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Shogun: A Novel of Japan | [James Clavell]

Shogun: A Novel of Japan

A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love....An English captain and his crew are shipwrecked on the coast of feudal Japan. They must deal with two Japanese warlords who are struggling to attain the title of Shogun - and the ultimate power that comes with it.
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Publisher's Summary

A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love....An English captain and his crew are shipwrecked on the coast of feudal Japan. They must deal with two Japanese warlords who are struggling to attain the title of Shogun - and the ultimate power that comes with it.

©1975 James Clavell; (P)2000 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Superbly crafted...grips the reader like a riptide...gets the juices flowing!" (Washington Star)
"Exciting, totally absorbing....be prepared for late nights, meals unlasting, buisness unattended." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Adventure and action, the suspense of danger, shocking, touching human relationships...a climactic human story." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1095 )
5 star
 (669)
4 star
 (250)
3 star
 (95)
2 star
 (45)
1 star
 (36)
Overall
4.7 (673 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (12)
1 star
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Story
4.0 (663 )
5 star
 (334)
4 star
 (159)
3 star
 (71)
2 star
 (46)
1 star
 (53)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Simmons Brookton, Australia 12-18-10
    Simmons Brookton, Australia 12-18-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    19
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    0
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    Overall
    "Japanese historical"

    Written in a way that Japan can be understood by Western culture. What a breath of fresh air. Have no idea from beginning to end how it was going to finish. Wonderful read!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emanuel Arlington, TX, USA 04-10-10
    Emanuel Arlington, TX, USA 04-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
    ratings
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    66
    6
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    "RUN DONT WALK AWAY"

    I love James Clavell's novels and have heard all his other Asian novels recorded by John Lee. I have over 200 audio books in my collection, so I listen to a lot of books, authored by many authors and read by various narrators.

    A good friend said Shogun was Clavell's best novel (he read it), so I bought it. I wouldn't know by this narration because it is the worst I have ever heard.

    David Case's normal narration is a very haughty British high societal tone, tempo and accent. Ever word in drawn out and has no flavor.

    His character voices are forced, uncomfortable and inconsistent. He sounds as though every word is exacting pain.

    Finally, who ever did his technical sound/editing did a horrible job. The volume is inconsistent and you can easily tell were the breaks in the recording occurred.

    John Lee -- Please record this novel.

    43 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Glenview, IL, United States 08-08-07
    Dave Glenview, IL, United States 08-08-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    171
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    820
    19
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    FOLLOWING
    16
    2
    Overall
    "The Best Audiobook I Have Ever Listened To"

    This is without a doubt the single most compelling, thrilling, flat-out ENJOYABLE audiobook I have ever listened to, and I have listened to (and enjoyed) hundreds. I found myself getting so immersed in the story and the characters and the two clashing cultures that it was actually jarring to stop listening to it and return to the "real world." That's a testament to Clavell's brilliant writing, but also to the masterful narration by David Case (his many different character voices -- and their incredibly difficult accents -- were consistently spot on, and they were so differentiated and full of added character that it was almost like a full cast reading instead of a single narrator). The book is VERY fast-moving (DON'T let the running time scare you off - I promise you it will fly by). And you don't need to struggle though hours of the book before it grabs you -- you will know whether you will be spending the next 56 hours of your life in 16th Century Japan within the first 20 minutes of the first chapter . . . and it only gets more compelling from there. And, no, I don't work for the publisher or anything --- I'm just a regular schmoe who just finished listening to my new favorite book of all time. I can't imagine ever recommending a book more highly - please do yourself a favor and spend a piece of your life inside this remarkable story.

    23 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Meridian, ID, USA 02-29-08
    Dawn Meridian, ID, USA 02-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    96
    4
    FOLLOWERS
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    2
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    Overall
    "Horrific presentation"

    I have never heard a more horrible narrator. He has no gift of language and mispronounces Japanese and Spanish words alike. As someone who speaks both languages, I found it greatly distracting and agitating. He also expresses characters in gutteral voice that mimics a trachaeotomy. He does this for all characters, so it does not descern their gender or nationality. He is unable to keep his speech at a steady cantor, so he sounds almost surprised at times. His narration has done this book a great injustice.

    It's a good enough story, but I can't get past the fact that the narration sounds like nails on a chalkboard. If you decide to read it, buy the novel, not the audiobook.

    21 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Melbourne, FL, USA 07-19-08
    Scott Melbourne, FL, USA 07-19-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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    225
    3
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    "Narrator destroys James Clavell's masterful story."

    I love James Clavell's stories. I read Shogun many years ago and must say it is a terrific story, masterfully told. I was enthralled to see that it was on Audiobooks and enthusiastically bought it.

    However, the narrator butchered this story. I've listened to books on tape for several years, and must say that this narrator is the absolute worst I've ever heard. I feel cheated that I did not get the full impact of the story because the narrator's voice sounded like somebody was choking him as he was reading it. Probably Toranaga-san, or maybe Clavell-san.

    I would never buy another book read by David Case because his reading style bumps you out of the story with his grating voice. There are moments when the story starts to gel, then he chokes on a word or phrase and, BOOM, the thread of what James Clavell was trying to say is gone.

    I would love to hear this story read by John Lee who did a tremendous job with the other Clavell novels, Gaijin excluded.

    I may have to re-read Shogun so I can enjoy James Clavell's story again, because I could NOT recommend this audiobook to anyone.

    34 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Watson Sapulpa, OK 07-30-12
    Bob Watson Sapulpa, OK 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
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    57
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    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "The Narrator is very off putting"
    What disappointed you about Shogun?

    It very hard to listen to a narrator that sounded like he a 3 pack a day cigerette habit.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis


    How could the performance have been better?

    I was very distracred by the narrating.


    What character would you cut from Shogun?

    All of them


    Any additional comments?

    This may be a great book, but I just couldn't get past the narrator

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Kansas City, MO, United States 05-04-10
    Jason Kansas City, MO, United States 05-04-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
    ratings
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    138
    7
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    1
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    "Book Butchers Must GO!"

    OK, so I ignored the reviews that said this reader, David Case, was a lousy. I wish I hadn't. I've wanted to read this book for years and this guy has really put me off of it and I don't think I'm going to be able to finish it because the narration is so awful. The character voices he creates are terrible: All the male character sound the same, all the female characters sound the same. I can't tell who's talking half the time. And even if I DO know who's talking, the accents he makes are so heavy I can't understand what's being said. What a disappointment. AUDIBLE... PLEASE PRODUCE A NEW RECORDING OF THIS CLASSIC! THIS ONE SUCKS!

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Everett, WA, USA 06-03-08
    Ryan Everett, WA, USA 06-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
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    9
    1
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    0
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    "I think a great book a horrible horrible narrator"

    My title says it all. I have been with audible for 3 years. I have never written a review but this must be made known.. horible narrator. I couldnt get past 5 minutes.

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Lodi, US, Canada 06-05-10
    Don Lodi, US, Canada 06-05-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    7
    1
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    0
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    "Learn the language!"

    It was distracting to hear someone destroy the Japanese language. For two credits, I expected a better narrator.

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Palmetto, FL, United States 02-22-11
    Pamela Palmetto, FL, United States 02-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Wow"

    This was an awesome book. I had a hard time getting into it at first because the names were so foreign to me but once I figured out who was who I liked it. Now the narrator wasn't my favorite but the story and the characters were awesome.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 136 results PREVIOUS12314NEXT
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  • Emma
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    10/4/09
    Overall
    "Great story - terrible narrator"

    Can someone speak any blander? I did not know it was possible to make such a good story such a crashing bore. The tonal monotony surely could not be matched. Not even worth the cost of the monthly membership, let alone the full price if I didn't have a credit. A real shame - Clavell would be turning in his grave.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • T M Candlish
    Oxfordshire, GB
    4/6/09
    Overall
    "What a shame but what a story!"

    This book has been on my ?around-to-it? read again list since that first time in the late-seventies. It is tale of action, romance, and intrigue slowly unfolding against the historical background of feudal Japan at the time of the Black Ships. For some obscure reason it is read in a stereo-typical prissy English accent sounding like some bureaucrat in need of syrup of figs! Regrettably I didn?t listen to the sample before purchasing but, fortunately, found that it was possible to let the more irritating aspects of reader?s voice fade away in favour of the superb and gripping story ? but be warned! If you can get past the voice you will find a , well crafted story which shows no signs of aging and, although many would put it in the deck chair category, in my opinion should be counted as one of the modern classics. Story five stars? sound? sorry maybe one at a push.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sandra
    Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom
    11/2/08
    Overall
    "Great book - shame about the reader"

    Shogun is a wonderful, sweeping historical novel that transports the reader to another time and place with great skill. Unfortunately, however, the lack of skill of the reader lets this novel down badly. David Chase reads the book as though he is extremely bored. He has an off-hand quality about his reading that hints that he has got better things to do than read to us. Things improve when we get to the parts of the book with plenty of dialogue, and he does manage to add flesh to the characters through his use of voices. But once we get back to more than a paragraph of prose he's back to his worst again. I would still recommend Shogun as Clavell's writing is good enough to rise above Chase's sabotage, but my recommendation comes with a warning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    6/9/08
    Overall
    "Thrilling Listen"

    The book went on for 50 hours but I was still wanting more when it finished. A glorious insight into life in Japan in days of yore and the book was so well researched that I felt I was being educated as well as entertained. The story was a tale of fear, oppression and, thank goodness, love! A rattling good yarn and I really enjoyed the style of the reader who brought the characters to life for me. Thoroughly 5 star listen, I was both chilled by descriptions of ruthless tyranny and thrilled by the gripping tale.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-14 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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