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When the powerful Lord Takeda’s soldiers sweep across the countryside, killing and plundering, they spare the boy Taro’s life and take him along with them. Taro becomes a servant in the household of the noble Lord Akiyama, where he meets Togan, a cook, who teaches Taro and makes his new life bearable. But when Togan is murdered, Taro’s life takes a new direction: He will b When the powerful Lord Takeda’s soldiers sweep across the countryside, killing and plundering, they spare the boy Taro’s life and take him along with them. Taro becomes a servant in the household of the noble Lord Akiyama, where he meets Togan, a cook, who teaches Taro and makes his new life bearable. But when Togan is murdered, Taro’s life takes a new direction: He will become a samurai, and redeem the family legacy that has been stolen from him.


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When the powerful Lord Takeda’s soldiers sweep across the countryside, killing and plundering, they spare the boy Taro’s life and take him along with them. Taro becomes a servant in the household of the noble Lord Akiyama, where he meets Togan, a cook, who teaches Taro and makes his new life bearable. But when Togan is murdered, Taro’s life takes a new direction: He will b When the powerful Lord Takeda’s soldiers sweep across the countryside, killing and plundering, they spare the boy Taro’s life and take him along with them. Taro becomes a servant in the household of the noble Lord Akiyama, where he meets Togan, a cook, who teaches Taro and makes his new life bearable. But when Togan is murdered, Taro’s life takes a new direction: He will become a samurai, and redeem the family legacy that has been stolen from him.

30 review for The Samurai's Tale

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    You know a story is going to be boring when it starts out with "How should I begin my story?" The plot was slow, the characters were difficult to keep straight, and the conflict was unconvincing. Yes, there were a few good parts, but they were few and far between. The one good thing I have to say is the love story was cute. I just found it difficult to get into this book. I only read it because I had to for school. You know a story is going to be boring when it starts out with "How should I begin my story?" The plot was slow, the characters were difficult to keep straight, and the conflict was unconvincing. Yes, there were a few good parts, but they were few and far between. The one good thing I have to say is the love story was cute. I just found it difficult to get into this book. I only read it because I had to for school.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is pretty decent. I think I would have rather read actual accounts from the time period, but as a story this wasn't bad. I enjoyed it, at the very least. This is pretty decent. I think I would have rather read actual accounts from the time period, but as a story this wasn't bad. I enjoyed it, at the very least.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kashvi Lalgudi

    The Samurai's Tale follows the journey of a young boy named Taro, and how he eventually rises through the ranks and becomes a fully fledged samurai, under the Lord Takeda Shingen. I found Taro's saga to be deep and interesting, because even when he lost someone important to him, he met a new person, and when he made a friend, he would always apply that friend's lesson to every cruel battle or scenario he faced. Haugaard did an incredible job of setting the tone and time of the story, which takes The Samurai's Tale follows the journey of a young boy named Taro, and how he eventually rises through the ranks and becomes a fully fledged samurai, under the Lord Takeda Shingen. I found Taro's saga to be deep and interesting, because even when he lost someone important to him, he met a new person, and when he made a friend, he would always apply that friend's lesson to every cruel battle or scenario he faced. Haugaard did an incredible job of setting the tone and time of the story, which takes place in 16th century Japan. Surprisingly, I did not like the story's happy ending, because although it made the story come full circle after Taro describes the battle preceding it, it dampened the mood of the book, and it seemed almost random and irrelevant to the plot. I still think it is a great book to read, and it draws a comparison with Game of Thrones because it describes the crazy lives, wives, and power between the feuding daimyos at that time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Est

    It was a school book, thus, I did not like it! :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brady

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When reading a historical fiction novel, every aspect of the story is dependent on the way the author portrays the time period. This influences everything from character development to the plot. Throughout the book The Samurai’s Tale, Erik Haugaard portrays a the period of transitioning power in feudal Japan as a time of ambition and loyalty. This time period is primarily shown as a time of ambition, especially because it follows the journey of an ambitious young servant who wishes to reclaim his When reading a historical fiction novel, every aspect of the story is dependent on the way the author portrays the time period. This influences everything from character development to the plot. Throughout the book The Samurai’s Tale, Erik Haugaard portrays a the period of transitioning power in feudal Japan as a time of ambition and loyalty. This time period is primarily shown as a time of ambition, especially because it follows the journey of an ambitious young servant who wishes to reclaim his lost honor and rise in the ranks. The character’s ambition is a main factor in pushing the plot forward. For example, early in the book Taro says, “When I saw the sons of the lords and the Samurai, I desired nothing but to be their equal” (21). This foreshadows that his ambition will be a contributing factor to the plotline, and it also illustrates his ambition to rise above his lowly station. His ambition is eventually rewarded, as he is granted a new name by Lord Akiyama, marking him as a samurai. When he tells his friend and mentor, Yoshi, the man smiles and exclaims “That is a good name” (89). These kind words from his mentor figure cause Taro to feel immense amounts of pride. This shows that he did not only desire station and honor, but also admiration from his friends and acquaintances. Despite the prevalent ambition at this time, many characters also displayed significant amounts of loyalty. This was especially true for their immediate superiors, who they owed loyalty to directly, rather than higher powers who only retained loyalty through the commutative property. At this time period, “trying to revolt (was) the most serious offence” (119) that one could commit. This shows a general expectancy of loyalty from all beneath oneself. The surrounding text also provides information that upon becoming disloyal, the offender usually lost all honor, to the point where they would commit seppuku (a ritual suicide) to restore even a scrap. Though these expectations of loyalty were clearly demanding, they did not chafe at the common man, or the one that loyalty was expected from. Rather, it provided a sense of purpose and honor. Proof of this lies in the section of text where, upon being given an errand by his superior, the main character remarked that “we felt immensely important setting out” (73). Overall, the author characterizes the inhabitants of his novel with the traits of ambition and loyalty. This helps the story continue by providing motives for characters, allowing for the plot to fully develop, and allows for full exploration of the values of the time period. I found this to be a great book, because it successfully explores the time period in such depth while still maintaining the plot and character development nesecary to maintain reader interest. I would recommend this book to any audience that is interested in either historical fiction or stories of samurai, but if you aren't willing to read a novel with minimal action, I would suggest diverting your attention.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Macky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought this book was really good. One of the main reasons I liked it was because it was about samurai and what they really were like. The one of the reasons I didn't rate it 5 stars was because they said that ninja were samurai when in real life they were not. The other one was that he worked so hard to become a samurai and in the end, he lost what he had worked all his life for! That kind of stunk. But now about the good things. I think the story was really good, how it followed him thr I thought this book was really good. One of the main reasons I liked it was because it was about samurai and what they really were like. The one of the reasons I didn't rate it 5 stars was because they said that ninja were samurai when in real life they were not. The other one was that he worked so hard to become a samurai and in the end, he lost what he had worked all his life for! That kind of stunk. But now about the good things. I think the story was really good, how it followed him throughout his life. I think it was pretty good in 1st person, but it might have been better in 3rd. I was sad when Togan was murdered, but it wasn't really sad because we hadn't had much time to meet him. I loved the way he started out in one of the lower ranks, but worked his way up until he became a samurai. I found the book slightly confusing because of all the japanese names, like Akiyama, and Takeda. I think that it was a good book overall, just a few minor things that made me not give it 5 stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Hart

    I thought that "The Samurai's Tale" was a good book. In the beginning, the main characters parents were killed leaving him with nothing but a bamboo sword. This got me interested, wondering what was to come. Erik Christian Haugaard did a good job of adding suspense however and portraying the time period, but, he left me confused at some points. I think that in order to fully understand the book you must do some research. For example, when the author was talking about all the Lords, it got confus I thought that "The Samurai's Tale" was a good book. In the beginning, the main characters parents were killed leaving him with nothing but a bamboo sword. This got me interested, wondering what was to come. Erik Christian Haugaard did a good job of adding suspense however and portraying the time period, but, he left me confused at some points. I think that in order to fully understand the book you must do some research. For example, when the author was talking about all the Lords, it got confusing who was who. So I had to research all the Lords and their roles in Feudal Japan. But, I think that if you do some research beforehand you will be able to understand the whole story. I gave this book four stars because it kept me interested, had an interesting plot, and created suspense. Erik did a great job of keeping me interested by creating new conflicts in every chapter. Although it was confusing at the beginning, with a little research I was able to understand and enjoy the book. This book was an overall good book to read, and overall I would recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Scott Hayden

    Japanese in style, not just setting. Haugaard exercises economy of words taking us through the life of a young boy, spared in war, half-adopted by the noble slayers of his family. He matures in desire, humility, and status into a trusted Samurai. I am astonished sometimes by the incredible restraint of court culture and the binding loyalty of vassals and warlords. Contrasts are drawn between warlords who battle out of necessity and those overly-ambitious to expand their own power. Even then, con Japanese in style, not just setting. Haugaard exercises economy of words taking us through the life of a young boy, spared in war, half-adopted by the noble slayers of his family. He matures in desire, humility, and status into a trusted Samurai. I am astonished sometimes by the incredible restraint of court culture and the binding loyalty of vassals and warlords. Contrasts are drawn between warlords who battle out of necessity and those overly-ambitious to expand their own power. Even then, contrasts are drawn between those who have some semblance of self-restraint, a code of honor, and those who will win and kill at all costs. Though the main character is a warrior, he does not relish his first kill, nor ever want to participate in ritual beheading, even for the sake of honor. This sensitivity to life and death, even by a soldier, brings balance and hints of hope in the midst of tragedy. Good book for middle schoolers or higher. Great window into medieval Japan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angelina

    This book is majorly underrated. I know people read it for school, so it's deemed: boring, but give it a chance! The Samurai's Tale begins slowly, though once the tension has built, it's like it spirals out of control and you lose yourself to the world of 'Taro'. You feel what he feels-love, loyalty, anguish- and see everything through a young samurai's eyes. 4.5 stars- if only because the slow start. Don't put this book down unless you've gotten to page 100 and still think it's boring. This book is majorly underrated. I know people read it for school, so it's deemed: boring, but give it a chance! The Samurai's Tale begins slowly, though once the tension has built, it's like it spirals out of control and you lose yourself to the world of 'Taro'. You feel what he feels-love, loyalty, anguish- and see everything through a young samurai's eyes. 4.5 stars- if only because the slow start. Don't put this book down unless you've gotten to page 100 and still think it's boring.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Chind

    ------- Note to self. Bought from ThriftBooks.com, wonderful discounts!! ------- Note to self. Bought from ThriftBooks.com, wonderful discounts!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    EasyB

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Samurai's Tale Review Every once in a while, you will be lucky enough to find a book that is exciting, complex, astute, and filled with tension. Erik Christian Haugaard's 'The Samurai's Tale' is exactly that. The Samurai's Tale is a story set in medieval Japan. It tells the story of an orphaned son of a samurai, Tarok who as his family gets murdered, is spared and taken to be a slave in the household of Lord Takeda Shingen. He grows up there, slowly going from a cook to a stable-boy to a mess The Samurai's Tale Review Every once in a while, you will be lucky enough to find a book that is exciting, complex, astute, and filled with tension. Erik Christian Haugaard's 'The Samurai's Tale' is exactly that. The Samurai's Tale is a story set in medieval Japan. It tells the story of an orphaned son of a samurai, Tarok who as his family gets murdered, is spared and taken to be a slave in the household of Lord Takeda Shingen. He grows up there, slowly going from a cook to a stable-boy to a messenger as tensions between two warlords, Takeda Shingen and Oda Nobunaga rise. Meanwhile, Taro befriends many, including the friendly cook, Togan, who is murdered, Yoshitoki, a funny messenger who accompanies him, and Lord Akiyama Nobutomo, a brilliant military general. As Taro climbs up higher in the ranks, he realizes that his childhood dream, to become a Samurai, may come true and that he may fulfill the family legacy. During all this, Takeda Shingen's army begins to advance on Nobunaga's. Eventually, Taro finds himself amongst the ranks, ready to fight. Taro, as he is growing up, falls in love with a young maiden named Aki-Hime, daughter of Lord Zakoji. Eventually, all this gets tangled up in an epic novel, with too good of an ending. Taro, the main character, is, unlike other characters we've read about, complex, and not one-dimensional. He is driven by love and ambition but is not a dreamy hero, as he both disobeys orders and gets angry at his authorities. All these combined amounts to a well-layered, interesting protagonist. Accompanied by many just-as-convoluted Ancillary characters, the personas in 'The Samurai's tale' are perfectly balanced. One theme in this book is elatasadness (Experiencing happiness and sadness all at once), as Taro looses pretty much everyone who he ever cared for, yet he still is in love and has the courage to continue his life, even after experiencing so much sorrow. Another theme in 'The Samurai's Tale' is friendship. Many people befriend Taro, and without their friendship, he probably wouldn't have made it as far as he did. One example of this is that because he is friends with Lord Akiyama. Lord Akiyama does not send him to fight until far into the second half of the novel, which is probably why Taro did not die before he went on all of his adventures. As you might have guessed, I thoroughly cherished every word of this novel. From it's delicate characters to historically accurate timeline, 'The Samurai's Tale' is a novel that should be read by all. Every reader will enjoy different parts of the novel, whether it is the action packed fight scenes, the exquisite philosophy of Togan in the cookhouse, or the sense of both despair and joy at the end of the novel, this book has something for everyone. In conclusion, 'The Samurai's Tale' is a book that should be read by people of all ages, because it has layered characters, an intriguing plotline, and complex themes. Younger readers will enjoy the simpler parts such as Taro's love letters as well as fight scenes while older readers will cherish the more complex parts; Taro's inner conflict of whether he is worthy of Aki-Hime, Togan's philosophy which actually foreshadows the continuation of the book, and more. Rating: 5/5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kailey (Luminous Libro)

    Taro's family are all killed by invading soldiers, but the captain saves young Taro alive to be a servant. Taro vows to become a samurai, and regain the wealthy position his father once held. He begins as a lowly kitchen boy, but quickly is placed in higher positions of trust. He gains the respect of men in power and slowly rises in the ranks to follow his dream, but the shifting wars in Japan threaten to destroy everything he knows. I wasn't surprised that there is a lot of violence in this book Taro's family are all killed by invading soldiers, but the captain saves young Taro alive to be a servant. Taro vows to become a samurai, and regain the wealthy position his father once held. He begins as a lowly kitchen boy, but quickly is placed in higher positions of trust. He gains the respect of men in power and slowly rises in the ranks to follow his dream, but the shifting wars in Japan threaten to destroy everything he knows. I wasn't surprised that there is a lot of violence in this book, since it was a bloody era in history. I thought it was handled well though, without being unnecessarily graphic. The writing treats the death and destruction of these 1570s Japanese wars with an admirable gravity and respect. Although is it unpleasant and sad to read about, knowing that this history truly happened, I think the level of violence is still appropriate for middle grade or YA readers. Tons of people are beheaded, beginning with Taro's mother and brothers. Taro witnesses their murders as a young child, and carries that scar with him into his young adulthood, making him a much more compassionate person than most of the other samurai. He doesn't crave battle as some of the other soldiers do, because he has seen the crushing loss that follows violence. This compassion is one of Taro's most attractive qualities as a main character, and he is also loyal and upright when others are sneaky and duplicitous. This makes him stand out from the crowd, and earns him respect from those in authority. The writing style is very dry, which makes it a little difficult to get into the story at first, but by the middle I was fully invested in Taro's story and was cheering him on right to the end! One of the good things about this book is how historically accurate the setting is, but it also creates complications because all these Japanese warlords have very similar sounding names, and often the sons are called by the same family name as the fathers, so it becomes difficult to keep track of the many characters and who is at war with whom. I was often confused by various Japanese words and terms that were used. They are sometimes explained within the story's text, but other times just left there with no explanation. I could mostly figure out what was meant through the context, but I wish there were a glossary at the back. It's as though the author is so familiar with Japanese culture and history that he expects his readers to have the same knowledge, so doesn't bother to explain or elaborate. All in all a wonderful story and well worth the read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    Tragedies, death, destruction, honor. These are all traits of the book The Samurai's Tale by Eric Christian Haugaard. The book starts with young Taro as he hides from Lord Akiyama's soldiers in an attempt to escape. The soldiers do find him, however, and bring him to Lord Akiyama. Akiyama decides to recruit him, and Taro meets Togan, a cook and wrestling fan, who teaches him to be a chef. One day Togan goes to see a wrestling match in a less friendly village and criticizes the wrestler. They get Tragedies, death, destruction, honor. These are all traits of the book The Samurai's Tale by Eric Christian Haugaard. The book starts with young Taro as he hides from Lord Akiyama's soldiers in an attempt to escape. The soldiers do find him, however, and bring him to Lord Akiyama. Akiyama decides to recruit him, and Taro meets Togan, a cook and wrestling fan, who teaches him to be a chef. One day Togan goes to see a wrestling match in a less friendly village and criticizes the wrestler. They get in a fight, and Togan dies. Taro quickly rises throughout the ranks of Lord Akiyama's household and goes on to become a samurai and meet his love, Aki-hime. They exchange poems, and Taro meets her father, Lord Zakoji. They become friends, and he makes Taro a better person as well as samurai. Another person who helps Taro is Yoshitoki. Taro does not hesitate to talk to Yoshitoki when he is with him and tells him all of his problems. Taros biggest problem is his name. The name Taro is a peasant name, a slave name, and a name that Taro disapproves of. He goes to Lord Akiyama who gives him his old name that he had before he was captured by him. Taro's name becomes Murakami Harutomo. All of these people contribute to Murakami's personality and make him a better person. This book is a great book and a challenging read. I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because of the writing style and the great plotline. The writing is great and really shows the effects that the feudal system can give. I recommend this book to middle school students because of the challenging vocabulary and conflicts. This book is really great and I wish that there could be a sequel to this historical fiction book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David M.

    They will kill us, your sister whispers as the soldiers approach. Imagine soldiers find you hiding and take you outside to show you the sight of your mother and your two brothers lieing on the ground lifelessly. The gore will make you tear up. Samurai's Tale, one of the finest books I have read. Samurai's tale leaves that suspicion while you're reading which makes you not want to put the book down. It talks about Taro who is hiding from soldiers and when he gets caught he luckily gets "adopted" They will kill us, your sister whispers as the soldiers approach. Imagine soldiers find you hiding and take you outside to show you the sight of your mother and your two brothers lieing on the ground lifelessly. The gore will make you tear up. Samurai's Tale, one of the finest books I have read. Samurai's tale leaves that suspicion while you're reading which makes you not want to put the book down. It talks about Taro who is hiding from soldiers and when he gets caught he luckily gets "adopted" by a lord, Lord Akiyama. The book takes place in Japan. In the beginning of the book, his boss is a chef that serves servants and peasants in Lord Akiyama's Mansion. As time passes Taro receives new perks and ranks, like a new name and a new rank or level. After a while, Taro (Who changes his name to Murakami Harutomo) stumbles upon another challenge. The great war of becoming ruler of Japan. Taro's great leader is called Takeda Shingen, Shingen eventually dies, and his son Takeda Katsuyori becomes the 'great' leader. Once Katsuyori inherits his father's position the whole army falls apart and his army is shredded to pieces. In one of the battles, Katsuyori won the battle of Takatenjin Castle which was a great victory but he was filled with joy and pride which made him try to recapture Nagashino Castle (A castle that they lost) and ends up having his army slaughtered one by one. I liked this book due to all the suspicion that the book brought to the reader. This book really teaches the reader about patience and not pushing things too far. Like when Katsuyori was filled with pride that he tried to recapture Nagashino and ends up having his army slaughtered. It also shows that if Taro kept on asking Lord Akiyama for a new rank and kept on agitating Lord Akiyama then it will not turn out well. I liked how they explained everything in detail and explaining what something is by showing it not telling it. Their word choice was worthy and deserved a few "wows" or "I don't know that word" I recommend this book to people who like historical fiction with a twist, and a lot of questions flowing through your head like "I wonder who it may be," something like that. This book was a marvelous book that I enjoyed immensely and hope to find a book as good or even better than this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jonah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The beginning of the book was really good. I really like that Taro was adopted by the people who killed his father and thought it would set up for an interesting story and later helped him encounter one of his earlier enemies. However, after he has to move away from the kitchen following Togan’s death. He has to restart life and begins to work on his master’s horses creating a long span of nothing interesting happening that stretched far too long. Even as the main conflict begins he works on the The beginning of the book was really good. I really like that Taro was adopted by the people who killed his father and thought it would set up for an interesting story and later helped him encounter one of his earlier enemies. However, after he has to move away from the kitchen following Togan’s death. He has to restart life and begins to work on his master’s horses creating a long span of nothing interesting happening that stretched far too long. Even as the main conflict begins he works on the most boring jobs, checking provisions. Only after he wounds on of the biggest enemies to his clan, he barely becomes a samurai with his own sword. As a samurai he only helps in one part of the war with no action (again) as a commanding officer. When he works his way up to becoming one of his master’s most trusted friends, things look up for a while and he begins to send love letters to a woman he has a crush on. I thought it built some suspense in waiting to see the replies but it wasn’t extremely engaging. When everything seems to look well and his clan has taken over one of the most important castles, they get surrounded by the biggest clan and will soon be slaughtered. Taro is sent to go and look for help. After returning he goes and finds that the castle has been taken over and all his friends have been executed. Strangely he doesn’t seem to even care that they have died. His servant notices him and takes him to the girl he loves who disguised herself as a boy. The story ends with them going to get a normal life at a village, but ends before we even learn anything,

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karli

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Samurai’s Tale by Erik Christain Haugaard was set in 16th-century Japan. The main character Taro, who is described as a hero, was kidnapped as a child by Lord Akiyama’s army after his father and mother were slaughtered. He was brought to a village where he would work for Lord Akiyama. Throughout his life, he learned patience, respect, and loyalty. He also was working his way up the ranks from slave to samurai. The main conflict is the journey Taro had to go through to become a samurai. His y The Samurai’s Tale by Erik Christain Haugaard was set in 16th-century Japan. The main character Taro, who is described as a hero, was kidnapped as a child by Lord Akiyama’s army after his father and mother were slaughtered. He was brought to a village where he would work for Lord Akiyama. Throughout his life, he learned patience, respect, and loyalty. He also was working his way up the ranks from slave to samurai. The main conflict is the journey Taro had to go through to become a samurai. His yearning to become a samurai was triggered when his friend Togan was murdered in cold blood. The book reminded me of a section in my history book that talked about samurais. The section explains how samurais are loyal to the lord who ruled over them, just like Tora was loyal to Lord Akiyama. Just as Taro went through hardships, I have also gone through multiple hardships, but we both worked our way through them. One part of Taro’s journey was the time when he got kidnapped. This reminds me of all the kidnappings going on and how usually the kids who are being kidnapped get put into sex trafficking. My favorite part about the book is when Taro starts to send poems to his love interest, Aki-Hime. I liked the poems Taro and Aki-Hime wrote to each other. It seems as each poem was in a code that only Taro and Aki-Hime could understand. Though the author went into great detail with the story it was slow and hard to understand at some points. The Samurai’s Tale was a nice story but I wouldn’t recommend it because of the way it dragged on. I wasn’t sold on it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Samurai’s tale is the account of the beginning of the unification of Japan from the perspective of Taro, a young peasant who rises through the ranks of medieval Japan’s feudal system. Taro is orphaned when his Samurai father is defeated and his family is slaughtered by the warlord of the Takeda clan in Kai. His life is spared and he is raised by a couple different father figures, under the Takeda rule, as he works different jobs growing up. Taro becomes a peasant kitchen boy, stable boy, mes The Samurai’s tale is the account of the beginning of the unification of Japan from the perspective of Taro, a young peasant who rises through the ranks of medieval Japan’s feudal system. Taro is orphaned when his Samurai father is defeated and his family is slaughtered by the warlord of the Takeda clan in Kai. His life is spared and he is raised by a couple different father figures, under the Takeda rule, as he works different jobs growing up. Taro becomes a peasant kitchen boy, stable boy, messenger, food guard, samurai, and ninja: all various stations from which to experience feudal Japan. The story is wrought with irony: Taro loses his father, but gains four; falls and rises in station and falls again; and finds contentment in a time of unrest (Those who know Japanese history will realize that peace will not come until Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu unifies all of Japan under one leadership which is foreshadowed in the last paragraph). At the end, when Lord Takeda Shingen passes, his territories are invaded by the Oda clan ushering in the first of the three stages of Japan’s unification. Loyalty, loss, and manhood are main themes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Max White

    Set in ancient Japan, Samurais Tale addresses the life of samurais and lords in Japan. Erik Haugaard uses his novel to show the process of becoming high ranks and how lords impacted each other. This was a time when all people cared about was there honor and what they were known as. Through his characters, readers begin to understand that people only care about their honor which leads to betrayal and dishonesty. Haugaard explores this through the characters of Taro and Lord Akiyama who are both r Set in ancient Japan, Samurais Tale addresses the life of samurais and lords in Japan. Erik Haugaard uses his novel to show the process of becoming high ranks and how lords impacted each other. This was a time when all people cared about was there honor and what they were known as. Through his characters, readers begin to understand that people only care about their honor which leads to betrayal and dishonesty. Haugaard explores this through the characters of Taro and Lord Akiyama who are both ranked differently but have the same intent. Taro must work his way up to soon take the place of a lord. As Yoshitoki, another lord, says “Some of them will come back heroes, but there are others who will not come back at all” it reminds readers that people put their life at risk to show their lord they are worthy even though they might not come back. In the book “Samurai's Tale” Erik Haugaard precisely portrays the ancient time in Japan through the real characters like samurais and the story behind Taro, a dedicated warrior and the cultures perspective on violence.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I found the story to be interesting and fairly easy to follow. I think it would be good as a children’s bedtime story, especially given how short the chapters are. I didn’t give it a 5 though, because I felt that there were too many points/events that occurred merely for plot convenience and the ending felt very abrupt and incomplete. *Spoiler* The beginning of the story makes you think that the main character is now an old man reflecting on his life. However, the story told ends when he is in his I found the story to be interesting and fairly easy to follow. I think it would be good as a children’s bedtime story, especially given how short the chapters are. I didn’t give it a 5 though, because I felt that there were too many points/events that occurred merely for plot convenience and the ending felt very abrupt and incomplete. *Spoiler* The beginning of the story makes you think that the main character is now an old man reflecting on his life. However, the story told ends when he is in his early twenties and at the beginning of what feels like the next chapter in his life. If there were an epilogue or some indication of a volume 2 then I may have bumped it up to 4 stars instead. The other reason I marked it down, is that there are just far too many points where everyone around the main character dies but he somehow miraculously survives. Once or twice I can buy as “Good Fortune” but after a while it seemed that he just had “main character immunity”, which made the story less interesting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I enjoyed reading this story to my son. The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars is the names in the book. This is a Japanese story and there are many characters from several different families so they have similar names. There are also numerous locations,also with Japanese names. I found all the different names,families,villages,castles difficult to follow and keep track of who was who. Who went with what family,where all the different settings were located and their importance,etc. T I enjoyed reading this story to my son. The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars is the names in the book. This is a Japanese story and there are many characters from several different families so they have similar names. There are also numerous locations,also with Japanese names. I found all the different names,families,villages,castles difficult to follow and keep track of who was who. Who went with what family,where all the different settings were located and their importance,etc. The story itself was intriguing and I did learn a little more about Japanese history from reading this book. If you like Japanese history I would recommend this book. There is no bad language; no sexual content;and while there is violence it is not described in detail and is not dwelt upon in excess. The last chapter has the greatest detail but it is a short chapter. I think middle school boys might especially like this story due to the Samurais,Ninjas,armys,and general intrigue.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marni

    A good picture of the history of the time period in Japan, samurai, and warring leaders. But pretty violent - head chopping, crucifixion, fighting. A good story - our hero's family is killed early on and her becomes a servant. Father figures and mentors along the way (relationships I enjoyed) to who he becomes. Not a samurai as I imagined, but maybe my ideas were wrong. Cute little romance as well. Amazon says this is for 10 years and up. With the violence, I would put it at 12, at least. (Caroly A good picture of the history of the time period in Japan, samurai, and warring leaders. But pretty violent - head chopping, crucifixion, fighting. A good story - our hero's family is killed early on and her becomes a servant. Father figures and mentors along the way (relationships I enjoyed) to who he becomes. Not a samurai as I imagined, but maybe my ideas were wrong. Cute little romance as well. Amazon says this is for 10 years and up. With the violence, I would put it at 12, at least. (Carolyn is 13 and I cringed multiple times reading it to her.) I think the flow of the story would be tough for someone younger as well. Japanese names and lots of them. Take notes so you remember who is who. :)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hernan Sanchez

    This book is about a young prince, that his parents were killed by Lord Takeda's army. His life was spared and went with them. Taro which is his name that they gave him, then becomes the servant of Lord Akiyama. There is where he met a cook named Togan, and teaches Taro a new way of living. Later on the story Togan is stabbed to death and Taro is left by himself. During this time of the story he learned new things, met knew people, and earned respect. Taro then decides to change by becoming a sa This book is about a young prince, that his parents were killed by Lord Takeda's army. His life was spared and went with them. Taro which is his name that they gave him, then becomes the servant of Lord Akiyama. There is where he met a cook named Togan, and teaches Taro a new way of living. Later on the story Togan is stabbed to death and Taro is left by himself. During this time of the story he learned new things, met knew people, and earned respect. Taro then decides to change by becoming a samurai and redeem his family's legacy that was taking from him.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rigo

    in this book the young child, who wanted to become a samurai like his father first he got kidnaped then once he woke he was in a palace where a great lord. protected him and treated him like if he were his child. but he is put as a cook more in the time togan and taro go shopping for food and a murder goes up to togan and stabs him in the stomach as he fell down lord Akiyama orders his soldiers to arrest him and to be put in jail for a long as togan loses more blood and says his final words to t in this book the young child, who wanted to become a samurai like his father first he got kidnaped then once he woke he was in a palace where a great lord. protected him and treated him like if he were his child. but he is put as a cook more in the time togan and taro go shopping for food and a murder goes up to togan and stabs him in the stomach as he fell down lord Akiyama orders his soldiers to arrest him and to be put in jail for a long as togan loses more blood and says his final words to taro he looks at his hands with the blood of togan. his only friend so taro runs away from the palace to find a meditating tree where he found other monks practicing peace. so taro joined as well when he came back lord Akiyama made a stable boy so he could take care of the horses for the next battle he always asked the Lord when he could he become a samurai so the Lord gives taro a samurai sword. and from there his journey to become the greatest samurai began.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hiina Shiota

    This story is about the character's life itself and how he became a samurai. His way of telling his story from his point of view was very intriguing, feeling the same way as him. As a reader, I can see how he grows up from a little boy to a grown man like a mother. When reading this book, the character shows how he changes (e.g. name and feeling). Other characters also influenced his life and are seen within this character's thoughts and effects from them. After reading this, I was able to learn This story is about the character's life itself and how he became a samurai. His way of telling his story from his point of view was very intriguing, feeling the same way as him. As a reader, I can see how he grows up from a little boy to a grown man like a mother. When reading this book, the character shows how he changes (e.g. name and feeling). Other characters also influenced his life and are seen within this character's thoughts and effects from them. After reading this, I was able to learn many Japanese cultures and history from this character.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This is the story of a young orphan boy dedicated to the way of the samurai and his father's killer. I first read this novel in 6th grade, and it was kindling to my love of Japan. As an adult, I searched for years trying to find this book. Now at 29, I've found it, and the nostalgia is real. Honestly, the prose is pretty bad, and the story itself isn't the greatest. But I do recognize I am no longer the target audience. That said, I still immensely enjoyed the story, and I look forward to sharin This is the story of a young orphan boy dedicated to the way of the samurai and his father's killer. I first read this novel in 6th grade, and it was kindling to my love of Japan. As an adult, I searched for years trying to find this book. Now at 29, I've found it, and the nostalgia is real. Honestly, the prose is pretty bad, and the story itself isn't the greatest. But I do recognize I am no longer the target audience. That said, I still immensely enjoyed the story, and I look forward to sharing it with my daughter one day.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lucas Crane

    The Samurai's Tale was an OK book. It's about a boy named Taro (who changes his name to Murakami) is the son of a dead samurai and is spoiled with all of his servants. However when Lord Takeda's sweep across the country side killing people they spare Taro and take him with them. He becomes a servant of Lord Akiyama and became his friend and a samurai. This book was interesting the first few chapters but got boring. It became hard to pay attention to and was confusing. I wasn't very impressed wit The Samurai's Tale was an OK book. It's about a boy named Taro (who changes his name to Murakami) is the son of a dead samurai and is spoiled with all of his servants. However when Lord Takeda's sweep across the country side killing people they spare Taro and take him with them. He becomes a servant of Lord Akiyama and became his friend and a samurai. This book was interesting the first few chapters but got boring. It became hard to pay attention to and was confusing. I wasn't very impressed with the book but I did like how it had real characters and places during medieval Japan. However, it had a very good ending.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Majors

    Started out reading this one to our youngest kids (5 & 8 at the time) but a few chapters in realized it was a little beyond them (maybe 11 and up?). Well written and well told story. Flows well for reading aloud. Ended up finishing it off on my own as I was pulled into the story. I switched over to an E.Nesbit book on Dragons to read aloud to the younger kids and that has been PERFECT. I'll review it after completion. Started out reading this one to our youngest kids (5 & 8 at the time) but a few chapters in realized it was a little beyond them (maybe 11 and up?). Well written and well told story. Flows well for reading aloud. Ended up finishing it off on my own as I was pulled into the story. I switched over to an E.Nesbit book on Dragons to read aloud to the younger kids and that has been PERFECT. I'll review it after completion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Cassada

    I read this for history with my 13, 11 and 9 year olds. They all liked it pretty well. The action packed, but sad adventures and a young boy who rises through the ranks after being taken from his family after they are murdered to become a trusted servant during a time of upheaval. It was a little hard to follow (I think due to the challenging names, keep them straight wasn’t easy for me). Glad I read it with them, but this wasn’t my favorite, probably wouldn’t read it again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike Bertrand

    Read this book in 8th grade, I had broken my leg and spent my physical education period in the library for most of the school year because of it. Happened by this book browsing the shelves in boredom, picked it up and started reading it. I don't know how much I would like this book today if I read it but I'm giving it five stars because I loved it when I did read it as a child, and seeing as how it's a young adult novel maybe I should leave the rating to my former preteen self. Read this book in 8th grade, I had broken my leg and spent my physical education period in the library for most of the school year because of it. Happened by this book browsing the shelves in boredom, picked it up and started reading it. I don't know how much I would like this book today if I read it but I'm giving it five stars because I loved it when I did read it as a child, and seeing as how it's a young adult novel maybe I should leave the rating to my former preteen self.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This book is a very sad but inspirational book. I would only recommend this book to those who enjoy sad but uplifting books with some action. Which I am pretty sure to be a large number of people. This book has a little bit of everything. From Wars to a love story. Everyone should give this book a try because this book not only can bring entertainment it can also bring life lessons.

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