Robert Hunt sent me a copy of his new book, called "The Art and the Way last week. I like the name of the book and after reading it, can recommend it wholeheartedly. The mix of accurate history and interesting story line, brought back memories of why I initially got into the martial arts as a kid and for the most part, why I've stayed with it all these years.
I don't think Mr. Hunt will mind my sharing the first chapter of his novel with you. GEM
the 1st chapter consists of 14 posts. Please excuse any scanning errors. Robert's book may be ordered at: http://www.theartandtheway.com
The Ryu Kyu Islands 1612
Peiching's heart pounded against the inside of his chest as he ran. The sandy beach shifted underneath each panicked stride and dragged at his feet as he scrambled away from the soft shoreline towards the rocks and solid ground. He would be more exposed here, but he would be able to run easier on the hard packed earth. If he continued along this beach the sand would continually impede his pace and he could see that he would be trapped where the rocks jutted into the sea.
He dragged a dirty sleeve across his brow and glanced over his shoulder at his pursuers. It must be fear that made him breathe so hard and sweat so much. He had been preparing himself for this kind of attack for twenty years. He had practiced fighting, he had contemplated death, but the idea of the end of his life was never so vivid as now that he actually faced it.
He reached the hard packed sand on the other side of the rocks and stopped to look back. The four Satsuma had stayed in the woods and not tried the beach. Now they were gaining on him.
How stupid of him to be so careless! He had been born a short walk from here. He should have known better than to run along the beach where the soft sand would only slow him down. He knew that the lack of clear judgment was an indication that he was letting his fear blind his thoughts, but he couldn't control it and didn't know what to do.
The morning around him was bright and sunny, a pleasant day. The breeze drifted steadily across the China Sea. More likely than not clouds would build and an oppressive humidity would settle in before nightfall. It usually did this time of year. He had left this island long ago, searching for answers whose questions he did not yet know even now. He was surprised at how much he had forgotten about the place. He had played on this very beach as a boy. It should have afforded him an edge, but he couldn't clear his head enough to take advantage of it. The fear of the death that was closing in on him consumed every thought.
He looked across the sand and weeds at the row of palm trees his attackers had followed. Further up the shore, close to the village, the roots of the tall palms touched the ocean water. But here they were set back across a field of rocks and scrub oaks, leaving the path open behind him and affording his pursuers easy view of his movement.
Fifty steps ahead the ground rose slightly away from the shoreline and a row of boulders looked as if it would provide some barrier to his pursuers' vision. From there he might make the woods. If he made it into the trees he could work his way back to the village. There were people who would remember him or the his family and help him, even though he had been gone so long. Some may even be relatives. A common battle for survival on a tiny island with few natural resources made relationships tight. He could not imagine someone siding with the Japanese against him, but, then, much had changed in the twenty years he was gone.