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Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates: The Rehumanization of Jade Darcy (Volume 2) Paperback – August 9, 2012
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About the Author
STEPHEN GOLDIN was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and has lived in California since 1960. He received a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy from UCLA and worked as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy for a few years after leaving college, but has made his living as a writer/editor most of his life. He served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin, and as the organization's Western Regional Director. He has lived with cats all his adult life. Artistically, he enjoys Broadway musicals and surrealist art. MARY MASON was born in Bakersfield and has lived in California all her life. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from CSU Sacramento, and has worked counseling abused children. Her first husband was a member of "Hell Bent For Glory," a pre-Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, but she made the bikers check their weapons at the door and wash her dishes, in exchange for her fine cooking. Her philosophy regarding martial arts is, "My black belt beats your black belt, because my black belt's in Smith & Wesson." She is also a sound lady, mixing live music for bands--usually Chicago blues and S.F. rock, but also swing, folk, and both Country and Western. She has run several Nebula Award banquets for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as well as science fiction conventions, and founded the 1993 San Francisco WorldCon bid. In 2012 she co-authored Throwing Lead: A Writer's Guide to Firearms (and the People Who Use Them) with J. Daniel Sawyer.
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In this book we see much more of one of the races encountered before, and uncover more secrets of Jade's past. Political intrigue is raised to new levels, dominating some subplots.
There is one scene describing an explicit sexual encounter, but it is revealed backstory and not gratuitous.
Sadly, there are no more books in this series, Goldin not having written since 2002.
Darcy's adventures could fill a year's worth of TV shows, and her reality is far more convincing than any reality TV show. This female mercenary can kick the stuffings out of almost any opponent . . . except for herself. In this sequel Jade and her elder employer Megan, a corporate mogul with white hair and a delightful sense of humor, travel to the alien world of Restaapa to attend the selection ceremonies for a new emperor. This world is ancient, subject to years-long freezing episodes and the alien culture would make the tight strictures of pre-modern Japan seem moderate. On this world your status is shown mostly by your clothing and by the clan you live with. Jade and Megan are two of the very few off-worlders allowed to visit Restaapa, supposedly for business purposes. Almost as soon as they arrive they are attacked. Other attacks cause deaths and injuries in the alien monastery where most of the story occurs.
There follows a fascinating "who is doing this?" mystery that wraps around the struggle by many Restaapan groups to have their candidate named as the new emperor. The world building is wonderful. The alien species and their culture is outstanding. The storyline is complex. And the action is non-stop. You would expect professional authors like Goldin and Mason to weave a decent tale, but this story kept drawing me back from food and sleep breaks out of an intense desire to know "what happens next!" This is science fiction storytelling at its timeless best, featuring a character you root for because she, like all of us, needs to be loved. And perhaps by the end of this tale she will understand the value of being loved as humans love one another."
Pirates is a bit of a misnomer - the aliens practice a religion similar to Zen, and a part of that religion is the "redistribution of illusions" as a joke (all posessions can be seen as illusions and so on - it is really funny in the book).
Jade Darcy (I always thought that Joan Chen from "Blood of Heroes" would have been a good choice to play her in a movie) Jade is a CARC - a Combat Augmented Reflex Commando - trained to be one of the most lethal fighters in the known worlds and cybernetically boosted to be incredibly fast. She has run away from the military (for very good reasons)and is hiding out on a backwater planet, working as a bouncer in a nightclub.
Still one of my favorite action/adventure/sci-fi novels after all these years. I wish Goldin and Mason would write another.