Saturday, June 08, 2024

Sunday Synopsis - Shogun


Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)Shōgun by James Clavell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My husband has been trying to get me to read this for a while. Well, we started watching the mini-series, and I was hooked! I HAD to read it, all 1152 pages of it. To my surprise, this is one of the best books I have ever read! And while the mini-series follows the book closely, it's not exact, and the book, as usual, is better.

The premise: Set in the 1700's, Englishman John Blackthorne is lost at sea with the very few remaining members of his crew. They finally spot land, and it's a place most Europeans have never seen: Japan. He has to become accustommed to a new language, new customs, and the internal political situation he has found himself in, The Japanese refer to him as the barbarian and Anjin-san (ship pilot).

The first 80% of the book had me on the edge of my seat dying to know what would happen next. The last part seemed to drag on. But focusing on the better parts, the reader becomes enamored with Blackthorne and his interpreter, Mariko, who you will fall in love with just as Blackthorne does. The reader will root for Toronaga in his quest to win control of Japan from Ishido. It is jam-packed with action, adventure, emotion, and the most fascinating historical information.

There were a few things that did annoy me. First, the book uses the word karma at least once on every page. That may be a slight exaggeration, but very slight. They also mention committing seppuku (suicide) almost as much as it mentions karma. One other thing that may have been exaggerated is the many many times they apologize, so sorry, neh? And last, sometimes it was difficult to know whose thinking I was reading. The point of view shifted frequently. It's a truly omniscient point of view.

Despite some things that bothered me, I highly recommend this book.

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