Publisher: YMMAA Publication Center
Publishing Date: July 2014
Publisher Description: The Plot:
Chie Miyazaki is wild and spoiled—the pampered child of a cadet line of the imperial House of Japan. When she disappears in the United States accompanied by a slick Korean boyfriend, it sets off alarm bells among people in Japan’s security apparatus.
Review: Nice calming cover art…..
I really enjoyed the various characters within this novel. The author did a really good job in developing even the bit players. This is my first foray into this author’s work as I tend to avoid fiction with a martial arts theme. Usually the fight scenes are unrealistic or the hero is this indefatigable/unstoppable force that can break you with a glance etc. From experience (Shodan Isshinryu) I can fully relate to the dojo life with all the physical pain, fleeting insights and commraderie that barely describes a life long experience. The author touches on these experiences and brings them to life through Connor, albeit with a sometimes metaphysical twist.
At one point in the story, Mori’s journal is given to Yamashita and we discover the truths of Yamashita’s past life. The voice used in the journal iterates a story to Yamashita. Why tell someone a story of their life unless the intent is for the benefit of a different reader? The story should have been a past account by Mori in the first person and not a direct dialogue with Yamashita.
The Enzan or warning to keep focus on important things, to not be distracted seems to me contradictory. The author speaks of ego and a mindless state or being in the moment yet Connor embraces the idea of Enzan and says that it is easier said than done.
I like that Connor gets abducted and the crap beat out him. He is a man that knows his limitations and is wholly fallible and human. Too often we seem to reach our pinnacles of achievement and progress no further, only protecting the fragile ego in the process. The author reveals these contradictions where the choice to do martial arts, for instance, implies ego yet the practice of martial arts is the implementation and/or attainment of a mindless state. I think there is both. The mind, as long as it does not become your complete identity and you are AWARE of those limitations, specifically that you are not your mind, then it is used as it should be, as a tool. The idea, that in our formative society that we can become ascethitc hermits vying for enlightenment is ridiculous. We interact, we think, we do. This begets use of the mind. Yet the ability to embrace an awareness of who you really are while working through the minds endless limitations is a poignant daily exercise.
I had a good time reading this novel. I identified with a large part of this novel, but others that do not have that background will find the authors writing talent/creativeness more than compensates in other subject areas within the novel.