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The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger, #4)
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The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger #4)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  2,552 ratings  ·  196 reviews
In The 47th Samurai, Bob Lee Swagger, the gritty hero of Stephen Hunter's bestselling novels Point of Impact and Time to Hunt, returns in Hunter's most intense and exotic thriller to date.

Bob Lee Swagger and Philip Yano are bound together by a single moment at Iwo Jima, 1945, when their fathers, two brave fighters on opposite sides, met in the bloody and chaotic battle f...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike (the Paladin)
I'm sure that some will read this book and rate it lower than I have...there is a HUGE eye roll factor here in at least one way. I'll say this...do some mental exercise and beef up your "suspension of disbelief muscles".

I like the Bob Lee Swagger character pretty well. However the Bob here isn't quite the Bob we've met before. There's not a huge difference but anyone who's followed the series will probably see the differences.

This however is not the eye roll factor. I'll have to discuss that un...more
Joe Moley
uh... really?

I was stuck at an airport recently with nothing to read so decided to pick this book up. Though it’s not my first choice, I generally enjoy the action/suspense genre and have read plenty of Clancy, Lee Child, and my newest favorite, Barry Eisler. This book seemed fairly intriguing as it seemed centered around Samurai and Japanese culture, two topics that should be near impossible to mess up. Unfortunately, had I not been on a flight with nothing to do I would have trashed this early...more
Rex Fuller
First rate. I will read all of the Swagger books Hunter ever writes.
Jesse Broussard
Jul 21, 2010 Jesse Broussard rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jesse by: David Broussard
Shelves: fiction, good
Another of the Bob Lee Swagger books, and a better (I would say). Swagger is older--in his sixties--and the battles take place in Japan. It's quite good, with a few cautions: it is extremely bloody, and realistically so. One of the chief villains is a pornographer, and, though none of it is dealt with explicitly or in a titillating fashion, it is there. Finally, there is some language, though much of it is called for.

The tale refers to the legend of the 47 ronin, which is magnificent, and is lar...more
CD
Bob Lee Swagger is getting long in the tooth. Hunter's great character needs to come to resolution, and this West-East mashup isn't the vehicle to take Bob Lee to his retirement.

Those who read this story need to keep in mind that is that, a story. Maybe not a great entry in the Bob Lee sage, but still fairly satisfying and as well written as most of the rest. It does not rise to the pinnacle of Hunter's best works even while being recognizably a part of the total canon.

Another synopsis laden rev...more
Stuart
Stephan Hunter has been my movie reviewer of choice for more than 30 years. First, when I lived in Baltimore and read him in the Sun, then when he followed me down to DC and took a job with the Post. (That doesn't sound too egotistical, does it? Something tells me Oliver Sacks would have a field day parsing the self-absorption in that sentence.) That said, he (we) are still boys at heart. Full of all the fascination for things that go boom or cut and bleed. It was only a matter of time when all...more
Wesley
This is an important novel in the series as whole but it was hard for me to get into. I think I will go back and re-read it. After reading the books past it the importance really shines on this one. I gave it a 3 but that's only for now. I will re-read it and change my rating and add to the review if seen fit.

Re-Read Aug 15th 2011,
OK, I was harsh the first time around. Granted it wasn't one of the best but in the mix of the series it had great timing as an alternative in the Swagger series. I'...more
Jeff Stevens
Don't read it for accuracy or believability.

But if you can suspend your disbelief, it's a thriller. Another Bob Lee Swagger book, and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the others, perhaps more. The cultural insights into Japan and the respect in which Hunter holds the culture are both interesting and touching. I actually believed, while reading it, in a "trees instead of forest" mindset, that Swagger could do those things with a sword even on so little training.

It's a lot of fun, but has its is...more
Mackenzie
I have to say, I'm glad I didn't know this was part of a series until I was about halfway through the book, because I tend to try to read series in order. Luckily for me, this book could stand alone.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It drew me in right away with two things that have always fascinated me: war stories and Japanese culture. While it was entertaining enough to enjoy, I'm not going to pretend it was amazing.
There were bits and pieces that felt poorly explained, the antagonist's...more
Howard Anders
Wow! Hunter just keeps getting better. The series may have to end prematurely, however, if Bob Lee Swagger keeps getting chunks of his anatomy shot off, blown off, or as in "The 47th Samurai" carved off. And ol' Bob Lee ain't getting any younger. There are some lessons here, about loyalty and honor, and respecting the wisdom and experience of older generations, but Mr. Hunter doesn't let them get in the way of a good story. Outstanding read.
Michelle
I really like Bob Lee Swagger and I usually really like Stephen Hunter, but this nook reads like an IRS justification for deducting trios to Japan and Iwo Jima, with a few product endorsements for freebies thrown in. The book just wasn't much fun to read. A slog through sword terminology, obscure Japanese sword culture and a bizarre, out-of-left field Wizard of Oz reference, with nods to Star Wars and The Karate Kid. At times it was just outright silly. Overall it was something I waded through w...more
Evan
I say this knowing this book is a work of fiction.... I really like the Bobby Lee Swagger character and his always adapt and overcome attitude. However this book kind of jumps out of the realm of plausible fiction. This book wants you to believe that the can do attitude will allow Bobby Lee to mop up life long trained samurai after having two weeks of intense training in the sword arts. I know there is the old adage "any given Sunday" but this book makes you have to believe a sixth grade basketb...more
Rezhun Robertson
I really enjoyed The 47th Samurai. I’m usually not that much in to dramatic stories with too much dialect of face-to-face conversation, which usually is what I’m required to read in school. I would say that the authors purpose of writing this book would be to explain historical events in a cool, edgy, and creative ways.Reading this was like a breath of fresh air to me. Throughout the story, Bob Swagger looks to retrieve what his acquaintance, Yano, has requested. Yano wanted the Samurai Sword th...more
Wayne
Oct 14, 2013 Wayne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults only
Recommended to Wayne by: Goodreads
This was the seventh Swagger book I have read, the fourth with Bob Lee Sagger as the lead character. This book as the others was masterfully written. The author drops facts along the way that seem insignificant but in the unfolding of the story become very significant That is a skill this author has. It is difficult not to continue reading this book but other demands of life require you to occasionally set it down. So you finish the book as conveniently as you can. This story unfolds in Japan wh...more
James
The story begins on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima in 1945. That was where Bob Lee Swagger's and Philip Yano's fathers met as enemies. Only Bob Lee Swagger's father survived. Now more than sixty years later, Philip Yano comes to America seeking to recover his father's sword. His search leads him to Bob Lee who immediately pledges to locate the sword. Once he finds the sword and delivers it to Yano in Tokyo, the story takes a twist. On inspection, they discover that it is a legendary shin-shinto...more
David
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Youngblood
I'd never heard of the Bob Lee Swagger series, nor had I ever read anything from this particular author. I picked up the book as a 'what the hell' purchase to pass the time recently, and the praise on the back dustcover of the book seemed rather glowing and effusive.

I really should learn to ignore critics.

While this book was a good read, well researched, and about a subject which I am generally enthusiastic (samurai, katana, Japan, etc.) without sliding into full blown 'weeaboo' status, it wasn'...more
Charles
The 47th Samurai
by Stephen Hunter

My astrological sign is Libra. As a Libra I, (1) Feel strongly both ways and (2) am of two minds. Both are redundantly true regarding my reaction to reading Stephen Hunter's The 47th Samurai.

I suppose that I am expecting too much that violent, driven, alcoholic Bob Lee Swagger, Hunter protagonist from Mena, I mean "Blue Eye" Arkansas would be more like James Lee Burke's violent, driven, alcoholic Dave Robicheaux. Swagger is uneducated cracker godless to Robicheau...more
Robert Rosenthal
Compared with Stephen Hunter's other Bob Lee Swagger books, I found this to be long-winded and a bit disappointing. The opening battle scene was crisp and taut, exactly what I expect from this author. Then we fade into the future . . . and it all goes into slow motion. Lots of stuff about Samurai and their swords, and of course the infamous 47 Ronin who masterfully avenge their betrayed lord, then gladly commit seppuku. But it's over indulgent and drags down the plot -- a bit like tying history...more
Hale
ALERT, some spoilers!

I've recently finished Stephen Hunter's The 47th Samurai.

The 47th Samurai is the latest addition to the Bob Lee Swagger/Earl Swagger saga (Bob Lee appearing as the main character in one set: Point of Impact, Black Light and Time to Hunt; and his father Earl in Hot Springs, Pale Horse Coming, and Havana). Point of Impact, an excellent book, was bowdlerized into the thoroughly boring film Shooter (2007) with Mark Wahlberg completely miscast as Bob Lee Swagger. (Of the bunch, I...more
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
*Synopsis* In The 47th Samurai, Bob Lee Swagger, the gritty hero of Stephen Hunter's bestselling novels Point of Impact and Time to Hunt, returns in Hunter's most intense and exotic thriller to date.

Bob Lee Swagger and Philip Yano are bound together by a single moment at Iwo Jima, 1945, when their fathers, two brave fighters on opposite sides, met in the bloody and chaotic battle for the island. Only Earl Swagger survived.

More than sixty years later, Yano comes to America to honor the legacy of...more
Peter
For background to Stephen Hunter's books, see my review of "Point of Impact."

My gosh! Another Bob Lee Stagger novel (#4). But this one is a major change of pace. Bob’s father, a Medal of Honor winner on Iwo Jima (Bob “only” had the Navy Cross—second in the hierarchy of Marine Corps medals)takes a Japanese banzai sword as a souvenir. The son of the Japanese officer whom Earl Swagger killed is searching for that sword as a memento of his own father. Bob finds the sword and goes to Japan to return...more
Joe White
Stephen Hunter wrote some annotations in this book that describe Japanese sword making in such a convincing manner that the reader might think that this book could be just one step away from being a true reference. And then comes the disappointment in the acknowledgements that it is all just spin with educated input from some of his advisors.

The book was a little too heavy on the warrior way - honor among warriors - honor for dying like a warrior -- expect to see and hear John Wayne walk right o...more
Frank
Well, this wasn't my favorite Swagger thriller. It could be sub-titled: Bob Lee Swagger goes to Japan and becomes a Samurai warrior. To me this just didn't seem to fit very well with the Swagger novels I have come to know and love. After all, Swagger is a sniper not a swordsman and his being able to learn in 5 days how to use a Japanese sword proficiently enough to survive and win against experienced swordsmen, just is too far-fetched to be believable. Some of this one really dragged for me incl...more
Scott
This was certainly a fresh take on a Swagger novel that at least deserves credit for departing so drastically from the proven Swagger formula... although I don't know if I'm really on board with it. The battle-hardened, no nonsense, gunfighting Swagger was replaced by a... sentimental, introspective swordfighting Swagger? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely appreciated the emotion that Hunter infused into the character of Bob Lee, which certainly developed him into a more well-rounded character. Bu...more
Dana Stabenow
Another pulse-pounder from Hunter, although there is an underlying sense of hilarity to the motivation of the Big Bad--keeping Japanese porn Japanese. A lot about samurai history, culture and swords, which almost becomes tedious, but not quite. My favorite scene isn't action--unless it's purely cerebral--it's when Bob Lee shows Okada-san just how thoroughly he used her tail to wag the dog. And good for him, too.
Greg
Mar 03, 2010 Greg rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bob Lee Swagger fans, or anyone who appreciates a novelist who actually knows firearms
The 47th Samurai is one of the Bob Lee Swagger books created and written by Stephen Hunter. While they are entertaining reads, I enjoy them more because Stephen Hunter actually knows and understand hoplophilia, and doesn't make the mistakes about firearms that most novelists tend to make. Nothing ruins a story more than to be reading a good yarn and then see that someone puts a silencer on a revolver, or calls a magazine a "clip" or describes poor gun handling technique. Hunter doesn't make thos...more
Kris
Minor Spoiler: IF you don't like blood, LOTS of blood and descriptions of it leaving the body, live in a world where adults never brutalize women and children or can't hndle good guys dying, this is NOT the book for you.

However, if you want a well paced exciting book with swordfights, sarcasm and gritty reality, do jump in and read. The characters aren't particularly well rounded, even the hero, but they are sympathetically drawn and you can almost taste their obsessions.

I am hugely ammused at...more
Eric
This was an exciting thriller that I mostly enjoyed. Despite not being as interested in the main character as I have been in other thriller series, I found that Hunter's characterization of the supporting cast actually led me to be more interested in the protagonist because of his interactions with these interesting side characters. However, Hunter almost goes off the deep end with his "bad guys" - he makes these guys so despicable that it's easy to hate them, but at times, their actions in the...more
Larry
This was the reason I started reading the Bob Lee Swagger series. I wanted to know the story of how his father, Earl, (I read all of the books in that series) won the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWII.

It turned out that this is the first Bobby Lee book that had nothing to do with snipers – just swords. Go figure… Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. I’ve always liked swords, fighting and its techniques. (Now THAT was combat. Face-to-face. Close in.)

It’s Samurai vs. redneck! It was exciting to see Bobb...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Stephen Hunter is the author of fourteen novels, and a chief film critic at The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
More about Stephen Hunter...
Point of Impact (Bob Lee Swagger, #1) Time to Hunt (Bob Lee Swagger, #3) I, Sniper (Bob Lee Swagger, #6) Black Light (Bob Lee Swagger, #2) Dirty White Boys

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