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Vyacheslav Nekrasov
Vyacheslav Nekrasov

The Ring of Sky: The Last Book in the Young Samurai Series by Chris Bradford


Young Samurai: The Ring of Sky - A Review of the Final Book in the Series




If you are looking for a historical fiction series that combines action, adventure, culture, and character development, you might want to check out Young Samurai by Chris Bradford. This series follows the story of Jack Fletcher, an English boy who was shipwrecked in Japan in 1611 and became a samurai apprentice. The series consists of eight books that chronicle Jack's journey across Japan as he faces various enemies, learns new skills, makes new friends, and tries to find his way back home.




Young Samurai The Ring Of Sky.epub



The Ring of Sky is the eighth and final book in the series. It was published in 2012 by Puffin Books. In this book, Jack is on his last leg of his journey. He needs to reach Nagasaki, where he hopes to find a ship that will take him back to England. However, he faces many obstacles along the way. The Shogun has issued an edict that any Christian or foreigner found outside an official trading port will be executed on sight. Jack's old school rival Kazuki is hunting him down with a band of samurai. And there are other dangers lurking in Japan's mountains and forests that Jack has never encountered before.


In this article, I will review The Ring of Sky by Chris Bradford. I will explain why this book is a satisfying conclusion to the series and a thrilling adventure for young readers. I will discuss the following aspects of the book: the historical and cultural setting, the protagonist and his journey, the supporting characters and their roles, the plot and its twists, and the style and tone of the book.


The historical and cultural setting of the book




One of the strengths of the Young Samurai series is its historical and cultural accuracy. The author, Chris Bradford, has done extensive research on Japan's history, culture, and martial arts. He has visited Japan several times and trained with samurai masters. He has also consulted with experts and historians to ensure that his books are faithful to the time period and the setting.


The Ring of Sky is set in Japan in 1614, during the Tokugawa period. This was a time when Japan was ruled by a military dictator called the Shogun, who imposed a strict social order and a rigid isolation policy. The Shogun was wary of foreign influences, especially Christianity, which he saw as a threat to his authority and his religion. He banned Christianity and persecuted its followers. He also restricted foreign trade and travel to a few designated ports.


The book depicts this historical and cultural context through its plot and its characters. Jack is a foreigner and a Christian in a hostile land. He has to hide his identity and his faith from the Shogun's samurai, who are constantly patrolling the roads and checking for suspicious travelers. He also has to deal with the prejudice and discrimination of some Japanese people, who view him as a barbarian and an infidel.


However, the book also shows the diversity and richness of Japan's culture. Jack learns about various aspects of Japanese culture, such as samurai, ninja, martial arts, tea ceremony, haiku poetry, origami, calligraphy, Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, and more. He meets people from different walks of life, such as farmers, monks, merchants, warriors, artists, and outcasts. He experiences the beauty and the harshness of Japan's landscape, from its snow-capped mountains to its lush forests to its rocky coasts.


The book also explores the themes of identity, loyalty, and survival in a foreign land. Jack has to decide whether he belongs to England or Japan, whether he should follow his heart or his duty, whether he should fight or flee. He has to balance his loyalty to his friends and his family, to his sensei and his mentor, to his country and his faith. He has to use his wits and his skills to survive in a dangerous environment where every move could be his last.


The protagonist and his journey




The main character of the book is Jack Fletcher, an English boy who was shipwrecked in Japan when he was twelve years old. His father was killed by a ninja assassin named Dragon Eye, who stole a valuable navigation guide called the rutter. Jack was rescued by a samurai lord named Masamoto, who took him as his adopted son and trained him as a samurai apprentice.


The supporting characters and their roles




Jack is not alone in his journey. He has many supporting characters who help him or hinder him along the way. Some of them are old friends and enemies from previous books, while others are new additions to the story.


One of Jack's most loyal and helpful friends is Akiko, a girl who is also a samurai apprentice. She has a crush on Jack and often saves him from trouble. She is brave, smart, and skilled in archery and naginata (a long pole weapon). She accompanies Jack for most of his journey and helps him fight against Kazuki and his samurai.


Another of Jack's friends is Yamato, a boy who is also a samurai apprentice. He is strong, loyal, and good-natured. He is an expert in sumo wrestling and uses his size and strength to his advantage. He joins Jack and Akiko in their journey and helps them escape from a storm and a ninja attack.


A third friend of Jack is Hanzo, a boy who is a ninja in training. He is clever, agile, and resourceful. He knows how to use various ninja weapons and techniques, such as shuriken (throwing stars), kunai (daggers), smoke bombs, and grappling hooks. He meets Jack and his friends in a hidden village of ninja outcasts and guides them to Nagasaki.


One of Jack's mentors and father figures is Father Bobadillo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest who was shipwrecked with Jack in Japan. He taught Jack how to speak Japanese and helped him keep his faith. He was captured by the Shogun's forces and tortured for being a Christian. He escaped with Jack's help and joined him in his journey. He also revealed to Jack the identity of Anjin-san, a mysterious foreigner who might help Jack find a ship back to England.


Another mentor and father figure of Jack is Masamoto, the samurai lord who adopted Jack and trained him as a samurai apprentice. He taught Jack the way of the warrior and gave him his sword. He was killed by Dragon Eye in the seventh book, but his spirit still guides Jack in his dreams. He also left Jack a clue about the location of the rutter, which Jack needs to navigate the seas.


One of Jack's enemies and antagonists is Kazuki, a boy who was also a samurai apprentice under Masamoto. He was Jack's rival and bully at the samurai school. He hated Jack for being a foreigner and for being better than him at martial arts. He betrayed Masamoto and joined Dragon Eye in his quest to kill Jack and steal the rutter. He leads a band of samurai who chase Jack across Japan and try to kill him.


Another enemy and antagonist of Jack is Dragon Eye, a ninja assassin who killed Jack's father and stole the rutter. He was Masamoto's brother who turned evil after losing his eye in a duel. He was hired by the Shogun to hunt down Christians and foreigners in Japan. He also wanted to use the rutter to find a legendary island of gold. He was killed by Jack in the seventh book, but his legacy still haunts Jack.


A third enemy and antagonist of Jack is Kamakura, the Shogun's nephew who rules over Nagasaki. He is cruel, greedy, and ambitious. He wants to eliminate all Christians and foreigners from Japan and take over the country from his uncle. He also wants to marry Akiko against her will and use her as a pawn in his schemes. He commands a large army of samurai who guard Nagasaki and prevent anyone from entering or leaving.


A fourth enemy and antagonist of Jack is Shonin, a Buddhist monk who leads a sect of fanatical warriors called the Sohei. He is ruthless, fanatic, and power-hungry. He hates Christians and foreigners as much as Kamakura does. He also wants to overthrow the Shogun and establish a Buddhist rule over Japan. He allies with Kamakura to attack Nagasaki and capture Jack and his friends.


The plot and its twists




The book follows Jack's quest to reach Nagasaki and find a ship back to England. Along the way, he faces many dangers and surprises that test his skills, courage, and faith.


The book starts with Jack escaping from Osaka Castle with Father Bobadillo after rescuing him from torture. They meet up with Akiko and Yamato, who have been waiting for them outside the city. They decide to head south to Nagasaki, where they hope to find a ship that will take them back to England. However, they are pursued by Kazuki and his samurai, who are determined to kill Jack and take the rutter.


The book then follows Jack and his friends as they travel across Japan, facing various obstacles and challenges. They encounter a storm that nearly drowns them, a ninja attack that injures Yamato, a hidden village of ninja outcasts that welcomes them, a mountain pass that blocks their way, a forest fire that traps them, and a secret tunnel that leads them to Nagasaki.


The book also introduces new characters and mysteries that add to the intrigue and suspense of the story. Jack meets Anjin-san, a mysterious foreigner who might help him find a ship back to England. He also learns more about the rutter, a valuable navigation guide that his father left him. He discovers that the rutter contains a map to a legendary island of gold, which Dragon Eye was looking for. He also finds out that the rutter is hidden in Nagasaki, in a place that only he can access.


The book builds up to a climactic showdown between Jack and Kazuki, who finally face each other in a duel to the death. Jack also has to deal with Kamakura and Shonin, who launch an attack on Nagasaki and try to capture Jack and his friends. Jack has to use all his skills and resources to fight his enemies and protect his friends. He also has to make a final decision about his fate: whether he will stay in Japan or go back to England.


The style and tone of the book




The book is written in a style and tone that appeal to young readers. The book uses descriptive language and vivid imagery to create a sense of immersion and atmosphere. The book also uses humor and dialogue to lighten the mood and add personality to the characters. The book also uses action and suspense to keep the reader engaged and excited.


The book uses descriptive language and vivid imagery to create a sense of immersion and atmosphere. The author uses sensory details and figurative language to describe the setting, the characters, and the action. For example, he writes: "The sun was setting behind the mountains, casting long shadows across the valley. The air was filled with the scent of pine needles and wood smoke. Jack could hear the sound of water rushing down the stream, mingled with the chirping of crickets and the occasional hoot of an owl."


"Jack felt a surge of adrenaline as he leaped into the air, swinging his sword at Kazuki's head. Kazuki parried with his own blade, sending sparks flying. The two swords clashed again and again, creating a metallic rhythm that echoed through the forest."


The book also uses humor and dialogue to lighten the mood and add personality to the characters. The author uses witty remarks, jokes, sarcasm, and banter to make the characters more relatable and likable. For example, he writes: "'You're not going to leave me here, are you?' Yamato asked nervously as Jack tied him to a tree. 'Of course not,' Jack said. 'We'll be back soon.' 'How soon?' 'As soon as we can.' 'What if you can't?' 'Then you'll have plenty of time to practice your meditation.'


"'You're a fool, Jack Fletcher,' Kazuki sneered. 'You think you can beat me? You think you can escape from Japan? You think you can find your precious rutter?' 'I don't think,' Jack said. 'I know.' 'Oh really? And how do you know?' 'Because I'm smarter than you.'


The book also uses action and suspense to keep the reader engaged and excited. The author uses short sentences, fast pace, cliffhangers, and twists to create tension and drama. For example, he writes: "Jack ran as fast as he could, dodging arrows and spears that flew past him. He reached the gate of Nagasaki, only to find it closed and guarded by samurai. He looked around for another way out, but there was none. He was trapped."


"Jack opened the chest and gasped. Inside was not the rutter, but a note. It read: 'Dear Jack, I hope you enjoyed your little treasure hunt. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have taken the rutter for myself. You see, I have always wanted to visit the island of gold. And now I have the map that will take me there. Don't worry, I won't forget you. I'll send you a postcard when I get there. Yours sincerely, Anjin-san.'


Conclusion




The Ring of Sky by Chris Bradford is a satisfying conclusion to the Young Samurai series and a thrilling adventure for young readers. It combines historical and cultural accuracy, character development, plot twists, and style and tone to create an immersive and engaging story. It depicts Japan in the 17th century during the Tokugawa period, and explores the themes of identity, loyalty, and survival in a foreign land. It follows Jack Fletcher, an English boy who became a samurai apprentice, and his journey to reach Nagasaki and find a ship back to England. It introduces many supporting characters who help or hinder Jack along the way, such as Akiko, Yamato, Hanzo, Father Bobadillo, Masamoto, Kazuki, Dragon Eye, Kamakura, and Shonin. It also introduces new dangers and surprises for Jack and his friends, such as a storm, a ninja attack, a hidden village, a secret tunnel, and a mysterious Anjin-san.


I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, adventure, culture, and martial arts. It is suitable for readers aged 10 and above. It is also a good book for learning about Japan's history and culture. However, it is advisable to read the previous books in the series first, as they provide the background and context for this book.


If you are looking for a historical fiction series that combines action, adventure, culture, and character development, you might want to check out Young Samurai by Chris Bradford. The Ring of Sky is the eighth and final book in the series. It is a satisfying conclusion to the series and a thrilling adventure for young readers.


FAQs





Q: Who is the author of Young Samurai: The Ring of Sky?


  • A: The author is Chris Bradford, a British writer who specializes in historical fiction and martial arts. He has written several books and series for young readers, such as Bodyguard, Ninja: The Young Samurai's Quest for the Dragon Scroll, and The Soul Prophecy.




Q: When was Young Samurai: The Ring of Sky published?


  • A: The book was published in 2012 by Puffin Books. It is the eighth and final book in the Young Samurai series.




Q: What is the genre of Young Samurai: The Ring of Sky?


  • A: The book is a historical fiction novel that combines adventure, culture, and martial arts. It is set in Japan in the 17th century during the Tokugawa period.




Q: Who are the main characters of Young Samurai: The Ring of Sky?


  • A: The main character is Jack Fletcher, an English boy who was shipwrecked in Japan and became a samurai apprentice. He is joined by his friends Akiko, Yamato, Hanzo, and Father Bobadillo. He faces his enemies Kazuki, Dragon Eye, Kamakura, and Shonin. He also meets Anjin-san, a mysterious foreigner who might help him find a ship back to England.




Q: What is the plot of Young Samurai: The Ring of Sky?


  • A: The book follows Jack's quest to reach Nagasaki and find a ship back to England. Along the way, he faces many dangers and surprises that test his skills, courage, and faith.




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