Reviewed by: JA Gill
Approximate word count: 140-145,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store
Carmen Webster Buxton is a science fiction novelist. She lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter. This is her first Kindle book—the sequel No Safe Haven is also available as an e-book. A third novel is coming soon. For more, visit the author’s website.
Set in a far-distant future, The Sixth Discipline, is both a teen romance and bottom-up world-building science fiction novel.
A few percentage points into the e-book rugged beauty Ran-Del, a noble savage (Dryden’s not Dickens’) is kidnapped while hunting and awakens to the horrors of climate-controlled interiors, artificial lighting, hot showers, and other materialist trappings. His captors, though amiable, are city-dwellers and come armed with technology with which to zap Ran-Del whenever he tries to flee.
Without bow and arrow, his only defense is the Disciplines; the sixth Discipline from the title refers to the highest state in which the practitioner slows the heart rate to nothing. Yet “death be not proud” young Ran-Del! The warrior has more to learn about honor and especially other’s expectations, as the kidnapper Stefan Hayden’s Machiavellian plan needs Ran-Del alive.
Enter headstrong, spoiled daddy’s girl, Francesca, fretting over whom to marry among a rogues’ gallery of bachelors maneuvering for the family fortune; that is until an exotic present wrapped in restraints is placed at her feet. It is perhaps enough to remember The Sixth Discipline is a romance novel and let inquiries into the Stockholm Syndrome be.
Fans of Gone with the Wind will notice some of Scarlett O’Hara in Francesca. Sole heiress to the Hayden estate, Carmen Webster Buxton’s protagonist works within the southern belle archetype while rebelling against it with sexual profligacy, independence, and emotional outbursts.
Crises and a power-struggle among the baronies has the inexperienced baroness desperately struggling for the means with which to safeguard the family legacy as well as her life from enemies both within and outside the Hayden compound’s protective force-field. Can she learn to trust an outsider with her heart and wealth? Or will neighboring cartels bid successfully for an overthrow through either marriage or assassination?
The prose-style in The Sixth Discipline is competent, clear, and bland. Those familiar with the Twilight saga and the early Harry Potter books will recognize the same poverty in language against the investment in plot (The Sixth Discipline is the start of a series as well).
As a side note, it is impossible not to notice—and appreciate—an author’s wink when the illiterate Ran-Del comments on the aesthetic superiority of the printed over the electronic book.
No significant issues.
Rating: *** Three stars