Review of Swords and Silence

Image result for sword and silence shaun curry

Author Bio:

Shaun Curry is a British-Canadian Business Development Director and Fundraising Director, who has worked for Gottex Fund Management and Merrill Lynch International. An expert in the history of Christianity in Japan throughout the 16th and 17th Century, Shaun undertook research at The Vatican and The British Library, in addition to having lived in Japan.

Shaun also studied and worked in Japan, particularly in the southern island of Kyushu, including Nagasaki and neighbouring regions. While living in Tokyo, he studied Aikido at Hombu Dojo, the World Aikido Headquarters, and holds a black belt in the martial art. Shaun Curry has a strong passion for Japan, its people and culture

Warning: Some spoilers but not much

Swords and Silence is a brutal story about the persecution of Christians in Japan, when the Shogun Imeitsu was fearful of foreign intervention from the Portugesse and the Dutch. This was an age after the Sengoku Jidhai, the civil war of Japan’s warlords had ended. In a way, Father Joaquim was one of the most bravest characters in the book. No matter what came in his way, whether it was through the storms, the tortures, he possessed a mind like Lincoln. Why do I compare them two?

Because they faced extreme adversity even when the world wasn’t on their side. Lincoln fought to preserve the Union whereas Joaquim was determined to protect the Christians he knew. Shaun did a fantastic job with the research of the novel, especially depicting the power of the Japanese Warlords and I could not help but wonder what about the warlords of Europe as well? Did they not loot and pillage villages for the sake of power? Had the Japanese Lords met with the European Feudal Lords, there would have been a lot for them to agree on. What would that be? Wealth, exploitation of the people, and power to the highest authority on land.

I did feel some scenes were not given attention too much, considering that this topic itself is a vast subject by itself. There could have been multiple reasons the Shogun did persecution and it made me wonder, looking at how Japan has become so successful today, and examining its history as a world power arising from the 1904-05 war, what would have happened had the Shogun not barred entry to the Western Powers? What if we saw an alternate history where the Japanese sent their Christians to America? That was in an Eric Flint novel where I had read, or if the Shogun had declared religious tolerance, what kind of Japan would we be seeing now? The possibilities are endless.

There is a wonderful message of religions helping each other out. I will no spoil this, but this is the era of the 1600s and life was brutal for anyone living in that period whether you were a King, Court, Scholar, Emperor. If you’re thinking this novel has Samurai of course it does. But it has brutal warlords, samurai wanting power, and a lot of pesky and stupid governors as we all know what they’re likely going to do. But then again, this was also common in Medieval Korea and the Ming Empire.

I found this an amazing novel. The character prose, the writing style, everything was so well researched it felt at times I was watching a movie. I really enjoyed this.

Thank you to Harper Inspire, Bengono Bessla, Harper Collins for sending me this novel. I was really impressed with the attention to detial and a massive thank you to Shaun. I really really really enjoyed it.

Don’t miss this novel. Take it, buy it. It teaches you a fundamental lesson in life that cannot be explained in simple words.

My rating: 5/5