With this sequel to the gangbusters math- and gun-slinging debut of the Triggernometry series, Stark Holborn goes from tackling the heist trope to taking on the theme of Seven Samurai. Professor “Mad” Malago Brown has gone into hiding again, pretending to be a simple schoolmarm, when she’s approached by three desperate women from the nearby town of Summerville. A rancher named Austin has moved in and told the townsfolk that he’s the area’s new Capitol Representative. No one questioned this until Austin’s taxation went from inconvenient to deadly. When Marshal Miller went to the sheriff in the next town over for help, she was told to take it up with the local Capitol Representative — a vicious cycle that can only spell even more trouble, or worse, for a town already pressed to its limit.
Not knowing where else to turn, the townsfolk take a vote and decide to seek help from those deadliest of outlaws: mathematicians. Browne is hardly interested in upsetting her quiet new life in order to help people who, at best, look down on her kind, but her inability to let inequalities stand drives her to round up a crew to help Summerville fight back. And so seven mathematicians gather to help protect a small town against the Capitol and its Representative, hoping to strike a greater blow for freedom and equality.
I very much enjoyed this second Triggernometry novella, as Browne and her desperate crew fight enemies from both outside and inside Summerville, while winning hearts and minds to her cause. For whatever reason, the lack of back story (why, I still wonder, are mathematicians outlawed in this alternate universe?) seemed less pressing an issue for me than while reading the first book, so absorbed was I in the immediacy of the proceedings. I did wonder exactly what happened to the Kincaid boy when he was surrounded by the rest of the posse, but overall think this was a terrific alt-Western tale of math so fancy it looks like magic.
I’m really looking forward to reading more of this series, but am definitely eyeballing Stark Holborn’s Nunslinger books to sate the craving for Weird West tales in the meantime (and playing some of the terrific interactive fiction games on Stark’s itch.io page too!)
Advanced Triggernometry by Stark Holborn was published today April 8 2021 by Rattleback Press and is available from all good booksellers, including