The story takes place within an interstellar empire whose most significant feature is its eugenics program. Individual freedom has been largely removed. People do not marry, and instead are selected by the state and put together in order to breed. They are selected based on their compatibility and (possibly?) based on the needs that the state has for this particular child (do they need an extra fighter pilot, scientist, laborer, etc.). I believe they are given some period of time to live together on a vacation of sorts for the purpose of procreating.
A particular couple (best of the best) are put together and fall in love. They decide that they don't want to just give up their child. They end up having twins and seize this chance to save at least one of their children from the empire's control. One goes to the empire, the other is sent away somewhere.
Flash forward 20-ish years (this is where the book actually began) and we follow the life of the son given to the empire. He is an officer/space pilot with lots of upward mobility. He has access to some sort of high-tech power gauntlet (I'm a little fuzzy on this) that can shoot lasers or has super strength or something like that. This is restricted to only soldiers of high rank. He is shot down or captured by a group rebelling from the empire, and this is where he meets his brother for the first time. At some point they switch places (I'm not sure if this was willingly on empire-brother's side). The rebel-brother is caught when they realize he doesn't have the same tattoo/brand on his shoulder that all other empire subjects have.
I'm not certain what happens from here, as I was not able to finish!
I believe one of the brothers' names started with a 'Z.'
Real Life Context
I read this in the late '90s/early 2000s, however, these were given to me by my sister who had probably had them since the early '90s.
I had two books (out of three I believe) in this particular story. The versions I had were part of a series of children's/YA illustrated books. The series was similar to Great Illustrated Classics or Children's Illustrated Classics. Books from different genres adapted for children. This story was probably adapted from something else, but I can't be sure on that point. If I remember correctly, the books in this collection were all approximately 4 inches x 4 inches, and she would purchase on trips to the grocery store. It's possible that it was a Christian book series, but I can't be sure about that. I think there was a book in this series about Corrie Ten Boom.
- Can anyone identify this story?
- Can anyone identify what "adult" book/story this was adapted from, if any?
- Bonus: can anyone identify the book collection?