Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick L. McKissack and Joch McKissack
In the year 2170, a hundred years after the Cyborg wars, humanity has had peace and prosperity, and yet things are not as rosy as they seem. Cyborgs are only considered 3/5 human and do not have many rights. Clones have even fewer. For the global Clone Code states:
"The Clone Codes:
Clones are living organisms patented by Topas Corporation International. All rights are reserved.
- All clones are to be identified by numbers or alphanumeric designations. The use of names is restricted.
- Clones have no rights under a court of law and are recognized solely as property.
- Groups of clones in excess of three are not permitted without direct human supervision.
- Attempting to educate a clone beyond its work model specifications is forbidden and punishable in accordance with article 3C74.
- The manufacture of a clone in the likeness of a child is a capital offense.
- Imprinting the ability to mimic human emotions into a clone's behavioural patterns is forbidden.
- A clone that disobeys a direct order must immediately be taken to a processing center for decommissioning.
- Instructing a clone to lie is restricted.
- Since clones are not citizens, they may not participate in elections.
Issued by the Clone Humane Society, the government agency for the protection and processing of clones."
The story focuses around a group called the Liberty Bell, modeled after and a continuation of the abolitionists' movement, founded by Benjamin Franklin. He was contacted by the O - observers from the future who have appeared from the future to humans at different points in history to help foster freedom and liberty for all humans. Those contacted are called Custodians they are shown truths and help lead and guide the Liberty Bell movement to work for human freedom. The Custodians are Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911), Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), Dr. David H. Montgomery (2057-2142) and an unknown child who will be contacted in 2170. Our story is also the story of Leanna Deberry; she is a 13 year-old girl, going to school and hanging out with friends. Then her world is shattered. Her mother, world-renowned child doctor Annette Deberry, is arrested for treason and terrorism for her role in the Liberty Bell group. Soon Leanna finds herself on the run and with unusual help. She finds out the truth about a family secret that shatters her perception of herself and her world view.
This is an amazing book and the first in a trilogy by the McKissacks. It is fast- paced and gripping. Once I picked it up I did not want to put it down and read it in 2 sittings. In part, it is a retelling of the antislavery story in a future setting; it uses historical characters and their lives and examples in a different context much like the books in the 39 Clues Series. But it is also partially a retelling of antislavery and antiracism much like Sven Lindqvist's The Skull Measurer's Mistake, but in a fictional setting. It is well researched and very well written. It even has a bit of a Blade Runner feel to it that will make it intriguing to older readers.
Overall I would say it was an excellent book, which I could not put down. I highly recommend it to young and old alike. I am eagerly awaiting the second book which will be told from a cyborg's perspective - a young man named Houston Ye, one of the people to help Leanna.
Note: Preview of book 2 states:
"By order of the World Federation of Nations (WFN), as of January 1, 2084, all persons who have been enhanced with three or more biofe, or synthetic body or organ replacements, shall be classified as three-fifths of a human being, or a cyborg.
The Cyborg Act of 2130
For the security and general welfare of the cyborg race, these protections have been established on this the 7th day of October, 2130.
The Cyborg Codes
- All cyborgs must be registered with the Bureau of Cyborg Affairs (BCA).
- Those that are cyborgs must live within designated areas set aside on the Moon Colony. If a cyborg desires to live or work elsewhere, it must acquire BCA permission.
- It is mandated that cyborgs may not serve as officers in the World Federation of Nations' defence forces or serve in any national law enforcement agencies.
- Cyborg children must attend one of four cyborg academies based on test scores and abilities.
- All cyborgs over the age of 16 must be employed.
- Cyborgs need permission from the BCA to marry or have children.
- The BCA will provide cyborgs with medical insurance and health-care needs.
- Cyborgs cannot inherit real property.
- Cyborgs can only participate in amateur or professional sports within the Cyborg Leagues."
The Clone Codes Trilogy:
The Clone Codes - Book 1
Confessions of a Cyborg - Book 2
The Visitors - Book 3 (February 2012)