Path of the Samurai: Book I
When I began reading this book, my heart sank. The first couple of chapters were nothing but historical exposition, with no dialogue or attempts at characterisation. I feared it was going to be one of those lifeless, over-researched attempts at a novel, and prepared myself for a hard slog. But I plodded on nevertheless and, presently, the characters began to speak, and the story unrolled in front of me, painted with the spare, spartan beauty of a Japanese landscape on a scroll. Soon I realised that in fact, far from being a penance, this book was going to turn out to be my favourite kind of adventure story, full of dignity, honour and grey areas of morality, revolving around a central conflict between two equally brilliant and equally doomed men. I’m happy to say I got it wrong. This isn’t a slog at all but really a stonkingly good book.