Wednesday, July 21, 2010

47th Samurai

The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger, #4)The 47th Samurai by Stephen Hunter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another of the Bob Lee Swagger books, and a better (I would say). Swagger is older--in his sixties--and the battles take place in Japan. It's quite good, with a few cautions: it is extremely bloody, and realistically so. One of the chief villains is a pornographer, and, though none of it is dealt with explicitly or in a titillating fashion, it is there. Finally, there is some language, though much of it is called for.

The tale refers to the legend of the 47 ronin, which is magnificent, and is largely correct so far as it delves into Japanese legends, as well as the making of the great samurai swords, though with one exception: the swords are not made in a curved shape. They are made straight, but the larger mass of metal in the back of the sword contracts more than the smaller mass in the front during the cooling process, causing the blade to curve.

It is a typical Stephen Hunter book: good fun, very exciting, and has a truly clever twist that blindsided me. I'd like to claim that it was simply due to my blazing through the book, but I can't, as it would have blindsided me had I taken my time. It is very well done, and Hunter seems to have polished his craft as he practices it more.

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