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Cloud of Sparrows (Samurai #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,687 Ratings  ·  259 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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The Tales of the Otori Trilogy by Lian HearnBridge of Birds by Barry HughartThe Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. BorosonThe Twelve Kingdoms by Fuyumi OnoEon by Alison Goodman
Chinese and Japanese Fantasy
33rd out of 185 books — 358 voters
Shōgun by James ClavellAcross the Nightingale Floor by Lian HearnThe Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. BorosonThe Ninja by Eric Van LustbaderThe God Complex by Chris Titus
Martial Fiction
14th out of 156 books — 162 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sep 06, 2009 Weni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mrs. Fujiwara
May 04, 2008 Mrs. Fujiwara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sekitar tahun 1861, masa transisi terjadi di pemerintahan Jepang. Tak sedikit perubahan yang terjadi. Salah satunya adalah adanya perjanjian dengan pemerintahan bangsa lain. Hal yang selama puluhan tahun tak pernah dilakukan. Perjanjian ini juga yang mempermudah bagi orang asing termasuk para misionaris untuk masuk dan menginjakkan kaki ke negeri matahari terbit ini, tanpa harus tunduk pada hukum yang berlaku di Jepang.

Kebijakan ini menimbulkan keresahan bagi beberapa pihak. Apalagi melihat sepa
Feb 09, 2009 Endah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2009 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 25, 2013 Esti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of my all-time fave
Jun 15, 2011 Carmel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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

Jun 29, 2011 Hilal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The demons of the past,
the treachery of the present,
an uncertain future are about to collide in the most terrifying ways.

As past and present collide,
a hidden history comes to life,
and with it a secret prophecy that has been shrouded for centuries and may now finally be revealed.

Dahulu, di pertengahan semester VI, saya mendapatkan novel Samurai Kastel Awan Burung Gereja. Novel ini saya pilih karena novel Musashi, yang beberapa tahun lalu sudah saya baca, menyedot perhatian saya pada novel-nov
Serazhutdin Khappalaev
Jul 17, 2011 Serazhutdin Khappalaev rated it it was amazing
"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
Jennifer (JC-S)
Sep 07, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
‘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
Jan 30, 2016 kagami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, fiction
An exquisite book! I immensely enjoyed every page of it.
I loved the story, the complexity of the characters, the style, the imagery, and every little detail of the narrative. I was thrilled at last to encounter a read which, in my view, truthfully portrays the inner workings of Japanese feudal society, the rigid codes that used to rule the behaviour of each member of that nation.
Even a daimyo - a Great Lord, who is answerable only to the Shogun and the Emperor - cannot really do what he please
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.
Mar 10, 2012 Shari rated it really liked it
In spite of the bloody, brutal and gory scenes, I found myself liking this book. It wasn't just about fighting and getting revenge by clans of samurais, but also about how Edo responded and reacted to the forced opening of the country to the world. It was interesting to read the clash of cultures between Japan and the rest of the world, such as how one would perceive beauty and express its appreciation. At the same time, this difference is also balanced by how compromises can be reached, even th ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Novia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘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
Jun 18, 2012 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Jesse Tooper
Jul 08, 2012 Jesse Tooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 17, 2012 Fade rated it it was ok
Hilariously melodramatic. Everyone is the Most or Worst or Least of whatever they are. Clunky prose, and a wandering point of view.

But oh, what a page-turner it was. And the research seemed very solid, though I'm no scholar of the place or time being described. So I read it all the way through, and cannot recommend it very well at all.
Nov 10, 2013 Джорджия rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 04, 2016 LVLMLeah rated it it was amazing
This was such a good book, but maybe not for the reasons most people will talk about. Yes, it is similar to Shogun and The Last Samurai in scope, detail, and entertainment. And the writing is so evocative; so many details about Japanese culture during the pre-Meiji era that I get off on.

For me though this wasn’t just a drama of that time period in Japan; it was more than that. I felt in some ways this was a very spiritual story. Author Takashi Matsuoka incorporates a lot of Zen Buddhist philoso
Mar 11, 2014 Mirya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2014 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Reed Pendergrass
Mar 15, 2015 Reed Pendergrass rated it liked it
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
Jun 25, 2015 Barry rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 25, 2015 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story about two Americans and an amazing cast of Japanese warriors whose lives are intertwined in 19th century Japan. Lots of political intrigue, cultural references, gorgeous settings and descriptions. And Lord Genji is on my list of favorite heroes ever. A truly amazing book.
May 18, 2016 Angigames rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Trovato in una libreria dell’usato, pagato una sciocchezza, aspettavo di leggere questo libro da anni. Oggi è praticamente introvabile, sono stata fortunata!
Ambientato nel Giappone dell’800, con una possibile invasione straniera alle porte, il giovane Genji, capo del clan Okumichi dovrà affrontare un possibile tradimento.
Scritto in maniera corposa ed impeccabile, questo libro fa emergere le divergenze di due opposte civiltà che però sono in egual misura dilaniate da violenza, sosp
Jul 06, 2016 Tikali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese, historical
Einerseits fand ich das Buch toll- es scheint gut recherchiert zu sein, verfügt über interessante, abwechslungsreiche Charaktere und eine Welt, in die ich gut eintauchen konnte.
Andererseits wurde ich mit keinen der Figuren so richtig warm- sie wurden trotz ihrer Hintergrundgeschichten irgendwie nur oberflächlich gezeigt. Auch die Brutalität und das Crossover zwischen (durch Rückblenden eingeführter) amerikanischer und japanischer Welt störte mich.
Es war auf jeden Fall ein interessantes Buch, d
Michelle allan
gave up halfway through, will try again another time.
Aug 28, 2016 Мариша rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Много красиво написана история, едновременно щастлива и тъжна, мъдра и динамична... имах чувството, че се докосвам до онази толкова различна култура, и въпреки това че приликите между нас и тях са повече, отколкото разликите...
Tore Knudsen
Oct 10, 2016 Tore Knudsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much liked the book. Good description of the feudal system in Japan.
Αν θέλετε να ταξιδέψετε στην Ιαπωνία του 1861, αν θέλετε να πολεμήσετε μαζί με σαμουράι και νίντζα, αν θέλετε να γνωρίσετε τα ήθη και τις παραδόσεις της χώρας, αν θέλετε να συναναστραφείτε με άρχοντες, με σογκούν, με γκέισες, τότε διαβάστε αυτό το βιβλίο. Είναι υπέροχο. Προδοσίες, πάθη, έρωτες, προφητείες περιγράφονται εξαιρετικά από τον συγγραφέα και δημιουργεί μια ιστορία μαγική, σχεδόν παραμυθένια, φέρνοντας κοντά την Ανατολή με τη Δύση. Η πλοκή της ιστορίας γρήγορη και με απίστευτες ανατροπέ ...more
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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
More about Takashi Matsuoka...

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“The sages say happiness and sorrow are one. Is this because in finding the first, we also find the second?” 6 likes
“I enter a time of much peril, and am more likely to fail and die than succeed and live.”
“Those who succeed and those who fail are both destined to die.”
More quotes…