A bold and vivid historical epic of feudal Japan, based on the real-life exploits of the legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto.
Japan in the late 16th century was a land in turmoil. Lords of the great clans schemed against one another, served by aristocratic samurai bound to them by a rigid code of honor. Bennosuke is a high-born but lonely teenager 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, Shinmei. Bennosuke has been raised by his uncle Dorinbo, a Buddhist monk who urges the boy to forgo the violence of the samurai and embrace the contemplative life. But Bennosuke worships his absent father, and when Munisai returns, gravely injured, Bennosuke is forced to confront truths about his family's history and his own place in it.,p>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 Mushashi 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.
©2013 David Kirk (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Kirk presents 17th-century Japan as a world imbued with stately rituals, unshakable principles, and a rigid moral code…. [S]ure to be compared to Clavell’s work in its superb depiction of samurai culture." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A brilliant piece of historical fiction - loaded with treachery and betrayal - that pulses with life. This one is going to find an honored place on many a keeper shelf. It's a must-read debut from an exciting new voice." (Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author of The Columbus Affair)
"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 best-selling author of Genghis: Birth of an Empire)
For me the success of a work of historical fiction can be measured in the amount of curiosity it piques in the history of its era. This book did not fail in that regard. I soon found myself online researching names, events, and locations presented in Child of Vengeance. In doing so I discovered how artfully Kirk weaved his story into the history of Miyamoto as well as Japan. I also found the author's conclusions of samurai culture as discovered by the protagonist thought (and discussion) provoking.
My only complaint would be with the performance. The narrator could have used some coaching in the pronunciation of Japanese names.
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