This is subtitled Freedom City, Book 2, and it does start soon after the last events of Freedom City. Familiarity with the events in Book 1 will definitely help, but Manifest Destiny stands well on its own.
Freedom City is an artificial city but a real country above international waters in the Caribbean Sea, about a hundred years in the future. Taking as a model the 20th-century “pirate” offshore radio stations located on abandoned marine platforms, Freedom City was constructed by those fleeing the confiscatory socialistic laws of the United States.
Freedom City declared its independence and operates under libertarian principles. Its freedom to allow the development and application of scientific and technological research, as opposed to the increasingly restrictive Public Safety laws of other countries, has made Freedom City a technological and industrial leader, but a social pariah among other nations; particularly the United States which even denies that Freedom City is a nation.
They’d tried to impose their crippling self-imposed limits upon us as well, and worked damnably hard at it. The USA had hampered Freedom’s construction every step of the way, and still claimed from time to time that we were an illegal outpost of Americans created as a haven by the evil rich solely in order to evade fair taxation and social responsibility. (Freedom City, pgs. 6-7)
Freedom City may be Phil Geusz’s most didactic s-f novel to date. The undated setting is roughly 100 years in the future. The locale is Freedom City, a nation-state on a very large and complex artificial platform constructed in international waters in the Caribbean. Geusz’s futuristic bioengineering transmutation science is displayed here. Most citizens of Freedom City are happy to remain human, but Harvey Foote, the protagonist, and his major rival have had themselves transmuted into a funny-animal rabbit and a cat for pertinent reasons. The rabbit-man has a large rabbit staff; so does the cat-man, but his staff includes funny-animal tigers, pumas, lions, leopards, a Siamese cat, lynxes, jaguars, and every feline that can be imagined. The story makes it clear that not only have humans chosen to be turned into anthropomorphic animals, there have been gender and age changes as well. Foote is a dynamically young 83 years old.
The novel is narrated by the rabbit-man, who is the manager of the Rabbit’s Foot Casino, the largest (76 floors) hotel/casino on Freedom City. He has had himself and his staff bioengineered into funny-animal rabbits partly as publicity for his Rabbit’s Foot, but mostly as a statement of individuality; to show what Freedom City’s science and technology can do, and to thumb their noses at the U.S. government which says, “You aren’t allowed to do that!”