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Heart of the Ronin (The Ronin Trilogy) Paperback – September 8, 2021
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A fateful duel makes him an outlaw...
... and a demon turns him into a hero.
Thus begins Ken'ishi’s epic journey to discover his past and find service with a worthy master.
Amid ruthless crime lords, capricious spirits, and Mongol spies, Ken'ishi is an orphan and a ronin, a samurai without a master, tossed on the waves of fate and fortune.
His only link to his past is Silver Crane, his father's sword, a blade that holds its secrets close... Such as the secret of Ken’ishi’s bloodline.
But when he meets the woman of his dreams, he might just discover that his dreams are actually nightmares.
You'll love this epic adventure because it has the perfect blend of history, action, and fantasy.
Get it now.
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- Publisher : Bear Paw Publishing (September 8, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 364 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1622254384
- ISBN-13 : 978-1622254385
- Item Weight : 1.02 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.91 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #113,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This book is about Ken'ishi, a ronin in an alternative 13th century Japan. We know its 13th century due to the threat of Kublai Khan invasion from mainland Asia. We also know it is alternative due to the heavy presence of magic and demons. I thought that Heermann really hammered home the desperate situation that ronin found themselves in; no master, distrusted, and no peaceful skills to trade with in times of peace. Ken'ishi is really just scraping by until events unfold that take him in new directions. He is a ronin due to his orphaning, being taken in and trained by a mysterious sword master. A lot of his back story is filled in as he shares his story with others or runs through them in his own mind. He carries a sword, Silver Crane, which is hinted at having a history and power that is unknown to Ken'ishi and the reader.
This book was a fun read. I enjoyed the bits of Japanese poetry and samurai wisdom from the Hagakure at the beginning of each chapter. Also, I found the super fast fights to be much more realistic than usual for fantasy books; in most the first mistake was the fatal one. And, as I said, I found myself very empathetic for Ken'ishi, who, through no fault of his own, has to deal with this extremely difficult lot in life, determined to make more of himself.
This book is only a small part of a much storyline. Most of the action is rather superficial while a much larger plot lurks in the background, mostly unnoticed by any of the characters. I'm looking forward to reading book 2.
BTW, Hollywood and HBO types: There's a lot of potential here for a quality TV series, reminiscent of the old "Kung Fu" show. Not your usual trash-thrown-together-to-make-wads-of-money-at-minimal-cost, but some of the most surprisingly successful shows have broken that mold with great results. This series could become a "Game of Thrones"-type success, with a more family-friendly rating.
Another plus when reading this book was exploring the fork lore creatures of ancient Japan. The characters overall were good but not great. I also felt the ending was abrupt it could’ve been smoothed out some. Either way I plan on reading the next installment.
Favorite Line: N/A
the 2nd book arrived on Friday, and this being Monday morning, I'm about 3/4 of the way done. I want to know how it ends, but also, I know that when it's over, I'm going to be sorry to have rushed through it and not stretched it out.
Top reviews from other countries
From the first chapter, Ken’ishi gets himself into trouble and finds himself duelling a village constable. Thanks to his training, Ken’ishi is a formidable swordsman. Unfortunately, as a ronin, his act of self-defence is construed as murder, and Ken’ishi is forced to flee the village and the district. His flight sets him on an adventure involving forbidden love, an imminent invasion by Kublai Khan, a hunt for Ken’ishi's mysterious sword and the corruption of two human souls by one demonic Oni. Poor Ken’ishi. All he wants is to fit in and become a samurai.
At the start of the book, I found myself getting a little frustrated with the main character, Ken’ishi. Often, he’d get himself into trouble due to a combination of naivety and a sense of misplaced honour. But then he’d redeem himself with random acts of kindness. I had to remind myself that he’s only seventeen and has spent most of his formative years living with a mythical creature that despises humans!
What I enjoyed most about this story was how the author fused a feudal Japan and its everyday intrigues with the fantastic. For example, a nasty lesser noble, Yatsuoki, manipulates people while employing an Oni and his bandits to rob travellers to fund his political ambitions. Yatsuoki is a very nasty antagonist. He’s all kinds of trouble to everyone, and he’s set his heart on getting Ken’ishi’s sword, Silver Crane. I look forward to reading about Yatsuoki’s downfall in the later books.
While there is a lot to like about the numerous subplots, the book does end with hardly any convergence or resolution. So long as you know you’re reading the first part of a trilogy, this shouldn’t come as a disappointment.
I’m looking forward to the next instalment of The Ronin Trilogy, Sword of the Ronin.
The 2 stars are solely for the Oni who would have done well to eat all the other characters early in the book.
Almost needless to say, this author in no longer on my reading list.