In the final decades of the 16th century, the Japanese shogunate is crumbling: As rival warlords jockey for position, their armies ravaging the land, Western ideas and weapons threaten traditional ways. "This is a world so grim that you may have to kill or be killed in the time it takes to pick up your chopsticks. Yesterday's ally is today's enemy." Toyotomi Hideyoshi, son of a poor farmer, aspires to serve the emperor as samurai. Through talent, energy, and dedication, he rises to the position of Taiko, absolute ruler of Japan in the emperor's name. This novel is filled with striking martial images: a warrior's "breast . . . like a tightly strung bow, pulled taut by innumerable emotions and strategies"; the "plain . . . covered with a thin veil of gunpowder smoke and filled with the stink of corpses and blood. With the morning sun, it smoldered with all the colors of the rainbow." A vibrant tale of heroic deeds and black villainy that brings to life distant times and people. - David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is the story of a Japanese commoner who rose from the ranks of peasant to foot soldier to chief general of the realm and, ultimately, to become the successor of his overlord after that man's assasination. In the process the man who was known as "Monkey" to many of his contemporaries became the Taiko -- completing the work of unification of Japan (basically military conquest of the other warlords & clans) begun by his predecessor, the brilliant and fearsome Oda Nobunaga. It was a time in Japan … more