Young Samurai - The Way of the Warrior
Chris Bradford

August 1611. Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan. His beloved father and the crew lie slaughtered by ninja pirates. Rescued by the legendary sword master Masamoto Takeshi, Jack's only hope is to become a samurai warrior. And so his training begins. But life at the samurai school is a constant fight for survival. Even with his friend Akiko by his side, Jack is singled out by bullies and treated as an outcast. With courage in his heart and his sword held high, can Jack prove himself and face his deadliest rival yet?

"A beautifully written, excellently researched and thoughtfully presented work ... Chris Bradford has caputered the essence of what it meant to be samurai." Sensei Akemi, eldest daughter of an old samurai family and Lecturer in Japanese Culture.

"A cutting-edge James Bond thriller, Oriental style ... a wonderful introduction to everything that is enthralling about Japan, from hanami and matsuri to samurai honour and respect for one's sensei. If this doesn't turn you into a Japanophile, what will?" Papal Kapadia (Japan Times)
Alfie, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Young Samurai – Way of the Warrior is an enchanting heartstopping masterpiece with action on every page. My favourite chapter was chapter 36 – the Demon and the Butterfly, because you can see Jack’s vision become the prophecy. I thought it was really spooky. My favourite character was Sensei Yamada for all his wisdom and knowledge. I also thought the Japanese vocabulary page was a nice touch and made the book a lot easier to understand in some places. A fantastic book and I would give it 10/10.

Ankita, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

Jack is an English boy whose mother died and after being shipwrecked onto Japan, his father is killed as well, along with the rest of the crew.  The only family he has is his younger sister, who was in England, a two-year journey away. This means Jack has to try and adapt to the Japanese culture, learn the language, and make friends there. This is when he starts his training to be a samurai.


The Young Samurai has an interesting beginning but, as it went on, it became too vague, and did not have a definite plot. The book was predictable, and there were not many twists to the plot. The Japanese words which were used did get a bit annoying, but I think that they were needed in the book to create the atmosphere of confusion that Jack went through. The script was a bit childish. Overall, I would say that this book is not too bad. It leaves on a hopeful note and I want to read the next book in the sequel, The Young Samurai - The Way of the Sword, to find out what happens next!

Annabel, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

When Jack Fletcher – a rigging monkey aboard the Alexandria – is orphaned due to ninja pirates, he seeks sweet revenge. Among Japanese strangers, who can't understand him, he finds himself alone; as he learns their language great things are bestowed upon him. Will Jack ever fulfil his destiny as a samurai or will revenge and grief blind his view? A story of friendship through loss which pulls at everyone's heart strings.


I found this book more gripping towards the end as the story unfolds. With words in Japanese and an 'Author Interview' page, this book is perfect for adventurous types. I would recommend this book to anyone with a free spirit.  

Bella, from St Mary's School Cambridge

The Young Samurai demonstrates the triumph of courage, love and friendship over war.  Throughout the novel Chris Bradford gives a strong sense of Japan. It is exciting and fast-moving as well as bloodthirsty in places; it also explores real life situations and Japanese customs.

Charley, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

This was an incredibly good book which I found hard to put down.  However, it was off-putting having all the Japanese words in italics as it interrupted the flow of my reading. 


I liked the fact that we had a brief glimpse of Jack’s harsh life on the ship which shaped his character for future events.  It was a little predictable in places: you could guess his climbing skills would come into play somewhere along the line, as indeed they did. 


It was good how the fight scenes were off set by the gentler side of the Japanese culture.  I also liked the wisdom in it, which makes you think.  

Charlotte, from St Mary's School Cambridge

I think that Young Samurai is a good read because as well as a gripping plot it gives you a great insight into the way the Japanese lived in the seventeenth century. Also you find that you are learning as Jack does and I often find myself as upset as Jack is when nobody accepts him. It is also frustrating for you, as well as Jack when he is trying to learn the language.

Chris , from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior is the story of Jack, the son of a ship’s pilot. One night the ship takes on serious damage whilst travelling through a storm. The ship stops in a sheltered cove, until it is attacked by Ninja pirates. None of the crew, except for Jack, survives.


In the book the plot is utterly brilliant, combining remorse, determination and most importantly, revenge. What more can you ask for? The plot defines its emotion and uses it perfectly to inflame situations. Imagine being Jack, all your mates are dead, your father has been murdered and you are on an island thousands of miles from home - what would you be feeling? The flow of the plot, unlike many books, is never going the way you think it will. It travels between the obvious and the intelligent. An example of this is Yamato - his Dad drowns him so we don’t expect to see him again, but he joins his Father’s rival school and faces them in a grudge match.


The characters in this book are described so well that you build up an image of them, practising martial arts or sword play. You can see Jack chasing Dragon Eye, all because the character description is so intricate. The words used are not simple, they are colourful and not repetitive.


The downfall of Young Samurai is its lack of political correctness. The Japanese empire at the time at which it is set was not a blood bath nation as the book portrays. The book makes out that this period was as bloody as the Shogun occupation of World War II! Ninjas did stalk and kill in the night but only high-ranking officials or even the emperor would be hounded.


Young Samurai is an excellent book and despite the overload of fighting the fight scenes are stunning and intense. The plot is absolutely fabulous. However it could be a better book if it were more politically correct. 

Claudia, from St Mary's School Cambridge

Not only has this brilliant book got action, adventure and a gripping storyline, it has a meaning that relates to us. But when we see that the story is set hundreds of years ago on the other side of the planet we may be forgiven for thinking that it has nothing to do with us at all. We couldn’t be more wrong.


There was one thing that spoke to me in a way I didn’t expect – Bushido. The seven virtues on Bushido are courage, rectitude, benevolence, respect, honesty, honour and loyalty. This touched my heart and gave me courage through my own hard times. It talks to us as a world community. There is no need for segregation of any type – all races and religions are able to join together.

Daniel, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Jack is stranded.  His father is dead.  He wants to go home, but he has no means of doing so.  He later finds himself adopted by Massamoto - a Japenese sumarai - and now it’s up to him to learn the language and conquer martial arts…


Young Samurai –The Way of the Warrior is a good book.  You should definitely read this book if you like adventure.  However, some of the Japanese words that are dotted about the book can be a little confusing, but sometimes you find that you can work out what they mean.


It took me a while to read this book, probably because I am a slow reader, but also I didn’t read it that often for very long.  Although it’s a good book, it was, sadly for me, not the type of book you just can’t put down.  It did, however, teach you a lot about friendship and conquering fears.

Elliot, from University College School London

A young “rigging monkey” by the name of Jack is plunged into a world of confusion, evil, war, loyalty and honour. Jack’s father was killed on a ship by the notorious ninja “Dragon Eye” whilst on search for the islands of Japan.


Jack, going overboard, is presumed drowned, but instead he was rescued by the legendry Samurai, Massamato. This is only the start of his journey, though, as he is sent to samurai school to be trained to face the demon who killed his father. You would think that Jack’s enemies had given up, but little does he know that he has something worth a thousand lives.


I was truly astounded by how much I actually enjoyed this book. The storyline was so fluid, constantly taking you to different places, yet Jack’s intentions never changed. I have never seen that in a book before. I would recommend this book to anyone aged 10 or above. It is a quick but, nonetheless, an excellent read.

Franklin, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Superb. Chris Bradford couldn't have made a more accurate book: real Japanese names and sentences and some incredible martial arts moves which makes me want to start Jujitsu again. However, as accurate as it is, it is slightly cheesy.


But the book still makes you unable to put it down.

Garima, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

This book was great. I liked the whole plot of the story and the way it had been written. It was an amazing adventure: it really keeps a reader engrossed in the story, wondering what will happen next.


It was interesting as it was set in Japan in the 16th century. It was hilarious when Jack was unable to communicate with the Japanese and found it hard to learn the Japanese mannerisms and cultures. The book started off very well. It explained about Jack’s voyage searching for the New World.


Jack’s character was rather well established. I can say that he always took things head on. Akiyo’s character was slightly hazy though.


The part I enjoyed most of this book was the tournament between the two schools. I thought that Yamato was really going to die when he jumped off the cliff. I loved how the whole book linked up together and made sense in the end. Overall I loved the book. 

Greg, from University College School London

Young Samurai by Chris Bradford is set in Japan in the August of 1611. A boy, by the name of Jack, is fighting for his life alongside his father. They are trying to sail through a whirling storm on their voyage to the Japans. They struggle through and end up miles from their final destination. They go into port for repairs and as they finish the repairs they are attacked at night by the wako. The wako are silent assassins and kill almost everyone on board except Jack. Little does Jack know but that is only the start of his emotional adventure.


I really enjoyed reading this book as it portrays the character’s emotions extremely well and gives you a good insight to what Japanese culture was like. I think it is a brilliant page turner and action is pumped up with lots of sword fighting and hand-to-hand fighting. I think this book would appeal to boys rather than girls.


My favourite character is the gardener, Uekiya, as he seems to be always at peace with himself. I like the way he ensures that every strand of grass or branch of a bush is absolutely perfect. We see he is not judging Jack by the way he looks or by the colour of his hair but by the person he is inside. As a result he offers a bonsai tree to Jack as a gift.


To sum up I would say it is an extremely delicately written book which has been made into a great adventure and I would recommend it to anyone. I am also looking forward to what Chris Bradford has in treat for us with his next Young Samurai book.   

Hannah, from St Mary's School Cambridge

When I read this book I really enjoyed it, even though it took me a while to get into it. I think the blurb gives a bit too much of the story away, especially the beginning. The start of the book was no surprise to me after I had read the blurb. However, after I got into it, I couldn’t put the book down as I really wanted to know what happened next.


Most of the book is set in Japan. The book gives a good insight into Japanese culture in the 1600s. In those days Japan was dominated by warring groups of warriors called Samurai. Jack Fletcher has to learn to speak Japanese and become a Samurai warrior to find his way back to his home and awaiting sister. To begin with he is taught Japanese by a Jesuit priest Father Lucius, who is from Portugal. Jack found learning Japanese quite difficult, but he had to learn to survive.


Japan in the 1600s seems to have been a much more civilised place than England at the time, at least in some ways. The Japanese liked to bath often and keep clean unlike the English at the time. Their houses and gardens were carefully designed and maintained. On the other hand the Japanese did not like foreigners in general. Jack was called Gaijin in Japanese meaning ‘barbarian’. He was bullied at the Samurai school for being a foreigner. Even some of the teachers picked on Jack because he wasn’t Japanese. Some of the teachers called him a Gaijin.


There is lots of violence in the book and gory details, but strangely I quite liked them. There is quite a bit of death in the book. I liked the action scenes: I didn’t like some of the long descriptive parts in between the action scenes but I did like the relationship between Jack and Akiko, the niece of Masamoto, the master swordsman and the head of the Samurai school. There were many different rules that Jack had to learn. If he didn’t learn them correctly he could give offence. For example he could not point his finger; he could not leave his chopsticks upright in his bowl (because that would mean someone was dead) and he had to call different classes of people with different forms of address.


‘The way of the warrior’ is certain death but Jack seems to have postponed it for now. 

Hannah, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

I thought it was quite strange, and am only half way through still desperately trying to get into the story.


I would say that the novel is about a couple of men who go on a boat.  When it says 'the way of the warrior', it is trying to say that the warrior is not scared.  I find the language hard and couldn't really understand the story.  

Imogen, from St Mary's School Cambridge

Young Samurai is a fantastic book full of curious secrets. At the beginning it is rather confusing but when you get into the story it is really gripping. There are gory bits but on the whole it is not too bad! I thought that ‘Young Samurai’ would be more of a boys’ choice of book but I was wrong. I really enjoyed learning about a different culture that nobody knew much about for years. The way Chris Bradford writes is amazing: he strings you along with one thing and then changes it, just when you think you know what’s going to happen. ‘Young Samurai’ is an amazing read.

Iona, from St Mary's School Cambridge

I find the Young Samurai a really wonderful book: it opens the mind to a new way of thinking and a completely different culture where one wrong move can cost a life or make you an outsider. The book draws in the reader and makes it impossible to stop reading once you have started.


It is set in the seventeenth century, when the distant lands of Asia are left undiscovered. Only the Portuguese know the unknown world of the Japans, a distant set of islands. Driven on by the promise of riches, a crew of English sailors set off into the vast ocean. Having been on the sea for two years, only their imagination can keep them from insanity; their only hope of gaining land under their feet is John Fletcher’s secret ‘rutter’. Little did the crew know that it might cost all of their lives…


I think that this is an absolutely fabulous book and I love the way that Chris Bradford introduces characters who give so much information about the Japanese culture. It is also really interesting as in parts of the book the Japanese language is written and the reader can’t always understand the words. This is a really clever idea as it gives you such a great perspective on Jack’s confusion as he struggles to survive.


This is a compelling story giving a very meaningful sense of friendship, trust, hope and happiness. I think that I would recommend it for ages ten to fourteen because, I must admit, it can be slightly gruesome in parts.

Isabel, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

The story was about a boy named Jack who went out to sea with his father but the crew (and his father) got killed by Japanese ninjas. Jack lands in Japan and gets adopted by a samurai named Masamotto and goes to his school. It was unusual because it is not everyday that your father gets murdered and you get adopted by a samurai and forced to learn the ways of the Japanese. It was quite slow at the beginning because it seemed as though it was talking about life on the ship.


Jack was daring, brave and forced to be mature and strong; I liked him because you felt as though you were living the life of Jack; Masamoto was very strong and proud of his family's name as samurai; I liked him because I felt sorry about him losing his son. Akiko was brave, strong-willed and a skilled samurai; I liked her because she stood up for Jack and herself and it didn't bother her being called a gajin-lover. Yamoto was very proud and obnoxious; I didn't like him as he didn't stick up for Jack when he needed him even though he saved his life. I liked Akiko the most, as she was so faithful to Jack.


The Way of the Warrior was written in the third person but that didn't affect the story. You knew when Jack lashed out at Akiko or was frustrated and you knew how jealous Yamoto was of Jack. My favourite part of the story was the bit when there were the two schools battling in a chance to win as the best school and Jack, Saburo and Akiko were the warriors of Masamoto's school.


I would definitely recommend this book to others as it is so exciting and you get lost in the moment.

Ishan, from University College School London

Young Samurai is set in 1600s Japan. The book revolves around young Jack Fletcher who after a traumatic ordeal on his father’s merchant ship ends up stranded in Japan where he is adopted by a samurai named Masamoto, who believes that it is fate that the people who hijacked Fletcher’s ship are the same people who murdered Masamoto’s son.


The two main protagonists are Jack Fletcher and Akiko. Jack Fletcher is a fast leaning, quick-thinking boy who is adopted by a Samurai. Once he arrives in Japan he quickly realises how alone he is. Not being able to speak the language is his biggest problem. The social ways of the Japanese intrigue him and he learns the etiquette of the Japanese with the help of his new best friend Akiko. She slowly nurses him onto the path leading him towards him becoming a Samurai. His character slowly develops through the book, first you find out his feelings towards Akiko then her character and Yamato (Masamoto’s other son who is meant to be Jack’s new brother) both slowly become more layered and gain new depth of character.


Akiko is Jack’s faithful best friend. She is the one that helps him regain his health but also teaches him the ways of her people and how you must act when in public. When they go to Masamoto’s school she helps him with some of his classes and always backs him up in fights. Akiko too has feelings for Jack and in a way is an amusing character because of the chemistry between Jack and her. She is the happiest character but the author also shows that she is an incredible fighter who can easily match Jack in a fight.


I felt this book was a bit shallow and that Jack Fletcher took his father’s death a bit too lightly. I enjoyed the breakneck pace of the fighting and the action. I felt the Japanese terms for all the fighting was unique to this book. Yamato was the most realistic and interesting to read about and that in his situation his character was rather believable. The school was fun to read about because in any school you have a bully, the wise teacher and the troublemaker. The book touched on some good aspects of relationships but I feel lacked some emotion. The ending was reasonably predictable. Overall the book was fairly believable, the timeline of the book was fairly unique among books released in the last few years.



James, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

I thought Young Samurai was a really enjoyable read. Even though it was a bit tense at times, I really liked how adventurous the story was and how it managed to hook me in from the beginning, when Ninja pirates attack the ship The Alexandra and you can only see the shadows of the Ninja pirates.


The book starts with Jack’s Mother dying and Jack leaving his little sister behind to go on The Alexandra with Jack’s Dad, the pilot. He ends up being killed but jack still ends up as Samurai and enjoying life in Japan. 


Chris Bradford is a great writer who uses really descriptive language to tell his story. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be buying the next book that Chris Bradford brings out. 

Jone, from St Mary's School Cambridge

I find Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior fascinating: the book pulls you in and you can’t put it away until you’re finished.


The novel is set in seventeenth-century Japan. The Japanese were an unknown culture, only discovered by the Portuguese. A young boy called Jack Fletcher is the son of the pilot of a ship travelling around the oceans. He has no idea about the major turn in his life that is going to change it for ever.


The Way of the Warrior is a great introduction to Japanese culture and clearly explains the importance of etiquette, and that one wrong move can make you an outsider or even get you killed.


The book has quite a lot of violence and blood; however, it didn’t affect me in any way, because it felt as if the book really needs the harsh atmosphere.


I love the way that you can put yourself into the character’s place and feel what he feels. I found it interesting when the author expressed some of the words in Japanese. That way, you can really compare yourself to the main character Jack, who doesn’t understand either and you both try to figure out what it means.


This book is a great story about friends, trust, enemies and anger and introduces you to the Japanese culture. It teaches you that everything is possible when you really want it.

Keely, from St Mary's School Cambridge

Before I started reading this book I thought I would hate it and I was determined not to get drawn into it because it looked like a boys’ book.  When I read the first chapter it lived up to my low expectations, but after a few more pages I couldn’t put it down and started to dread the day I would finish the book.


The thing I liked most about it was that you could never tell what was about to happen. You were always on your toes wondering what was on the next page.


I would highly recommend this novel to people of all age groups, including adults. I have surprised myself by recommending this book and have truly enjoyed it.

Khalil, from University College School London

This book was an enjoyable easy-to-read story full of action, sadness and hope for Jack Fletcher, the main character of the book.  The Japanese call him ‘Gaijin’ Jack - that means ‘Foreigner’, as Jack looks different to them and fair instead of dark like Japanese people.


Despite the book being over 300 pages long, as the chapters were short and the story was exciting to read I finished the book in a couple of days without getting bored. I would recommend this book to both boys and girls of around twelve years old because I think girls would like to know that in Japan it is possible for them to become ‘Samurai’ as they are not regarded as fragile and weak like in other cultures.


As the book ends with a ‘cliffhanger’ I am definitely interested to read on with the next Jack Fletcher blockbuster to find out what adventures and dangers await Jack in Japan and to find out if he ever gets back home to England.

Max, from University College School London

For the past two years, a twelve year-old boy from England called Jack Fletcher has been a crewmember on a British ship. Jack's father, the ship's navigator, was teaching him all that he knows through his rutter. The rutter is an invaluable book of maps and notes on the world's unseen oceans. But when a storm forces the ship into unknown waters it is attacked by ninja pirates. Helpless against the powerful ninja, the entire crew, including Jack's father, is killed.


Washed up on the shores of a land known to the British as Japan, Jack is hurt and left for dead on the shore. He is soon rescued by Massamotosan, one of Japan's greatest samurai, who adopts him. Jack starts to learn the Japanese language and their traditions and way of life. In the mean time, Masamoto takes him to his training school, where Jack learns more about how he can become a samurai and what it means, both in terms of fighting and how a samurai should behave.

The main problem Jack faces is not so much getting his head around the language or the physical strictness of the samurai training and the teachings, but being accepted. Whilst his friend Akiko is happy to help him settle in, many others see him as a foreigner; someone who has no right to be in Japan at all, let alone in one of the best samurai schools.


Even his now adopted brother Yamato resents his position within the family. This causes problems not just within the school, but also outside and forces Masamoto to accept a challenge they might not be ready for and risk the reputation of the school as the best in Japan.


I rate this novel 7/10 because it was very interesting, detailed and descriptive and I really enjoyed the action packed atmosphere which made the tension build up throughout the story.

Olivia, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

The Way of the Warrior is about a young boy called Jack Fletcher who gets stranded off the coast of Japan, and has to live there learning the language, become a samurai as well as many other things. This is unusual as you won’t find many books out there like this one, in which someone sticks out like a sore-thumb. I find that the story begins pretty fast so that you don’t get bored, and instead want to keep reading on. The events during the story follow each other fairly quickly, so you don’t get bored with a slow section in the middle. Jack Fletcher isn’t described in that much detail, but is still described quite a bit so that you get an idea of who he is and how he feels. I find that this is a good way for him to be described as you get to find out about him, as well as not wonder things like, “What’s he thinking.” By reading about him you get a feel of exactly what type of person he is.


The story is written in the third person, which doesn’t really make a difference as the story mainly follows Jack around, so you only really get to find out about things that he’s involved in. I think that the story is pretty detailed, as you get to find out a lot, but not too detailed - so you can use your imagination to picture the places and they aren’t necessarily exactly the same as what the author thought. The detail of how the characters felt during the story is described enough so you can get a feel of how they felt in parts, but maybe some more description would have been nice.


In my opinion I found that this was an excellent book: it showed us how it would be like if someone was stranded somewhere where people speak a different language and have a different culture, and Chris Bradford has captured what it was like to be a samurai in his book. You always want to know what happens next, and it’s hard to put the book down as there aren’t any bits that you want to skip as everything is interesting. You get to learn about Japan in the olden times, as well as about Samurai and Ninja. There’s always something happening and you want to know what’ll happen. So I would recommend people to read this book.


I feel that Chris Bradford has shown us how it would be to be in Jack’s shoes and feel different - like the black sheep among a [flock] of white sheep. It made me think about what life would be like in a place where everyone treated you differently because you looked different as you came from a different place.


So overall I would say this is a great book which many people should read. I feel that pretty much anyone would enjoy the book.

Robert, from University College School London

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior is a children's historical novel by Chris Bradford, published in 2008. It is the first in a series of action-adventure stories set in 17th-century Japan.


Jack Fletcher, an 13-year-old English boy, is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan in 1611. His beloved father and the crew of his ship have been slaughtered by ninja pirates. Rescued by the legendary sword master Masamoto Takeshi, Jack has to learn a new language and adjust to a very different culture. He decides to train as a samurai warrior.


But life at the samurai school is a constant fight for survival. Even with his friend Akiko by his side, Jack is singled out by bullies and treated as an outcast because he is a gaijin or foreigner.


The story brims with energy, suspense and thrilling, if violent, action. The author's interest in his subject and his knowledge of the martial arts are impressive while the book's larger historical and cultural context is interesting. In the book the author gives descriptions of landscape and architecture, references to feudal warlords and Jesuit priests, and, above all, explanations of the philosophy underpinning the samurai way of life.

Seeta, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Young Samurai - The Way of the Warrior is the first book in the Young Samurai series. It’s an action-packed, martial arts setting with school children.



In 1611, an English boy called Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan. His father and the rest of the crew have been killed by deadly ninja pirates. Fortunately, he is found by the great swordmaster, Masamoto Takeshi, who decides that Jack should train to be a samurai. However, life at the samurai school is hard, with Jack being treated as an outcast because of his nationality. His friend, Akiko, stays by his side but he is still sought out by bullies. Jack will have to prove himself with courage and determination, but can he do it?



The main character is Jack and the two other major characters are Akiko and Yamato. I think that the characters behaved and reacted in ways which you could believe they did. My favourite character was Saburo because he was funny sometimes, like the way he acted when he was drunk.



Throughout the book, Jack is learning more about life and other lessons. One example is when Masamoto says ‘From every tiny bud springs a tree of many branches’ and two other similar sayings. These all mean that everyone starts small and then they blossom, grow and progress in skills and knowledge. Another good message is that size doesn’t matter and just because someone is shorter than someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are any less able. This is shown in the book when the small Sensei Kyuzo defeats Jack, Saburo and Yamato all at once.



I think that the story flows well from chapter to chapter and has the right balance of major events and more minor ones happening. I also liked the ending when the book title (the way of the warrior) was used in the last sentence to close the book. I thought that the ending of the book concluded and finished the story well. The story was also funny in places like when Jack ate the food with his hands and the woman giving him the food looked shocked. There weren’t many bad parts in the book but the last part of the book could have been more detailed. You can identify with Jack as he is trying to fit in and get by, in somewhere that is so alien and different to what he is used to. 



This is an adventure and action story about proving yourself and trying to fit in. I would recommend this book to readers aged 10+. 

Shibani, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Young Samurai is a brilliant book full of action and an edge-of-seat thriller set in the 17th century.  It is written from the point of view of Jack, a twelve-year-old English boy. When Jack, his father and crew are shipwrecked on the coast of Japan, they are attacked by a group of highly trained ninjas who kill everyone on board except for Jack whom they leave for dead. Jack is rescued and nursed back to health by Akiko, a kind Japanese girl. 


Once Jack is well he begins to realise that he cannot communicate with anyone and that the Japanese judge him, because he is not Japanese. However, a samurai called Masamoto Takeshi takes him under his wing when he realises what Jack has been through. When he offers a place at his samurai school Jack is thrilled and eager to learn how to become a warrior. He learns Japanese before he leaves and journeys there with his new friend, Akiko.


Jack faces many hardships at the Niten Ichi Ryu (One School of Two H,eavens). One of them is from Yamato, Masamoto’s surviving son. He dislikes Jack because he is jealous and yearns for praise from his father. Another is from some boys who bully and taunt Jack because he is not Japanese. Jack constantly feels like an outsider and is outcast by everyone except his small circle of friends and a few teachers. By the end of the book as more people accept him and the school feels more familiar, Jack begins to feel that he belongs in Japan. 


I love this book because although it is a gripping book highlighting the challenges of racism, it has a lightness of touch which does not make it feel like hard work.  Its illustration of the power of communication in making people feel they belong is thought-provoking yet hopeful.  The theme of friendship resonates through the book providing a source of inspiration to both the reader and Jack.  I loved the action and thrill in this read but what makes it special is the delicate mix of different genres. Action, adventure, sadness and humour are all here. I also learnt about samurai training, Japanese, and understood what life was like in the 17th century.


I rate this book ten out of ten, five stars, one of my favourites. I think that children from nine years old can read this because the story never becomes tedious or stops. Some might say that it is more of a boy’s book but I disagree because I love action. This is a unique and special story that should be treasured. 

Tia, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

The novel is about a boy called Jack who was sailing with his father and crew.  Then ninja pirates attacked the crew, and one ninja pirate who has a dragon eye kills his father.  Jack is then fostered by a Japanese warrior whose son teaches him to fight.  Later on in the story he is sent to a fighting school and subsequently tries to defeat his enemy the dragon eye but fails - that is, until next time. 


I really enjoyed reading Young Samurai; this type of action/fighting adventure is a particular favourite of mine.  I would read this novel again.