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Shogun
Cover of Shogun
Shogun

A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty saga of a time and place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust and the struggle for power.

A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty saga of a time and place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust and the struggle for power.

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    Chapter One


    Blackthorne was suddenly awake. For a moment he thought he was dreaming because he was ashore and the room unbelievable. It was small and very clean and covered with soft mats. He was lying on a thick quilt and another was thrown over him. The ceiling was polished cedar and the walls were lathes of cedar, in squares, covered with an opaque paper that muted the light pleasantly. Beside him was a scarlet tray bearing small bowls. One contained cold cooked vegetables and he wolfed them, hardly noticing the piquant taste. Another contained a fish soup and he drained that. Another was filled with a thick porridge of wheat or barley and he finished it quickly, eating with his fingers. The water in an odd-shaped gourd was warm and tasted curious--slightly bitter but savory.

    Then he noticed the crucifix in its niche.

    This house is Spanish or Portuguese, he thought aghast. Is this the Japans? or Cathay?

    A panel of the wall slid open. A middle-aged, heavy-set, round-faced woman was on her knees beside the door and she bowed and smiled. Her skin was golden and her eyes black and narrow and her long black hair was piled neatly on her head. She wore a gray silk robe and short white socks with a thick sole and a wide purple band around her waist.

    "Goshujinsama, gokibun wa ikaga desu ka?" she said. She waited as he stared at her blankly, then said it again.

    "Is this the Japans?" he asked. "Japans? Or Cathay?"

    She stared at him uncomprehendingly and said something else he could not understand. Then he realized that he was naked. His clothes were nowhere in sight. With sign language he showed her that he wanted to get dressed. Then he pointed at the food bowls and she knew that he was still hungry.

    She smiled and bowed and slid the door shut.

    He lay back exhausted, the untoward, nauseating nonmotion of the floor making his head spin. With an effort he tried to collect himself. I remember getting the anchor out, he thought. With Vinck. I think it was Vinck. We were in a bay and the ship had nosed a shoal and stopped. We could hear waves breaking on the beach but everything was safe. There were lights ashore and then I was in my cabin and blackness. I don't remember anything. Then there were lights through the blackness and strange voices. I was talking English, then Portuguese. One of the natives talked a little Portuguese. Or was he Portuguese? No, I think he was a native. Did I ask him where we were? I don't remember. Then we were back in the reef again and the big wave came once more and I was carried out to sea and drowning--it was freezing--no, the sea was warm and like a silk bed a fathom thick. They must have carried me ashore and put me here.

    "It must have been this bed that felt so soft and warm," he said aloud. "I've never slept on silk before." His weakness overcame him and he slept dreamlessly.

    When he awoke there was more food in earthenware bowls and his clothes were beside him in a neat pile. They had been washed and pressed and mended with tiny, exquisite stitching.

    But his knife was gone, and so were his keys.

    I'd better get a knife and quickly, he thought. Or a pistol.

    His eyes went to the crucifix. In spite of his dread, his excitement quickened. All his life he had heard legends told among pilots and sailormen about the incredible riches of Portugal's secret empire in the East, how they had by now converted the heathens to Catholicism and so held them in bondage, where gold was as cheap as pig iron, and emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and sapphires as plentiful as pebbles on a beach.

    If the Catholic part's true, he told himself, perhaps the rest is...

Reviews-
  • Washington Star "Superbly crafted...grips the reader like a riptide...gets the juices flowing!"
  • Philadelphia Inquirer "Exciting, totally absorbing...be prepared for late nights, meals unlasting, buisness unattended..."
  • Los Angeles Times "Adventure and action, the suspense of danger, shocking, touching human relationships...a climactic human story."
  • Publishers Weekly "A tale surging with action, intrigue and love...a huge cast...vast and dramatic ...stunning...savage...beautiful...an extraordinary performance."
  • New York Times Book Review "I can't remember when a novel has seized my mind like this one....It's not only something you read--you live it."
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