Inspired by the true story of sixteenth-century samurai Musashi Miyamoto, David Kirk has crafted a rich, absorbing novel of one young man’s coming of age at a crucial turning point in Japanese history.
Thirteen-year-old Bennosuke is deeply disconnected from the rest of his village. When he was five, his mother died, and his father, a powerful samurai, has been traveling the country in service to his lord ever since. Raised by his uncle, a monk, who has tried to teach his charge to eschew violence and martial glory and embrace knowledge and peace, Bennosuke worships his absent, renowned father, Munisai. Subject to shifting alliances beyond his control, Munisai has become indebted to the odious Nakata clan. This escalating feud forces him to return home to his village—followed by his enemies. Now Bennosuke will be forced to confront harsh truths about his family history and his own place in it—and to choose between the paths of samurai and monk.
“Restores my faith in historical fiction to bring lost worlds to life. Bravo! The keenest and most vivid evocation of the inner life of the East since James Clavell's Shogun.” —Steven Pressfield, New York Times bestselling author of Gates of Fire
“A brilliant piece of historical fiction—loaded with treachery and betrayal—that pulses with life.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Columbus Affair
“Positively seethes with energy . . . showing feudal Japan as a complex culture in which cunning and poetry are indispensable, and death and vengeance unavoidable.” —Publishers Weekly
“Rips along at the speed of a deftly wielded, flashing katana sword.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A swashbuckling good read, laced with wisdom. . . . Worthy of its own samurai film.” —National Post (Canada)
“[A] superb depiction of samurai culture.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Kirk’s spare portrayal of the way of life of the samurai, whose duty it is to protect, defend, and avenge and for whom dying is nothing and winning is all, proves remarkably compelling.” —Booklist
“A fascinating, exciting book, beautifully observed. Kirk avoids clichés at every turn, and creates characters of great depth. An absolute gem.” —Conn Iggulden, New York Times bestselling author of Genghis: Birth of an Empire 58k MM/19k HC
"The book I’ve been waiting for! Razor sharp samurai action coupled with a brutally realistic vision of life in sixteenth-century Japan, a real find.” —Anthony Riches, author of Wounds of Honor
DAVID KIRK first became interested in Japanese history when his father gave him a copy of James Clavell's Shogun. Years later he would be inspired to write his dissertation on samurai cinema. Kirk now lives in Japan, where he works as an English-language teacher and is at work on a second Musashi Miyamoto novel.