Anthony, Piers + Margroff
Ace (SF special)
Leo & Diane Dillon
original Leo+Diane Dillon cover
A collaboration between Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff: The Ring. This is one of Anthony's 3 best works, and makes my "top 100" list - I strongly recommend it.
For a coherent plot summary, I once again rely on P. Schuyler Miller, and quote from a review in Analog (March 1969):
But there is a good deal more to the book than a picture of a contorted future society and the grim working out of ruthless justice as that society strives to protect itself. Where does insistence on an individual's rights cease to be praiseworthy and become anarchy? In the ultimate welfare society, whose members have discarded any idea of individual responsibility, are individual rights still valid? Can the kind of automatic, self-regulating governor on antisocial action that the Ring represents ever function justly, or is it bound to be used oppressively to stabilize the status quo? Read it and find your own answers in your own ideas: the book won't offer any easy ones." [P. Schuyler Miller]