Another reader writes in with a story description looking for a title. Do any of our readers out there know the title of this story?

I am looking for an old SF spy book, which is likely out of publication. I can’t remember the title, though.

The story, however, is about a “sleeper agent” sent to infiltrate organizations on other planets. He is put through a kind of brainwashing and his body is heavily modified, so he will fit the role of whoever he is . . . impostering. His own consciousness kind of takes a back seat while he carries out the programmed mission. When a life threatening situation occurs, his mental conditioning is allowed to go “offline”, causing his own consciousness to resurface.

I think the story goes through something like 3 missions, each on different planets. Between each mission, we get a look into the main character’s true thoughts. There is an invented religious faith in the story, something like “catholic zen buddhist”, and the main character is a member of this faith. I think they are pacifists, which raises some internal conflict with the character and his chosen career. The first mission, he replaces an overweight research scientist. The third mission, I believe he replaces some well trained guy on a planet where fencing is common. In that mission, the long-haired love interest is captured and tortured. I seem to remember the hero was captured as well, causing his own consciousness to resurface “too early”. This compromised his ability to copy the behavior of the person he replaced.

Anyway, I think the story ends with him being disposed of by the organization he works for, as they see his thoughts between missions becoming too conflicting. I recall one amusing line in the story, where the hero is getting seriously pounded, and he recalls that the tooth he just lost was his last actual tooth.

Recently reading about the upcoming Eliza Dushku series, Dollhouse, reminded me of the story.


Can you name this story?

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