The Ring of Water by Chris Bradford

Jack Fletcher has been left for dead…

Bruised and battered, Jack Fletcher wakes up in a roadside inn, wrapped only in a dirty kimono. He has lost everything, including his memory.

Determined to discover the truth, Jack goes n a quest to retrieve his belongings – his precious swords, his friend Akiko’s black pearl and, most important of all, his father’s prize possession.

Relying on his samurai and ninja training, Jack realises the Ring of Water is the key to his survival.

But with only a washed-up ronin – a masterless samurai – for help, what will Jack manage to find? What will he lose?

And what will he have to sacrifice?

In picking up and reading The Ring of Water I broke one of my reading rules – the one that says ‘do not start reading half-way through a series’. Okay, so not really a rule, more of a guideline. It is a good thing that I did as let me just say wow! If ever there was a book that was perfect for jumping in to a series, then Ring of Water is it!

The protagonist Jack, wakes up after a vicious beating knowing as much about his life as I did, his back story is released in flashes of memory and brief points of exposition as he tells his new companions what he can remember about his life. The Young Samurai series is set during the beginning of the Edo period in Japan, after the suppression of Christianity and the limiting of foreigners to the cities of Hirado and Nagasaki. This background makes Jack’s story all the more complicated, not to mention exciting for the reader, as he is trying to make his way to Nagasaki whilst trying to avoid the enemies he has made all the while keeping his identity as a westerner hidden.

The inclusion of snippets of Japanese belief and history maker this book all the more real for me, I loved the inclusion of the Tanuki, and the ronin being a master of Drunken Fist kung fu, actually I enjoyed the entire book but those two snippets stuck in my mind! I am a major fan of Japanese culture and history, I also enjoy a thrilling read and since reading The Ring of Water I have become a fan of Chris Bradford, and have ordered all the preceding titles in the series.

The Ring of Water was a thoroughly enjoyable read on its own but, like most books in series, enjoyment will be enhanced by reading the books that come before it. I will read the entire series and post more thoughts once that has beendone.

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