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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 19 January 2013
I am a huge fan of Goran Powell,
his books are detailed, meticulously researched and absolutely compelling.
And his work is getting better and better.
His latest book, Chojun, is a revelation. I love it.
Many congratulations on a wonderful book Goran. I hope you write many more. The world
needs great authors like you.
Geoff Thompson
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on 27 January 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Chojun, both as a martial arts enthusiast and as a general reader.

I only know what I know about Chojun Miyagi through reading books, researching on the internet and by training in the kata that he left as a legacy. What the book does well is put that time into context by weaving a story of human survival around the peak and demise of his life and training.

In other words the book breathes life into that historical period and although in the main a work of fiction, I found it an informative way to further understand the life and struggles of Chojun Miyagi in his quest to popularise karate throughout the world.
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on 28 January 2013
I've loved Goran Powell's writing since I read his non-fiction book Waking Dragons. His first novel, A Sudden Dawn, had me hooked from page one - and now he's done it again.

Chojun is beautifully written, skilfully blending the real life of Chojun Miyagi with the fictional character of his student, Kenichi Ota.

From fascinating insights into the beginnings of Goju Ryu karate to the horrors of WWII's Battle of Okinawa, Goran's meticulous research and powerful imagery transports you right into the heart of the story. Just like A Sudden Dawn, Chojun kept me up until the early hours of the morning.

If you love martial arts, historical fiction, or just a cracking good story, this book is for you.
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on 6 May 2014
This was such a good novel. I think it would appeal to anyone interested in traditional martial arts, WW2 in Asia or Japan/Okinawa in general. It is a very well written book that is easy to read. You will find that hours just disappear after you open this book.
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on 28 December 2012
I had been eagerly awaiting publication of this book, it seems such a long time ago since I first heard it was being written. Well, it was worth the wait!!! Gripping from the beginning, I really did not want to put it down. Goran Powell is such a gifted author who really captures the imagination. His vivid descriptions make it easy to visualise all the events unfolding: I could almost feel the intense testing of Sanchin, hear the pounding of the Makiwara and sense the fear during the battle of Okinawa. Compared to other books I have read on the life of Chojun Miyagi, this is by far the best and develops his character in a way that can be related to, I am so glad to have bought and read it. My only regret was that I finished it all too soon, but I am sure that I will return to it again and again, just like I did with "A Sudden Dawn" and "Waking Dragons". Strongly recommended. Well done Goran, I look forward to your next book!
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on 7 February 2014
The author knows his subject and the book is very well researched. The central character rises from a humble background in Okinawa to become the disciple of a legend in martial arts, Master Chojun Miyagi. We are taken on a journey that shows not only how Okinawa played such a key part in the development of the karate we know today, but how it became the last hope of resistance in World War 2 when the American forces turned the tide in the Pacific.

Entwined in the story are the hopes and fears of a young boy growing into manhood and watching the island he loved destroyed by the terrors of war. As he grows in confidence paradoxically his Master begins to fade and the author paints a fascinating insight into the mind of legend and his decline, viewed not only introspectively but externally by those that love and revere him.

The author is a natural writer and his words flow easily across each page painting vivid pictures of a little explored piece of history. As a martial artist myself reading the genesis of Goju Ryu was of special interest to me but non-martial artists should not be put off by the subject. There is much more this book than a narrow focus. I recommend this book and am happy to do so.
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on 1 February 2013
Wow!

Goran Powell's done a wonderful job of writing up the story of the real Mr Miyagi. As someone who has practised karate (albeit a different style), I found his descriptions of Karate to be spot on, and his descriptions of life in Japan in the 40s ring true, based on other materials I've read.
The pace of the book is also very good- the chapters have a good flow to them, and the breaks are at very convenient spots, ideal for reading when you're likely to be interrupted. I found the story gripping too, as I ended up reading past my allotted reading time regularly.

The book is not full of fight sequences, but has some action nonetheless, and the portion of the story which falls into the American invasion of Okinawa does a brilliant job of describing this from the Japanese side. The story is more about the spiritual growth that comes with studying a martial art, and the attitude it encourages.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in martial arts and philosophy, and will be looking at Goran's other writings.
Note that I'm deliberately keeping this review a little vague because I don't want to introduce spoilers, but, as it's semi-biographical book anyway, there aren't many surprises.

The book was a review copy via Goodreads First Reads.
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on 6 December 2012
Goran Powell is a gifted writer.
His research of his subject make this book a delight to read.
Not only for histrorical purposes but for depth of character and realism.
It was both moving and insightful.
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on 27 February 2013
With no mention of Daniel LaRusso, wax on wax off, or standing on a log to deliver a crane kick, this book is all the better for its realism.
The plot moves along quickly and is roughly pre-war, war and post war in scope, exploring the impact on civilians and participants. A good introduction to a (fictional) non-US perspective to complement (real) memoirs such as 'With the old breed' or excellent TV fictional portrayals of these such as 'The pacific'.
The challenge with following any war is maintaining the dramatization moving forward and I feel that this was achieved in a plausible way. A good read, 'consumed' in two days, on Kindle.
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on 15 August 2013
well written story which weaves true facts in with fiction (and does so rather well)
I would recommend it to someone who likes martial arts (particularly goju ryu karate) history with a good story thrown in too.
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