The way of the warrior by Andrew Matthews

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When Jimmu's father commits seppuku in front of him, giving him to his second in command, Jimmu's path is fixed, he must be trained as a samurai and seek revenge on those who led his father to kill himself, Lord Ankan and his family. His path is one way, kill Lord Ankan and then be ready to be killed himself or commit seppuku, and for this he is trained severely, not knowing the warmth of a family life or comfort from someone who loves him. He gains a foothold in Lord Ankan's household, rising through the ranks to be trained as a samurai.  Slowly he comes to realise that Lord Ankan is not all he has been led to believe, and his daughter, also one of his targets, is a lovely young woman who sees potential in Jimmu's eyes.

An amazing story of the redeeming power of love, The way of the warrior will have instant appeal to people in lower secondary school, as it details Jimmu's training and life being trained, and then his softening as he comes to realise that perhaps he is not on the right path. Much detail is given concerning the samurai and the art of war in Ancient Japan, and the household is drawn with an expert eye. Readers are drawn into Jimmu's life as he grapples with his loyalty towards his parents, and the reality of the life he is exposed to at Lord Ankans.

Fran Knight