Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Author: James Clavell

Narrator: Ralph Lister

Publisher: Blckstone Audio

Year: 2015


This is a sweeping historical fiction saga set in ancient Japan. Blackthorne, a bold & daring Englishman, pilots a Dutch ship that washes up in Japan after a storm. Blacktorne is an incredibly obnoxious main character. He’s a great sailor, smart & speaks several languages. But all he does is rant and rave. He eventually learns to appreciate the culture and falls in love with a Japanese woman. 

I listened to the audiobook which has a listening time of 53 hours & 33 minutes. I did speed up the narration to get through it faster. Props to Ralph Lister for his narration. He must have really had his work cut out for him voicing this tale. 

I liked the basic bones of the story, but it just took too darn long to unfold and there were too many characters to keep track of. I also thought the author spent way too much time explaining some historical details when the Cliff Notes version would do. We are also promised a big battle that never materializes. Kind of a let down. 

So why did I read this? For some reason this epic is on Amazon’s list of 100 mysteries and thrillers to read in a lifetime. I don’t understand why they considered this a mystery or thriller. There’s no crime to solve. No clues or red herrings. There’s some political intrigue as Torunaga plots to consolidate his power to try to become shogun. But I definitely don’t see this as a thriller. 

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