Review of 7th Sigma by Steen Gould
Tor Books, July 2011
Kimble Monroe stayed in the "territory" when his abusive father was medic-lifted to the untouched rest of the country and he's managed to survive. When he hooks up Ruth, a wandering Aikido Sensei, he learns to develop his skills and his zen experience in the world... skills that are to serve him well when he becomes an undercover member of the territorial rangers. Working for the rangers, he finds himself investigating repressive religious communes, drug smuggling operations and other cases where greed and the striving for power have survived the breakdown in traditional society.
Kim's development takes a somewhat mystical bent as he becomes first to see what may be an evolution of the "bugs." These metalic and artificial creatures are much larger and heavier than the bugs, but seem to be part of the same mind--and hatred of all things electrical and metalic.
Author Steven Gould does a fine job creating an idealized view of the teacher/student model of Asian-based martial arts. Kim's training and experiences in the dojo ring true and, for a fan of the martial arts like myself, add interest to the story. Kim's adventures with the rangers provide us with hints about what's going on, and how the bugs came into existence. The deeper meaning of the larger bug-creatures remains unclear.
7th SIGMA isn't a perfect story. At times, Kim seemed a little too perfect, a little too conveniently-placed to see what nobody else has seen. Overall, though Gould creates a world that's compelling, a story that grabbed my interest and held it, and plenty of adventure. Gould has a number of titles to his credit, but this is the first I've read. I'll definitely be checking out the others.Four Stars
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