Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

Chris Bradford, Author . Disney-Hyperion $16.99 (359p) ISBN 978-1-4231-1871-8

Debut author Bradford comes out swinging in this fast-paced adventure set in medieval Japan, the first in the projected Young Samurai trilogy. Twelve-year-old Jack Fletcher has gained a reputation aboard a British merchant vessel as an agile rigging monkey. But after Japanese ninja murder the entire crew, including his father, Jack is left alone and injured to cope with strange customs and indecipherable language. When he shows his fortitude and cleverness, however, a powerful samurai adopts him and sends him to learn the ways of Japan's warrior class. Jack's story alone makes for a page-turner, but coupling it with intriguing bits of Japanese history and culture, Bradford produces an adventure novel to rank among the genre's best. The intricate and authentic descriptions of martial arts contests will hold readers spellbound. Just as potent for many readers, though, are the outright hatred and prejudice Jack faces as a gaijin , or foreigner, while he attempts to master an elaborate code of honor. This book earns the literary equivalent of a black belt. Ages 10–up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Hardcover - 413 pages - 978-1-4104-4329-8
Paperback - 359 pages - 978-1-4231-1986-9
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