Heart of the Ronin
Ken’ishi, a ronin or masterless samurai living in 13th-century Japan, resumes living in the human world after having received superior martial arts training from a bird-like tengu (goblin). His major strength lies in the way he wields his ornate sword, Silver Dragon, a weapon which he believes will someday lead him to discover the truth about his background and the sword’s mystical powers. For now, though, he must confront an evil spirit-like creature, the complexities of a nobleman’s daughter whom he comes to love, a former samurai planning the ultimate betrayal of his country to the plans of Genghis Khan, a water demon who devours neighboring villagers, an enemy who makes up for lack of military skill with strength fostered from a fierce desire for revenge and many more unforeseen problems. Ken’ishi’s abilities to hear the kami (gods) spirits help him acquire discipline and wisdom he will need in the fiercest and bloodiest battles as well as in the cultural suspicions of the most innocent and guilty men and women he meets on a daily basis.
Travis Heermann has done his research well and infuses the first of this planned three-part saga with both typical Japanese folk tales and legends. The history contained herein is accurate, if not well-developed, which adds enough to the story’s credibility to keep the reader thoroughly engaged and wanting more of this well-written blend of fantasy and historical fiction. This reviewer thoroughly enjoyed this first novel in the Ronin Trilogy and is avidly looking forward to reading the next installment. Very nicely done!