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The Samurai of Seville (Samurai #1)
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The Samurai of Seville

(Samurai #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A sumptuous novel inspired by one of history’s most intriguing forgotten chapters—the arrival of Japanese Samurai on the shores of Europe.

In 1614, forty Samurai warriors and a group of tradesmen from Japan sailed to Spain, where they initiated one of the most intriguing cultural exchanges in history. They were received with pomp and circumstance, first by King Philip III a
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Arcade (first published April 5th 2016)
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In 1614, Date Masamune, Japanese feudal baron and great Lord of the Shogun authorized a diplomatic mission to visit Spain and the Vatican. Hasekura Tsunenaga, a retainer of Date Masamune was chosen to head the mission estimated to take approximately two years. The meeting of two distinct cultures would be put to the test.

Date Masamune had raised his illegitimate nephew Shiro in Sendai Castle. Shiro was exposed to a multicultural education. He became a samurai at 13 years old and followed the Way
I received a digital ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The book follows a delegation of 17th century Samurai to King Phillip III's Spain and their attempts to find some common ground between two very different cultures.

This was a fascinating premise for a novel; unfortunately I struggled with the execution. Immediately I noticed how little dialogue there was, specifically in the first half, and I think this contributed to me having a harder time following and remembering specific
Karen Kay
I received this ARC from in exchange for a review.

The writing is ok, but the topic was all over the place. There was nothing (and no one) to grasp on to.

Ugh. I couldn't get into this book and gave up at 20%. DNF. No rating.
The sheer idea behind this book is what drew me. I knew of diplomatic and trade missions from Europe to Japan, but Japan to Europe?? Nope. And to find out that these events truly happened, there really was a diplomatic mission from Japan that travel through New Spain in the New World to Spain proper and onto Rome to meet the Pope just blew my mind. It's little nuggets of obscure history like this that make me love the historical fiction genre so much.

For the most part, the author pulls things o
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
It's now been a week since I read this and I'm finally ready to come back and write this review. I decided on 3 stars as my final rating.
Whilst the book is trying to be somewhat unique, this was not what caused a tumult of emotions in me. It was how much I related to the main character that sets out on a mission from Japan to Spain. It hits home as I lived in Spain for a year and I was delighted by similar if not the very same things as the samurai protagonist. Mind you, I am no samurai and no
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, fiction
door dit boek ben ik me gaan verdiepen in de geschiedenis die hier wordt beschreven. erg interessant
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ambientado en el siglo XVII, parte en Japón, pero principalmente en Sevilla, narra la historia de cómo uno samurais llegaron a España, y lo hace a través de Shiro, un joven samurai que ve cómo su vida cambia no sólo por el viaje y el contacto con nuevas culturas, sino por conocer a cierta familia, que le hará plantearse su futuro.

El autor, narra a través de esta historia ficticia de Shiro, en una forma distendida con cierto toque de romanticismo, el dato real de la llegada de un barco japonés a
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
The Samurai of Seville by John J. Healey is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June.

Oi, this book is filled with detailed description, details, and so, so many names; both Spanish and Japanese. Its third-person narration is mostly from the perspective of Shiro and his group of samurai, alongside families of the Spanish nobility, and their becoming acclimated with new languages, cultures, swordsmanship, appearance, fine dining, and etiquette.
Milos Mojsilovic
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was given an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

In the year 1614. a Japanese delegation led by Hasekura Tsunenaga visited Spain. Instead of returning to Japan in 1617. six samurai remained. And this is the story of that journey.

This story presents a piece of history that most people have never heard of or generally aren't familiar with. And that includes me. But reading this story was a journey i won't soon forget.

At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Shiro. A fictional characte
The Idle Woman
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Until I read this book, I’d never heard of the extraordinary Japanese embassy that arrived at the court of King Philip III of Spain in 1615. Its members had come halfway round the world, encouraged by the need to seek new trading markets and made curious by the stories of Christian missionaries. Led by the ambassador Hasekura Tsunenaga and escorted by a party of samurai, this remarkable entourage arrived in Europe to be feted and gawped at by peasants and nobles alike. Healey’s readab ...more
Michelle Kidwell
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing

The Samurai of Seville

A Novel

by John J. Healey

Skyhorse Publishing

Arcade Publishing

Historical Fiction

Pub Date 13 Jun 2017

Archive Date 22 May 2017
I am reviewing a copy of the Samurai of Seville through Skyhorse Publishing and Netgalley:
This book takes us back in time to 1614, where 40 Japanese Samurai Sail to Spain.  The majority of the Samurai spend two years there, but six stay behind, settling and growing roots.

Julian finds company with a woman that is not his wife.

Guada is assigned a plain lo
Roger Stone
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Based on a true event in the early 1600's, the story focuses on one out-of-the-ordinary Samurai, Shiro. Characters and plot were well developed but with a slow start. The journey from Japan to Spain was an eastabout, landing them in early California. Then all of a sudden, they arrive in Spain, omitting many, many months and thousands of miles of the sail around South America and across the Atlantic. But once in Spain, the story takes off and becomes quite compelling. Maybe four stars.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deutsch
Diese Buch brachte mich zum Lachen, machte mich traurig und wütend und sprach über das Leben und den Tod aller Menschen, all dies mit einer Geschichte eines jungen Samurai und seine Reise in die Fremde.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Based on true facts and some conjecture but the writing was oh so flowery and even old fashioned almost like a translation from the Japanese language. Not one of my favourite reads this year and I would so like to know what happened to shiro and his baby daughter when they returned to Japan.
Michelle Mayotte
excellent book

I found this book captivating. A Samurai experiences a new culture when he leaves Japan for diplomatic purposes. He shows acceptance, grace, honour and compassion for those he meets. If you are a fan of historical fiction this has it all .
Dannica Zulestin
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I must admit I put off reading it for a while even after getting an ARC because I need to be in a particular mood to read historical fiction. Finally got around to it and couldn't even take a break. But let me try to make my thoughts a bit more coherent than that.

Shiro, bastard nephew of Lord Date Masamune, is sent with a Japanese ambassador to visit Baroque-era Spain. A place of intolerance towards outsiders, Christianity in crisis, and courtly decadence. And also some really grea
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
very well written, It really kept me interested and I hardly put it down!
Mike Campbell
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read and I highly recommend it! Nothing more need be said. I defy you to open it and be able to put it down.
Melissa Palmer
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Samurai of Seville is about a group of samurai who travel from Japan to Spain to try and get a trade treaty. The story centers on a young samurai by the name of Shiro, and a newly married woman named Guado. I had difficulty in the beginning because the characters names were long and some were similar to others. That being said I found it to be an enjoyable read.
The author's depictions of the samurai seemed to be realistic. I found the author's descriptions of their view of Christianity inter
Mi Camino Blanco
Entretenidas aventuras del joven Shiro, un samurai japonés que viaja a Sevilla como parte de una delegación diplomática durante el siglo de las luces español. Como en la mayoría de este tipo de novelas históricas, el protagonista acabará encontrándose de un modo u otro con gran parte de los personajes famosos de la época.

Lo más interesante es sin duda experimentar el fuerte contraste entre dos culturas tan sumamente diferentes y los problemas que ello puede ocasionar pero también el ser testigo
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The contrasting cultures and religions are carefully handled, maybe slightly stereotyped to the Japanese being more "elegant", but with the story being mostly from the perspective of Shiro that fits with the narrative.

The characters are suitably colourful, the scandals deliciously outrageous.

Great ending too.
Jean Kennedy
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful book just blew me away! Because I so enjoyed the author's previous novel, 'Emily & Herman' I ordered this one as soon as it appeared - this week! It is a brilliant and moving story of two diametrically opposed cultures coming together in a love story that breaks your heart. It also paints a detailed look at early 17th Century Spain ans seen through the eyes of a particularly noble, young and handsome Samurai warrior. It took my breath away!
Annette Jordan
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
An unusual and very interesting piece of historical fiction that does a good job of blending east and west. Set in the 1600's it tells the story of a group of Japanese Samurai that travel to Spain on a trading mission and is inspired by real historical events. The refined and restrained Japanese culture contrasts vividly with the more close minded catholic sensibilities of the Spanish court at the time making for an intriguing tale.
The book is written as a series of alternating chapters, follow
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I’m not interested in Samurai stories, but what sparked my interest was “the most intriguing cultural exchange in history.” The aspect of two drastically different cultures meeting in 1614.

Shiro, who is to become one of the Samurai sent to Spain, is apprenticed to the seaman and navigator William Adams. He is taught basics in science, carpentry, English, and even introduced to the strange religion of Jesuits.

While his story is being revealed, the simplicity of Japanese living in connection with
Emi Bevacqua
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful work of historical fiction, based on an actual emissary of samurai sent from Sendai, Japan to Spain in 1614. I'm so impressed by this author's ability to embellish a chapter of history involving such wildly diametrically opposed cultures, so smoothly and convincingly. John J Healey's lived half his life in Spain, clearly he writes about it with great love and knowledge, and The Samurai of Seville is not his first book about early Japanese visitors to that particular region. Excellently ...more
Biblioteca Lardero
Año 1614, en el puerto de Sanlúcar de Barrameda atraca un barco con unos exóticos pasajeros: una embajada de veintidós samuráis que comenzaban en el puerto español su visita a Europa. Habían tardado casi un año en hacer el largo viaje desde el lejano y hermético Japón, y nada les había preparado para el tremendo choque cultural que les aguardaba.
El protagonista de esta novela, en la que John J. Healey mezcla de forma magistral la realidad de aquel viaje con la ficción, es el samurái Shiro, quien
Mr. Scoular
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Velazquez in his history paintings, John J. Healey achieves a brilliant balance, painting the broad historical context of the era (that of the great Spanish painter and his literary counterpart, Cervantes) with broad brushstrokes while portraying individual men and women of the time with telling details, bringing their "realist" portraits to life. With elegant, economic prose, he brilliantly shows how the two main characters, a young Spanish woman and Japanese man, change with the first enc ...more
Kathleen Gray
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really intriguing historical fiction. I'd never heard of or thought about samurai traveling to Europe, especially in the 1600s, so this was quite educational. As others have noted, there are lots of characters at the start but it settles into a good lead with Shiro. How vast can a cultural divide be and yet he bridges it. This is nicely written and atmospheric, giving the reader a sense of both cultures. I'm very grateful to edelweiss for the ARC. Try this for something quite different but enter ...more
Richard Janzen
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thrilled to have read this novel based on the true story of a visit in the 17th century by Japanese samurai and tradesmen to Spain and Italy. I first became aware of this fascinating bit of history when I saw a replica of the boat and a small museum dedicated to the journey in Miyagi Japan. This novel helped put the significant but little-known event into a broader context. The characters and story developed by the author were also interesting.
Jonathan Miller
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
It was an entertaining read. Shiro is an attractive character. But for a historical novel set in the early 17th century there were a number of jarring details. Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, they would not find their way to California or to Spain for a couple more centuries and what would Galileo know of Neanderthals?
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