Summary: Great imagination with lots of history
Comment: I am a picky reader. If i get bored half way through a book I wonh't finish it. I could not beleive it when i started reading Shadow of the Ninja, it was outstanding. It kept exciting throughout the entire story never letting me get a chance to be bored. It is well written and very descriptive, putting you back into the age of the Shogun. If you like action, or are just a martial arts fan you will appreciate the use of historical weapons, places and other facts. I have started on the third in the trilogy, and would recommend all three of Katsumi's fiction books.
Summary: A (bad) attempt to cash in on the ninja fad
Comment: This is the first book in the 'epic' series about ninja adventure set in a modified version of Japan's Shogunate era. As somebody with a great interest in Oriental history and mythology, I had looked forward to this book - at least until I read it, that is. There are some interesting ideas here but the tale is so poorly told that I found myself fighting to sustain interest in finishing it.
Granted that suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy stories of this type (which are more in keeping with Japanese folklore than actual historical records), the story should at least have tried to keep some semblance of realism. Nowhere in sight are the warring clans and the famous ninja families. I can accept - and even expect - unreal levels of weapon skills and semi-mystical ninja powers, but this particular story reads like a long fairy tale. The writing is amatuerish and the terrible illustrations did nothing to salvage it.
One redeeming feature is the interesting items of ninja equipment used, but nothing from which you can't get from say, Stephen K. Hayes' excellent series of books on Ninja history and tradition. To all that, add the fact that the book is very thin for the high price charged and you have no reason to bother, unless you wish to own everything that has the word 'ninja' stamped on it...