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Looking for a sci-fi story about a teenage military corps for an interstellar govt who have to fight off an invasion force with only ground-based abilities to convince a much larger empire that the lost colony planet they have found is too much effort to conquer but not an active threat. I feel like it has more to do with breaking the pride of the potential conquerors so they won't go back home and tell their superiors, then come back with more ships.

I found this on the shelf in the public library sometime in the early 00's, so any book published by '05 is a possibility. I moved in late '05, so nothing published after that year could be what I'm thinking of.

I remember the protagonist govt had 2 major religious systems, a conservative religion that isn't detailed but is touchy about new ideas, and a system that believes in rebirth, believes that people are born into 1 of 5 categories, (Warrior is one, another has to do with Knowledge/Research), and believes that the number of people born in a given category is prompted by what the needs of society will be during that person's life. The phrase "Warriors at play" sticks in my mind. I also remember that the protagonist govt is on a set of planets hidden inside some kind of interstellar cloud that keeps other govts from being aware of them. There are definitely psionic abilities in this world, with some of the best Knowledge/Research people able to reach out mentally and experience the world through other intelligent minds. If the other mind has the same abilities, they can communicate instantaneously at interstellar distances.

I did think it might be Dickson's Childe Cycle, but can't find any book where a teenage corps is formed from disciplinary cases and trained in time to save a world. Also, everyone in the Childe Cycle universe seems aware of all the other govts based on the blurbs. Have also checked through lists of novels by Niven, Heinlein, Poule, Parnell, and quite a few others.

Anyway, the testing corps of child soldiers, born Warriors raised in the new system, is on planet when the Imperial ship shows up and starts a guerilla war. I remember a new technology is created that allows a portal to be made for instantaneous transport from planet to planet. A teen trainee corps made from a bunch of trouble-makers who were unrecognized born Warriors and kept getting into fights in their high schools (? maybe colleges?) uses the portal to transport to the world and save it after proving themselves against a fully adult military corps of the standard military.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. By "Parnell" do you mean Pournelle? And is "Poule" supposed to be Poul Anderson?
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 4:02
  • @DavidW You're probably right. This has become a bit of an obsession for me, because I have sunk so much time into browsing lists trying to find the book, but it was very late when I posted and I probably mis-spelled a few things. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 22:44

1 Answer 1

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The White Regiment by John Dallas, second in his Regiment series.

the protagonist govt had 2 major religious systems, a conservative religion that isn't detailed but is touchy about new ideas, and a system that believes in rebirth, believes that people are born into 1 of 5 categories, (Warrior is one, another has to do with Knowledge/Research), and believes that the number of people born in a given category is prompted by what the needs of society will be during that person's life.

The government is the Federation of Worlds, which enforces a technological stasis and general ban on research. The folks who believe in rebirth are the T'swa, mostly known to the outside world as the best mercenaries around:

The planet Tyss is so poor that it has only one exportable resource - its fighting men. Each year three regiments are sent forth into the galaxy. Hiring their services is very expensive, but well worth it, for the Tyss secret training makes their soldiers into mystic warriors, irresistible in battle.

The other castes stay at home.

about a teenage military corps for an interstellar govt who have to fight off an invasion force with only ground-based abilities to convince a much larger empire that the lost colony planet they have found is too much effort to conquer but not an active threat.

From a Goodreads review:

... since the Movement began its more public efforts to bring the Confederation out from under its stultifying brainwashing against technological and social innovation, and the decision is made to create a mercenary regiment from social misfits ... While all this is going on, an exploratory squadron from a theocratic empire some distance away is making its way toward Confederation space, looking for colonizable worlds, and happens upon sparsely-settled Terfreya, where a corps of Confederation cadets has been undergoing training, quite separate from the teenaged proto-mercenaries, and the last third of the narrative is given over to the story of armed resistance to the incursion -- aided considerably by recently discovered teleport technology.

Especially note that last bit.

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  • There are some similarities between this setting and the Dorsal books; easy to see why you thought of Dickson.
    – Shawn
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 4:10
  • This looks right! Thank you, thank you, thank you! No ebook I can find, sadly, but I'm ordering a print copy anyway Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 0:36
  • Actually, archive.org has a copy, and yes, this was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, again! Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 0:46

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