February 4, 2018

Review Corner

POINT OF ORDER: Review Corner is eight to ten books behind. The backlog, good procrastinators know, is yet another hurdle. I don't recall its ever happening before, but it is not likely coincidental that "War & Piece" is next. Surely the world waits with bated breath for my take on Mister Tolstoy (He's shockingly Hayekian -- I wonder if that is sufficiently covered...)

But I wanted to flip one to the top of the list. The author is blog-sister dagny's brother. I don't know that we've met in the corporeal world, by my blog-brother-in-law has crafted a rollicking tale and it is new enough that the cleaned-up-for-Amazon review might help.

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Breathtaking, Kojiro thought as he watched the Kono horses thundering toward him. Beautiful animals, colorful riders, and naked steel; if they weren't coming to kill me, I would cheer.

A distant but personal connection gets Review Corner to put down the dull economics books and enjoy a little fiction. And I did enjoy The Rose and the Crane by Clint Dohmen. Quite a bit.

The Rose and the Crane clashes the 15th Century cultures on British Seamen, Venetian traders, and Samurai warriors. Those who crave action will enjoy Iliad-level gore in descriptive battle sequences.

Neno did not like to lose crewmen unless it was by his own hand. He was halfway around the world and had lost enough already. Sure, for the most part they were good-for-nothing, whoring drunkards, but then, so was Neno, and only he had the right to remove them from the ranks of the living.

To be clear, this is not some mixed-race "Dinner with Andre" with lengthy conversations about cultural differences. But in the life and death of battle and battle preparations, the differences are explored -- tersely and wittily - as alliances become friendship.
Based on the magnificent horse that the man sat astride and his stag - antler wakidate, Kojiro guessed that man was Lord Kono himself. "At least we do not fight cowards," Kojiro observed aloud to no one in particular.

Simon, standing nearby, heard the comment. "I would prefer to fight cowards."

"Invincibility lies in one's self," Kojiro responded calmly.

"Easy for you to say."

"I did not say it .Sun Tzu said it."


We follow the band from Japan through spice islands, back to Continental Europe for preparation, and ultimately to return to England to participate in the Wars of the Roses. Over time, the reader becomes of the characters, with all their foibles, and becomes quite invested in the outcome. The pacing is very good and the plot never lags.

It's way outside my typical fare, but I enjoyed it immensely.

Aldo sighed and looked out over the canal. "In all seriousness, though, I need more stories, and I have a feeling that a voyage with you will produce some. Besides, when I travel, I trade, and when I trade, I make money, so what is there to lose?"

Indeed. Five stars, without a doubt.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at February 4, 2018 1:14 PM

Thanks for the kind review JK. Clint owes you a beer or 3 if you put a review on Amazon too. If you have never met him in person, I will try to arrange it next time he comes to visit. I think you would get along. I also very much enjoyed reading his book.

Also you might like to know that Clint is quite a history scholar and the, "historical," part of his historical fiction is likely all very accurate.

Posted by: dagny at February 5, 2018 12:50 PM

I'd look forward to it -- the book is really very good.

I did post a review on Amazon. I don't the biz really well, but I think he needs bad (or meh) reviews. I was the 26th five-star (and people say Review Corner has grade inflation). It looks funny. He needs a couple postmodernist-deconstructionist excoriations for its lack of female warriors and a three because it doesn't have Jar-Jar Binks in it.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2018 3:48 PM

How about: "It doesn't live up to its billing at all. Not one mention of botany or ornithology! It should have been called 'The Bloody Merry!'"

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2018 3:36 PM

That'd work! The 5.0 rating looks contrived.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2018 4:11 PM

Interesting that you note the lack of female warriors JK. I read the book rapidly, in my unable to put it down mode and enjoyed it immensely. Otherwise I wouldn't be pushing it on my friends. (I'm not so attached to my brother that I would recommend a bad book to my friends) And it was about a week later that I noticed the almost complete lack of female characters period. Even the unimaginatively named Kuro has more personality than the female characters. I do think that is somewhat of a shortcoming. I can't put a review that says so on Amazon though. Amazon has some weird software that detects family reviews and deletes them. Maybe Riza could do it? Clint tells me that one of the male characters was loosely modeled after yours truly, so that's kinda cool.

Posted by: dagny at February 20, 2018 1:38 PM

The lovely bride and I scoff at married couples who share a computer or email address. Our bow to the practice is a shared Amazon account.

Bezos thinks us a single eclectic or schizophrenic person, but our reviews are merged.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2018 5:49 PM | What do you think? [6]