I swithered between giving this three and four stars. The quality of the writing is very good indeed, and a huge amount of research and thought has obviously gone into things like terraforming, the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict, clone society, Emergent AIs, and ants. But overall it didn't hugely hang together very well for me - long sections of exposition on the various topics just made it feel a bit disjointed and slow. The plot was often lost under layers of things Chris Moriarty obviously finds interesting; the excellent character of Catherine Li doesn't do much but be grumpy; and the conclusion felt a bit rushed and anti-climactic. I think Moriarty would have done better to cut some of the themes he was exploring or separated them into other books.
A sequel to Spin State that is set on an Earth which is a polluted, largely sterile holdout the quarantines itself from the clone Syndicates who control space. Arkady, a Syndicate clone is an item to be auctioned off between Earth factions in the midst of a simmering Israeli-Palestinian war. He is valuable only because of the disruptive potential of the biotechnology he discovered as a member of a planetary survey team. Catherine Li makes a reappearance with Cohen the AI, and as the violence surrounding the auction and potential buyers attempts to verify Arkady's identity continues, we are taken on a series of flashbacks that slowly reveal the threat the posed to the established order. A little unfocussed, somewhat interesting read that fails to live up to Spin State.
This author seems seriously underrated and this book is much better than Spin State, the first book in the series. It speculates well on a wide range of topics from posthumanism, kinship relationships for clones (treated more positively and more constructively than Stephen Baxter), the future flexibility of mankind as it exists today in dealing with challenges such as climate change and colonisation. There's vignettes well worth reading in sub topics like the relationship of AI to human (well augmented human). Recommended.