The book is not an epic, I like to think of it as an epic epic.
First of all, it’s really huge—over a thousand pages—and does not feel long at all. You start reading it, and it’s like you’re sucked in to the story. You just can’t stop reading.
Set around the 1600s in Japan, it is filled with many diverse yet detailed characters. It provides a wonderful contrast of Western and Japanese cultures from the eyes of John Blackthrone, a ship-wrecked pilot (not the flying kind) who ends up in the centre of a political game of mammoth proportions. As he learns to adapt to the Japanese, so will your reactions change to the different customs depicted here.
The Last Samurai is a terrible knock-off of this novel. Really terrible. I liked parts of the movie, but now I don’t think I’ll be able to watch it again.
Politics is a grand game, but here it’s literally a matter of life and death. And watching a master at work (Toranaga) is truly inspiring. Machiavelli’s got nothing on him.
And did I mention that here be a really good love story as well, in fact, one of the best I’ve read?
Off topic: Haven’t been blogging much recently. Have put off far too much work, and I gotta get on track soon. Baby steps…