|Orbit paperback, 1976. Cover painting by Patrick Woodroffe.|
"My name is Private Mandella.
I am one of the elite of the Earth. I have an IQ over 150: I have unusual health and strength and I have been conscripted to guard humanity against the Tauran menace on some lonely outpost of the galaxy.
The catch is - the way to get back home is after a combat tour, which because of the collapsar jump could last a century or two. That won't matter, I'll only be a few months older, but I won't recognise the earth I left. And, of course, not fitting in I won't want to stay there so I'll re-enlist, and when I return as a veteran they won't even speak my language...
The army is my home now.
But that's what they planned all along wasn't it...Wasn't it?"