Synopses & Reviews
For the past two years, twelve-year-old Jack Fletcher has been a rigging monkey on a British vessel. Jack's father, the ship's navigator, has been teaching him all that he knows, through his rutter, an invaluable book of maps and notes on the world's uncharted oceans. When a storm forces the ship into an unfriendly bay, it is attacked by ninja pirates who have been sent to steal the rutter. Helpless against the powerful ninja, the entire crew, including Jack's father, is slaughtered during the ensuing fight. Washed up on the shores of a mysterious land known to the British as the Japans, Jack is hurt and left for dead. He is soon rescued by Massamotosan, one of Japan's greatest samurai. At first Jack is terrified, he cannot communicate, nor does he know anything of Japanese custom. He becomes friends with Massamoto's niece, the graceful and powerful Akiko who teaches him the language and how to fit in. Soon, Jack is deemed ready to join Massamoto's household and sent to samurai school where he will learn the way of the warrior. Life at samurai school is fraught with difficulty, and Jack is bullied for being a 'barbarian'. He begins the grueling physical and psychological training required of all the students. While guarding the only thing he has from his father, the rutter, and hoping it will help him get home one day, Jack needs all the courage he can muster to prove to his to fellow students that he has what it takes to be a samurai.
"Debut author Bradford comes out swinging in this fast-paced adventure set in medieval Japan, the first in the projected Young Samurai trilogy. Twelve-year-old Jack Fletcher has gained a reputation aboard a British merchant vessel as an agile rigging monkey. But after Japanese ninja murder the entire crew, including his father, Jack is left alone and injured to cope with strange customs and indecipherable language. When he shows his fortitude and cleverness, however, a powerful samurai adopts him and sends him to learn the ways of Japan's warrior class. Jack's story alone makes for a page-turner, but coupling it with intriguing bits of Japanese history and culture, Bradford produces an adventure novel to rank among the genre's best. The intricate and authentic descriptions of martial arts contests will hold readers spellbound. Just as potent for many readers, though, are the outright hatred and prejudice Jack faces as a gaijin, or foreigner, while he attempts to master an elaborate code of honor. This book earns the literary equivalent of a black belt. Ages 10 up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, his beloved father and the crew lie slaughtered by ninja pirates.
Rescued by a legendary master swordsman and brought under his wing, Jack begins the grueling physical and psychological training needed to become a samurai. Life at Samurai school is fraught with difficulty for Jack who is bullied and treated as an outcast.
With his friend the remarkable, beautiful Akiko at his side and all the courage he can muster, Jack has to prove himself. Will he be able to face deadly rivals and challenges that will test him to his very limits?
For the past two years, 12-year-old Jack Fletcher has been a rigging monkey on a British vessel, until the crew is attacked by ninja pirates. He is soon rescued by one of Japan's greatest samurai and begins the grueling physical and psychological training required of all the students.