I read this great book a while ago and have not been able to find it since.

It's a space-opera novel involving a society in which a parasitic organism is planted in people who have died, reviving them but they're not the same once revived. I remember that on the back of the book it was advertised with a catchy quote "The dead are dying" because the parasite would eventually die itself as well so it didn't guarantee eternal life.

Not everyone got the parasite, you had to do something special to earn it. It also involved a female politician who was against the process because the life extension process was too heavy a burden on society. It also involved a war hero who underwent some horrendous torture as a POW. He and the politician hook up. The story also pulls in a woman warrior from an all-female society. This is probably enough information for anyone who has read this novel before and can remember the title or even the author would be enough.

  • Welcome to SFF:SE. We have a handy article for story identification questions which might help you recall more pertinent details here.
    – Politank-Z
    Oct 23, 2017 at 21:01
  • Please write more descriptive titles. I've taken a stab at rewriting it; please change it if needed.
    – Andres F.
    Oct 23, 2017 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


This sounds like Scott Westerfield's duology (or single novel, depending on your market), Succession (single title) or The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds (individual novel titles).

From the Wikipedia description:

The novel is set in an undefined distant future (although it is implied to exist roughly 5000 years from now), in which there is a galactic empire spanning eighty worlds, amongst other human civilizations. The empire is ruled by the Risen Emperor, who has discovered the secret of immortality through means of a symbiont (spelled "symbiant" in the novel). Immortality is conferred on favored Imperial citizens, referred to as the 'grays'.

and we also have the soldier and politician main characters:

The central characters are Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial Navy, and Senator Nara Oxham, a member of the Secularist Party, which opposes worship of the Emperor and the use of the symbiont to create immortality. Despite their political differences, the two become lovers. Zai is sent away to fight the Rix; due to the death of the Emperor's sister at the hands of the Rix, Zai is expected to commit ritual suicide to mark his failure, but chooses not to do so. Senator Oxham, appointed to the Emperor's War Council, opposes unpalatable war plans that would lead to the sacrifice of billions of Imperial citizens in order to preserve state secrets contained in the compound intelligences.

And a warrior woman from an all-female society is there too... actually, I just realized that I already answered this question from you, apparently!

  • Thank you so much for not yelling at me for posting this twice. Yes, I did post it a while ago and I swear I checked for responses but somehow missed your response even though you posted it shortly after I asked. I never got an email notification for whatever reason. And thanks again for the info. Checking it out from the Library tonight!! Oct 23, 2017 at 22:42
  • Since this version is the one with the accepted answer, I've deleted the original. @Heather No harm done this time, but in future please don't repost the same question more than once - if you come up with additional details, you can always edit the original post. (And sorry if either of you lost rep points from the deletion.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:02
  • Why did you mark this as a duplicate? The other question is totally different from this question. No one approaching it from my perspective will think the other question is even talking about the same book. The other question won't help people who were interested in the parts of the story I'm referencing in my question. Oct 24, 2017 at 14:52
  • It's just a convention this StackExchange uses, doesn't mean the user did anything wrong by it, but makes it so, ideally, all "what book is this" questions for the same book can get grouped together. Hypothetically, someone might see one question and think "yeah this MIGHT be the book I'm looking for" and they can look at the duplicate question which might highlight completely different aspects and they'll remember for sure from THOSE aspects. Oct 24, 2017 at 17:38

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