This week I decided to review The Clone Apocalypse by Steven L. Kent. The book opens with an Enlisted Man’s Empire ship stumbles across an apparently derelict Explorer-class ship. When the clone crew investigates they find that all the clones who had been manning the Explorer are dead, killed by the killswitch designed by the Unifed Authority to end the lives of clones who realized that they were clones. Meanwhile back on Earth, Watson, who had served as interim president while Wayson Harris, the current leader of the EME, was missing, contacts Harris to let him know that he and his girlfriend have captured a high ranking UA spy and are trapped in territory controlled by the remnants of the UA forces. Harris leads a strike mission as a diversion for a successful rescue mission and it seems as if the EME’s victory in the war is inevitable. But then a mysterious flu begins striking clones across the EME, eventually triggering their killswitches. After it is discovered that Harris’ lover Sunny is a UA agent, Harris leads a strike to her apartment building, suspecting that stockpiles of the virus and possibly a cure can be found there. But there is no treatment and Harris, who lacks the killswitch but is still badly weakened by the flu, must flee as the UA launches its final offensive against the rapidly dwindling forces of the EME. But when Harris is betrayed, his few surviving allies must unite to save him and launch one last-ditch campaign against the now overwhelming might of the UA.
I give this book a 7 out of 10. The action sequences are much better in this book then the previous one, and the absurd difference in quality between defense tech and weapons tech in the setting is still there but not as common. However, the book spoils itself far too often for my taste. There’s never any wondering how the EME might emerge victorious from the crisis because most of the early chapters end with a blurb making it crystal clear that the EME loses, and another early chapter ends in a blurb revealing where, and in one case how, and when major characters die. Also I found the ending very disappointing.