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The Clone Assassin by Steven L. Kent
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425264492
Date: 29 October 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Wayson Harris and the Clone Empire hold Earth. Not everyone is happy with this situation. The leaders of the Unified Authority (UA) were imprisoned, but early on they escape. The prison break is coordinated with the assassination of several clone leaders. Wayson Harris goes missing.

Ray Freeman goes to Central America looking for his friend among the refugees from New Olympia. His search opens him to a strike. The forces of the UA launch a full attack to wipe out Freeman. He is trapped deep in an abandoned mine.

The UA plans are driven by Sunny Ferris and Franklin Nailor who captured and attempted to reprogram Harris. At the same time as the Central American expedition, the UA launches an all-out attack on Washington DC. They are ready to fight. What they get is General Hunter Ritz. He fights to win, damn the costs.

This is the ninth book in the clone series. Although tied into a longer story arc, the more recent novels are self-contained. There are brief synopses of major events in the universe that precede each novel. Since the stories are all good, it isn't a hardship to read the prior novels. Readers that know the major characters and events will appreciate more of the dialog and interpersonal relationships.

As much as I like the novels in general, I have not been as happy with the story lines that have introduced Sunny Ferris and Franklin Nailor. They seem a little less developed and more like caricatures of evil and manipulation. The amount of power and influence that they have seem out of proportion to what they have earned. That said the action stays hot, and I still enjoy the Freeman storyline. There are further adventures awaiting Harris, but I hope that Kent will turn his head to a new series and develop a new universe with different challenges.

I do like the quandary that has developed for the clones. They have all of the power and no future. As they are all sterile, there can be no next generation since the clone camps have been destroyed. In some respects it makes the struggle between the UA and the clones seem odd as the clones only have so many years and no hope for reinforcements. In the long run the clones will all be gone.

Fans of Ian Douglas, Jack Campbell, David Sherman, and Graham Sharp Paul should all fins something to enjoy in this series.

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