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The Samurai's Tale

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,868 ratings  ·  178 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 12th 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1984)
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,868 ratings  ·  178 reviews

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Apr 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kashvi Lalgudi
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenna Hart
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Scott Hayden
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to EasyB by: teacher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
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
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
David M.
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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"
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 ...more
Max White
Jan 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
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 ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, 2017
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
Hernan Sanchez
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Lucas Crane
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
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 ...more
John Majors
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Beth Wangler
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. It wove a powerful coming-of-age story flawlessly with a historical backdrop and helped me better understand this particular non-Western worldview. I'm excited to use this book with my students, particularly to pair it with students learning about feudal Japan in History. I wish I'd read it sooner in life.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Cristoffer Juneau
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
The style of this story is rather stilted and formal, perhaps trying to imitate the somewhat clipped sound of Japanese language to the ears of a Westerner. Still, it has the grandeur of the era with the humanity of the young Taro overlaid. An engaging story!
Dakota Young
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Intentionally got this book for the Baltimore County Reading Challenge May theme: "Read a book set in Asia" but got around to it a little too late. Still, this was a fun read that I wouldn't normally pick up that provided a classic adventure story of growth and learning with some cultural flavor.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not particularly exciting but I enjoyed reading this very much.
Maybe I should reread this?
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
3.5 Stars • This was an ok book; it was for school so I can’t say much 😂.
Zade Abou-Rass
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoy a story that has a slow plot
Erik Christian Haugaard and The Samurai’s Tale
Taking place in 1500s of Japan when feudalism was the social caste,The Samurai’s Tale tells the reader about many social problems. It depicted social problems like oppression and war, Erik Haugaard applied oppression into the book by showing the force by shoguns and samurais. “The Samurai’s tale” told me beforehand of what the book might be about. It gave me the idea that the book is going to be about the journey of a boy becoming a man and and also
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What's the Name o...: Novel set in feudal japan [s] 8 55 Aug 15, 2012 09:27AM  

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Erik Haugaard was born in Denmark and has traveled extensively in the United States, Italy, Spain, and Japan. Called "a writer gifted in the art of the storyteller" by the BOSTON GLOBE, he is internationally known for his accomplishments as a playwright, poet, and translator.

Haugaard has written a number of acclaimed works for young adults that transport readers back to a time and place in history
“there are those who are cursed to live in times when death seems to come out of season, when the winter of a man's life may leap upon him in the midst of summer greenness.” 0 likes
“No-one can own our Lord Buddha. That would be a foolish claim, but the roads that lead to him, the Way... That is a different matter. They are all filled with toll-gates, like the roads of Japan, and the monks collect the fees.” 0 likes
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