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In 1565, when Jimmu is 10 years old, he witnesses his father commit seppuku, a ritual suicide, to avoid bringing dishonor to his family. Before he dies, Lord Kensu tells his son that his bodyguard will now be responsible for his upbringing. Jimmu spends the next seven years learning the art of the samurai at Nichiren's side, with the sole intention of avenging his father by killing Lord Ankan, the man Nichiren blames for betraying Lord Kensu and taking from Jimmu all that was rightfully his. Jimmu reports to Mitsukage Castle under the pretense of wanting to work for Lord Ankan, and, impressing the captain of the guard with his swordsmanship, is allowed to stay. But as Jimmu gets to know Lord Ankan, he finds him to be a principled and courageous leader rather than the monster that Nichiren described. Complicating matters further, Jimmu is drawn to Lord Ankan's impetuous daughter. The resulting story is an honest and engaging portrayal of a young man's struggle to do the right thing-even when it is not clear what that is. The cast of characters includes Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga, two renowned military leaders from the Sengoku period. The vivid depictions of a soldier's life in 16th-century Japan will captivate samurai enthusiasts, and the amount of action that Matthews packs into this relatively short novel will appeal to reluctant readers.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Posted July 25, 2009
No text was provided for this review.