Rogue by Steven L Kent

Rating 8.6/10
A stunning sequel to Clone Republic.

Earth, 2512 A.D. Humans populate the six arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. The oppressive Unified Authority controls Earth’s colonies with an iron fist, stamping out revolt with a powerful military made up almost entirely of expendable, mass-produced clones.

Lt. Wayson Harris is one of thousands of clones born and bred to be the ultimate soldiers. But unlike the others, Harris is an outlawed model-one with independent thoughts and an addiction to violence. As he struggles to overcome his conditioning, Harris finds himself drawn back into the Unified Authority’s service. Now, with separatists rebelling throughout the galaxy, Harris must decide whether he should flight against them, or work for them.

Rogue Clone is the second book in The Clone Rebellion series written by Steven L. Kent. Rogue Clone is also the third book published by Titan Books in their SF/Military March month. Now, I was already content with having read Clone Republic, it proved to be a great start to the series, but with Rogue Clone the series really takes a deeper plunge into the galaxy - from the start we delve much deeper into different facets of life in the galaxy, and much deeper into galactic politics. Once again we follow the adventures of Wayson Harris, 2 years after the events of the first book, and the book wastes no time in resolving the cliff-hanger moment that was left by Clone Republic, and setting off on a new adventure.

Rogue Clone starts off with a bang and continues that way until the finish line. Harris finds himself on a planet hunting down rumours about several Mogat separatists, using contacts such as Jimmy Callahan who supposedly has information about their whereabouts. First contact however does not go according to plan, and Harris is caught up in a bombing in New Columbia. Meanwhile, Klyber has his new battleship at the ready, there are spies leaking information to other parties, and a summit is being held by the Unified Authority in the hope of getting answers from some of their key generals. The summit was for me a real highlight of the book, giving us some insight and understanding of the actions taken by the Unified Authority generals. It was full of great plot twists, you learn a great deal about the spies and traitors surrounding the Unified Authority, and it gives a more blackened tinge to the story.

Like I mentioned Harris is again the main protagonist of the series. He remains as the Liberator class character from the first book and because of that there is one aspect of his personality I keep in the back of my mind - Harris is not like the other clones because he can think for himself and see the good and bad in his actions. What we aren’t able to be certain of is his loyalty, and it feels that Harris might go fully freelance based on this sentence:

“if the Confederate Arms offer a better deal who knows”

This sentence adds a lingering feeling of unpredictability towards Harris’ character which adds tension to the story. There is one other character that makes an important appearance, someone we met in Clone Republic, and that is the mercenary Ray Freeman. His character is just great - about 7 feet tall, legs and arms as thick as tree trunks, and with quite a trigger happy attitude. He really likes grenades… The action-side of Ray is great to read about, but there is also another important side to Ray – the love and care he has for his family, and the response he has when threats are made against them. I must say that by narrowing the focus on Harris and Ray, the story progressed in a more linear and straightforward way than the first book. The focused viewpoints further deepen these characters and the galaxy this story takes place in.

Rogue Clone is a stunning sequel to Clone Republic. Steven L. Kent writes his narrative in a very addictive way, forcing you to stay up late and keep on reading. Rogue Clone delves deeper into the inner politics of the Unified Authority, but also shows off some flashy space battles on-board the Doctrinaire. If you’re a Sci-Fi fan, The Clone Rebellion is a series to add to your list.

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