From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9 Bradford raises the stakes for his blond samurai student in this second installment in the series. Previously shipwrecked after his father was murdered by the ninja leader Dragon Eye, Jack is continuing his training as a samurai at his foster father's school for young warriors. Dedicated to keeping his father's navigational log from Dragon Eye, who has tried to steal it before, Jack hides the book at the castle of the daimyo, where he feels it will be safer. In the meantime, he must train to participate in the Circle of Three, a trial that would allow him to learn a double-sword-fighting technique, one he feels he needs to defend himself against the ninja's treachery. To add to his worries, his friend Akiko is acting strangely, disappearing in the night, and Jack suspects she may be training as a ninja. Bradford combines the structure of a British school story with the flavor of 17th-century Japan, and his descriptions of both swordplay and hand-to-hand martial arts reveal his extensive knowledge of the subject. Young martial artists will be eager to try out sticky-hands drills in their own dojos. Though the secondary cast is often too large to keep track of and only a few of the characters are fully developed, the ongoing struggle between honorable samurai and dastardly ninja will draw both reluctant readers and enthusiasts of Japanese history. Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
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In The Way of the Warrior (2009), shipwrecked Jack began his training as a samurai after watching the vile ninja Dokugan Ryu murder his father. In his second year of training, Jack perfects a few new techniques while dodging his adopted society’s increasing hostility toward foreigners. Bradford takes special care and pleasure in describing the minutiae of martial arts and other aspects of Japanese culture. With straightforward prose, he has managed to pen lively and exciting fight sequences and is slowly beginning to develop a keen edge to his cast of characters, laying significant groundwork for future installments. Grades 6-9. --Ian Chipman