2022’s The Legacy of Molly Southbourne is the third installment in Tade Thompson’s Molly Southbourne series.
Each drop of Molly’s blood had the potential to grow into a new molly, one imbued by a mysterious process with the memories of previous Mollies. Molly Southbourne is long dead but the Mollies live on. Most live in a mutual support group … but one has been overlooked. She has been conditioned against killing the other Mollies, but she’s turned the urge to murder against random victims.
Her murder spree alerts authorities. They react.
Myke has an intense, personal loathing for Mollies. She also possesses combat skills equal to any molly, as well as more extensive training that the Mollies lack. Barely less bloodthirsty than a feral molly — and only because dead bodies tend to attract attention Myke does not want — she is a natural choice to hunt down the feral molly. British intelligence being too understaffed in the aftermath of the Cold War to handle the task themselves, they contract it out to Myke.
The Soviet Union is gone but its intelligence assets live on. Russia would like to acquire a molly. To that end, they turn to the Tamara Koleosho clone group. The Tamaras have gifts much like the Mollies, with the added benefit of group consciousness and without the conditioned bloodlust with which the Mollies were so unfortunately saddled.
The surviving Mollies want to be left alone. They don’t want to cooperate with the Tamaras. However, if Myke’s methodical pursuit of the feral molly leads her to the main Molly collective, that would be much, much worse. Myke’s loathing of the clones is very personal and very, very homicidal. The Tamaras can be reasoned with. Myke, not so much.
And Myke is very, very good at what she does.
Because I know people will ask: the clone budding process is the delightful product of a visionary Soviet program that got out of hand before being abandoned after the end of the Cold War. The term “biological Chernobyl” comes to mind. The homicidal loathing that Mollies had for the original was due to clone telepathy and what at the time seemed like prudent clone management by the original Molly’s mother.
The Mollies are doing their best to deal with their traumatic past with the aid of modern therapy. This coping mechanism is clearly superior to hiding in the wilderness while reading Die Leiden des jungen Werthers. Indeed, both the Mollies and the Tamaras seem more inclined to embrace constructive methods than the Cold War relicts who plague them.
This piece is fairly short — it’s a tor dot com novella  — and therefore compelled to be quick moving and to the point. Despite the brevity, Thompson manages to sketch vivid characters, some sympathetic, others — Myke in particular — providing a handy “who not to be” example. If this is the final volume in the series, The Legacy of Molly Southbourne is a satisfactory ending.
1: Which is to say, about as long as full novels used to be when I was a teenager.
2: I note that the title of this work is sufficiently unique that I had no problem finding it in various bookseller databases. Which you would think would be universal, but … no.