- Title: The Initiate Brother
- Author: Sean Russell
- ISBN: 9780886774660
- Page: 183
- Format: Mass Market Paperback
Plague and warfare has swept across the Orient, ravaging the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line, and leaving a new dynasty on the throne a new Emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wriest the Empire from his grasp Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them toPlague and warfare has swept across the Orient, ravaging the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line, and leaving a new dynasty on the throne a new Emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wriest the Empire from his grasp Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them to hold positions as Spiritual Adviseres to the Imperial court for nearly ten centuries But Emperor Akantsu fears none so greatly as he does Lord Shonto, the brilliant leader of the most important of the Old Families, whose infludence could rally the Great Houses against the throne and whose adopted daughter, the beautiful and talented Lady Nishima, is the last surviving member of the old royal family.Sent to be military Governor of a northern border province long threatened by barbarian invaders, Lord Shonto knows he is being lured to his death But Akantsu has underestimated his foe, for not only is Lord Shonto the greatest military genius of the age, but he has with him a Spiritual Adviser from the Botahist Order a young man gifted with extraordinary martial skills and magical abilities, Initiate Brother Shuyun And even Lord Shonto does not realize the true potential of this young monk Only time will reveal that Shuyun s magical powers have not seen their equal in nearly a thousand years not since the Perfect Master himself walked the paths of the Empire
Recent Comments "The Initiate Brother"
(Audiobook) After reading "The Goblin Emperor" and the Imperial Radche trilogy I realised that political or court intrigue, whether in space or in steampunk is a subgenre I really love. I asked on Reddit for recommendations on these types of "manners" anti-action "intrigue" books and "The Initiate Brother" was mentioned.This is court and Imperial intrigue in an unspecified ancient Asian setting. Monks who have some mystical monk juju abilities but mainly concern themselves with controlling the e [...]
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.War and plague have recently swept across the kingdom of Wa, leaving a new emperor feeling insecure on his throne. He feels threatened by the ancient houses of Wa, and most especially by the revered Lord Shonto, an intelligent and highly competent man. When the emperor appoints Shonto as governor of the northern province of Seh, Shonto isn’t sure if this is an honor, or a trap.Both men have some excellent allies. Shonto has adopted the lovely and gifted [...]
Yes, it was good readfinitely not up to Shōgun but full of intrigue and enthralling plots has good story-line and my appetite demanded more but I enjoyed it.
This book is a guilty pleasure for me. I don't think it is an amazing piece of writing, but Russell has a way of creating thoughful, artistic characters that just pull my chain. His plots have a meandering quality that allows you to see his characters interact and behave in accordance to their principles. And then we get to see what comes of them.Maybe not for everyone, but I think he has a loyal following of readers.
Not going to give this a rating, as my response was so badly affected by the audiobook experience. Again. I liked the narrator fine for the most part (including the sample on Audible), but when he read a few characters, especially the Emperor, it was just awful. Kind of old, old Yellow Peril Villain style, which made me more than a bit uncomfortable about the imaginary ancient "Orient" that was this world. The slow and often not enjoyable listening experience also exacerbated a few little irrita [...]
A fun, complex world and story written well. High literature? No. Worth reading? Yes.
I first read this book around 12+ years ago. I tried to find the sequel and couldn't I was delighted when I found both available when I looked again recently, and I downloaded both on audiobook.The criticisms other reviewers have shared is fair, but I don't consider them to be negativesThe pacing is slow and there's not a lot of action--the focus is on etiquette and people. This is truebut for me, it worked, because Russell builds such a rich, beautiful world and develops characters that leap to [...]
reviewstaphorosis 4 starsThe Shonto have always been willing to take second place in the Empire of Wa. But the Emperor of the young Yamaka dynasty is suspicious, and Shonto Motoru is "promoted" to Governor of distant Seh, on the border with barbarian tribes. Obedient, he goes. Wise, he takes precautions. He takes with him his newly appointed Spiritual Advisor, a prodigy of the Botahist order.I'm not a big fan of political books - those that are all about trading for advantage, calculating relati [...]
I really wanted to like this book as it has a Japanese/Chinese setting that I rarely find in the fantasy novels I've read. But unfortunately the story just didn’t work for me.First of all, the story progresses so slowly that I have to wait halfway into the book for something interesting to happen. The first half presents no conflicts and instead talks about conflicts that may or may not arise in the future. For example, Shonto is a great, respected general whom the Emperor considers a threat t [...]
I enjoyed this book, but I didn't stop here, since all major plot threads are open, all big mysteries unanswered. The story is completed in part two of the duology: The Cloud Gatherer. I read both books back to back and would recommend them to readers who don't mind a slightly slow pace, some philosophy, and a little poetry.I read and listened. Narration is fine, but not brilliant.A medieval Asian tale (Japanese-Chinese mix) with the slightest fantastical bent, set in a mythical land (see maps) [...]
I really enjoyed the initiate brother as it was unlike other novels that I have experienced. It deviates from the European fantasy that we're all familiar with, I imagine it as an amalgamation of a Chinese/Japanese culture. I would recommend it to other epic fantasy readers as it fulfills the world building need. Casual fantasy readers may find the world building hard to digest but that's not to discourage others from reading it.
For those who liked Scott Brown's Gentleman Bastard series or just like courtly intrigue in an Asian setting, read this book. Beware, there is a second book and the first ends on a bit of a cliff so be prepared to read both books.
Literally kept putting me to sleep
Nearly 4 STAR.I really liked the book toward the end, I wish Shuyun would feature more, I like his point of view. Looking forward to book 2.
A flawed but beloved old favorite from college, one I worry will pass from the collective memory sooner than it ought. That said, I must confess that I'm giving it stars based, I suppose, on a separate scale from that I might apply to Beowulf, say, or Dubliners. Perhaps--and I am realizing this as I consider the question of how many stars to award here--I use a five-star scale not so much as an absolute range of value applicable across all books, but as a measure of the extent to which a book me [...]
After a plague ravaged the Empire of Wa, there’s a new dynasty on the throne. And many who were once powerful are out of favor with the Emperor. Among these are the Botahist Monks, who have a unique control over their perception of time and their internal energy. They’ve been spiritual advisers to the court for a thousand years, but now their position is threatened. However, the Emperor views his greatest enemy of all as Lord Shonto, the powerful head of a great house and adopted father of L [...]
Originally posted at audiobookfansStory: The Initiate Brother is an ambitious novel packed with intrigue and seasoned with plots and the promise of war. Sean Russell’s poetic approach at world building results in an environment with depth and texture that envelopes the reader until the very end.Plots on plots inside of plots. There are a great deal of interesting machinations going on in the Kingdom of Wa. All of which build upon each other until the tension is thick. It seems that at any time [...]
This is half a book - it just sort of ends in the middle.It's still not bad, but the exciting conclusion that is the Gatherer of Clouds is just the second half, and not a separate book at all.The story is of an ultra-idealized very-Japan-like empire of Wa, and the whole thing wobbles between surprisingly-entertaining and mind-numbingly dull, but the overall impression is rather positive (the first book has much more SE than MN, the second book is about evenly split)Here is a somewhat decent exam [...]
The Initiate Brother is the first of two books in Sean Russell's faux-occidental (heavy Chinese influence) duology regarding the fall of an era. I don't have the historical background to see if he is drawing inspiration from a specific incident in time; however, it doesn't really matter to me - I love the story for itself.Why do I love this book? Probably because it does political intrigue right for the reader - there are very few twists, with a close third person view of the characters, you can [...]
This is the perfect example of a great concept with sub-par implementation. The idea of a Chinese/Japanese fantasy world is wonderful, but the author just couldn't quite pull it off. The characters are one-note, too perfect cookie-cutter people. There is no character growth, no character arcs. I realize that it's one book split into two volumes and perhaps all the good, meaty character work is in the second half, but honestly, I doubt very much that I will bother reading it. The story is interes [...]
I'm on page 160 and am loving this book. Excellent character development, rich in in Asian-esk history, tons of players, wonderfully written with a focus on a monk who has some exceptional qualities, even among monks. to win the emperor's kickboxing competition as a youth, and to stop a crippling blow using chi alone. "The machinations of a faithless emperor expose his subjects to a massive barbarian invasion which must be stopped by the lord Shonto and his household. The monk Shuyun, spiritual [...]
The Initiate Brother is a hefty novel written in 1990 or so. It has plenty of interesting Eastern mysticism, but what caught my literary attention was the careful building up of each separate person's house of cards. The plot is ordinary. A powerful, intelligent man is set up by an animous emperor to go "save" the northern lands while everyone around him plots self-aggrandizement or others' ruin. What makes this book fascinating is the pagentry of the characters. We are almost all-knowing in our [...]
This book is written exceptionally well. The only reason it's not 5 stars is that it's not a complete story. You MUST read the sequel to get any resolution at all--on any plot point or character. The ending was so much in the middle of action that I actually thought it was a mistake (read ebook version, checked for the rest of the download). It turns out it's the first book of a duology. Really, it's one story split into two books. Having said that, the subtlety of character development mixed wi [...]
When I first heard of The Initiate Brother, I had high expectations. First published novel or no, it's a Sean Russel novel. Although I was let down on a few counts, it was definitely a good read.Cons: After a great first chapter, things seem to lose focus for a while. Some of the initial politicking seems overblown, and the book's emphasis on etiquette gets old quickly. Also, the characters can be hard to keep track of, perhaps because they are just thrown into scene, not really introduced. It's [...]
This book is not a page turning action thriller, what it is though is part one of a political fantasy about the story of Brother Shuyun, Lord Shonto, and the Empire of Wa. Brother Shuyun is the most promising of his order of monks a mix of Buddhism and Christianity. They believe in many of the things Buddhists with the addition of signs of another coming. Lord Shonto is from a line of very competent men that have very little ambition and are content with being the most powerful house of the Empi [...]
A spell-binding journey through a time of spiritual awakening and political upheaval. Russell's characters are wholly believable, in an unbelievable context.What initially hooked me were the feats of the young Shuyun. What kept me involved to the end were the intrigues and maneuvering of the court, the insights into history, the culture of honor and barbarism, and the supremely "present" feel of everything from the terrain to the dust- and sweat-covered leather tack on the horses.While the envir [...]
Excellent narrative structure and characters with realistic personalities and motivations fill-out this fantasy novel. Intrigue is the order of the day, with action quite sparse; I have not yet read the second book in the series (which is strangely out-of-print, while the first one is readily available), but it looks as if much of the action has been saved for later. It is also refreshing to read a fantasy novel set in an Oriental-inspired (mostly Chinese, with a lot of Japanese-sounding names) [...]
This was a very good book. The world that Russell creates is beautiful and intriguing. He "paints" a magnificent landscape with gorgeous settings and characters. The writing is pretty good, although it does seem to slip at times, but not so often that it takes away from the overall story. Russell provides a great mix of action, tension, quiet meditation scenes, war, fighting, and court intrigue that keeps the story fresh and keeps the reader engaged.One thing I did not like was a story line he i [...]
I first read this when I was in college, so about 20 years ago. I remember really enjoying it then, and recommended it to several friends.If I hadn't re-read this recently I would have given it 3 or 4 stars.However I did re-read this last month, and to be honest it really didn't grab me. It was much slower than I remembered, painfully so, and there just doesn't seem to be much going on. I gave up half way through book 2. Possibly just before it gets interesting, since our 'hero' has done virtua [...]
I read this a long time ago so I hesitate to provide a very lengthy or detailed review, or a star rating. I remember enjoying it, and it is one of the books from my teenage years that I still have on my shelves, so perhaps it's time for a re-read. I remember it being intricately plotted epic fantasy but with a strong Asian flavor. At the time I read it, I did not know much about Asian culture or religion and I suspect it was my desire to know about those things that caused me to enjoy this book. [...]
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