nd Century, genetically engineered, clone soldiers that contain a blend dog and human DNA are made for war. Until they are freed in a half-assed attempt to mainstream the young pups. Despite the efforts of many adoption parents, most of the dogs end up back in the military with whole divisions populated by gen-mods.
Edane, a gen-mod dog, survives the Tajik War but not on his own terms. He lost an arm and was sent home. He’s unsettled with how it all played out and struggles to come to terms with his sense of not belonging in civilian life. His adoptive mothers and his girlfriend likewise fail to see his POV. Edane finds an almost satisfactory answer in the semi-pro Military Simulation Leagues. And then another war comes along . . .
This novel brilliantly captures both the failed communication and understanding between the military and civilian POVs and a strikingly realistic mindset of a gen-mod dog-human struggling to read social cues and emotions that he wasn’t raised to read.
Secondarily, it poses an interesting scenario with a crowd-fund revolution hiring a mercenary army to overthrow a dictatorship.
Slowing the flow of the novel is the time-jumping between the Tajik War and later points. Also, the similarity of names to denote the clone aspect of the gen-mods obfuscates the individuality necessary to pull off this multiple POV novel. Overall, this novel is very good and recommended.