Synopses & Reviews
Bob Lee Swagger is finally back home, now retired and living in rural Crazy Horse, Idaho. Just as he's beginning to settle into the quiet routine of old age, he gets a surprise visit from Philip Yato, a Japanese war veteran. Yato reveals that fifty years ago, Swagger's father killed his own at a battle on Iwo Jima. He is now on a search for his father's military sword, which is of great emotional value to the Yato family. Though Swagger cannot immediately produce the sword, he embarks on a convoluted hunt that eventually leads him to the blade, which he personally delivers to Yato in the suburbs of Tokyo.
The Yatos welcome him warmly, and Swagger watches, mesmerized, as Philip examines the sword and discovers that it is not merely a worthless, run-of-the-mill military weapon, but a centuries-old samurai sword that is likely a national treasure. As Philip uncovers more of the ancient mystery surrounding the piece, Swagger returns to the airport, each unaware that they are being stalked by a murderous, self-proclaimed samurai who believes he lays claim to the sacred blade. While Swagger lays passed out drunk in the Narita Tokyo airport, the Yato family is slaughtered, their house burned to ashes, the sword stolen. Swagger, devastated by the news, declares it his personal duty to solve the mystery of their deaths. Back in the U.S., he isolates himself from his family to immerse himself in Japanese culture, convinced that once he understands the true meaning of samurai, he will be able to return to Japan and uncover the mystery of the sword and its cruel destiny. He has no idea how dark and twisted the plot will become.
Hunter skillfully weaves the twists and turns of Bob Lee'sstory with vivid, ongoing flashbacks of the Iwo Jima fight which took Yato's father's life and made Earl Swagger a military legend. The mounting suspense of the fathers' inevitable confrontation, the detailed battle scenes, and narrative insight into the thoughts and actions of both soldiers skillfully brings the listener back in time, making the present-day friendship of the sons and the subsequent intrigue all the more poignant and captivating.
Bob Lee Swagger and Philip Yano are bound together by a single moment at Iwo Jima, 1945, when their fathers, two brave fighters on opposite sides, met in the bloody and chaotic battle for the island. Only Earl Swagger survived.More than sixty years later, Yano comes to America to honor the legacy of his heroic father by recovering the sword he used in the battle. His search has led him to Crazy Horse, Idaho, where Bob Lee, ex-marine and Vietnam veteran, has settled into a restless retirement and immediately pledges himself to Yano's quest.Bob Lee finds the sword and delivers it to Yano in Tokyo. On inspection, they discover that it is not a standard WWII blade, but a legendary shin-shinto katana, an artifact of the nation. It is priceless but worth killing for. Suddenly Bob is at the center of a series of terrible crimes he barely understands but vows to avenge. And to do so, he throws himself into the world of the samurai, Tokyo's dark, criminal yakuza underworld, and the unwritten rules of Japanese culture.Swagger's allies, hard-as-nails, American-born Susan Okada and the brave, cocaine-dealing tabloid journalist Nick Yamamoto, help him move through this strange, glittering, and ominous world from the shady bosses of the seamy Kabukicho district to officials in the highest echelons of the Japanese government, but in the end, he is on his own and will succeed only if he can learn that to survive samurai, you must become samurai.As the plot races and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that a ruthless conspiracy is in place, and the only thing that can be taken for granted is that money, power, and sex can drive men of all nationalities to gruesome extremes. If Swagger hopes to stop them, he must be willing not only to die but also to kill.
"New York Times" bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hunter combines the raw grittiness of 1945 Iwo Jima with the mystique of the samurai culture to create his best thriller to date. Unabridged. 10 CDs.