A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer - before they kill again. It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. At least Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died. Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently....
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The author did a good job simultaneously unwrapping both the mystery of "who done it" and the mystery of the science-fiction of her world.
I was also impressed to notice after finishing the book that the author did the narration. That almost never works. I'm glad I didn't notice that earlier or else I would never have bought the book but the author did a great job!
Maria Arena is one of the six crew members of the generation starship Dormire.
Like the other five crew members, she's a clone. Clones at this time have some specific rights, and some specific limitations on their rights, compared to non-clones, who are simply called "humans."
While waking up in a cloning vat isn't unusual, it is unusual to to wake up covered in blood, and to have no memory of how you died. It's even more unusual to discover you and four other members of the crew have been murdered, and the sixth crew member, the captain, is lying in the medical bay injured and in a coma. But her new clone has been awakened, too, making one of them an illegal copy.
They've been en route nearly twenty-five years, and the mind maps they presumably made in that interval have all been wiped. One of them is a murderer, and they have no idea which one or why, and they have no memories of the quarter century of time they've spent in space together and the events that may have led up to the crime.
After that, every additional piece of information they get makes things worse.
They have a cargo full of passengers in cryogenic storage, nearly two centuries to go in their journey to the world they're to colonize, and oh yes, it turns out they all have motives for murder, and criminal records that successful completion of this trip would have wiped out.
They aren't, as they were told, a crew carefully selected to be successful together.
And the ship's AI is turning them around, to head back to Earth, where they could all be executed.
Generation starship, clones, strong AI, and a murder mystery where everyone is a suspect.
Can they solve it before the return to Earth is irreversible? Or before whoever the killer is does it again?
It's a very character-driven story with the sf elements, cloning, AI, and centuries-long star travel, all essential to the plot. All the characters are flawed; they've all done bad things in their past. And they all have real strengths.