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Book Review

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The Clone Rebellion
Book 10 - Apocalypse


Author: Steven L. Kent
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 78329 339 1
Publication Date: 25 November 2014

The militaristic might of the Unified Authority has fallen to the Enlisted Man’s Empire, an empire created by the Authorities own rebellious clone army after a disastrous alien incursion into human space. Led by Watson Harris, the Authorities defeat looks inevitable, but even a cornered animal still retains its teeth and the Authority launches an audacious plan to destroy the clone army once and for all...

Clone Rebellion: Apocalypse (2014. is the latest in a series of militaristic science fiction novels written by Steven L. Kent and is, for the time being, the last book in the series.

For many and obvious reasons the tenth book is not a good place to start, it’s not that the book does not work as a standalone novel, it does this quite well, but the portrayal of the central character is distorted from that presented in the previous novels.

In this universe Earth has formed a single government to cover the numerous worlds it has colonised. Most are held under the U.A. banner with a small amount of worlds struggling for independence due to religion or culture reasons. In order to keep the worlds in line the U.A. created an army of clones, all identical. The clones have no self-awareness of their status as they are all programmed to see themselves as human. Should any of them discover their real origins they are also programmed to die. Through a series of civil wars and alien invasions the U.A. used the clones and even created a more lethal version, without the death reflex, of which Harris is the last survivor. When the U.A. turned on the clones, intending to eradicate them all, the clones rose in rebellion, as the Enlisted Man’s Army and overthrew the government. Which is kind of where this story starts...

Now, without having followed Harris though his various tribulations, you will have little understanding of his position. The reason I say that the book does not work well as a single novel is because we see the hero of the story tempted to wipe out large sections of humanity. I can imagine if your only impression of Harris was from this book it would be a wholly negative one.

The series as a whole successfully mixes elements of politics, space opera and militaristic science fiction to make sure that you get a lot of bangs for your buck. Once the action commences, within the first couple of chapters, Kent continues with a relentlessly fast paced story. This is further aided by the relatively short chapter lengths which allow the story to quickly change both points of view and locations. This does mean that there is a limited amount of character development, which should not be surprising as this is the tenth and last book in the series. That said, for fans of the series, there are a number of surprising reveals around who various characters have pledged their allegiances to.

The big driving force behind the story is the introduction of a viral agent designed to target the clones in such a way as to make them aware of their true natures, thereby triggering their death reflex. Because he is the last of the elite clones, Harris’s physiology means that the flu won’t kill him, but in order to fight it off his body must continually trigger its combat mode, a mode which will drive him insane if he stays in that condition for any great period of time. Harris is bitter angry and more than a little nuts, which is why, without reading the preceding novels he is not going to come across as a very sympathetic character.

The book also contains a novella The Sixth Ship: Lost in a Dark Expanse. During combat one ship is forced to make an emergency jump, which jumps it dimensionally rather than spatially. It is a nice little tie-in to the main novel.

The book brings the series to a satisfying end, whilst at the same time leaving a few strands dangling, in case Kent feels like writing some more.


Charles Packer

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