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The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger Series) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD

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Product Details

  • Series: Bob Lee Swagger Series (Book 4)
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Abridged edition (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597376760
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597376761
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,836,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bob Lee Swagger, retired marine master sniper and hero of bestseller Hunter's 1993 thriller, Point of Impact (forthcoming as the film Shooter), returns in this riveting homage to the myth of the samurai. Philip Yano, the son of the Japanese officer who commanded the bunker on Iwo Jima where Swagger's marine father won the Medal of Honor in 1945, approaches Swagger about a missing sword wielded by his father, Hideki, during the battle for the island. The sword turns out to be not just a family heirloom but a national treasure that evokes echoes from the most sacrosanct corners of Japanese history. Yano's search reveals there are those who will gladly kill for the honor it bestows upon the possessor. Plunged into a Japan where honor and loyalty outweigh even one's own life, Swagger finds that an old warrior like himself still has much to understand. While the action builds to the inevitable climax, the joy of the journey will keep readers turning the pages. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This is the novel Hunter's fans have been waiting for, the book that brings together his father-and-son protagonists: Earl Swagger, World War II hero and hard-nosed cop, and Bob Lee Swagger, Vietnam sniper and, like his father, the kind of guy who can't say no to righteous violence. Until now, Earl and Bob have each starred in their own books, but this time, ingeniously, Hunter brings them together when Bob is contacted by a retired Japanese soldier, Philip Yano, who believes that his father's samurai sword may have wound up in Earl's hands after the war. Bob tracks down the sword, travels to Japan, and presents it to Yano—after which the Yano family is slaughtered. Bob could walk away, but, of course, he doesn't. Throwing himself into samurai culture, he learns swordsmanship from a master and sets off to avenge the Yanos—and, in a sense, his father. Sure, this sounds clichéd, but much of Hunter's genius comes from his ability to manipulate archetypes—especially the classic western scenario of the lone avenger—drawing on the almost subconscious pull these themes exert on the reader but always infusing them with multiple layers of complexity. As Bob is drawn into the samurai world, and tension builds to the inevitable confrontation with his adversary—a modern samurai seduced by the dark side—Hunter simultaneously fuels our need for bloody resolution and reveals the horrors wrought by devotion to honor and duty. But this time he does it with parallel narratives—juxtaposing the story of Earl Swagger and Philip Yano's father against the contemporary drama and playing off the same themes across generations. This is probably Hunter's most violent novel—and that's saying something—but violence may have never been more integral to story than it is here. Hunter celebrates the samurai soldier while showing the appalling underside of the samurai way of life and the ideals that drive it. Ott, Bill --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

And that's too bad, because Mr. Hunter has an engaging style and can plot a book pretty well.
Christopher Chardon
Does Hunter actually care, then, when people like me will still spend the money, even though we mourn the fact that he's letting us down?
S. Green
I've read all of Stephen Hunter's books and Bob Lee Swagger is one of my favorite protagonists.
Nancy C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 95 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Ingoldsby on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not sure what has happened to Stephen Hunter's work. I really enjoyed "Point of Impact" and "Dirty White Boys" is a great book.
But in this, Bob has changed completely.
He does his research on Japan by watching old samurai movies and seems to wish to fight much better trained individuals with a sword to prove a point. This is rationalised as being more sensible to use a sword than to carry a gun in Japan.

As Sam Vincent observed in "Point of Impact" the essence of Bob was his practicality,and we see none of this here. The most sensible thing for a world class sniper would be to find a rifle somewhere in Japan and shoot the bad guys from a 1000 yards out (take it from me, they have it coming).

Rather than letting Bob get cut to shreds, Hunter stretches reality enough that Bob learns swordfighting in a few days, enough to fight 4 trained swordsmen successfully, and to give somebody who was described as a kendo prodigy a very hard time. It is frankly ridiculous.

In addition Hunter's knowledge of unarmed combat is poor... I think he just making it up.

The dialogue and plot are risible. The characters are paper thin, and the observations about Japan and the Japanese are at best ignorant, at worst borderline racist.

But the most irritating thing for me is the fact that it is inconsistent with previous books and with itself. For example Bob's daughter is supposed to be 23. But he is supposed to have met her mother in 1993. This sort of sloppiness is just annoying.

Very disappointed.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Grimace73 on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I see a disappointing trend in Stephen Hunter's writing. In Havana, Hunter was obviously very interested in 1950's Cuba and Castro at the time. It felt like he wanted to write a story about it but threw poor Earl Swagger in it just to please his fans. The results were bad, one of his worst books.

I'm sad to say the 47th Samurai is the same deal. Hunter even admits in his acknowledgments that he totally got into the whole Samurai thing and initially wanted to write a story set in ancient times involving rival clans or something. Instead he wrote a modern samurai story and threw poor Bob Lee in it to please his fans. Again, bad move.

I was really excited when the book opens with Earl's adventures on Iwo - it's what I've been waiting for all these years. It's only a very small portion of the book though.

Bob Lee just does NOT belong in this book. It never "felt" like the real Bob the Nailer. He doesn't even hold a gun once in this book!

Mr. Hunter - if you want to branch out and get away from gun heavy thrillers, that's fine. Just don't try to squeeze the Swaggers into a story that doesn't fit them.

I've been waiting for a page turner like Dirty White Boys for a long time. Unfortunately, the 47th Samurai isn't it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Garsson on January 18, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Have been reading Hunter since Point of was gifted to me while in the U.S. Navy by an LRRP Vietnam Veteran who found Hunter's attention to detail and storytelling ability to be vastly above the status quo for this genre, and I agreed.
Hunter knows guns, gun people, and how to write about the who, what, why, where, how and when.
However, when it comes to the Japanese people, culture and specifically, swords and swordsmanship, he just doesn't seem to feel the need to spin a yarn with the same attention to detail, or plausability.
There is no human being on the planet that could start cold, intensively study Japanese Sword Arts for a WEEK and beat the best living swordsman in Japan...and that is just for starters. This book is getting donated to the library.

While much of Hunter's work is superb, and he is a fine writer, 47th Samurai is utterly craptastic, and simply seems to be written for the paycheck.
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful By David W. Straight on September 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Imagine the next Swagger novel after The 47th Ronin, as this should perhaps have been titled. The evil villain has never held a gun, but after a week of training, is able to become a world-class sniper and beats Swagger on Swagger's own turf. The villain is in good shape, but is 80 years old. "Absurd!", you say, and rightly. It's not enough to learn about different rifles and loads, your mind and muscles need to develop instincts. The 80-year old newbie world-class sniper must face situations such as the following: for a particular rifle and load, the target is 850 yards away and 50 yards lower. He's at an altitude of 6500 feet. It's 33 degrees and snowing lightly, with a humidity of 85%. If the target is due north, the wind is blowing from the northwest at 10 mph. How much do you allow for windage? How much bullet drop? All of the factors mentioned here must be taken into account--learning these will take years, not a week. Could someone who has never played golf learn enough in a week to beat Tiger Woods in the US Open?

The major problem with the book is that it asks you to believe that Swagger, 60 years old with a gimpy leg, can become a world-class samurai swordsman in a week. Even Hunter has his characters suggest that you cannot learn enough in a week to become good. But Hunter has nonetheless locked himself into this theme. Swagger first beats the junior champion of all Japan, then takes on 6 veteran swordsmen who are 20 years younger all at once and beats them all, and then...well, it gets worse. You can argue that Swagger isn't really "world-class"--but if you're consistently beating world-class swordsmen, then what are you? There are reviewers who say that this seems to push belief a bit, but you can put that aside.
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More About the Author

Stephen Hunter won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism as well as the 1998 American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for Distinguished Writing in Criticism for his work as film critic at The Washington Post. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including Time to Hunt, Black Light, Point of Impact, and the New York Times bestsellers Havana, Pale Horse Coming, and Hot Springs. He lives in Baltimore.

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