cover image Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja

Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja

Simon Higgins, Little, Brown, $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-05531-4

In this Australian import, orphaned teenager Moonshadow has spent his childhood living and training with the Grey Light Order of shinobi—ninjas. Now circumstances force the Order to make his first mission a critical but dangerous one—infiltrate a castle and steal the plans for a war-changing new weapon. Along the way he faces the castle’s samurai guards; a young female shinobi named Snowhawk, who Moonshadow might persuade to become a friend; and a legendary assassin known as the Deathless, who cannot be harmed by swords. Higgins, a student of samurai swordsmanship, is in top form when detailing personal combat, but also excels at portraying Moonshadow as a young man on the verge of doing great things while still plagued by fears and self-doubt. Moonshadow’s trials are both external and personal—requiring thought as well as action—but he consistently adheres to his teachers’ moral codes and his own ethics. Historical and martial arts details are scattered lightly and buttress the story. Though action is at the core of this tale, Higgins also brings to it history, brains, and heart. Ages 8–12. (June)