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Exogene (The Subterrene War #2)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  333 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Exogene (n.): factor or agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system. Also: classified Russian program to merge proto-humanoids with powered armor systems (slang).

Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. She's a monster in the body of an eighteen year old girl. Bred by scientists, grown in vats
Paperback, 347 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2012)
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Grant I enjoyed the books out of order, starting by chance with Chimera. All three are superb; I know of no better, more engaging military SF, and the…moreI enjoyed the books out of order, starting by chance with Chimera. All three are superb; I know of no better, more engaging military SF, and the audiobooks add yet another layer of depth. The author (with whom I have no association) is remarkable: he "earned a BA from the University of Virginia, and a PhD from the University of Georgia, before embarking on a career that gave him a unique perspective as a science fiction author. From his time as a patent examiner in complex biotechnology to his tenure with the Central Intelligence Agency, T.C. has studied and analyzed foreign militaries and weapons systems. T.C. was at the CIA during the September 11 terrorist attacks and was still there when U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, allowing him to experience warfare from the perspective of an analyst."


Exogene alludes to rape, prostitution, and slavery. The protagonist of Germline is a chronic drug user and drug use is prominent in that book (and in Exogene if one counts the tranq tabs the Genetics require as they spoil). All three books are violent, and throughout them characters struggle with questions of death, faith, and war, striving to find meaning in any of these but not always succeeding. However, I saw the Hunger Games movie and recall that it featured an alcoholic, a depraved culture, and much violence, so I don't know that the Subterrene books (the trilogy plus the short story Sunshine) are qualitatively different.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jason Pettus
May 29, 2012 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

This is volume two of a new trilogy by T.C. McCarthy, detailing a day-after-tomorrow war in central Asia from the viewpoint of three very different types of combatants; but unfortunately, while the first book Germline made CCLaP's best-of lists last year and in general just really blew me away, I found mys

Review originally published at BookThing!

Once I finished Exogene, and then had time to think about it, I spent an hour ranting at my husband about the unjust and detestable treatment of the Germline warriors. I wanted to know how the military or government could treat human beings like machines, even ones that have been genetically engineered. I wanted him to tell me what possible justification there could be for the abuse, the deplorable behaviour, and how they couldn’t see what I could see; th
May 31, 2012 Dale rated it it was amazing
I approach this review with some trepidation. This is a hell of a science fiction novel but to call it a sci-fi novel is to undersell it. It is a hell of a war novel, but to call it a war novel is also underselling it. It really is the story of a woman finding out what it is to love, to be loved and to know where one stands with God - in short, to be human, but that seriously undersells this book and makes a violent tale of war, genetic mutation and out-of-controls science sound like some piece ...more
Nov 01, 2012 Mia rated it it was amazing
Perhaps not the OMFG 5-star rating of Germline, but 5 stars nonetheless.

Exogene is primarily the story of Catherine, a soldier created by American scientists to tip the scales of the subterrene war in its favor. Catherine was bred a killing machine in an eighteen year old girl's body. An integral part of the design of these soldiers is their indoctrination with religion. They were activated with faith consisting of the belief that killing the enemy is the essence and purpose of their existence,
Apr 04, 2012 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
This combination of the ideas in Bladerunner, military fiction and genetic engineering science fiction book is a fast paced look at a future war in which many of the combatants are genetically created humans. McCarthy's main characters are Catherine, Megan and Margaret.

Catherine and Megan are genetics decanted from the Atelier at 15 as soldiers in a global war. As part of the training, the genetics receive a constant indoctrination about God, Faith and killing. They are trained to not be squeami
Timothy Ward
Reading T.C.’s Subterrene War Trilogy has been an interesting and memorable experience. The first book, Germline, blew me out of the water (my five star review). I’ve never read a book like that, and loved the personal connection I had to the main character’s journey. I loved that story and T.C.’s in-your-face-war style so much that I couldn’t enjoy any other books because they weren’t the next book in his series.

(By the way, I talked with T.C. over at the SF Signal podcast #140, about his journ
Feb 23, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-review
Rating: 4.5

Review forthcoming
Milo (BOK)
Original Post:

“Excellent military sci-fi. Dark, page-turning, this is one of the best science fiction novels that you’ll see in 2012. Enjoyable, and not to be missed.” ~The Founding Fields

Last year, I read and enjoyed Tc McCarthy’s début – the first in this trilogy, named Germline, so much that I knew I had to get my hands on Exogene as soon as I could. Germline was so good in fact, that I named it the best début novel of 2011, which included novels fro
William Bentrim
Feb 02, 2012 William Bentrim rated it really liked it
Exogene by T.C. McCarthy
This book is the life story of a military clone in a future war for natural resources.

Cloning is here regardless of the ethics or morality surrounding its existence. A logical step forward is to assume that the military industrial complex is exploring how cloning can impact future wars and if cloned warriors are financially viable they will probably be produced. I realize that is somewhat cynical but cynicism is a root theme in the book.

The use of religion to keep warri
Oct 11, 2012 Amodini rated it really liked it
Originally posted at my blog here.

I probably wouldn’t have picked this up had I realized that this was a war novel. But am I glad I did. Yes, it is brutal, and sometimes pedantic in its descriptions, but the descriptions are detailed. The futuristic landscape, much of it irradiated seems to come to life in T. C. McCarthy’s words. There are a lot of details on war maneuvers, “plasma” weapons, “tracer flechettes”, APCs and grenade launchers.

We hear of the story in the first person; Catherine is th
Paul Nelson
Jun 13, 2012 Paul Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books-read
Having really enjoyed the first novel of the trilogy - Germline, I have to say I was similarly impressed with Exogene. Germline for me was an excellent read and got 5 stars, Exogene told from the perspective of a germline soldier Catherine was again a book I rate very highly.
Catherine's story goes from initial training, to war against the Russians, escape into the hands of the Russians and a momentous journey to Thailand.
The surroundings are bleak & grim, the tech descriptions and violent ba
Jun 25, 2012 Marie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

This was a really intense book. I loved the main character, Catherine. She was both very sympathetic and rather alien. The action is well paced, and exciting. I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series.

(view spoiler)
Jun 28, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it
I don't know why I enjoyed this book so much. I read to get a happy ending and this book did not have that.
I got to the end and it felt kind of pointless and left me feeling slightly depressed - yet I'm glad I read it
James Cox
May 05, 2015 James Cox rated it really liked it
Really fantastic world building and characters. The lack of the final star has to do with the ending and a certain death I don't think should have played out. Just my thoughts. I look forward to the next book!
Bill Brinkley
Apr 18, 2012 Bill Brinkley rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
It was a great read. I could hardly put it down. It was the captivating study of the morality of creating clones to fight a war and using religion to motivate them. I highly recommend this book.
Jun 21, 2012 Billie rated it it was amazing
Full preview to follow. This book was received feee of charge from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reader program
Aug 02, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
This was a great read. If future war is your thing, then you will love this series. T.C. McCarthy is quickly becoming one of my favorite sci-fi authors.
Feb 14, 2012 Natasha rated it liked it
Exogene is a thoughtful and provoking story from the POV of a short lived cloned female soldier.
An interesting addition to the series. I enjoyed it :)
Matthew Murrah
Jun 30, 2012 Matthew Murrah rated it it was amazing

Awesome book, awesome author
Mar 01, 2012 Samuel rated it really liked it
Read by Bahni Turpin for Blackstone Audio and released concurrently with the mass market and e-book from Orbit, Exogene sets up as a much more traditional military sf novel than did the author’s debut, 2011’s Germline. Germline was read by Donald Corren, and was a drug-addled war journalism narrative, glossing a bit over technical details whether of weaponry, mech suits (other than detailing a bit of the waste system), or of the eponymous genetic engineering.

Here, Exogene shares only the setting
Apr 15, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
The Subterrene War continues in this novel. The first book, Germline focused on a civilian caught up in the war, a Stars and Stripes writer. I have a separate review for that book. The horrors of war are evident and the advent of the use of Germlines, female clones basically built to live, fight and die by age 18.
Catherine is a Germline fighter, and she is spoiling. The term spoiling is the Germline death sentence, wherein the fighter has reached or is reaching age 18. Organs begin to shut down,
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to go to war? I mean as an actual soldier on the front lines. Here’s a perfectly ordinary human being, perhaps more courageous than most, who as a child was taught that it is wrong to hurt people and break things. Then they joined the army and were taught that it’s okay to hurt people and break things. Then they went to a war, where not only is it okay, it is expected. If that soldier survives the war they go home and suddenly killing and destroying a ...more
Nicole Bates
Jan 08, 2013 Nicole Bates rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
T.C. McCarthy’s gripping sequel to Germline tells the story of the futuristic subterrene war from the point of view of Catherine. Catherine is one of the genetically engineered American soldiers, a killing machine housed in the body of a teenage girl.

The story is slightly less intense than the first (though there’s no shortage of action) but is, in my opinion, more thought-provoking.

In the midst of the war, Catherine is forced to find her place in a world where she is no longer allowed to act in
Jul 18, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
I thought this was the best book out of the three in the series. Basically, you're following one of the psychotic genetically bred super soldiers as she approaches her own death. I liked how you got in her mind and saw her perspective and priorities. Her thoughts about the children she cannot have. Her sisters in war. And those who are not really her allies even though they made her to fight for them. It was also infuriating to see how they were treated by the non-super soldiers. I think that's ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Joseph rated it liked it
2.5 stars

You wouldn't think that an allegorical critique of America's foreign and military policy featuring a bisexual genetically engineered cloned super-soldier nicknamed "Little murderer" could be boring. Think again.

For a combination of reasons, this doesn't flow nearly as well as *Germline*. The experiences of the protagonist were not very interesting. Her emotional and mental arc is either deliberately opaque or poorly written, which made it almost impossible for me to connect with her. Th
Oct 11, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
I won this book as a giveaway from Goodreads. I read the first in this series before this one and must say that, even though I like SciFi, the subject matter was not exactly what I enjoy reading. However, the writing is SO good that I did end up enjoying this book and the first one in the series. The author does a great job at putting you right in the middle of a war. This book is from the genetics point of view and I thought it was written very well. If you like Scifi and enjoy books about war, ...more
Tremont G
I made it halfway through and then quit. I was bored. The first book had a purpose and I felt like there was more interaction between characters. The main character in this book felt so isolated and lost I just couldn't take it. Also, I know eventually it ties together with the 1st book, but only in the plot, not any of the characters as far as I read. Possibly it will introduce characters from book 1, but I was so bored I didn't feel like listening to more. I may come back to this someday, if I ...more
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T.C. McCarthy is an award winning southern author whose short fiction has appeared in Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas, in Story Quarterly and in Nature. His debut novel, Germline, and its sequel, Exogene are available worldwide and the final book of the trilogy, Chimera, will be released in August 2012. In addition to being an author, T.C. is a PhD scientist ...more
More about T.C. McCarthy...

Other Books in the Series

The Subterrene War (3 books)
  • Germline
  • Chimera (The Subterrene War, #3)

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