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Shogun: The First Novel of the Asian saga [Kindle Edition]

James Clavell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.99
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Book Description

This is James Clavell's tour-de-force; an epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Both entertaining and incisive, SHOGUN is a stunningly dramatic re-creation of a very different world.





Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, the novel charts Blackthorne's rise from the status of reviled foreigner up to the hights of trusted advisor and eventually, Samurai. All as civil war looms over the fragile country.



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Review

My bet for the most satisfyingly popular novel of the year . . . It has power, it has violence, subtlety and lots, lots more . . . Clavell never puts a foot wrong . . . Get it, read it, you'll enjoy it mightily (Daily Mirror)

SHOGUN is a huge exotic, blood-stained canvas of sixteenth century but still medieval Japan, rival warlords and proselytising Jesuits, geishas, seppuku, samurai with the death-with and a shipwrecked Elizabethan (Guardian)

Mr Clavell tells his story brilliantly (The Times)

One of the great page turners of all time ( Good Book Guide)

I can't remember when a novel has seized my mind like this one. It's irresistable, maybe unforgettable. Clavell ... creates a world so enveloping you forget who and where you are (New York Times)

The Times

'Mr Clavell tells his story brilliantly'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immerse Yourself ... 10 Dec. 2003
Format:Paperback
In the 1970's I watched a black and white movie one Sunday afternoon entitled King Rat. The film was o.k. but of bigger relevance was my mum pointing out to me that she had the book. I started it that evening and struggled to put it down. Mr Clavell, I found , was an extremely talented storyteller. From that day I ensured that I read all of the books in the 'Asian Saga'. I didn't read them in chronological order and didn't even get to Shogun until the middle of the 1980's. I found very early on that Shogun had the same grip over me as King Rat and Noble House. The book is huge but you wouldn't wish it shorter by a sentence. In fact I would even go so far as to say that it ends prematurely. The final confrontation between Toranaga and Ishido could have provided content for a couple more chapters and we are left guessing as to Pilot Major Blackthornes future.

This novel has everything, action, intrigue, love, drama and is written so cleverly that you find yourself immersed in the Japanese samurai culture of bushido. Prior to reading Shogun I didn't know a single word of Japanese by the end of the book you are reading and understanding entire sentences !

I have re-read this book a number of times, it is my favourite by far. I even stumped up £30 to buy the 9 hour video box set. Unfortunately the video is a poor substitute as it cannot hope to illustrate the depth of the story in the same way the novel does.

My simple advice would be to buy the book and read it as quickly as time allows. Its an adventure and an education.

Brilliant !
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You simply must buy it. 18 Jun. 2007
By pikeman
Format:Paperback
I bought this book for the first time when I was 19 in 1982.

I have since bought two more copies simply because I have reread it so much the first two copies fell apart.

It just doesn't get much better than this story of a man dumped into a world completly different from anything he (or we) have seen before.

It's like the best science fiction in that it creates a world massively different to anything we've seen before - and makes us care about it and want to understand it.

Following directly from Shogun I bought 15-20 books about Japan - just becasue it was so compelling I wanted to know more about the country and it's history and it's people.

It's not going too far to say that this book changed my view of the world and has been a constant friend for a quarter of a century
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral Beauty 31 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I chose this book expecting bloody Samurai battles and violent Ninja Warfare. Even though there was far less of this than I hoped for I still loved this book. The multiple first person perspective is used well and all the characters are well formed and have their own depth. The political details and most importantly cultural insight in this book are fully rewarding and gave me a much better understanding of Bushido and other previously incomprehensible aspects of ancient Japanese society.
However the main thing that struck me about this book was how involved I became with the characters. Usually when there are romantic parts in a novel a trudge through them waiting for the more interesting sections, but the romance in this book was so well mastered and described that I really felt their love, their joy, their loss. This book is simply beautiful and could have carried on for another thousand pages, continuing to immerse me in its panoramic veiw of feudal Japan and my intimcay with the characters. Simply magnificent.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Domo arigato, Clavell-san. 7 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I picked up Shogun at the insistence of a close friend, and 3 weeks later I thanked him profusely. Words can't adequately describe this novel. It seems intimidating at first, but as you progress through it you feel yourself being drawn into the world Clavell has so brilliantly created. The world of Blackthorne, Toranaga and Mariko becomes a second live, a place of escapism and fantasy that threatens to consume you with its scintillating narrative. You care for the characters, and feel closer to them than many people you know. There's something for everyone; love, war, plot, counter-plot, points of searing violence juxtaposed with moments of exquisite tenderness. At the very least, Shogun will change the way you approach literature in the future. At the most it will change your life...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clavell's masterpiece: story-telling at its best 7 Jan. 2002
Format:Paperback
I must have read Shogun at least 10 times by now but I will never tire of it. Far and away Clavell's best work (King Rat and Tai-Pan a little unengaging; Gai-Jin an over-ambitious sequel), Shogun boasts a tragic love story, the clash of two rival cultures, an engrossing power struggle betweeen rival warlords in feudal Japan - and makes us care passionately about all of it.
The genius of Shogun is that it gives us both a hero to pin our hopes on - Richard Blackthorne, stranded Elizabethan sailor - and yet a fantastic canvas of other characters and sub-plots, all of whom make up an unforgettable picture of a civilisation I had previously known next to nothing about. Read it. And again. And again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shogun 13 Feb. 2010
By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
`Shogun' is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read. From the opening pages I was immediately hooked and I wasn't able to think of anything else until I reached the perfect conclusion. This book is epic, beautiful, full of intrigue, plot twists, machiavellian machinations, tragedy, comedy, honour and a whole range of emotions and feelings I am unable to fully express. It is truly vast and Shakespearean in it's depth of plot and overall scope. This book follows John Blackthorne who is an Elizabethan ship pilot who gets marooned in Japan and who gets embroiled in a war between samurai. He is made samurai and vassal to a Japanese lord and needs to learn about life in Japan quickly as his very life depends on it. There is SO SO much more to the story than that, but it is so densely woven and wonderfully written that it would take an essay to fully do it justice! The author has done exquisite research and the areas of Japanese life covered are rich, varied and authentic. These cover such topics as the tea ceremony, flower arranging, general day to day etiquette and Japanese sensibilities, garden arranging, the wearing of Kimono, the code of Bushido and much more besides. You could learn so much about Japanese life whilst also enjoying this engrossing and enthralling story. You will be fully immersed in the world of the story and I felt truly saddened when I finished the book and wanted to start all over again to keep myself in the time, places and emotions created. You will live and breathe Blackthorne's development with him and feel the confusion and isolation of his early days and the love and honour of his latter days. Read more ›
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