I don’t think I’m giving away too much by revealing the end of this story, because you find that information in the first two sentences of the Amazon description. Although this is a fictional story, it is written to promote awareness of a real life hero. Although not much is known or written about Nagano Masao, who gave his life to save a train full of people from a horrible wreck in 1909 in Hokkaido, Miura fleshes out his story in the life of Nagano Nobuo.
I picked up this book more than a decade ago, and I have tried reading it two or three times since then. Each time I couldn’t make it through the first chapter before giving up. It’s actually an epic novel and this is just the first of 8 books in this reprint. I finally read through the one book I own. The first book is a fictional account of the historical famous swordsman’s life starting at age 17 after the battle of Sekigahara to the point when he is a young man trying to find a worthy opponent to practice his mostly self taught martial art.
(chinmoku Endo Shusaku)
A Jesuit priest from Portugal named Rodrigo who came to the Nagasaki area undercover near the beginning of the ban of Christianity in the early 17th century. The book has a heavy tone the whole way through with no moments of comic relief. Although I usually like lighter novels this one was worth reading. As a Christian, I’m interested in knowing how Christianity is perceived in Japan. Japan has a Christian population of only 1 percent, but this book comes up on most lists of post-war literature everyone should read, and Endo Shusaku was even a candidate for the Nobel prize in literature. So, I imagine this book has some influence on what people in Japan think about Christianity and Jesus.