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Shogun: The First Novel of the Asian saga: A Novel of Japan Paperback – 2 Dec 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 401 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1136 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (2 Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340766166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340766163
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (401 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

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)

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)

Unquestionably the best historical novel of its kind since Anthony Adverse (Los Angeles Times)

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)

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)

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)

Mr Clavell tells his story brilliantly (The Times)

Book Description

James Clavell's most famous and best-loved novel repackaged for a new generation

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By A Customer on 31 Dec. 2000
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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By A Customer on 14 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
To understand why this book is a work of pure genious and, in my opinion, one of the best 'historical' novels ever written, it is critical to understand that James Clavell spent most of his wartime years imprisoned in Japanese POW camps. It was during his time in captivity that Clavell developed the extremely profound understanding of Asian culture which made his books come alive with a very rich characterization of Asia.
Shogun is a highly entertaining story with many twists and side-stories, set in the bizarre surroundings provided by feudal Japan and is, by itself, a very good and interesting read. However, the real genious of Clavell's work only becomes apparent when you begin to realize that, perhaps for the first time of your life, you really feel that you are begining to "understand" the complex and confusing phenomenon that is Japanese culture.
I think that Shogun (and, for that matter, most of Clavell's other books of the "Asian Saga") is a 'must read' for anyone with an interest in Asian culture...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First things first, it's impossible to read this and not admire the effort, research and skill that clearly went into it. On this basis, there's no way I could give it less than 4 stars. The author skillfully combines all the worldbuilding of a fantasy novel with all the detailed research of a historical novel set in a time and place your average English reader is more familiar with. I felt like I learnt a lot about 16th century Japanese people, politics and culture, a subject I previously knew little about. The food, the places and the traditions are lovingly described, so you can both vividly imagine them and long to experience them yourself.

There were also some very good dramatic, romantic and tense moments, and the seemingly main character, an Englishman marooned in Japan, worked really well as both a genuinely sympathetic figure and a great lens for showing the cultural differences and mutual incomprehension between the two countries at the time.

When I picked up the book, I was a little nervous that it would either be a sort of boy's own adventure in which a plucky Englishman saved/educated the barbarians, or else an ultra-romanticized view of Japan. I was relieved that it was actually very well balanced, with each "side" regarding the other as uncivilised, and the narrative making clear that there are good and bad points about each culture, and good and bad people too.

On the more negative side, although I generally prefer to read something I can get my teeth into, this felt a little over-long. Between the huge page count and the dense and complex plot, it took me longer to read than anything I've read in several years, despite the fact that I regularly devour both heavy literary novels and fantasy doorstoppers.
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