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It has taken me a long time to write this blog. Not that I haven’t tried a few times. I have. I’ve tried just about every day over the last two weeks. I just don’t know how to do justice to this book. Should I give an overview of the story? To do it right would take me thirty pages.
Should I give an overview of the characters? There are many, and each is fully realized with their own ambitions, strengths, and weaknesses. I couldn’t possibly do it right.

I think it comes down to this. I can either write a fifty page book report detailing out the story and my love for it. Or I can just try and tell you what I love about it, without really telling you what it’s about. I think I’m going to go that way. Let me give it a try now.

I love watching the discovery that takes place as the main character sheds his English prejudices and discovers the subtleties of the Japanese culture.

I thoroughly enjoy the depth and magnitude of the plans and treachery set in motion by the Japanese lords.

For a book without a lot of action scenes, I always feel like I’m on the edge of my seat. The possibility of death exists on every page.

The action scenes that are in the book are excellent. They aren’t overly detailed, which I often prefer, but you can’t beat samurai swords. You just can’t. And when the book tosses in a large scale ninja attack, I’m hooked.

I love learning about Japanese culture. The book goes deep into the Japanese code of Bushido, their religious views, and why life and death are so lightly regarded. It’s fascinating. It certainly has the ring of truth. If there are any Japanese readers of this book, how do you feel about it? Does it capture the milieu correctly? Does it still apply in some ways?

The love that blossoms between two of the main characters is artfully presented.

I love that I feel like I can speak Japanese when I finished with this book.

I love that I get so completely lost in the story and the setting that I have a hard time leaving it and not bringing it with me back into my world.

If there’s anything I don’t like, it’s the ignorant Dutchmen in this book that refuse to accept that the Japanese way is the only way to behave when in Japan. I don’t like it because my heritage is Dutch, and also because they are really annoying! I’m pretty sure they are supposed to be, so that goal was accomplished.

This is a book about discovery, survival, death, shame, joy and ambition. It is a book about watching rocks grow, wakarimasu, seppuku, kinjiru, samurai, daimayos, and a thousand other intricate details.

I’d be hard pressed to say there is any book I enjoy more.

I would recommend the rest of James Clavell’s Asian Saga. They are all very good, although none reach the heights that Shogun rests upon.

Rating: 5 out of 5  (What’s this?)