Book Review of The Young Samurai: Way of the Warrior

Young Samurai: The Way of the WarriorIn previous books, Jack Fletcher sailed to Japan with his father only to lose him to the wave of anti-Christian sentiment sweeping the island nation. When the Ninja who murdered his father steals Jack’s father’s logbook, Jack’s only possession and an invaluable guide to the world’s oceanic trading paths, Jack vows to retrieve the book. I assume that’s where the last book in the series ended, but I’m not positive as I jumped into this book without ever having read the first novel.

I have to say, my lack of previous experience in Jack’s story did not stop me from enjoying this book, which is surely a rarety among sequels: an outstanding standalone novel. (Since writing the above, I’ve done my research. Not only is there a book before this one, there’s a series. I have a lot of catch up to do!)

In Way of the Warrior, the story still winds around Jack, the lost logbook and Jack’s efforts to become a samurai, but the war against foreigners and the other Daimyo (provincial rulers) now takes center stage. In fact, the latter half of the book rates as among the most moving pieces of YA or warfare reading material I’ve been privileged to read. The self sacrifice of Jack’s classmates moved me beyond words at times.

If you have boys looking for good reading material, I can’t think of anything much better than this book. As someone who hates reading series, it surely speaks volumes that I want to read Mr. Bradford’s other work.

We Apologize For the Inconvenience

Sorry, folks, no blog today, I’m busy fighting Ninja. However, I will have a review of an outstanding boy’s book on Wednesday, so please stay tuned, true believers! 😀

Blogging from a smart phone

Is not fun, so I’ll ask you what are you’re most frustrating writing or blogging moments?

China Artistry in the News


In a recent NPR Morning Edition article by Sandy Totten, Americans found that China wants to use the western movie making infrastructure to promote China and its long history. “The Chinese government-owned company recently invested $30 million in hopes of making a movie that would both celebrate Chinese culture and turn a tidy profit.”


America has had a healthy artistic relationship with Japan for decades now and it seems we’re building the same with China. I see so much more interest in China, it’s history, art, language than even a few years ago. There are more books published by American authors that are set in China or peopled with Chinese characters, there’s the vast popularity of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video games, numerous comics, and of course, the burgeoning number of movies with Western sensibilities and Chinese settings titillates.

What about you? Are you excited by upcoming titles or publishing opportunities?


Chapter One – Again

Okay, I’ve pleaded for help from tons of Beta Readers and it just dawned on me, at least some of my followers haven’t seen the opening pages of this book and might be willing to humor me with their opinions on this rewrite. I need to know, are you confused by this?

MOURN THEIR COURAGE

By

VICTORIA DIXON

Xing Dynasty: In the Tenth Year of Rebuilt Tranquility

Chapter One

Liu Jie reached the garden beyond the orchard, breathing the rotting peaches’ cloying sweetness as he slid to his knees. The moon’s bony face illuminated the leafless trees, but shadows and fears haunted his thoughts.

We traveled to meet the emperor and stop a civil war. Not fight in one. I cannot kill my countrymen – my brothers. But I must. The Imperial summons he’d just read commanded “the aid of all men as sons might come to their father.” He trembled with revulsion.

After his family and guards had stopped at the Peach Orchard Inn this afternoon, his son had discovered a starving child here in the garden. Jie had taken the Orchard Boy inside and his wife cared for him now. Could the act of saving a life atone for taking thousands? He looked at his hands. Though they’d touched the rich soil, they appeared unblemished in the moon’s cold light.

How bloody would they be before the coming civil war ended?

Chapter Two

The next morning, the wood panels of Jie’s small room groaned. Jie shut the door behind the man who had agreed to feed and help train his army. Jie shook his head, smiling. It was as if Tong Zhang’s mere presence pushed against the walls.

“Zhang, this is my wife, Mei.” They bowed to one another, but Mei held a bowl of warm water in her hands, and turned to the bed and her patient. She pulled aside the bed’s curtain and the Orchard Boy woke, squinting through half-shut lids.

Jie heaved a sigh of relief. We did it. We saved one person.

Zhang towered over the boy.

“Are you the Demon King?” The boy’s voice rattled and wheezed as he shrank away under his blanket.

Zhang laughed, and the Orchard Boy tried to sit.

Mei placed a steaming cloth on the boy’s forehead and eased him down. “Careful, young one.”

“I’m so cold.” The boy’s eyes opened wide and he sat up, looking around the room. “Chen? Where’s Chen?”

The floor creaked underneath Zhang. “He’s delirious, Jie. Fetch a priest!”

“No priests,” the boy muttered. “He might do anythin. . .” He collapsed, but turned as if to listen when Jie knelt beside the bed.

“What is your name, child?” Jie said. “Can you hear me?”

“I don’t think he can, husband.”

“The fever took his mind, Jie.”

“I’m Hong Aiyu. Thirteen. Not child,” the boy protested, though his voice slurred from exhaustion. “You want ‘prentice? I bring luck.”

Zhang’s laughter vibrated the rafters. “Luck? Sure! Bad luck!”

“He’ll live, Zhang,” Jie said. “And if his name is any indication, the gods have given us their blessing.” Jie never took his eyes off Aiyu. “We will talk later, War Dragon, but yes. I will take you into my family’s service. Eat and rest, for now.”

They poured tangy chicken broth into Aiyu and bathed him in warm water until he slept again.