"The Sword Master", by I. J. Parker

The Sword Master: A Novel - I.J. Parker

I am without any doubts a fan of this author. I love her style and I could only repeat myself when saying she is in a class of her own. A master in writing vivid tales of Ancient Japan and to magically transport us back in time into the perilous world of the Heike Wars.

It is not easy to live in the twelfth century Kyoto survival is a challenge especially if you are a homeless child. This savage and moving tale recounts his life story from the point he was adopted by a selfless physician who could not soften his hardened spirit, to the master swordsman who taught him the fine art of swordsmanship, to the beautiful women who desperately wanted his attention and baited into a war between two opposing clans. Only with his smarts and skills was he able to survive and avenge his parents’ deaths and eventually find true peace….. 

The plot is captivating with lots of action, blood and guts galore. The characterization is very interesting and quite remarkable especially Hachiro, the protagonist, his depiction definitely grows on you. The hardest part was keeping track of all the unfamiliar sounding names without mixing any of the characters. Although this story spans almost a life time, the drama is not rushed and I was immediately drawn in and my attention never wavered. This is an excellent standalone, a spin-off of the Hollow Reed series, dedicated to Hachiro, a minor character first met in book one. 

Another great story I enjoyed immensely.