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Cloud of Sparrows (Samurai #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,251 ratings  ·  218 reviews
Once in a great while a new novelist comes along who dazzles us with rare eloquence and humanity, with flawless storytelling and a unique understanding of another place and time. Takashi Matsuoka is just such a writer.

His magnificent new novel, set amid the violence and beauty of nineteenth-century Japan, takes us beyond the epic tradition of James Clavell’s Shogun and in
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 3rd 2004 by Delta (first published 2002)
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Bridge of Birds by Barry HughartThe Tales of the Otori Trilogy by Lian HearnThe Twelve Kingdoms by Fuyumi OnoEon by Alison GoodmanThe Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Chinese and Japanese Fantasy
35th out of 166 books — 277 voters
Shōgun by James ClavellAcross the Nightingale Floor by Lian HearnThe God Complex by Chris TitusThe Ninja by Eric Van LustbaderMusashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
Martial Fiction
14th out of 139 books — 127 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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A streamlined version of Shogun, sacrificing some of the depth of characterization and subtlety of political power games in favor of extra servings of ninja duels, geisha seductions and personal vendettas. The conflict between the Eastern and Western cultures is moved from 1600 to 1861, and the strongarming of the Tokugawa Shogunate by American and European warships into opening the country for trade (or legalized robbery as it turned out). Japan is on the brink of major shift in policy, not yet ...more
Dibaca ulang, dalam rangka nggak ada bacaan hehe dan ceritanya juga udah agak lupa.

Buku ini menceritakan kisah hidup Daimyo (bangsawan agung) Akaoka yang bernama Okumichi Genji. Genji digambarkan sebagai laki2 muda yang tampan namun sering diremehkan karena penampilannya tidak seperti samurai sejati. Dikatai terlalu lunak, pesolek, dll. Belum lagi pemikirannya yang sering 'berbeda'. Yang paling membuat gerah adalah sikapnya terhadap orang2 asing yang datang ke Jepang. Genji menerima para misiona
Jesse Tooper
Reading Cloud of Sparrows the 1st time, you can't help but be reminded of Clavell's Shogun (subsequently, one of my favorite books), which in my opinion, is a very good thing. Taking place in 1861, right when the west began to "invade" the east, the story centers around 5 main characters.....Lord Genji, who has "seen" that his life will be saved by an outsider. He has been the one "chosen once in a generation" to have the gift of prophesy. Emily Gibson- a chick that has come to spread Christiani ...more
Siamo nell'anno 1861, quando Genji Okumichi, daimyo di Akaoka, riceve nel suo territorio lo sbarco di alcuni missionari cristiani, tra cui si trova Emily, che gli appare immediatamente brutta: i suoi colori sono sbagliati, le sue forme sono sbagliate, le sue vesti sono sbagliate. In poche parole, è una bianca occidentale. Nulla a che vedere con le raffinate dame di compagnia di cui Genji si circonda, prima tra tutte la bellissima Heiko, che in realtà non è solo una cortigiana, ma un'abile assass ...more
Обичам книги, които ме водят в древна Япония. Действително книгата ме върна във времето, когато в ръцете ми попадна "Шогун" на любимия ми Клавел.
Тази книга е написана от японец, но пак е заложен конфликтът при сблъсъка на два свята. Толкова са ми интересни японците като мислене, като светоусещане, като психика, отношението им към смъртта, йерархията, строгите правила в нея, невъзможността да сложиш знак на равенство между "проститутка" и "гейша" /ние нямаме подходящата дума за това/. В тези стр
Reed Pendergrass
Cloud of Sparrows reads like a cross between an action film, a western, and a cheesy melodrama. That may sound bad, but this pretty much describes most good samurai stories. The senseless violence and insufferable arrogance of the samurai is often juxtaposed with his intense passion, loyalty, depth of feeling, and often ridiculous sentimentality.

Set at end of the Edo period, the last years of the samurai, the book opens 6 years after Japan opened its borders to foreigners for the first time in
Чанко Попчев
Книга за феодална Япония и началото на контактите и с Европа и Америка, но написана от японец с перфектен стил и познание на епохата. Увлекателното действие е по-добро от много класически романи. Тънка психология и неочаквани откровения допълват мащабната картина на цяла Япония.
Романтиката започва още с името на книгата - "Облак врабчета" е името на замък на крайбрежието, ставащ сцена на сблъсъка на два свята.
Такаши Мацуока има безспорен талант.
Още в началото съм изненадана от критичния тон на автора по отношение на порядките и традициите в Япония през 19-ти век. Очаквах възхвала на самураите и техния кодекс, може би повлияна от други книги („Шогун” на първо място, „Кодексът на самурая Будо Шошиншу” – Дайдоджи Юдзан) и филми („Последният самурай”), както и общото мнение за японската култура. Не че съм познавач, дори напротив, но явно съм попила някакво общо настроение по темата. А Такаши Мацуока директно обвинява японците в закостеняло ...more

Cloud of Sparrows was a satisfying read, but it was not the best book that I've ever read. The plot and writing style were gripping and easy to read, and I learned a lot about feudal Japanese culture. I was, however, disappointed by the remaining loose ends at the conclusion of the book. The multiple plots did not all finish at the same time, and the last one seemed like a hasty ending.

It was fascinating to read the differences of culture between the American missionaries and the feudal Japanese

Serazhutdin Khappalaev
"Воробьиная Туча", изданная у нас как "Стрелы на Ветру", формально считается первой книгой дилогии, и повествует об истории Гэндзи Окумити - последнего князя клана, его ближайших родственников, вассалов, а также нескольких американцев, чьи судьбы окажутся неразрывно переплетены с судьбой всего клана. После скачущего по эпохам "Осеннего Моста" практически линейное за некоторыми исключениями повествование "Воробьиной Тучи" кажется читерством :) Гэндзи Окумити, бывший одним из многих главных героев ...more
Mrs. Fujiwara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Those who succeed and those fail are both destined to die.’

This novel, a work of historical fiction with elements of fantasy, opens in Edo in 1861 as two centuries of Japanese isolation is forcibly ended by outsiders from the West. As foreign ships threaten to destroy the Shogun’s castle in Edo, a small group of American missionaries arrives. The missionaries are the Reverend Zephaniah Cromwell, his fiancée Emily Gibson, and Matthew Stark. Unsurprisingly, each has secrets and each has a reason
The method of story telling I thought was quite different. The author took you back and forth in time flawlessly. I think if you had a prior understanding of Japanese culture it would make the story much more interesting as some actions in the story do not fit western culture.
Martha Sockel
It's very difficult not to draw comparison with Shogun and Cloud of Sparrows. Both contain the same elements and both sweep you into a past world you both long to, and are glad not to, be a part of.

I liked the complexity of the interaction of the central characters. It is predominantly written from a Samurai Lord's point of view; however the central characters grab your interest from the get go. The ruling Lord cursed / gifted with the sight, his famously beautiful Geisha, lover or traitor? Then
Premetto di conoscere poco o niente del Giappone medievale ed odierno, e quindi di non saper giudicare quanto il contesto storico e l’ambientazione siano effettivamente corretti. Detto ciò mi ha colpito soprattutto lo stile di narrazione leggero che crea una lettura che cattura nonostante, a ben pensarci, non ci siano scene mozzafiato o colpi di scena eccezionali. Penso sia questo ciò che caratterizza di più il romanzo: tocca vari punti in maniera indiretta, semplicemente mostrandoli egregiament ...more
A lot of descriptions have it as a more accessible "Shogun," but I've yet to read that one so I can only bring it up on faith.

This book (as you can infer off the description) covers a period in time where Japan opens it's "borders" to the Western powers. The problem I usually encounter with Asian Fantasy is that they trend a fine line with cultural norms. Either it comes up so often that you're almost reading a travel guide or not nearly enough and the Asian setting feels hallow. "Cloud of Sparr
Nov 24, 2014 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction and Japanese history fans.
What a pleasant surprise! I had not heard of this author and was entranced with his mixture of historical fact, historical fiction and fantasy. As a former employee in a zen monastery, Matsuoka was also able to weave elements of that discipline into his narrative.

The timing, 1861, is in the middle of the Japanese transition from the shogunate to an empire. Genji, the main protagonist, is a Daimyo or Great Lord, and a far thinking samurai warrior, who recognizes the power of the Westerners and qu
Alluna Lynn
Kastel Awan Gereja adalah buku pertama dari buku Dwilogi karya Takashi Matsuoka. Buku ini mengisahkan tentang Bangsawan Agung dari klan Okumichi, Kami Genji di daerah Akaoka di pulau Shikoku yang berkuasa sekitar tahun 1860-1895 Masehi. Genji hidup di zaman akan keruntuhan Shogun Tokugawa dan restorasi dari kekaisaran Meiji. Hidupnya sebagai seorang bangsawan agung yang dikelilingi samurai menemui banyak intrik dan pergulatan.

Klan Okumichi dikenal degan kemampuan 'meramal' mereka yang diturunka
Samurais = check
Ninjas = Check
Geisha = check
Zen monks = check
Cowboy gunslingers? =check

Zen allusions, sword duels, sword vs gun duels, gun vs shuriken, ancient Japanese culture = check!

What more can I, who grew up w watching anime, ask for?

I was so used with the grand number of characters any long novel has (like that of Game of Thrones) that I was unimpressed with the humble number of characters listed in the 400 page book's cast of characters.

That, however, did not matter. Matsuoka offers a le
Marc Jentzsch
Historically-based with a very light sprinkling of the fantastic (primarily via prophetic visions), Cloud of Sparrows is one of my favorite books. Set during the years immediately preceding the Meiji Restoration, it takes a historical setting and makes it work for a tale at once sweepingly epic and intensely personal.

Matsuoka writes characters that are at once compellingly sympathetic yet still at times, utter monsters by modern sensibilities. They are consistent and honest and engaging. The boo
Sean Wylie
Fantastic historically fiction about the tumultuous period in Japanese history following the forcing open of their ports by US Admiral Perry in the 1880s. For over 200 years Japan had cut itself off from the rest of the world. This is the period when the Samurai culture was at its peak. Until the fateful day when the US Navy decided Japan must open itself to trade from the rest of the world. Within a few years Japan was forced into a transition from a clan culture, loosely united under a Shogan, ...more
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I gave 5 STARS. Why?
Karena buku ini KAYA.

Nggak cuma kisah yang menakjubkan tapi history dan budayanya ngena banget, perspektif, dogma, dan toleransi brilliant.
Jujur aja, gue males baca buku tentang agama yang bukan agama gue. Tapi baca ini, gue berasa nyaman.

Gue tertarik tentang Samurai, Ninja, Shogun, Kaum Eta, Bangsawan... semua tenntang Jepang masa lalu kegambar di sini. Nikmat! bacanya.

Mr. Takashi mainkan plot dan setting sempurna banget. Penokohannya kuat, nggak sebatas satu tokoh. Bahkan
Okay, Goodreads does not have the English cover.
I started reading this and realized I probably read it already.
I checked my book list and found I had read in 2003.
I like books set in this time period of Japanese history; 1800's.
There are a few X words to pass over in the beginning only.
Shaunesay Eslanai
Cloud of Sparrows is a study of the contradictory nature of the Samurai in a time when their world was inexorably moving forward. They are ruthless killers, incited to decapitate a foe over insulting words, but are also moved to tears by the nuance of a gesture, or a perceived boon found in what was not said, or not done to spare feelings and perception of a reputation. This brutal beauty is reflected on an individual as well as a cultural level, and it is into this passionate, yet rigidly struc ...more
Yukanatha Svanidza
Pertamanya nggak begitu yakin bakal menikmati buku pertamanya, soalnya saya baca buku keduanya dulu. Nekad sih baca buku keduanya gara" penasaran, dan ternyata bisa aja baca buku keduanya dulu. Tapi pas nemu buku pertamanya dicetak ulang, jadi berasa gak afdol... meski akhirnya beli juga XD

Dan ternyata ini jauh dari kata mengecewakan.
Saya sangat menikmati buku pertama ini, meski sudah tahu buku keduanya bakal gimana.

Temanya itulho yang buat saya tertarik: jaman dimana kepemimpinan shogun pada ak
‘Those who succeed and those fail are both destined to die.’

Is the ability to know the future a bless or a curse? Can that ability make a true samurai, one who doesn’t complain when being tortured, one who is willing to die for the sake of honor and loyalty, but is considered common to cry when feeling moved or happy?

(Blurb from the Indonesian translated book)

I was in the middle of reading a book for my Once Upon a Time challenge when my friend, out of nowhere, lent me Samurai – Kastel Awan Bu
Negentiende eeuw, Amerika heeft het voorzien op Japan dat nog vasthoudt aan zijn eeuwenoude samoeraicultuur. We volgen drie Amerikaanse zendelingen die het ware geloof komen verkondigen, langs de ene kant, en langs de andere kant hun jonge Japanse gastheer die de toekomst kan zien, en diens geisha wiens schoonheid wijd en zijd verspreid is.

Het kan aan de vertaling liggen, maar dit boek is pulp. De zinnen klonken te gekunsteld en tegelijk te simpel, soms te stijf; ze slaagden er niet in de beelde
Ketika lelaki itu berpaling menatapnya, Heiko berharap dia akan melihat :
Rambutnya : sekelam malam tanpa bintang tergerai di alas sutra biru.
Wajahnya : sepucat salju pada musim semi, bersinar dengan cahaya yang dicuri dari bulan (hal.24)

Itulah serangkaian kalimat pembuka novel epik berjudul asli Cloud of Sparrows : An Epic Novel of Japan karya Takashi Matsuoka atau diterjemahkan oleh penerbit Qanita Mizan menjadi Samurai Kastel Awan Burung Gereja. Kalimat tadi telah memikat saya untuk terus memb
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Takashi Matsuoka is a first-generation Japanese American writer living in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. Before commiting full time to the writing profession, he used to work at a Zen Buddhist temple. His books, historical novels depicting American missionaries' visits to Japan, are often compared to Shōgun and the rest James Clavell's series. In addition to writing novels, Matsuoka also worked ...more
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