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The Swords of Silence the

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Member Reviews

This book was not for me, it took a long time to get into and I wasn't drawn to pick it back up once I'd put it down.
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I really really wanted to like this book but I struggled I don't know what it was but something about this book I just struggled with and in the end I did DNF.
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Didn't enjoy this as much I hoped to.

Some books do really surprise you and make you want to read everything by the author, but this isn't one of them. Sadly I will not be continuing this series, but thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an e-arc! I'm very thankful :)
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The Swords of Silence is an epic story of small propertions. It tugged and pulled at my love for everything samurai and certainly had no lack of twists and turns.

I loved the detail that went into the novel - there was a real sense of research and a genuine feel to setting. It didn't come off as some half-baked attempt. It came off as a real, genuine story. 

There wasn't as much action as I usually like in a book, not on a personal level anyway but it was gripping enough with the action that came out of the different sides. 

Overall, if you like feudal Japan and stories set within, read this.
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This was a good glance into Japanese history in fiction/fantasy format. I wish the pace was a bit better. It was too slow at times. But, if you like historical fantasies, it's worth a try. 

Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
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The Swords of Silence left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is about a historical period and culture that I am interested in, and the amount of research that has obviously gone into this book, makes it a standout read in that regard. Unfortunately, it was the execution that I struggled with – not the brutality of the book, although a fair warning it is brutal and does not shy away from the darker, harsher aspects of this period. However, there were many places where it felt as though the historical detail outweighed any sense of narrative, which is always a delicate balance in historical fiction that wasn’t maintained here, as well as an almost overwhelming focus on the religious aspect. Fitting for the period and events, but it resulted in a narrative and characters that felt as though it was too defined by that single aspect, which made it difficult at times to make that connection. I will say that I found it well-paced, and it set a strong foundation for the rest of the series, and some of the action scenes were beautifully written, and were certainly my favourite parts of the  book. I would recommend to people with a keen interest in this historical period, especially those who want that level of detail and aren’t put off by the brutal reality portrayed in this narrative.
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This isn't fantasy so much as alt history, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but it didn't really work for me. I found it heavy going and although the basic concept was fun and exciting, somehow, Curry managed to render it dry.

Not great.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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I should've probably read the synopsis a bit more carefully because i didnt realise it was an alternative history/ historical fantasy which isn't usually my type of read, with a few exceptions.

I really liked the dark and depressing vibe kf the religious intrigue and the writing. However, as a person who generally isn't interested in history, i couldn't really tell how much was chnaged and what exactly because I actually don't know much about that side kd history 🤔

However, that's on me, i enjoyed most of this and liked the characters.
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I really couldn’t get into this book and I really wanted to. It started well, but seemed too slow. It wasn’t for me, but I’m sure there are lots of historical fiction lovers that would enjoy it.
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A bit of an alt-history, strange book - about how Christianity was driven out by Shogun beliefs, and a missionary, trying to bring the bible and Christianity to Japan.  As this was unacceptable at the time to the ruler, a Japanese Magister, people were forced to recant and follow the older ways or die slowly and painfully when put to death.
The biggest issue I had was about 100 pages, the story got to be a slog.  I can't put my finger on why really, it just wasn't a book that I could fully enjoy.  Maybe there was just a bit too much of a depressing vibe, or maybe I just couldn't understand why certain elements were important, and couldn't grasp their significance, so it's probably on me.
Characterisation and worldbuilding was very good, I just...didn't connect.
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Thoroughly enjoyed The Swords of Silence - it flows well, has a great story and is a great introduction to Japanese history.. The story flowed well telling the story of how Christians were persecuted at time of very authoritarian rule.  I recommend reading the book.
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„The Swords of Silence” is a historical novel written by Shaun Curry. I was really intrigued when I found this book on NetGalley. Even though it’s not fantasy (that’s how it was categorised there), Japanese culture always seems interesting for me, so I requested this book right away. 
The book is starting with a scene in the prologue where Japanese magister is crucifying and burning Christian prisoners. That gives us the feeling of the times where the action is set for the novel. Other religions are no longer accepted in Japan, as Shogun sees them, especially Christianity, as a threat to his authority. He and only he should be treated like a god, and only his word should be the law. And so, Christianity has become forbidden in the whole country, and its faithful followers are forced to recant or leave Japan for good. If they refuse, they not only be sentenced to a long and painful death. 
The start was captivating and exciting. The author very skillfully shows us Japanese culture, the Way of the Sword, the brutal reign of Shogun and his daymios and peasants, whose worthiness was measured in how much rice they could produce. I was really hooked on this book for the first few chapters, following valiant efforts of Father Martinez to save his Christian village from the Shogun’s wrath. Unfortunately, the excitement only stayed for maybe a hundred pages. 
After that, the book got really depressing and brutal. I know that the author wanted to show his readers the cold and hard reality of those dark times, but it was a bit too much for me. We follow poor Christians for hundreds of pages, while they get tormented, tortured, mutilated and treated like animals. And all this in vast and creative details. 
I could endure it all if the story was captivating and full of emotions. But all too quickly it turns out, that what supposed to be an exciting story was also like biblical tales of escaping Christians. We can easily handpick a character that was only in the book to reminds us of those archetypes from the Bible. And even if they got tortured all killed, I couldn’t care less, because it all seemed emotionless for me, following a known scheme, with ending we could easily guess.
The one solid point of the book was the duel scenes. I think they were written brilliantly and was very easy to imagine them step by step. Those I read with high interest, not stopping for a moment. But unfortunately, there wasn’t enough of them to keep me interested, and I was really struggling to finish this book. I think if I didn’t take this book to review, I would probably just leave it unfinished. 
Maybe if you are not bothered by too much of religious preaching and brutal mutilation scenes, you will find this book interesting. Especially if you enjoy reading about Japanese culture. But otherwise, it won’t be a book I would recommend.
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This book just wasn't for me at all and I found it a slog to get through. It tells the story of Joaquim, a Christian missionary in Shogunate Japan in 1626 and the persecution of the Christians there.

The Positives: The only positive thing I can think of for this was that I enjoyed the tournament aspect of the narrative and the setting was fascinating, but it wasn't explored or done justice in the narrative.

The Negatives: The writing was dry and completely uninspiring, which is a shame, because this should have been a really interesting story. The dialogue was really wooden and stilted and the plot was very lacklustre.

Overall, I just didn't enjoy this book at all and wouldn't recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A story of faith against a background of violence. The historical facts in this story are interesting, but the author's depiction of the violence of the time is graphic and becomes the main focus of the story. It is difficult to read,  and one questions whether so many brutal events are required, to make the point that it was dangerous to practice and preach anything that could be deemed to threaten the existing regime.

The main protagonist's faith never wavers, which although commendable, seems unlikely in the face of the danger he faces, and the depravity and violence his witnesses. This makes him hard to relate too, and therefore empathise, despite his goodness and piety. There is a lot of historical detail, which is too much for the story to carry at times. The short chapters do aid the novel's pacing.

The author talks about it not being up to him to soften the edges of history, but surely as this is a work of fiction based on historical facts, and fictional characters, he can portray events exactly as he wants?

I received a copy of this book from Harper Inspire via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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In the early years of the Tokugawa Shogunate all Christians were expelled from Japan. Those who remained, did so at the risk of torture and death. Father Joaquim Martinez, a Portuguese Jesuit, is one of those who chose to stay behind, spreading the word of the Lord. However, he can’t hide for ever and soon he finds himself fighting not just for his own life, but for the lives of the Arima villagers he has sworn to protect.

This was not an easy book to read, though not because the writing was particularly complex, or the themes especially unpalatable. No, this book simply isn’t a great read, and that’s a bit of a shame.

The main bulk of the narrative focuses on the trials and tribulations of Father Martinez as he comes face-to-face with the brutal reality of the Shogun’s hatred of all things Christian, and all that entails. Along the way he has to deal with several of the Shogun’s allies, including the brutally aggressive Daimyo Shigemasa, the brutally aggressive Governor of Nagasaki, Kawachi, and a whole host of brutally aggressive samurai. The problem is there’s nothing to differentiate the villains other than their names. They all come across as over-the-top, very angry, and very aggressively brutal, without any sort of nuance to separate them.

Fortunately for Father Martinez he has help, in the form of three wise old men. First there’s Yamaguchi, the sword master who teaches Martinez to be the best swordsman in all of Japan. Then there’s Watanabe, the mysterious and sagacious guide who teaches Martinez to unlock the miraculous power of the divine. And then there’s Kansuke, the Buddhist master who teaches Martinez the true power of compassion.

What could, and should, be a gripping, exhilarating read as the beleaguered Christians flee persecution at the hands of the Shogun and his allies ends up turning into a predictable tale in which belief in God trumps all adversity. The good guys literally walk on water and through fire to escape their pursuers, while the Portuguese priest proves himself a better swordsman and archer than every samurai he encounters. By the end of the book Father Martinez is all but performing miracles, including a laying on of hands and calling down an earthquake that pretty much destroys the thousands strong army ranged against him. There’s just too much deus ex machina going on for the story to ever develop any real tension.

The main message of most Christian fiction I’ve read is that if you trust in God then God will help you through the hard times, though usually that help comes in the form of the protagonist finding the answer within themselves. In this instance God is quite literally raising storms and moving mountains to help the protagonists, which seems a bit too much even for my tastes. I certainly won’t be rushing out to buy the sequel.
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This book may not be for everyone. To enjoy it I think you will have to have some interest in Japan and it’s culture. Maybe have a little knowledge about way the country used to be run by warlords and their armies of Samurai warriors.

For me this is book was a very enjoyable read, I have read many a non fiction book on Japan, it’s Warlords, Samurai warriors, Geisha’s and Concubines. So this is the sort of book I enjoy reading. I did notice that this book is classed as historical fiction, which I would expect but it’s also classed as Sci fi and Fantasy. In my opinion there wasn’t really anything Sci Fi and Fantasy in the book, but this is only book one in the trilogy. So maybe the Sci Fi and Fantasy come more into play in the next two books.

I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy and I hope that they are out sooner rather than later, as I’m impatient to find out how the story continues.


This story is set in 1626, when Japan was under the rule of the Shogun Iemitsu who was a tyrant to his people. The story is based around the life of Father Joaquim Martinez, who left his own country of Portugal to spread the word of God. For many years he has made his home in the Japanese Province of Hizen. Where he teaches the word of God and helps the people in the village with his guidance. The only problem is that the Shogun in charge of Japan has outlawed Christianity, as he is suspicious of them and what they are teaching his people.

The village were Father Joaquim Martinez lives is very poor, the villagers spend long days outside tending the paddy fields. They even need to have their children out working in the fields, as the local warlord keeps turning up demanding more and more taxes off the villagers. If the village can’t pay in gold then they have to pay with bags or rice. If the village doesn’t supply what he demands he then brutally punishes them, if any of the villagers speak out he has them killed.

One afternoon the warlord turns up unexpectedly. While Father Joaquim Martinez is out in the fields helping to gather in the rice, as the villagers are falling further and further behind with what the warlord is expecting from them. The warlord notices that some of the villagers are running back to the village instead of coming to see him. So he sends his Samurai to bring all of the villagers to him.

This is when he finds out that the villagers have a priest living amongst them. With this finding he told his Samurai to tear down every dwelling and bring everyone to him. They found that some of the parents had hidden their children, but they also find the other two Christians. So he orders the village to be burnt down and he, ties up the villagers in a sort of chain gang and walks them to the capital.

The treatment of the villagers becomes worse and worse on the long journey. If anyone fell or complained they would be beaten, it didn’t matter how old or how young you were. Some of the elderly and some of the very young struggled, but their parents and families couldn’t do anything to help them. The only comfort the villagers could get were the words spoken by Father Joaquim Martinez.

Father Joaquim Martinez did all he could to stand up for the people of the village, but it all fell on deaf ears or they were punished even more. Once they got to their destination and the warlord spoke with the powers that be he decided that he would split the women and children from the men and that he himself would escort the men to the Norther Island of Japan and gift the Priest, the other Christians and the men folk to the Shogun Iemitsu. As he knew that Shogun Iemitsu would especially enjoy torturing the Priest.

So the women and children were left behind to be tortured as they wanted them to renounce their Christianity. While the warlord and his Samurai marched the men to the north. The journey was long and arduous and very dangerous for the prisoners.

They eventually meet Shogun Iemitsu and Father Joaquim Martinez does everything he can to protect the villagers and himself. He manages to strike a deal with Shogun Iemitsu if he and his two other fellow Christians manage to fight his most esteemed Samurai worriers. Who will win? What will become of the villagers? That is for you to find out.

As I’ve already said this is a very good book and I’m looking forward to the next two. Shaun Curry the author knows his stuff when it comes to the history and culture of Japan. The way he has written this book he has brought Japaneses history to life.
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An excellent well researched read. I enjoyed this book the characters and "plot" were well presented and esy to follow although at times intriguing. The plot developed from start and wasn't revealed until the end of the book. During the read the story led you down several blind alleys until all was revealed
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A fantasy tale based on historical 17th century Japan that works in patches but stretches credulity in others. A Jesuit hero too good to be true, a village captured and removed to Nagasaki where all survive despite horrendous graphically described torture all culminating in a biblical conclusion! Ok but sadly not for me.
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Interesting fantasy work. I’m not a Hugh fantasy reader as the work’s are so often formulaic but I found this interesting and engaging to read. Different to the norm, especially with the Japanese setting
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Having read the background of Shaun Curry after reading Swords of Silence, I was taken back about the amount of research he has undertaken on that part of Japan’s history. Swords of Silence mixes Christian miracles with Shogun oppression to the point where I believe neither. Fantasy best describes the story.
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