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Shogun (The Asian Saga Chronology) Paperback – May 19, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,185 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Asian Saga Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Superbly crafted...grips the reader like a riptide...gets the juices flowing!"—Washington Star

"Exciting, totally absorbing...be prepared for late nights, meals unlasting, buisness unattended..."—Philadelphia Inquirer

"Adventure and action, the suspense of danger, shocking, touching human relationships...a climactic human story." —Los Angeles Times

"Breathtaking....worth every word, every ounce, every penny."—Associated Press

From the Publisher

A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty saga of a time and place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust and the struggle for power.

"Superbly crafted. . .grips the reader like a riptide. . .gets the juices flowing!"--Washington Star.

"Exciting, totally absorbing. . .be prepared for late nights, meals unlasting, buisness unattended. . ."--Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Adventure and action, the suspense of danger, shocking, touching human relationships. . .a climactic human story."--Los Angeles Times. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Asian Saga Chronology
  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385343248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385343244
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on March 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Historical' fiction is something of a misnomer, as books placed in this category are almost always fiction first and 'historical' only in time and setting. Shogun, however, comes close to being a true example of this field, detailing the late 16th century exploration and exploitation of the Orient by the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and English. As few Americans are aware of some of the atrocities and cruelties committed in the name of crown and religion during this period, some of the scenes depicted in this book may come as shock. But they provide an excellent background portrait of the European mind-set of those times, a palette that Clavell uses to contrast and define the extraordinarily different culture of the Japan of that time.
And it is his portrait of the Japanese, his lovingly detailed characterizations of Toranaga, Mariko, Omi and their deeply intertwined interactions with the English pilot Blackthorne that defines and breathes life into this breathtakingly large and complex story of love, war, and political intrigue. And these characters are not static. Each grows and changes as events unfold, most especially Blackthorne himself, growing from a totally self-centered 'barbarian' of unclean habits to a person who can appreciate the beauty, intelligence, and moral rectitude of others, who comes to care deeply for those around him, who comes to understand a philosophy of life totally different from that of his own culture. The reader will eventually take each of these characters into his heart, will live right along with them and their problems, cares, successes, and failures, until they are almost more real than the mundane world the reader inhabits.
Is this book totally historically accurate? No, but it doesn't really need to be.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Very few men are wise-most are sinners and great evil happens on earth in gods name. But not of god. This world is vale of tears and only a preparation for the everlasting peace."-James Clavell, page 1085, Shogun.

For some reason this statement, made by Japanese christen monk perfectly sums up the awesome book that is shogun. I don't mean awesome in the sense of "dude, that was awesome", I mean it in the sense that this book is awe inspiring, mind blowing and devastatingly emotional and good.

This is a book about a man named John Blackthorn, English pilot of the Dutch ship Erasmus who was washed ashore with what was left of his crew in the small Japanese village of Anjiro. His tale is amazing, for Blackthorn will become the man who brings Japan into the 17th century, introduces them to guns, and totally decimates the Portuguese Jesuit hold over Japan. None of this sounds good of course, but that's because this book isn't really about Blackthorn.

I've always avoided Asian fiction and history, so I have no idea how accurate this book is. But, even if it's all total hooey, this book is amazing. It brings to life the Japan of flying cherry petals, green bamboo, samurai honor and wild mountain peaks. This is a book about honor and love and crossing cultural boundaries. It's a book about duty and karma and everything that is noble in life.

Written in the style of Michener, only with more emotion, I can only say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. It's so good in fact, that I don't think I can ever read it again.
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8 Comments 129 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book decades ago and recently re-read it to see if it impressed me as much as it did then. What I didn't know the first time I read it, was that it is based on fact and some of the main characters were based on real people. Thank you, Wikipedia, for enlightening me! Re-reading it with this in mind, I see that it is a masterpiece of a novel, nearly 1,000 pages of history, culture, devious plotting, but most of all a tribute to the culture of Japan. Westerners may find it difficult to understand or accept the ideals that are often opposite to ours. Where we prize individuality, they value uniformity and obedience. While so many of us are adrenaline junkies, even armchair ones anchored to video games, Japanese are more attuned to the natural world and strive for harmony. But back to the story, which focuses on a pivotal moment in Japanese history: when the first Protestant ship landed in 1600, beginning the end of Catholic influence in the land. At the same time, the great daimyos were battling among themselves for power. John Blackthorne, an English pilot, becomes the protégé of one of those daimyos, Lord Toranaga. Lady Mariko becomes the interpreter between them, and ultimately learns to respect the barbarian even as he learns to appreciate this alien culture. Despite carefully constructed scenes and character development, there simply isn't room to provide the complete backstory of each moment. The author solves the problem by allowing the inner thoughts of each character to summarize, which sometimes gives an almost humorous effect. Someone says "Hello", and their inner dialogue covers years of deceit, treachery and revenge before the other person returns the greeting. But overall, this is a terrific book. I recommend it for anyone who is interested in Japan, the Tudor era as experienced in Asia, and intricate plotting.
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