Thursday, May 2, 2013

Child of Vengeance by David Kirk

The blurb:

Bennosuke is a high-born but lonely youth living in his ancestral village.  His mother died when he was a young boy, and his powerful warrior father Munisai has abandoned him for a life of service to his lord.  When Munisai returns, gravely injured, Bennosuke is forced to confront truths about his family's history and his own place in it.  These revelations soon guide him down the samurai's path - awash with blood, bravery, and vengeance.  His journey will culminate in the epochal battle of Sekigahara, in which Bennosuke will first proclaim his name as Musashi Miyamoto.  This rich and absorbing epic explores the complexities of one young man's quest while capturing a crucial turning point in Japanese history with visceral mastery, sharp psychological insight, and tremendous narrative momentum.

I love adventure stories, quests, coming of age stories.  Those set in an unusual place or period are a particular favorite of mine.  When given the chance to review Child of Vengeance,  a coming of age story set in Tokagawa Japan, I jumped at the chance.

Child of Vengeance comes across as a samurai tale but when you read it with the knowledge that David Kirk is relating the story of young Musashi Miyamoto, you can't help but read more into each incident.  The young samurai boy leads a lonely life as he awaits his father's return.  Each day he spends hours polishing his father's armor and when making any major decision, he abides by his father's parting words - be samurai.  The peasants in the village are frightened of the boy and his position and they deeply resent him as well.  Bennosuke learns to balance his fears, his hopes, and the indifference and resentment of the people around him.  

When Munisai returns to the village, Bennosuke is forced to grow up quickly.  His quickness of mind and natural ability lead Bennosuke to unexpected successes and adventures.   All of which makes for an engrossing read.

ISBN-10 0385536631 - Hardcover $26.95
Publisher: Doubleday (March 12, 2013), 336 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program.

About the Author:

David Kirk, twenty-six years old, grew up in Stamford, Lincolnshire.  He studied media arts at Royal Halloway, University of London, with a major in screenwriting.  Currently he lives and works in Sendai, Japan.

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