The Warrior's Soul is the second volume of James Calbraith's Year of the Dragon series, and continues its tale of adventure in an alternative 19th Century Japan. Westerner Bran is still hiding from the authorities in Yamato, but now he must find his dragon which has been captured. He sets out with cross-dressing samurai Sato and apprentice priestess Nagomi. Meanwhile a demon samurai tortures Sato's father in an effort to find the fugitives.
The book is such a seamless continuation of the first volume that you have to wonder whether the original intention might have been to release them as a single book. But the magic-laced landscape of Yamato is depicted masterfully. There is a small macguffin to deal with Bran's western features and inability to speak Japanese which in other hands could have been clunky, but Calbraith's decision to infuse the young dragonrider with the ghost of an ancient samurai warrior is masterful. The warrior in question comes across as a bizarre cross between insane bloodthirsty warlord and Albert Steptoe.
Like bad luck and buses, fantasy series always seems to come in threes, and I'll be waiting eagerly for the third volume!