Steven Kent's The Clone Redemption, starts off right where The Clone Empire left off. The Enlisted Man's Navy (EMN) is fighting a war on two fronts: One against a faceless alien incursion set to the destruction of all life in the Milky Way, a war that cannot feasibly be won, only survived. Then reeling from yet another Unified Authority betrayal during the middle of an humanitarian mission, the clones of the EMN know it's now all out war with their natural born creators. Add a race against the clock to evacuate every human off every habitated planet, a task the Unified Authority based on Earth, seems to have abandoned. The clones are up to their synthetic eyeballs with problems and the weight of humanity is on their shoulders.
Also, forgotten by the Milky Way inhabitants, the small fleet from the Japanese nation, complete with a full compliment of the SEALs, (also known as the Adam Boyd clones) sent to Bodes Galaxy three years ago, to find the Avatari home world, has succeeded in the first part of their mission. They've found the home solar system of their enemies. Of course, finding them was the easy part, destroying them is another matter entirely.
The logistical nightmare of evacuating millions of inhabitants off several planets spread across the galaxy. Having to constantly look over your shoulder because your creators and their superior new technology is shadowing and picking off your ships at every turn. Fear that even if you succeed in evacuation without being killed by your own species, your efforts will fall short to the cruel cold power of the alien enemy. Added to the inevitable internal politics and posturing that always slows down large government action..... This book is action packed and emotionally exhausting.
I absolutely loved The Clone Redemption. Calling it a page turner is an understatement. There isn't a wasted paragraph. Switching perspectives and galaxies, and getting out of Harris' head a bit, was refreshing. Kent's modern EMN version of the praetorian guard is brilliant, and plays out seamlessly in the narrative. Seeing Harris' longest friend, and the biggest badass in the galaxy, Freeman, as a more vulnerable individual is touching and heartening. The hints at Japanese society fiercely trying to hold on to a tradition that has been slipping away for hundreds of years, yet somehow is perfectly recreated in the stoic SEAL clones, is genius.
All through the book, the dichotomy of circumstances that led the galaxy's cast off clones as the potential saviors for all of humanity, kept me constantly engaged. Harris has some great individual moments, but it's the SEALs who steal the show. Those squat, ugly, ultra-engineered clones draw you right in.
While Kent was collapsing the universe he created, he managed to expand it in great ways as well. The character development outside of Harris shows maturity in his writing. Within the scope of large battles and massive planetary evacuations, the details, the nitty gritty of logistics isn't lost. The book is satisfying as an end to a fictional era, where so many novels fail to live up to the hype. You shouldn't start with The Clone Empire, but if you've read any of Kent's other Clone books, you will love this one.