Many years ago I read a little book by author CJ Cherryh. This book was about growing up as the clone of a really famous person who had recently died. Sadly for our young clone, she was being raised in the grand tradition of The Boys From Brazil, and everything that happened to her predecessor was re-enacted upon her in excruciating detail in an attempt to recreate the original's personality in a new body. The book was Cyteen, and the experiment was a great success, but the story did not end there: twenty-one years later, we have a sequel to the Hugo award winning novel.
Regenesis starts us off mere weeks after the close of Cyteen, and for those of us who plowed through Cyteen more than a decade ago, this is an issue that may be a bit of a sticking point. At any rate, the story picks up with Ari II, the clone of the brilliant scientist, Ariane Emory, consolidating power and trying to discover who her friends and enemies are in a mish-mash of personal and professional politics that for an almost dizzying web around her. While this may sound like it is going to be a confusing labyrinth, rest assured, Ms Cherryh will deftly guide you through the tangled skein of alliances surrounding the prodigy and her coterie, and we can watch as Ari II and her friends slowly uncover the plots against Reseune with great interest. What is more intriguing still though, is the primary plot: Ari II must do all this while still trying to find the real mastermind behind the plot to kill Ari I.
I know what you are thinking: Hold the phone, didn't they solve that little mystery at the end of Cyteen? Well, apparently they were wrong, communism is just a red herring and the Sandman killed Uncle Ben by accident. Actually, it really isn't as bad as you think: Dennys Nye is still guilty, though not as guilty as originally thought, it's just that there is a larger conspiracy running in the background, and the military is to blame. Yes, that's right, the military is attempting to do some social engineering of their own by manipulating everyone into their own schemes of political and social control of the Union.
At this point, I bet that you are thinking that I must really have disliked this book, and herein lies the rub: as convoluted and unbelievable as the things I have just described will likely sound, in this book they really work! I have to hand it to Cherryh, I was turning every page, eager to find out more. When taken out of the context of the story, these events seem byzantine and woefully far-fetched as behavioral and social patterns, but Cherryh takes the threads and binds them together like a master weaver working a loom to produce a rich tapestry of character study, because that is what Regenesis really is at its heart.
This is a dense and difficult book, but well worth the effort that reading it entails. If you didn't read Cyteen you can likely get through Regenesis, but it is going to be rough going. This is not for the novice Science Fiction reader at all.