I'm looking for the title of a novel.

It's about a soldier who returns to Earth after the lunar station he served at was surrendered to the Martians. This was after a long war between the two planets. In New York City, the soldier meets a woman with her daughter who accompany him to his house upstate New York.

Later they are forced to share the house with a Martian unit who use it as sort of a military base.

During the visit of two high ranked officers, they find out that the war was actually started by a shapeshifting race in search of a new home.

I think the author was American and it was written in the 70s or 80s.

  • 1
    Some portion of my brain is whispering "Harry Harrison" but I don't recall a book like this...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Apr 12, 2019 at 14:22
  • 1
    My subconscious is trying to tell me I've seen (approximately) this question before, but I can't find it.
    – DavidW
    Apr 12, 2019 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


That is probably Poul Anderson's The War of Two Worlds. The third race had infiltrated the high ranks of both Humans and Martians and started the war in order to significantly weaken both - when ever one side had an advantage the undercover aliens deliberately made serious mistakes to prolong the war.
It is quite a long time I read it, so I don't remember many details, but it definitely a human mother and child.
One point that does not fit, however, is the date: The War of Two Worlds was written in 1959.

  • But according to isfdb it was reprinted in 1974 as part of "The Worlds of Poul Anderson"
    – DavidW
    Apr 12, 2019 at 15:44
  • If you want to update your answer, this review contains "This novel begins where some would end, as a long, bloody war between the Terrans and the Martians finally grinds to a halt with the Martians emerging victorious. The narrator and hero, a spacer with the United Nations forces, returns to a defeated Earth under Martian occupation.. But all is not as it seems, and before you know it, we're off on a cross-country adventure..."
    – DavidW
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:03
  • And also an e-book description includes the details "But for David Arnfeld, ex-spaceman and Earth Base Commander, there was something in the whole set-up which did not ring true. Why had both sides muffed countless chances to end that awful war in the first year or two? And why had the two planets gone to war in the first place?"
    – DavidW
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:04
  • 1
    I knew I'd seen it somewhere before: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/199587/101407
    – DavidW
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:05
  • @VolkerLandgraf thanks for the answer! Thats the book I was looking for. I actually read the german translation which was released in 1977 ;-)
    – NicolasB
    Apr 13, 2019 at 22:31

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