Monday, December 5, 2011

The 47th Samurai - Book Review

Back to Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger series. Next up: The 47th Samurai. (It follows Havana in publishing chronology but it's a return to the series after a three-book hiatus. I'll get the story chronology straight when I'm through with the series in about three books or so.)

Hunter's plans for Bob Lee seem similar to his plans for Earl - place his character in a new setting and turn 'im loose. In this case, Hunter plunks Bob Lee in the middle of Japan and the traditions of the samurai. (D'uh.) He ties the Earl Swagger series to the Bob Lee series with a prologue involving Earl and the plot drives from those scenes. Hunter spins his magic with the new setting and old characters and makes the implausible plot and events and climax seem doable in its own world. Just try not to think too much about it after you close the book. He seems to know as much stuff about swords as he does guns and that's quite a bit and I always find that part of his books to be the most interesting.  There's the usual trouble you'll find in series fiction - events shape and grow the characters yet essentially they remain unchanged at their core.  Minor characters age and their actions must be explained and tracked and at the end there's a new character to wonder about.  (Which is no wonder if you've read the subsequent books like I have.)

A solid installment in the series.

Now, to backfill the remaining three prior books.

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