47TH SAMURAI by Stephen Hunter - SIGNED FIRST EDITION BOOKSee all titles by Stephen Hunter.
Bob Lee Swagger is finally back home, now retired and living in rural Crazy Horse, Idaho. Just as he's beginning to settle into the quiet routine of old age, he gets a surprise visit from Philip Yato, a Japanese war veteran. Yato reveals that fifty years ago, Swagger's father killed his own at a battle on Iwo Jima. He is now on a search for his father's military sword, which is of great emotional value to the Yato family. Though Swagger cannot immediately produce the sword, he embarks on a convoluted hunt that eventually leads him to the blade, which he personally delivers to Yato in the suburbs of Tokyo.
The Yatos welcome him warmly, and Swagger watches, mesmerized, as Philip examines the sword and discovers that it is not merely a worthless, run-of-the-mill military weapon, but a centuries-old samurai sword that is likely a national treasure. As Philip uncovers more of the ancient mystery surrounding the piece, Swagger returns to the airport, each unaware that they are being stalked by a murderous, self-proclaimed "samurai" who believes he lays claim to the sacred blade. While Swagger lays passed out drunk in the Narita Tokyo airport, the Yato family is slaughtered, their house burned to ashes, the sword stolen. Swagger, devastated by the news, declares it his personal duty to solve the mystery of their deaths. Back in the U.S., he isolates himself from his family to immerse himself in Japanese culture, convinced that once he understands the true meaning of samurai, he will be able to return to Japan and uncover the mystery of the sword and its cruel destiny. He has no idea how dark and twisted the plot will become.
Hunter skillfully weaves the twists and turns of Bob Lee's story with vivid, ongoing flashbacks of the Iwo Jima fight which took Yato's father's life and made Earl Swagger a military legend. The mounting suspense of the fathers' inevitable confrontation, the detailed battle scenes, and narrative insight into the thoughts and actions of both soldiers skillfully brings the listener back in time, making the present-day friendship of the sons and the subsequent intrigue all the more poignant and captivating.