Chris Bradford (www.chrisbradford.co.uk) is the author of "The Way of the Warrior" and "The Way of the Sword," and is currently working on the third book in the trilogy. Chris is a black belt and has trained in judo, karate, kickboxing, and samurai swordsmanship. He lives in England.
Gr 6-9-Jack Fletcher, 12, works as a rigging monkey aboard the Alexandria, while his father pilots the British vessel. Near the Japanese coast, the ship is attacked by a deadly band of ninja. Before he dies, Jack's father entrusts his son with a book of coded maps that others will kill to possess. Though Jack suffers a grave wound in the ensuing battle and is left for dead, a samurai named Masamoto saves the boy, eventually adopting him. Readers can't help but empathize with Jack through the months that follow as he learns the language and how to fight with a wooden bokken, struggles to master the intricate Japanese culture, and deals with bullies who consider him a gaijin, a barbaric outsider. He survives a fight with a ninja intent on killing him, and, at 15, takes part in a fierce martial arts competition that affects the honor of Masamoto and his school. With Samurai, Bradford has crafted a detailed story full of riveting elements: instant enemies, sworn friends, unfortunate misunderstandings, and ultimate forgiveness. He includes notes on sources for various quotes used throughout; though several are anachronistic, their spirit is essentially Zen. A fast-paced adventure and a fascinating look at 17th-century Japan.-Bethany Isaacson, Wheaton Regional Library, Silver Spring, MD Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.