Satori Paperback – 15 Sep 2011
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'Elegant, well-researched, and magnificently plotted, Satori is exhilarating' ( LA Times )
'Satori is every bit as tait, intelligent and gripping as the book that captured the imagination of millions in the seventies' ( Choice )
'A sprawling, effervescent, page-turning account of how the assassin was made' ( Observer )
'Sleek, smart and deadly. Satori is a must-read' (Joseph Finder)
'An accomplished page-turning prequel' ( Wall Street Journal )
Nicholai Hel exploded onto the scene in Trevanian's 1970s blockbuster SHIBUMI. Now critically acclaimed novelist Don Winslow continues the story and reveals how Nicolai Hel became the world's most dangerous assassinSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What are the flaws, without revealing any spoilers
1. No depth, very superficial
2. Confusing plot
3. Some chapters are only 4 lines long.
4. Badly written, similar to dan brown's trashy novels.
5. Un-necessary characters, plotlines etc.
Its written by someone who knows he will never write anything as good as shibumi. My advice dont buy it, read the original again.
Answer - just about everything.
I found the glamour and mystery that surrounded Hel in Travanian's work missing and although there were other elements of originality in this prequel, it is best described as a pedestrian thriller.
Sad because I had high hopes and I love Wimslow's other works (The Cartel is one of my favourite books).
This should have, and easily could have, been released without trying to pin itself to the original, which seems to be little more than marketing ploy. Quite frankly it's entirely possible this book written before the idea of linking it to Shibumi was concidered
Basically, Don Winslow has written a prequel to the 1979 airport bestseller Shibumi. The star of Shibumi, assassin Nicholai Hel, is straight out of a Hai Karate advert. He is tall, muscular, half Russian, half Japanese (a mindblowingly exotic combination in 1979), attractive to women, adept at martial arts, fearless, able to bear excruciating pain, fluent in many languages, a genius at the game of Go, and uniquely honourable. He is flawless; a perfect hero. If he were a film character, he would have been played by Burt Lancaster.
So Nicholai Hel takes us on a tour of the far east - Japan, China, Laos and Viet Nam - in an effort to assassinate a Russian envoy and follow through with his cover of shipping arms to Viet Nam. In the course of his travails, he is double crossed; sold to the enemy; has repeated attempts on his life and suffers grievous injuries. He survives of course thanks largely to his great metaphor of comparing the world to a game of Go. Plus this is a prequel so he couldn't come unstuck - and this particular genre of 1970s spy thriller wouldn't entertain the possibility of failure.
So much for the cheese - where are the crackers, you ask?
Well, there are some superb traveloguey settings. The state run hotels of Beijing; the perils of the Mekong valley; the shady streets of Luang Prabang; steamy Saigon. It's all there. The puppet emperor Bao Dai makes more than a cameo appearance. The politics, intrigue and depravity of French Indochina are laid bare.Read more ›
But, it's all still highly readable. The short chapters usually end on something of a cliff-hanger and rattle by at a helluva pace. This is perfectly good leave-your-brain-at-home fare for a long flight or when you're lounging on a beach (which is where I read most of it).
To summarise, whilst Satori is not particularly profound or memorable, if you're into espionage shenanigans with a hefty dose of sex and violence thrown in, this pot-boiler is one of those guilty pleasure sort of books and certainly ticks most of the boxes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love Don Winslow's style of story-telling! Exciting story of Asian/Russian agent who embarks on a compromised CIA mission, everyone expects him to fail.....Published 2 months ago by James Kruger
Hey - well done Don - totally got into it - really carried on the Hel story.Published 2 months ago by Lola's
good tome,just to attempt it is great,,,,and I look forward to the next..Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very enjoyable, picked the character up well but preferred Diamond as unthinking thug rather than what we saw here. More pleasePublished 11 months ago by Stephen Evans
Fabulous read, torturous in parts & very involved cat-and-mouse-cat-rat style. Who do you trust...well no-one. Read itPublished 18 months ago by Lindylou
Don't know why people were down on this, I thought it was great. Good addition to my collection.Published 21 months ago by Mr critical