Like juggling knives in a storm – learning the Two Heavens technique is that difficult for Jack. But war looms over Japan in 1613, so he and his friends at samurai school must master the secret sword moves soon. When he was tossed ashore after ninja pirates hijacked the English ship his father was piloting and wrecked it, Jack couldn’t have imagined this – being adopted by an influential warrior family, learning intricate Japanese language and customs, attending samurai school. Many still sneeringly call him ‘gaijin’ because of his foreign appearance, but those who have seen his fighting skills respect the blond-haired teen.
Now one regional daimyo is gathering troops to attack the Emperor! The daimyo who sponsors Masamoto’s samurai school is loyal to the Son of Heaven, so all his warriors must rush to defend the capital of Osaka. Suddenly “the way of the dragon” is more than daily classes, as martial arts practice becomes urgent, their sword skills are honed, and Jack’s group takes every opportunity to perfect their moves with bo stick or arrow or throwing star.
The noise and dust of the battlefield is tremendous – here, the students’ abilities to concentrate under pressure will mean the difference between life and death. They must protect the future emperor at any cost. If the fighting reaches the tower stronghold that they defend, then only their cleverness and skill will keep the empire from falling into chaos.
Jack still longs to recover his father’s encoded navigation atlas from the one-eyed ninja who stole it. That rutter would allow Jack to pilot any ship away from Japan to his English home port –and back again, defying the Emperor’s command that foreigners stay away. But the evil ninja DragonEye is not content with stealing Jack’s map home; he wants Jack’s lifeblood as well.
Can Jack and the samurai students keep the young ruler alive? Is there a traitor in their ranks? Will the assassin DragonEye strike during the confusion of battle?
This exciting third book in the Young Samurai series brings readers into the closed society of 17th century Japan with every swordstroke and ceremonial bow. Be sure to start Jack’s amazing story from the beginning with The Way of the Warrior (book 1) and The Way of the Sword (book 2).
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA