Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sword of Honor by David Kirk

  • ISBN-10: 0385536658 - Hardcover $26.95
  • Publisher: Doubleday (November 3, 2015), 464 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program.

The blurb:
Having survived the cataclysmic battle of Sekigahara, which established the mighty Tokugawa Shogunate, young Musashi Miyamoto travels through Japan determined to proclaim his revolutionary epiphany that the "way of the sword" -- the ancient code that binds samurai to their masters -- needs to be abolished.

But during the battle Musashi insulted an adept of the powerful Yoshioka school, and a price has been put on his head.  Musashi travels to Kyoto, domain of the Yoshioka, for a reckoning.  He has taken up with Ameku, a beautiful blind woman branded as a witch; his burgeoning love for her will make him vulnerable.

Musashi intends to deal a crushing blow to the traditional samurai dogma by destroying the Yoshioka warriors, but Musashi will learn that his spectacular gifts with the sword are no match for the cunning of powerful lords.  The wily Tokugawa governor, still struggling to establish dominance in Kyoto, sees in Musashi just the weapon he needs to overcome the rebellious Yoshioka.

Sword of Honor seamlessly blends meticulous research, mesmerizing action sequences, and a driving narrative to bring this extraordinary figure to life.

In Sword of Honor, David Kirk follows Child of Vengance and continues the story of one of Japan's greatest swordsmen,  Musashi Miyamoto.  Musashi has survived the battle of Sekigahara and has become disillusioned with the control that the lords wield over the samurai.  He subsists with a fellow survivor for years, trying to make sense of their future.

An ugly encounter forces Musashi to go forward into the world and to wield his sword again. This time, he has decided that he carries his sword for himself and not to further the goals of any samurai lord. This radical break from tradition and his obvious state as a masterless marks him as dangerous to traditional society.  He invariably draws the attention of samurai lords and the Yoshioka school warriors.  As samurai repeatedly confront him, seek to teach him humility, each encounter takes Musashi further from the traditional path and closer to his destruction.

David Kirk takes us to the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the political upheaval and the warring factions. We understand the expectations and culture of the samurai at that time and Musashi's need to rebel and seek his own path.  The fighting sequences are detailed and vivid.  Musashi comes alive and although it is frustrating to watch him dive into a dojo full of danger, it is hard not to respect his spirit and skill.

About the Author:
David Kirk is the author of Child of Vengance.  He grew up in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in the U.K.  He has lived in Sendai, Japan, since 2008.  Visit him at www.davidkirkfiction.com

No comments:

Post a Comment