First there was Bond. Then there was Bourne. Now comes Hel. Nicholai Hel-a Westerner by birth but an Asian by upbringing-speaks seven languages, kills with a naked hand, and is a master of the world's most challenging game of strategy: Go. All this has made him a very dangerous man-an assassin who blends in anywhere, doesn't need weapons to kill his targets, and sees ten moves ahead. Released from three years of honing his mental and physical skills in solitary confinement on the condition that he kill a high-ranking Soviet official in China, Hel must survive a suicide mission to save his own life and the beautiful French spy that he loves. SATORI It's the height of the Cold War. The game is lethal, the stakes enormous. Nicholai Hel is on the board.
DON WINSLOW was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. His books include The Power of the Dog and The Life and Death of Bobby Z. In addition to his writing, Don has been an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator. Don lives in the San Diego area with his wife, Jean, and son, Thomas. He invites you to visit him at his website www.donwinslow.com.
TREVANIAN's books have been translated into more than fourteen languages and have sold million of copies worldwide. In addition to Shibumi, Trevanian is the author of seven novels including The Eiger Sanction and The Loo Sanction.
What People are Saying About This
An intricately plotted, fast-paced thrill ride. Carrying on the legacy of Trevanian's SHIBUMI, Don Winslow skillfully brings the character of master assassin Nicholai Hel to life, creating a story so engrossing you won't be able to put it down. Winslow has truly done the Trevanian legacy proud.
A home run . . . carefully choreographed, bare-knuckled action . . . elegant writing, a mature, confident narrative and characters so real you can almost touch them on the page . . . Winslow has done the creator of Shibumi and the Nicholai Hel character proud.
Satori is first-rate spy fiction, full of explosive action, exotic locales, and surprising romance, and Nicholai Hel is an assassin you'll cheer for: intent on vengeance for a terrible injustice, as comfortable with philosophy as he is familiar with the mechanics of stopping a man's heart, beset by enemies in a game whose true nature he can only divine by playing through to the end.
A grand, sprawling, magnificent entertainment. Trevanian, in the skilled hands of Don Winslow, is alive and well, and dare I say, better than ever! For those of us who look back on Shibumi as a highlight of their reading lives, Satori does not for a moment disappoint. Those who have not read Shibumi are in for a treat. My immediate question upon turning the last page was "when is the next one coming out?" I cannot wait!
Having really liked Don Winslow's novel Savages, I looked at Satori in awe, thinking that he must really revere the Trevanian's novel Shibumi. I expected Satori to be a masterpiece, a tribute to Shibumi. Well, I wasn't far off. It is a pretty good story, but then again, it is just a story, with its own faults, confusing plot twists, and multiple characters too many of whom to keep tract. The identification of The Cobra was a huge letdown for me. I did appreciate all of the double-dealing; the inability to know who is your friend and who is your enemy. In the end, I really liked the novel, but if I was asked to recommend just one Winslow novel, it would be Savages.
Winslow wrote this prequel to Trevanian's Shibumi, a work I have not yet read. For me Satori recalled the movie, Batman Begins with Christian Bale. Both Bruce Wayne and Nicholai Hel have heavy Asian influence in their characters. Both are actors in their stories keeping their inner secrets to themselves while they fight evil and live by a code. As I read the story I was struck by how Winslow's words painted a quiet stillness to the scenes. Quiet but with an underlying tension which kept on building only to be released at critical points where both Hel and violence broke out. When I had read the first third of the story I had thought there was enough for 1 great thriller, but I was only a third through the novel. A master of hoda korosu or "naked kill", Hel just kept on moving from one incredible task to another in one incredible local to another. In the end I felt there was enough for three great stories which I can also see being adapted to the movies. I know I now must read the original Trevanian story, Shibumi.
BeckyJG on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
In 1979 the then-mysterious Trevanian published Shibumi, which introduced the character of Nicholai Hel--assassin, Go master, world class lover, spelunker. Shibumi focuses on an incident that pulls Hel out of retirement for one last job and also tells the story of his unusual upbringing, but glosses over the years between. In 2007 Don Winslow, one of the most exciting and original voices in thrillers today, was approached by Hachette Books to take up the mantle of Trevanian and write the story of the beginning of Nicholai Hel's career, the portion of his life merely hinted at in the original book. The result is Satori.Satori begins as Hel is released from the Japanese prison in which he's been held for three years by the Americans in solitary confinement. Hel, son of a German nobleman and a White Russian baroness in exile, is basically a man without a country. Although he had worked for the American government in the period immediately following the Second World War, he was later imprisoned by the Americans for killing--out of filial duty--his Japanese foster father, General Kishikawa, who was a prisoner of war. Hel was not imprisoned for the murder qua murder as much as for depriving the Americans of a vital--if still only theoretically potential--source of information. Hel is not being released because of his exemplary behavior as a prisoner (although, Hel, being Hel, has done nothing but put his time to good use, reading, meditating, exercising, teaching himself the Basque language, perfecting his mastery of Naked/Kill techniques) but rather, because he can be of use to U.S. covert operations. They want to rebuild his face (horribly disfigured by a brutal beating received at the hands of frustrated American interrogators), give him a new identity, then send him out to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to Red China, Yuri Voroshenin. Cue the ominous music: Hel has a past connection to Voroshenin and long ago vowed revenge. He agrees to take the job, with the proviso that, in addition to the passport and monetary payment he's being offered, he also be provided with the names and addresses of the men who beat him so brutally at the beginning of his confinement.The ensuing novel is as richly textured and erudite as its source. Winslow's mastery of the material--the philosophy and strategy of Go, international politics of the Cold War, and Japanese culture, to but skim the surface--is brilliant, and his depiction of the formative years of Nicholai Hel's professional life fits neatly into the mythology created for Hel by Trevanian. If Winslow's Hel is rather humorless as compared to Trevanian's, that can be attributed to his youth and callowness; the sort of humor exhibited by the mature Hel can only be gained with life experience.Satori stands on its own merits, and can be read by a reader utterly unfamiliar with Shibumi (this reader, in fact, read the Winslow first). It gains so much more, however, when read in conjunction with Trevanian's great novel. And--dare I say?--Trevanian gains as well.
More than 1 year ago
Exciting overall and the period
setting was engrossing.
More than 1 year ago
Who did this to you?
Trevanian’s novel Shibumi is one of my favorites. I’ve read it twice and am always astounded at the strength of the writing, the memorability of each scene and especially the engrossing main character, Nicholai Hel.
I picked this book up off the library shelf because of its’ striking design, but when I saw “A Novel Based on Trevanian’s Shibumi” I knew immediately what my next book would be.
This story is a prequel to Shibumi and explores many ideas which were hinted at in that book. As a fan, it was a pleasure to discover how and why Nicholai Hel became such a fascinating character. The only problem this book has is trying to live up to its’ astounding predecessor. I don’t know why Trevanian himself never wrote a sequel, perhaps he intended to. Even Don Winslow, the author of Satori, admits trying to top the original to be a fools errand. But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t go ahead and write a great book anyway, and while it doesn’t best its’ source material it sure as hell earned a spot on my bookcase next to it.
More than 1 year ago
If you loved Trevanian's Shibumi, you will love Satori. If you didn't love Trevanian's Shibumi, something is seriously wrong with you. Shibumi is one of the best spy books ever written, and Don Winslow's Satori is a perfect prequel to it. I loved very page of it. I even went back and read Shibumi again after Satori. What a ride!!!!!
More than 1 year ago
Seemed very forced; forced to fill in the gaps left from Shibumi. The
author did a good job of keeping with the original book's feel, but then
it also carried flaws from the original book. The well developed
character, supposedly a top notch assassin, never seemed to have been
one at all. Rather, he was simply a sympathetic character surviving
WWII, who ended up killing a bunch of people in unlikely circumstances,
mostly cause by the CIA or Mother Company. Unfortunately, Trevanian
imparted upon the original character, a political anti-American
sentiment, and it carried through in this book as well. Very poor taste
in my opinion. This book had some good original ideas and some nice
metaphors and use of language. I did enjoy the intrigue and twists of
how different political heavy hitters in different countries acted based
on different motivations; some selfish and some altruistic.
More than 1 year ago
Loved it, very close to the original storyline, would very much like Mr Winslow to continue the plot after Shibumi!!!