From Publishers Weekly
Nicholai Hel was already an accomplished assassin, a master of hoda korosu ("naked kill"), when introduced in Trevanian's 1979 Shibumi. Now Winslow (The Life and Death of Bobby Z.) dons Trevanian's mantle and cloaks Hel in a tangled series of adventures and misadventures in this exciting prequel. Hel's conditional ticket out of an American-run prison in 1951 Japan requires him to acquire a new face and identity and to carry out a probably suicidal mission to assassinate Soviet commissioner Yuri Voroshenin in China. In the guise of 26-year-old Michel Guibert, a French arms dealer, Hel enters a labyrinthine world of intrigue as various Chinese factions and foreign interests struggle for advantage. Winslow successfully fleshes out Hel's mixed heritage (aristocratic Russian mother, surrogate Japanese father and mentor), and eventually takes him to war-torn Vietnam, where Hel's expertise in applying Go strategy is as important to his survival as his physical skills. Winslow has crafted an impressive prelude to a highly esteemed classic thriller. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* In his 1979 international best-seller, Shibumi, acclaimed author Trevanian introduced readers to handsome mystic and ingenious assassin Nicholai Hel. In this compelling prequel, Winslow, whose popular novels include The Dawn Patrol (2008) and Savages (2010), details Hel’s life leading up to Trevanian’s opus. Satori opens in the fall of 1951, in the throes of the Korean War. Twenty-six-year-old Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Now his captors are offering to release him—at a price. He must go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union’s commissioner to China. Though Hel is blond with striking green eyes, his worldview is more Eastern than Western. (He was raised by an aristocratic Russian mother in Shanghai and later lived in Japan, where he studied the ancient and notoriously challenging board game, Go.) Hel is a master of hoda korosu, “the naked kill,” and blessed with an uncanny sense of proximity, which makes him hyperaware of potential danger. He’ll need every tool in his deadly dossier to earn freedom. Winslow renders breathless suspense and a cast of dark, devious characters from all corners of the globe. Recommend this one to fans of Baldacci and le Carré as well as, of course, Trevanian. --Allison Block