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Born on the first soil, aiming for the next
Stolen as replacement, his life a lie
To be loved, serve but never die
Death came in a flash, lost mother
Hideous rictus, fear and darkness
Insanity lurking in the water
A mirror to his own madness
Four were in fact five
Then five were four again
To be the first, leave none alive
Now only war will reign
Burning sacrifice, deceptive bait
To live on the edge for a century wait
A ghost to be revealed, reborn on the second soil

EDIT:
I posted this question after seeing several riddles about half-famous books (some may know them, some may not), and tried mine. If it's not from a hugely known series of books, it has still won some awards and the author definitely has some popularity (at the very least he lives off of writing). Of course, if you don't know it... then you can't answer. Still, here is a hint:

He is from a series of hard SF novels from a british author.

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    $\begingroup$ Does this have anything to do with Mars rovers? $\endgroup$ – Obie 2.0 Jan 17 '18 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ might want to add hints? reading this makes me think of plots of Supernatural... $\endgroup$ – Jordan.J.D Mar 8 '18 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ Needs hints now. 246 views and up for nearly 2 months, no-one has it. $\endgroup$ – James Mar 9 '18 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ From your previous question, this is certainly a Lovecraft story... but I'm unfamiliar with the stories. $\endgroup$ – tyobrien Mar 23 '18 at 1:38
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    $\begingroup$ @tyobrien I disagree, because he speaks of the author in present tense, and I'm not sure lovecraft was hard sf. $\endgroup$ – tox123 Mar 31 '18 at 20:39
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Rand 'alThor posted the question on SciFi stack exchange. My answer:

Look up to him

This is a play on his name, Sky Haussmann, from Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space novels. Sky is the protagonist/antagonist of "Chasm City", but he also makes a cameo appearance a century later in "Redemption Ark".

Born on the first soil, aiming for the next

Sky Haussmann is on a generation ship fleet heading for another planet.

Stolen as replacement, his life a lie

Ostensibly Titus Haussman's son, it's later revealed that he was secretly adopted after the real son died.

To be loved, serve but never die

He's ships crew and immortal.

Death came in a flash, lost mother

One of the generation ships blew up, killing his mother.

Hideous rictus, fear and darkness

OK, this one I'm not entirely sure about. A lot of the novel was set against a background of paranoia and fear.

Insanity lurking in the water

The novel features a psychotic dolphin!

A mirror to his own madness

The dolphin's madness reflects Sky's.

Four were in fact five

There were four ships in the generation fleet, but there was a legend of a fifth ship some light days behind. This turned out to be true.

Then five were four again

One ship blew up.

To be the first, leave none alive

Late in the novel Sky, now captain, wanted to be the first to reach the target planet. To lighten the ship, and hence make it able to cruise for longer before having to slow down, he jettisoned his entire cargo of cryo frozen colonists.

Now only war will reign

Understandably, the other ships' colonists were a little miffed at this ruthless slaughter and waged war against Sky and his followers, who are now his cultists.

Burning sacrifice, deceptive bait

Sky is captured and put to death, but he'd anticipated this and left a stooge to be executed in his place.

To live on the edge for a century wait

To conceal his fake death, he goes into cryosleep for a century under the care of his cultists.

A ghost to be revealed, reborn on the second soil

At the end of "Chasm City" his fake death and survival is revealed

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  • $\begingroup$ Mostly good, well done ;). "Hideous rictus, fear and darkness" is directly related to the "lost mother" event. "Now only war will reign" is more related to the fate of the planet in question, and can you explain the "Burning sacrifice" ? $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Jul 20 '18 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Keelhaul I'm afraid not. I read the book over a decade ago and have lent it out to someone since. Most of the rest of my answer was from memory, except the secret adoption bit which I confirmed on a wiki. Feel free to edit my answer with any additional detail you think fit. $\endgroup$ – Moriarty Jul 25 '18 at 23:33

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