Synopses & Reviews
Nicholai Hel--genius, mystic, and the perfect, formidable assassin--was first introduced to readers in Shibumi, the classic #1 bestseller by master storyteller Trevanian. Now, critically-acclaimed author Don Winslow continues Hel's story for the first time in this all-new, blockbuster thriller.
It is the fall of 1951 and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hoda korosu or "naked kill," fluent in seven languages, and has honed extraordinary "proximity sense"-an extra-awareness of the presence of danger. He has the skills to be the world's most fearsome assassin and now the CIA needs him. The Americans offer Hel freedom, money, and a neutral passport in exchange for one small service: go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union's Commissioner to China. It's almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive chaos, violence, suspicion, and betrayal while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of satori-the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"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 Savages (2010) and The Dawn Patrol (2008), 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 proximity sense, 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."--Booklist (starred review)
"An intricately plotted, fast-paced thrill ride. Carrying on the legacy of Trevanian's SHIBUMI, Don Winslow skillfully brings the character of master assassin Nicholai Hel to life, creating a story so engrossing you won't be able to put it down. Winslow has truly done the Trevanian legacy proud."--Nelson DeMille
"A grand, sprawling, magnificent entertainment. Trevanian, in the skilled hands of Don Winslow, is alive and well, and dare I say, better than ever! For those of us who look back on Shibumi as a highlight of their reading lives, Satori does not for a moment disappoint. Those who have not read Shibumi are in for a treat. My immediate question upon turning the last page was "when is the next one coming out?" I cannot wait!"--Christopher Reich
"Satori is first-rate spy fiction, full of explosive action, exotic locales, and surprising romance, and Nicholai Hel is an assassin you'll cheer for: intent on vengeance for a terrible injustice, as comfortable with philosophy as he is familiar with the mechanics of stopping a man's heart, beset by enemies in a game whose true nature he can only divine by playing through to the end."--Barry Eisler
"A home run . . . carefully choreographed, bare-knuckled action . . . elegant writing, a mature, confident narrative and characters so real you can almost touch them on the page . . . Winslow has done the creator of Shibumi and the Nicholai Hel character proud."--David Baldacci
"Trevanian's Shibumi was one of the all-time great thrillers. Don Winslow is one of the best thriller writers we have. Put the two together and the result, no surprise, is sleek, smart, and deadly. SATORI is a must-read."--Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia and Vanished
First there was Bond.
Then there was Bourne.
Now comes Hel.
Nicholai Hel-a Westerner by birth but an Asian by upbringing-speaks seven languages, kills with a naked hand, and is a master of the world's most challenging game of strategy: Go. All this has made him a very dangerous man-an assassin who blends in anywhere, doesn't need weapons to kill his targets, and sees ten moves ahead.
Released from three years of honing his mental and physical skills in solitary confinement on the condition that he kill a high-ranking Soviet official in China, Hel must survive a suicide mission to save his own life and the beautiful French spy that he loves.
It's the height of the Cold War.
The game is lethal, the stakes enormous.
Nicholai Hel is on the board.
About the Author
was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. His books include The Power of the Dog
and The Life and Death of Bobby Z.
In addition to his writing, Don has been an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator. Don lives in the San Diego area with his wife, Jean, and son, Thomas. He invites you to visit him at his website www.donwinslow.com.
TREVANIAN's books have been translated into more than fourteen languages and have sold million of copies worldwide. In addition to Shibumi, Trevanian is the author of seven novels including The Eiger Sanction and The Loo Sanction.