August 1611. Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan – his beloved father and the crew lie slaughtered by ninja pirates. Rescued by the legendary swordmaster Masamoto Takeshi, Jack’s only hope is to become a samurai warrior. And so his training begins… But life at the samurai school is a constant fight for survival. Even with his Akiko by his side, Jack is singled out by bullies and treated as an outcast. With courage in his heart and his sword held high, can Jack prove himself and face his deadliest rival yet?
Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior was originally published on August 7, 2008 and received the 2007 Sasakawa Foundation Award for the best book interpreting Japan to the English-speaking world. Aimed at readers between 10 and 14 years of age the novel also won Book of the Year at the Fighting Spirit Awards in 2008.
Chris Bradford’s Young Samurai series has already sold millions of copies, won multiple awards and is read and enjoyed by young adults all around the world.
So what is the author’s magic recipe?
Take a little inspiration from Shogun and The Karate Kid; mix in some engaging characters and a fast-paced storyline; infuse a passion for Japanese history, culture and the martial arts – and bake for just over three hundred pages.
The finished product is a first-rate adventure in which we have a young boy, shipwrecked and far from home, must fight for acceptance in an alien environment. It is stirring stuff.
To further enhance the energetic narrative Bradford gives an honest and fascinating portrayal of Japan. He shows much that is wonderful about the country: the culture, honour and beauty of its people plus the stunning architecture and delightful Zen gardens. He also shows the negatives; the violence, xenophobia and constrictive customs that existed in the 17th century (and still remain, although to a lesser degree, today).
Although told in the third person, Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior is a tale that could also have been written using the first person narrative. This is Jack’s story, an English boy a long way from home whom we follow through shipwreck, the death of his father and his subsequent samurai training. He suffers hatred and bullying; hardships that he is able to overcome using the physical and mental attributes newly developed thanks to his Samurai training.
This book will be a great comfort for those experiencing difficult times at school. If they are being bullied, mentally or physically, then this story will show them that there are ways to deal with their problems. There are many ways to deal with bullies – you can just ignore them or you can stand up to them and show them that you are not afraid. This book explores both avenues.
The Way of the Warrior makes for compelling reading, the pages fly by and children and young adults will be engrossed in Jack’s struggles in a foreign country. The aspects of Japanese culture will also greatly interest the reader and many will want to learn much more about this most intriguing country.
At the end of the day though, before you start to feel that the Japanese are a harsh and intolerant people it is a worth turning the tables and looking at things from a different viewpoint...
Ask yourself this question: A young Japanese boy has been shipwrecked; a noble 17th century English family takes him in. Would he, no matter what he achieved, have been accepted into the English aristocracy?
If you listen to music whilst reading then the perfect companion piece for Young Samurai is the soundtrack of the film The Last Samurai, they fit together like hand and glove.
Chris Bradford lives an action packed life and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. Young Samurai was inspired by Chris’s passion for martial arts and a desire to share the positive influence it has had on his life, as well as his love of Japanese culture. To discover more about Chris go to www.youngsamurai.com.
Review by Floresiensis
7 positive reader review(s) for The Way of the Warrior
Adam from UK
Compellng read, but startling similarity to Shogun by James Clavel. I don't mind this, but some recognition by the author would show Rectitude.
Anon from UK
Love this series! I have read all the books at least 10 time in the 3 years I have had them.
Me from You
It is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read.
Jack Fletcher from Japan
Dear Jess, I don't have much time because Japan's new Shõgun is trying to hunt me down! Despite of all my problems I hope you are not too much affected by my situation here and I really hope that the old women is really caring for you! Anyways, there's this new book called young Samurai! You should read it, it is telling my story here in Japan! It's very well written, exciting and Japan is being introduced to the western world pretty realistic! And again, look out for yourselves a few months later I'm back at home and then we are going to have a wonderful time together for the rest of our lives! In love your brother Jack.
From from From
I thought this was a very entertaining book, but it lacked depth and the writing was average. Nevertheless, I definitely recommend it!
Jimmy from USA
It is action packed and I loved it.
Heather from Australia
This book was amazing. I think people of all ages will love it. I did. I am a teacher and nearly 50. The fight scenes were very vivid and the characters well written. If you loved the Rangers Apprentice or the Jedi Apprentice books you'd love this one. I can't wait to read the others and recommend it to my kids.
Carissa from Houston
LOVE IT! It is thrilling. The details in the book are so epic! They make you feel like you're in the story. It's like an amazing ninja movie in my head. Great author. Great book. Great series.
9.2/10 from 9 reviews