47th Samurai

Stephen Hunter’s #4 of the series took a strange turn. I have been reading Bob Lee Swagger slowly. I like Stephen Hunter and also the character, kind of the modern lone ranger more human than Jack Reacher. Up to now, Mr. Swagger had saved the day by killing bad guys with his kiss-ass gun shooting skills. In this book, he did not even touch one.

This is the modern rendition of the 47 Ronin folk-lore, all the way down to the snow scene of the big assault. For background, ronin are lord-less samurai that are like secret services to the president, only serving life-time. In ancient Japan, one of lord was humiliated and killed; his samurai became ronin. After a carefully planned and successful revenge, they surrendered to the Shogun and all committed seppuku (suicide by means of cutting through one’s own guts). This story centered around the sword used by the legendary lead samurai of those 47.

Stephen Hunter did very well introducing samurai, sword-making crafts, and swordsmanship, also touching the male-centeredness of the social structure. I stayed up to wee hours to finish it one night, not even thinking about why Mr. Swagger was not shooting anyone.

Bob Lee Swagger was almost 60 years old in this book and the series is still active. This made me wonder if the rest of the series are basically flashbacks or prequels. I am unreasonably stubborn in the way that I like the books in series to follow chronological order. Guess I will find out when I read the next one.

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