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Book Review

Book Cover

The Clone Rebellion
Book 2 - Rogue


Author: Steven L. Kent
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 78116 716 8
Available 22 March 2013

Having turned his back on the United Authority, Lt. Wayson Harris is presumed dead in a clone SEAL attack. Free to roam, he partners up with the bounty hunter, Freeman. Events in the UA are moving fast with the war a certainty, he is recalled to duty by his old mentor Kyber as tension between the UA and the Separatists and Mogats increases. Kyber has been building a secret ship, with which to decimate his enemies, both military and political, but when Kyber is killed Harris is on the run again, trying to find Kyber's killer...

The Clone Rebellion: Rogue is the second in the series of clone rebellion science fiction novels by Steven L. Kent.

The first book in the series felt like a series of events as Kent moved Harris around, as a way of establishing both the new geography of the galaxy, its technology and the major players. With that out of the way, this time the story feels a lot more coherent.

Kent has also taken time to expand the stories philosophical underpinnings, expanding on the historical basis for the UA to encompass enquiries about religion, identity and the meaning of the soul, though not at the expense of a goodly amount of high tech carnage. The book is certainly not preachy and you get the feeling that Kent is posing questions for the reader to contemplate, rather than provide his own perspectives on such matters.

Although his contemplations can be a little repetitive, Harris as a character is engaging and the audience will probably empathise with his plight regarding his identity. Grown as a clone killing machine, he is hated and feared by the very UA he is programmed to protect, although Kent quickly establishes, for the reader, that this programming may not be as all powerful as Harris assumes, which presumably will lead into questions regarding what makes a man.

The book would have benefited from stopping at, what is, the penultimate scene of Harris retrieving his ship. What follows seems like an addendum. Admittedly, we learn more about Freeman, but it doesn’t move the plot on any further, even with the meeting of old friends. Prior to this the strands of the story had already been successfully completed and the last section could have formed the basis of the beginning of book three.

Military science fiction seems to sit between two extremes. On the one hand you have ex-military personnel using their expert knowledge of the language and protocol of an army or navy to give the book an exhaustive authenticity, usually wrapped around a thin plot, the novella becomes a novel by padding it with jargon. The other extreme is the military story as propaganda, where the author uses the situation to propose even greater personal restrictions whilst holding the military as the only thing keeping Russians and little green men from coming over here and using our health service for free.

Kent has steered a moderate path between these two extreme. Yes the book does raise questions of identity, but it also introduces questions about the futility of war and the idiocy of those who are usually in charge. The book is peppered with well-choreographed fights, be it large space battles or the more personal hand to hand fighting.

Overall this was a much more satisfying book, than book one and now the basic landscape of his galaxy has been laid out, Kent has taken the opportunity to really start to tell his story.


Charles Packer

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