Set in 1853 in Japan, this novel follows Yoshi, a Japanese boy who dreams of someday becoming a samurai. Unfortunately, as part of the serving class, Yoshi can never become a warrior. He is taken up by Manjiro, the protagonist of Preus's Heart of a Samurai, and becomes his servant and secret watchdog. Meanwhile, Commodore Matthew Perry and his USS Susquehanna squadron of steamships arrive in Edo Bay demanding "diplomatically" that Japan open its ports to foreign trade. Aboard the commodore's flagship is a cabin boy, Jack, who becomes separated from his American companions while on shore. When he and Yoshi cross paths, they set out on a grand adventure to get Jack back to his ship before he is discovered by the shogun's samurai.
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by Margi Preus
"Agile and spirited--narrator James Yaegashi is both of these as he delves into the lives of two 13-year-old boys--Yoshi, a would-be samurai, and Jack, a cabin boy accompanying Commodore Perry on his 1853 voyage to Japan. Yaegashi's voice is fresh and animated as he deftly switches from one scene to the next, from one boy to the other, and to the moments when he provides background for the time period. For the multitude of supporting characters, ranging from sailors to dignitaries, schemers to artists, Yaegashi creates distinct voices. Lives intertwine, and listeners come away from this adventure with a sense of the magnitude of change awaiting both boys and countries. A.R. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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