Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Review: This book is set in the 2500's. Earth has been united under a single government - the Unified Authority, and humanity has started colonizing the galaxy. The UA is founded on two documents - the old United States Constitution and Plato's Republic. While the Pilots in the Navy, other Navy personnel and SEALs are still natural born people, the Marine Corp has been completely (well, the non-commissioned part of it anyway) filled with clones who are created and raised for the sole purpose of being Marines. Along with the ability to clone people the UA scientists have figured out how to mentally program the clones - every clone believes that he's one of the sole actually normal-born people in his orphanage and in the Marines, and to them it seems like the decision to join the Marines was made of their own free will.
This book follows Wayson Harris, a Marine fresh out of boot camp. Rather quickly in his career he stumbles onto big trouble, and attracts a lot of attention. I very much enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book. I thought the story was told well, the action moved at a nice place and there were plenty of fun mysteries to be had. However, in the last quarter the book really started to drag. I think chapters 30-33 and the conclusion might have been better off at the begining of the 2nd book. I had a hard time getting through them because the end of chapter 32 felt like a good stopping point and then the book just kept going. If those chapters were moved the prologue of the book would have had to have been moved to book two as well, but I think that would have been fine as well - chapter 1 was really what drew me into this book, not the prologue.
The writing could have been tightened up a bit in the book as well. The author was a bit repetitive. The main character was a bit dense at times. Despite having been at the top of his class in boot camp he spent the first half of the book having other people pull him out of trouble or reminding him to use different tools when looking at things. People are constantly (or so it seems) coming up to him and asking him if he's seen something. When he says "no" they have him use his sonic locator or a view filter he decided not to use for some reason. On the plus side, he's much more with the program in the 2nd half of the book.
Over all I enjoyed the book. As said, the writing could have been a bit better, the main character a bit sharper, but I enjoyed the story enough that they didn't really bother me while I was reading the book.
Good military SF, with overtones of Heinlein's STARSHIP TROOPERS.
Earth, 2508 A.D. Humans have spread acros the six arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Unified Authority controls Earth's colonies with an iron fist and a powerful military--a military made up almost entirely of clones.
Private Wayson Harris was raised in a U.A. orphanage among thousands of clones born and bred to be the ultimate soldiers, but Harris isn't like the other Marines. He has a mind of his own. He figures he's paying for that independent streak when his first assignment out of boot camp is the smallest Marine outpost in the whole U.A.
When a rogue general surfaces, the remote desert world Harris thought was a dead-end posting becomes anything but. Fighting off the general's raid gains Harris a promotion, but it also brings him to the attention of some unfriendly U.A. leaders. They have their own plans for the military--plans Harris disrupts by his very existence. For in an army of clones, the one unforgivable sin is to be different. . .
Politic'ing and fighting. I didn't really enjoy the tight intertwining of politics and war. Give me one or the other, not both.
And for a time 500 years in the future, using military names for vehicles practically similar to ours just seemed ludicrous. A tomcat? Come on.