Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Enzan : The Far Moutain by John Donohue

A Connor Burke Martial Arts Thriller
Published July 7th 2014 by YMAA Publication Center
296 pages

By choosing this book, I told myself that it was not a big risk, as this is the fifth book in the series... As... if the first 4 had not been good, the series would not have been so far! I also liked the cover that goes very well with the Japanese martial arts theme.

So, inevitably, when you begin a series in the 5th volume, there is always the concern of whether you'll feel like you've missed some important things to better understand the book. About that book, I can tell: yes, but not... Because yes, there are some allusions to past adventures, some understanding that regular readers will appreciate, but for novices like me, it goes very well anyway!

I enjoyed learning more about martial arts, you'll understand very quickly that the author really knows them and knows how to explain the concepts and context of his art while making it interesting. I never felt like reading an essay on Japanese martial art but rather found that the explanations about the "way of the warrior" brought a very zen touch to a very violent history. It's a contrast that makes a special note to this book.

The characters, mostly Burke and his Sensei, are very well written, we can feel the respect of the student to the master and the amused tenderness of Yamashita for his pupil. I appreciated that there are in this book no superheroes or nor villains able to get up after eating a hail of bullets, it's more realistic.

And the story? Burke is investigating alone, with no means at hand and sometimes with a few sleazy accomplices, which does not always bring happy results but have the merit of making a well-paced story. We follow him from adventure to misadventure in a sometimes Zen atmosphere and sometimes rock n'roll one.

The blurb

Chie Miyazaki is wild and spoiled—the pampered child of a cadet line of the imperial House of Japan. When she disappears in the United States accompanied by a slick Korean boyfriend, it sets off alarm bells among people in Japan’s security apparatus.

The Japanese want the problem solved quietly. They seek out Connor Burke, pupil of the master swordsman Yamashita. But the rescue operation soon turns deadly. Burke suspects that he's being used, but he accepts the assignment out of honor for his revered sensei.

A covert search and rescue operation turns into a confrontation with a North Korean sleeper cell. Burke finally discovers the secret that drove Yamashita from Japan so many years ago and now pulls them both into deadly danger.

In a nutshell

A good book, well written, a well-paced story, a sometimes troubled zen. In a nutshell, a book that reads quickly, entertaining and that'll make you want to go treading along a tatami. It is a 4/5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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