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When Elektra is hired to eliminate an attractive, friendly widower and his young daughter, she finds that things aren't so simple anymore. Soon Elektra is engaged in an all-out war with the powerful criminal organization known as The Hand for the lives of one man and his child -- but the ultimate struggle may be for Elektra's soul....
There are some who say that the destiny of each and every person is preordained, that there is little -- or nothing at all -- that the average person can do to change his or her fate. Save a man from stepping in front of the bus that was meant to end his life, and that same man will slip in the bathtub the next morning and split his skull. Philosophers throughout the centuries have likened it to the grand old game of chess, where each move is planned far in advance based on the possibilities at hand. A poor comparison, because it is one which makes the assumption that the focus of the challenge, the players, actually know which paths are available and what might happen when each road is chosen. But life, it seems, is much more like the ancient Japanese game of Go, where even the best of players can sometimes find themselves seriously trapped and unable to break free, even beyond the death of a playing piece. Go, unlike life, assumes two sides with equally matched opponents. Some might say it's good against evil, but it's never truly that simple. Life is that game of Go, always going on around us, everywhere we turn or think to turn, in every choice we make, every step we take.
The ancients whisper to one another that secret portions of the game arereal, that somewhere there are actual competitors, and that everything in the lives of the players in this mystical game continues from a challenge match of Go started five hundred years ago in Japan. They talk in hushed tones about how it began in a medieval Japanese village where the clan wars had finally ended and an entire generation of samurai suddenly found themselves with little or no livelihood, no way to feed and support families and wives, no means to provide dowries for daughters waiting to be wed. Life for them became an existence of anger and boredom.
As is often the case -- or again, so they say -- idle hands are the playground of the devil, and so they turned to the villagers for entertainment and sustenance. The languishing ronin robbed and pillaged and committed other acts considered unspeakable, and soon the powerless villagers searched for other methods with which to defend themselves. They turned to stealth and secrecy, and ultimately found their salvation in mastery of the mystical arts. Surprisingly, it wasn't that long before the last of the masterless samurai were defeated.
Knowledge, however, had taken a firm hold, and over the years these humble villagers grew into a large and powerful organization. What had started out of necessity as a militia to protect the people turned into a dark and criminal enterprise, a yakuza powered by forces the average man would never understand. They called it the Hand. Its practitioners hid their faces behind the black costumes of ninjas, and the rare witness to a Hand member's death whispered of the acrid green smoke that wafted from the body when its spirit went on to its reward...or punishment.
The Hand grew strong, too strong. Ruthless, cruel, barbaric -- they evolved into exactly what they had been created to defeat. Their darkness blossomed like kudzu and took over large parts of the underworld until even the hushed mention of their name brought shudders of dread.
But things have a way of balancing out.
For every black deed, there is a white one, for every evil created, something good is also born. Some of the ninjutsu students of the Hand and the shadow arts split away from their increasingly corrupt and power-hungry masters. They called themselves the Chaste, and vowed they would not be defiled by the ways of darkness, nor would they be tempted by the worldly treasures that had so driven their former brothers to greed and rapacity. Hidden in secret mountain retreats, they trained in the same mystical shadow arts and mastered the same deadly skills, but their goals were to balance out the dark influence of the Hand. And while it was never intended to be so -- such things seldom are -- a war began between the two factions.
It was a game.
And so it raged. Through decade after decade, century after century, times of political riots, assassinations both successful and unsuccessful, and public violence. Unlike their dark-side counterparts, the Chaste couldn't offer wealth and power as rewards, so as they fought with the Hand, they began an endless quest for new warriors to fill the ranks of those they lost in battle, a never-ending search for the best of the best, for those among the people who were worthy of giving more than that which is expected of the everyday man or woman.
And as it is on the perfectly geometric playing field of the Go board, sometimes, for extraordinary game pieces, death is simply not enough....
HELL'S KITCHEN, NEW YORK
Bob's head jerked as the ambulance bounced over yet other flaw in the street, a manhole cover or a bag of garbage or maybe, since it was New York, a pile of rags concealing a body lying in the middle of the road. "Crap," he said as he tried to hold onto his clipboard and fill in the report. "Ray, knock on the window and tell Pyle to slow down, would you? How fast he drives isn't going to make a difference anymore and I'd like to get to St. Luke's in one piece."
"Ditto," his younger partner muttered. He twisted on his seat and banged his fist twice on the Plexiglas separating the driver from the back part of the ambulance, then made a sawing motion across his neck when the third member of their team glanced in the mirror. He felt the momentum of the vehicle shift forward as it slowed suddenly and knew his buddy understood that there was no longer a reason to hurry. It was a shame, Ray thought again as his gaze cut to the woman. He couldn't help wondering what had happened, why she was dressed the way she was, and who had done the damage that had ultimately killed her. He'd pulled her hand back up next to her body and it was hard not to notice the black and yellow bruises covering her knuckles...oh, and let's not forget another puncture wound, this one going clean through her right hand.
Ray glanced at his partner, who was concentrating on filling out a form despite the movement of their vehicle. Ray's being senior on the job gave his older partner the thankless task of filling out the paperwork, a job Ray would have actually preferred to the option of cleaning up the bloodied bandages and now-empty syringes and used IV drips. Ray bent forward and let one knee drop to the rubber-covered floor; might as well gather up the used gauze and the paper wrappings from the --
Someone yanked open the back of the ambulance.
Both medics jerked around. There were two men standing there, each dressed completely in white. For a moment, what Ray was seeing didn't really register in his brain. The guys crouching outside were like ninjas, but not -- they were almost like negatives of the black-clad warriors so often seen in film. Who'd ever heard of a ninja wearing white?
Before Ray could think about answering his own question, one of the white Ninjas leapt into the ambulance.
"Wait," Ray started to say. "We're the good guys, remember? Not the cops, not the -- " His words choked off as the ninja held up a finger and wagged it back and forth, the universal shhhhh motion. He wanted to keep talking but he didn't dare, then he forgot what he might have said anyway when the other ninja jumped gracefully into the back of the ambulance. Of all the things in the world that Ray could have imagined might happen, all he could do was sit there and watch in bewilderment as the white ninjas lifted the dead woman's body from the cart and slipped back out of the vehicle. One more
and they disappeared into the blackness of a New York midnight.
™ © 2005 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. (In the U.S. only)
™ © 2005 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. (In all other territories)
Electra character likeness ™ © 2005 by Marvel Characters, Inc.
Excerpted from Elektra by Pocket Books Copyright © 2005 by Pocket Books. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted October 31, 2005
Posted May 30, 2005
Elektra does for the movie what the Director's Cut did for Daredevil. It builds the character more, has more humor and action, better fights, and fills in all those little plot holes while at the same time remaining true to the movie. Fans of the comics will find a lot here, and it will also serve as a better version of the Elektra movie. Yvonne Navarro makes Elektra a believable, better character in her novel, and, to say in a cliche movie term, she makes the movie 'Elektra-fy'. A really good novel on all acounts. I definitly reccomend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 13, 2012
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