Yes, this is another plug, and it is as shameless as the rest.
Let me put this in the clearest terms possible,
Ya Gotta Read This Book!!!!!!!
I have been sitting on my hands for months now wanting to tell you about this book. I had the privilege of being one of Steve's readers on the manuscript. And it was good, the best so far in a great series. But I can't really say much about the book until it's in print. Well, it is now.
If you have been following the Matadora series then this is the book you have been waiting for.
You don't know the Matadora series you say? Well they are just one of the very best in "small group of rebels change the universe" stories. As an extra added attraction they are martial arts SF that actually works. Perry has created an engaging universe with rich texture and color, one that asks the interesting questions while still being a full blast adventure.
Two things have always caught the minds of readers in these stories, A martial art, perhaps the ultimate art, called "Sumito" practiced by a mysterious quasi-religious group called "The Siblings of the Shroud", and an ongoing contest/tournament called the Musashi Flex.
This book, which is a "prequel" in the series takes you deep into the Musashi Flex to introduce you to the origins of Sumito.
To understand "The Flex", think of the evolution of mixed martial arts/fight clubs/Dog Brothers/outlaw tournaments into a group of people who have an ongoing "round robin" sort of contest that spans the galaxy and happens under the radar of the establishment. It does not happen for the entertainment of spectators, but only for the participants. So a fight for the number one spot might take place is a back alley in some jerk-water town that most people have never heard of.
The Musashi Flex is the story of Lazlo Mourn (and a few others) a top ranked Flex player. What he does, and how he does it is something I will leave to you to discover. But I will say that this is some of Perry's best work.
You will find that Steve Perry's stories are as addictive and though provoking as Hebert or Heinlein, you can read them multiple times and the just get better.
So grab a copy and treat yourself. If you haven't read his other books start now and it will help keep you entertained over the long winter.