Shibumi

Shibumi

by Trevanian

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A classic spy novel from the bestselling author, Trevanian, about a westerner raised in Japan who becomes one of the world's most accomplished assassins.

Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi.

Now living in an isolated mountain fortress with his exquisite mistress, Hel is unwillingly drawn back into the life he’d tried to leave behind when a beautiful young stranger arrives at his door, seeking help and refuge. It soon becomes clear that Hel is being tracked by his most sinister enemy—a supermonolith of international espionage known only as the Mother Company. The battle lines are drawn: ruthless power and corruption on one side, and on the other . . . shibumi.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400098033
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/10/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 112,211
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Trevanian lives in the French Basque region. He is the author of The Crazyladies of Pearl Street, The Eiger Sanction, The Loo Sanction, The Main, The Summer of Katya, Incident at Twenty-Mile, and Hot Night in the City. Visit trevanian.com for the Crazyladies cybernotes, Trevanian’s commentaries, items from the author’s desk, and more.

Read an Excerpt

Washington


The screen flashed 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 . . . then the projector was switched off, and lights came up in recessed sconces along the walls of the private viewing room.

The projectionist's voice was thin and metallic over the intercom. "Ready when you are, Mr. Starr."

T. Darryl Starr, sole audience member, pressed the talk button of the communication console before him. "Hey, buddy? Tell me something. What are all those numbers in front of a movie for anyway?"

"It's called academy leader, sir," the projectionist answered. "I just spliced it onto the film as a sort of joke."

"Joke?"

"Yes, sir. I mean . . . considering the nature of the film . . . it's sort of funny to have a commercial leader, don't you think?"

"Why funny?"

"Well, I mean . . . what with all the complaints about violence in movies and all that."

T. Darryl Starr grunted and scrubbed his nose with the back of his fist, then he slipped down the pilot-style sunglasses he had pushed up into his cropped hair when the lights first went off.

Joke? It damn well better not be a joke, I shit thee not! If anything has gone wrong, my ass will be grass. And if the slightest little thing is wrong, you can bet your danglees that Mr. Diamond and his crew will spot it. Nit-picking bastards! Ever since they took control over Middle East operations of CIA, they seemed to get their cookies by pointing out every little boo-boo.

Starr bit off the end of his cigar, spat it onto the carpeted floor, pumped it in and out of his pursed lips, then lit it from a wooden match he struck with his thumbnail. As Most Senior Field Operative, he had access to Cuban cigars. After all, RHIP.

He scooted down and hooked his legs over the back of the seat before him, like he used to do when he watched movies at the Lone Star Theater as a boy. And if the boy in front objected, Starr would offer to kick his ass up amongst his shoulder blades. The other kid always backed off, because everybody in Flat Rock knew that T. Darryl Starr was some kind of fierce and could stomp a mud puddle in any kid's chest.

That was many years and knocks ago, but Starr was still some kind of fierce. That's what it took to become CIA's Most Senior Field Operative. That, and experience. And boo-coo smarts.

And patriotism, of course.

Starr checked his watch: two minutes to four. Mr. Diamond had called for a screening at four, and he would arrive at four—exactly. If Starr's watch did not read four straight up when Diamond walked into the theater, he would assume the watch was in need of repair.

He pressed his talk button again. "How does the film look?"

"Not bad, considering the conditions under which we shot it," the projectionist answered. "The light in Rome International is tricky . . . a mixture of natural light and fluorescent overheads. I had to use a combination of CC filters that brought my f-stop way down and made focus a real problem. And as for color quality—"

"I don't want to hear your piddly-assed problems!"

"Sorry, sir. I was just answering your question."

"Well, don't!"

"Sir?"

The door at the back of the private theater opened with a slap. Starr glanced at his watch; the sweep second hand was five seconds off four o'clock. Three men walked quickly down the aisle. In the lead was Mr. Diamond, a wiry man in his late forties whose movements were quick and adroit, and whose impeccably tailored clothes reflected his trim habits of mind. Following closely was Mr. Diamond's First Assistant, a tall, loosely jointed man with a vague academic air. Not a man to waste time, it was Diamond's practice to dictate memos, even while en route between meetings. The First Assistant carried a belt recorder at his hip, the pinhead microphone of which was attached to his metal-rimmed glasses. He always walked close beside Mr. Diamond, or sat near him, his head bowed to pick up the flow of clipped monotonic directives.

Considering the heraldic stiffness of CIA mentality, it was inevitable that their version of wit would suggest a homosexual relationship between Diamond and his ever-hovering assistant. Most of the jokes had to do with what would happen to the assistant's nose, should Mr. Diamond ever stop suddenly.

The third man, trailing behind and somewhat confused by the brisk pace of action and thought surrounding him, was an Arab whose Western clothes were dark, expensive, and ill-fitting. The shabby look was not his tailor's fault; the Arab's body was not designed for clothes requiring posture and discipline.

Diamond slipped into an aisle seat across the auditorium from Starr; the First Assistant sat directly behind him, and the Palestinian, frustrated in his expectation that someone would tell him where to sit, finally shambled into a seat near the back.

Turning his head so the pinhead microphone could pick up the last of his rapid, atonic dictation, Diamond closed off the thoughts he had been pursuing. "Introduce the following topics to me within the next three hours: One—North Sea oil rig accident: the media suppression thereof. Two—This professor type who is investigating the ecological damage along the Alaska pipeline: the termination thereof by apparent accident."

Both these tasks were in their final phases, and Mr. Diamond was looking forward to getting in a little tennis over the weekend. Provided, of course, these CIA fools had not screwed up this Rome International action. It was a straightforward spoiling raid that should not have presented any difficulties, but in the six months since the Mother Company had assigned him to manage CIA activities involving the Middle East, he had learned that no action is so simple as to be beyond CIA's capacity for error.

Diamond understood why the Mother Company chose to maintain its low profile by working behind the cover of CIA and NSA, but that did not make his job any easier. Nor had he been particularly amused by the Chairman's lighthearted suggestion that he think of the Mother Company's use of CIA operatives as Her contribution to the hiring of the mentally handicapped.

Diamond had not yet read Starr's action report, so he reached back for it now. The First Assistant anticipated him and had the report ready to press into his hand.

As he glanced over the first page, Diamond spoke without raising his voice. "Put the cigar out,
Starr." Then he lifted his hand in a minimal gesture, and the wall lights began to dim down.

Darryl Starr pushed his sunglasses up into his hair as the theater went dark and the projector beam cut through slack threads of blue smoke. On the screen appeared a jerky pan over the interior of a large, busy airport.

"This here's Rome International," Starr drawled. "Time reference: thirteen thirty-four GMT. Flight 414 from Tel Aviv has just arrived. It's going to be a piece before the action starts. Those I-talian customs jokers ain't no speed balls."

"Starr?" said Diamond, wearily.

"Sir?"

"Why haven't you put that cigar out?"

"Well, to tell you God's own truth, sir, I never heard you ask me to."

"I didn't ask you."

Embarrassed at being ordered around in the presence of a foreigner, Starr unhooked his leg from the seat in front and ground out the almost fresh cigar on the carpet. To save face, he continued narrating as though nothing had happened. "I expect our A-rab friend here is going to be some impressed at how we handled this one. It went off slick as catshit on linoleum."

Wide shot: customs and immigration portal. A queue of passengers await the formalities with varying degrees of impatience. In the face of official incompetence and indifference, the only passengers who are smiling and friendly are those who anticipate trouble with their passports or luggage. An old man with a snow-white goatee leans over the counter, explaining something for the third time to the customs officer. Behind him in line are two young men in their twenties, deeply tanned, wearing khaki shorts and shirts open at the throat. As they move forward, pushing their rucksacks along with their feet, camera zooms in to isolate them in mid-close-up.

"Those are our targets," Starr explained needlessly.

"Just so," the Arab said in a brittle falsetto. "I recognize one of them, one known within their organization as Avrim."

With a comically exaggerated bow of gallantry, the first young man offers to let a pretty redheaded girl precede them to the counter. She smiles thanks, but shakes her head. The Italian official in his too-small peaked cap takes the first young man's passport with a bored gesture and flicks it open, his eyes straying again and again to the girl's breasts, obviously unfettered beneath a denim shirt. He glances from the photograph to the young man's face and back again, frowning.

Starr explained. "The mark's passport picture was taken before he grew that silly-assed beard."

The immigration official shrugs and stamps the passport. The second young man is treated with the same combination of mistrust and incompetence. His passport is stamped twice, because the Italian officer was so engrossed in the redheaded girl's shirtfront that he forgot to use the ink pad the first time. The young men pick up their rucksacks, slinging them over their shoulders by one strap. Murmuring apologies and twisting sideways, they slip through a tangle of excited Italians, a large family pressing and standing on tiptoe to greet an arriving relative.

"Okay! Slow 'er down!" Starr ordered over the intercom. "Here's where it hits the fan."

The projector slowed to one-quarter speed.

From frame to flickering frame the young men move as though the air were gelatin. The leader turns back to smile at someone in the queue, the motion having the quality of a ballet in moon gravity. The second one looks out over the crowd. His nonchalant smile freezes. He opens his mouth and shouts silently, as the front of his khaki shirt bursts open and sprouts blood. Before he can fall to his knees, a second bullet strikes his cheek and tears it off. The camera waves around dizzily before locating the other young man, who has dropped his rucksack and is running in nightmare slow motion toward the coin lockers. He pirouettes in the air as a slug takes him in the shoulder. He slams gracefully against the lockers and bounces back. His hip blossoms with gore, and he slips sideward to the polished granite floor. A third bullet blows off the back of his head.

The camera swishes over the terminal, seeking, losing, then finding again two men
out of focusrunning toward the glass doors of the entrance. The focus is corrected, revealing them to be Orientals. One of them carries an automatic weapon. He suddenly arches his back, throws up his arms, and slides forward on his toes for a second before pitching onto his face. The gun clatters silently beside him. The second man has reached the glass doors, the smeared light of which haloes his dark outline. He ducks as a bullet shatters the glass beside his head; he veers and runs for an open elevator out of which a group of schoolchildren are oozing. A little girl slumps down, her hair billowing as though she were underwater. A stray has caught her in the stomach. The next slug takes the Oriental between the shoulder blades and drives him gently into the wall beside the elevator. A grin of anguish on his face, he twists his arm up behind him, as though to pluck out the bullet. The next slug pierces his palm and enters his spine. He slides down the wall and falls with his head in the elevator car. The door closes, but reopens as the pressure pads meet the obstructing head. It closes again upon the head, then reopens. Closes. Opens.

Slow pan back over the terminal. High angle.

 . . . A cluster of shocked and bewildered children around the fallen girl. One boy screams in silence . . .

 . . . Two airport guards, their little Italian automatics drawn, run toward the fallen Orientals. One of them is still firing . . .

 . . . The old man with the snow-white goatee sits stunned in a puddle of his own blood, his legs straight out before him, like a child playing in a sandbox. His expression is one of overwhelming disbelief. He was sure he had explained everything to the customs official . . .

 . . . One of the young Israeli boys lies facedown on his missing cheek, his rucksack improbably still over his shoulder . . .

 . . . There is a largo minuet of stylized confusion among the gaggle of Italians who were awaiting a relative. Three of them have fallen. Others are wailing, or kneeling, and one teenaged boy is turning around and around on his heel, seeking a direction in which to run for help
or safety . . .

 . . . The redheaded girl stands stiff, her eyes round with horror as she stares at the fallen boy who just seconds ago offered to let her pass ahead . . .

 . . . The camera comes to rest on the young man sprawled beside the coin lockers, the back of his head missing . . .

"That-a—that-a—that-a—that's all folks!" said Starr. The beam from the projector flickered out, and the wall lights dimmed up to full.

Starr turned in his seat to field questions from Mr. Diamond or the Arab. "Well?"

Diamond was still looking toward the white screen, three fingers pressed lightly against his lips, the action report on his lap. He let the fingers slip to beside his chin. "How many?" he asked quietly.

"Sir?"

"How many killed in the action?"

"I know what you mean, sir. Things got a little wetter than we expected. We'd arranged for the I-talian police to stay clear of the area, but they got their instructions all balled up—not that that's anything new. I even had some trouble myself. I had to use a Beretta so the slugs would match up for I-talian. And as a handgun, a Beretta isn't worth a fart in a hurricane, as my old daddy would have said. With an S&W, I could of dropped those Japs with two shots, and I wouldn't of hit that poor little girl that stepped out into my line of fire. Of course, in the first part of the action, our Nisei boys had been instructed to make it a little messy—make it look like a Black September number. But it was those panicked I-talian cops that started spattering slugs around like a cow pissing on a flat rock, as my old—"

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Shibumi 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Jay_J_Nash_Jr More than 1 year ago
Long ago when I was an apprentice electrician I was given a copy of Shibumi. I didn't know then that this novel would affect my life as it did. I met a Basque while working in Chantilly, and had to try to explain how I even knew the name! He said the book was correct in many ways, so many I had to find my copy and let him read it! I have since read many more novels by Trevanian and enjoyed them all. But my favorite has been Shibumi, and I now keep a copy for myself and one for new freinds that I feel would enjoy it as much as I have. Mr. Trevanian explains why he doesn't go into as much detail as in some of his other books and it makes sense that he does this. It also allows the reader to do any research into these skills as they see fit. I hope you enjoy Shibumi as much as I did! Jay Nash
dntwrybout_it More than 1 year ago
This book is unlike any other I have read. In the first 80 pages or so I thought the book was going to be completely different than it was regarding who the protangonist and antagonist were going to be. There was a lot of back ground and character set up in the first half of the book which proved necessary in the end. Great twists and characters, I definitely recoommend this book.
bbb57 More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible book. What it lacks in story, it more than makes up for in writing style. Trevanian is gifted in his ability to describe with very few words. He could describe the color red to a blind person. I read this book when it was first published many many years ago and loved it. I just read another book, Satori, by another author. Satori is the first half of Nic Hel's life, but I would still recommend reading Shibumi first. I was so excited to find Nic Hel again in Satori, that I decided to reread Shibumi for the second time, not something I do a lot. I'm quite sure there'll be a 3rd and 4th time as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book on a vacation, and its a perfect vacation read-insane on its own principles, but entertaining. Minor bonuses include one of the most unsympathetic and unlikeable protagonists of all time (a vegitarian assassain?), a popularization of the great game of Go, and casual, ubitquitous and purposefully offensive stereotyping ('virginity is important for Arabs, who fear comparison, and with good reason'). The character of the Corporation Head was a nice touch.
jallan More than 1 year ago
My copy of Shibumi has 453 pages in it.  That is easily 200 pages more than is needed. This is not a comment on the author's mastery of language or the author's worldly knowledge or the author's "anti-american" sentiment.  The "story" lagged because of tedious exploration of Nikko Hel's background and the spelunking.  Hel's backstory could have come out in other ways, preferably through dialog with another character that in fact had character. and not a cardboard cutout.  Spelunking text was pointless.  It would have made sense if, while spelunking, Hel and Le Cagot had found a gold or diamond mine as a resource against the Mother Company taking his land and Swiss accounts, but no, it was just spelunking.  Take it out of the story, sell it as a separate book for those who care.  I would have preferred more scenes in the garden where Hel is achieving (or failing to achieve) Shibumi since this is, presumably, his life's goal in all his activities. Where did writers and publishers get the idea that good novels had to be 400 to 1,000 or more pages to be a good novel.  Even though the Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri was written for playwrights, the principals applied to novels would make much better novels.  I read this book because a friend of mine from years ago recommended it.  To honor that recommendation, I finally read the book.  It was good once it actually got to the story (but even then it fell short of greatness).  I was left with this as a final impression:  "Ah, Hel, another disappointment.!"
Norge More than 1 year ago
It was a let down, and could have been so much better. I had a hard time with the author's apparent unpatriotic sentiments; the character continually looks at anything American as bad or corrupt. Interesting background, potential for a great character, but he couldn't get past his prejudice of the USA. Though he was such an assassin, he really didn't seem to do much assassin work except for killing the CIA people who were out to get him, though they would go to the end of the Earth to do so. The book described the character's love of the game Go, but hardly explained how he gained any skill in the martial arts, which was quirky at best. I really wanted to like Nicholas, a sympathetic well developed character, but in the end his American hating was an unnecessary political component of the book, and the end of the book became ridiculous and rushed. Too bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book several times during my life, and I was delighted to find it for the nook. Until I found that in translation to e-book, the game of 'Go' had been changed to 'Goo.' Go is very prominent in the book and essential to its concepts, and referring to the game as 'Goo' strips it of all dignity ... and, if I may, Shibumi. I never realized that the two-letter word "go" could be mispelled, and so badly (and so often, as it is referred to many, many times in the story, every time as 'goo.' The book is wonderful, and if you haven't read it, don't let the flaw bother you. It really is a fantastic story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best Spy novels ever written. This novel is like fine wine, it gets better with with age. The story is ageless. I highly recommend this book.
The_Traveling_Donkey More than 1 year ago
Trevanian is a fabulous author, going to bn.com now to pickup the "crazy ladies" book. The storyline was never dull or boring, always had me wanting to turn the page to know what happened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Packed with intrique and layers of muses...One should focus on all the description of events and characters, nothing more or less. Great read, would make a great script!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know how they are going to justify the timeline with someone so young as Keanu, but I have loved this book ever since a friend of mine let me borrow it for inspiration of overcoming writer's block. An excellent thriller that is reminscent, but nowhere near a copy of Eric Lustabder's Nicholas Linnear novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read this book nine or ten times over the years and still find it as interesting and exciting as the first time. The concept of 'Shibumi' and the quiet strength of Hel make the book a blueprint to inner peace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago and still remember it as one of the best books I have ever read. I plan to re-read it as soon as I get a chance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best Trevanian by far !!! This book has it all . Action, adventure, sex, and intrigue .
GrazianoRonca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿It was ironic to realize that the destruction of the world would not be the work of Machiavelli, but of Sancho Panza.¿ (page 137)Shibumi (1979) is a novel written by Trevanian (Rodney William Whitaker).Nicholai Hel, the main character, was born in Shanghai. His mother is a deposed member of the Russian aristocracy. Nicholai¿s adoptive father, Kishigawa, is a general in the Japanese Imperial Army. Kishikawa teaches to Nicholai about the concept of Shibumi.Shibumi (noun) - Shibui (adjective): one doesn¿t tire of a shibui object but constantly finds new meanings and enriched beauty.¿Shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances. ¿ Shibumi is understanding, rather than knowledge. Eloquent silence. ¿ In philosophy, where shibumi emerges as wabi, it is spiritual tranquility that is not passive, it is being without the angst of becoming ¿ And in the personality of a man, it is ¿ Authority without domination?¿ (page 77)Wabi-sabi represents a Japanese point of view, or aesthetic: the main principle is about the acceptance of the temporary. When Kishikawa has to join the Japanese army in Manchuria, Nicholai becomes the pupil of a master of Go. So Nicholai learns to play Go.¿Go is to western chess what philosophy is to double-entry accounting.¿ (page 165) Kishigawa is captured by the Russian, to avoid the trial Nicholai kills his adoptive father. Soon Nicholai is captured by the Americans and held in jail, where he is tortured.During his imprisonment Nicholai retains his sanity studying the Basque language. In jail he also develops a sense of proximity: he manages to feel people near him, although in darkness.After three years Nicholai gains freedom becoming a spy in the US Intelligence Service. Nicholai asks for the names of those who tortured him as payment for his service .Nicholai becomes a skillful killer, and in his fifties he retires in the mountain of the Basque country, living with his mistress, Hana, in a shibui way.Nicholai becomes an expert in caving, accompanied by his best friend Le Cagot.¿This most primitive nightmares involve falling through the dark, or wandering lost through mazes of alien chaos. And the caver - crazy being that he is - volitionally chooses to face these nightmare conditions. That is why he is more insane than the climber, because the thing he risks at every moment is his sanity.¿ (page 235)Nicholai¿s existence is interrupted by the arrival in his castle of Hannah, the niece of a man who saved Nicholai¿s life.Hel, Hana, and Hannah: three hs, surrounded by another h: hate. And facing hate, shibumi; or, better, they are side by side. Although Shibumi resembles a spy story by John LeCarre`, the background and suggestions of the story expand the espionage ambit, such as fights between powerful organizations. Trevanian tells also about ways of life (shibumi), cultural anthropological (Basque People), and Anti-Americanism sentiment (Nicholai leaves Japan, protesting against Westernization of Japan; remembering the same idea of Yukio Mishima).
BeckyJG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances. It is a statement so correct that it does not have to be bold, so poignant it does not have to be pretty, so true it does not have to be real. Shibumi is understanding, rather than knowledge. Eloquent silence. In demeanor it is modesty without pudency. In art, where the spirit of shibumi takes the form of sabi, it is elegant simplicity, articulate brevity. In philosophy, where shibumi emerges as wahi, it is spiritual tranquility that is not passive; it is being without the angst of becoming. And in the personality of a man, it is...how does one say it? Authority without domination? Something like that."Nicholai Hel aspires to shibumi, though his accomplishments make its attainment somewhat of a challenge. He is fluent in seven languages (although, having learned Chinese on the streets of Shanghai as a child he speaks but doesn't read or write it, and having taught himself Basque from books while in prison he maintains some pronunciation flaws the he can't shed, even after years of living in Basque country). He is a Go master. He is a mystic, who reads auras and has an unusual "primordial perception system" known as proximity sense, which enables him to know not only when someone is coming or has entered a building he's in, but, often, to know who that person is. He's a trained killing machine (and highly paid professional assassin), versed in many types of hand-to-hand combat and martial arts but, most frighteningly, he is master of the art of Naked/Kill and can kill using any ordinary object--a pencil, a paperclip, a folded piece of paper--at hand. And--oh yes--he's a Stage IV lovemaker.Does he sound too good to be true? Who cares! Nicholai Hel is one of the most fascinating and intriguing characters ever written. His father was a German count, one of his mother's many short-lived boytoys, discarded before Nicholai ever knew him. His mother was an exiled White Russian, a baroness. But despite his genetic Western heritage, Nicholai Hel is Japanese to his core, having been raised in large part by a Japanese General who was quartered in his mother's house during the war. Later, after his mother died and his Japanese foster father reassigned, Nikko was sent to live and study with a Go master, where he mastered strategy, discovered the meaning of his mysticism, and strove to get closer to his aspiration to achieve a state of shibumi.Shibumi is truly one of the most unusual spy novels I have ever read. There is killing, lots of it--bloody, violent, and in many cases quite creative killing. But in this violent novel, full of terrorists and war criminals and an evil corporate conglomerate that runs the world, giant swatches of gorgeous narrative are given over to Hel's fascinating background, from boyhood on. The story moves between Hel's past (Shanghai, Japan, three years in an American war prison) and his present. The reader is offered extended insight into Japanese culture and character and Basque history and traditions. There are also several long chunks that are devoted to the machinations of "The Mother Company," the aforementioned corporate conglomerate (which--ah, my paranoid heart beats faster at the thought--holds sway not only over all of the oil companies, but many government agencies as well).Trevanian, like his creation, is a master of many things, not least among them the art of storytelling. He has crafted a beautiful, flowing narrative, rich in detail and intrigue, with characters who--over the top though many of them may be--are convincing. This book shouldn't work. It's impossible to describe it without making it sound cartoon-y and superficial, and yet Shibumi is neither. It deserves to sit on the shelf with the best of the best in the genre, John LeCarre, Charles McCarry, any of the too-few writers who use the framework of a genre to create works of literature.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
it's a good action/spy novel. The title word, 'Shibumi' is the main theme of the book & it's well done. I can't really explain without giving away too much of the book. I also can't give it higher marks because it's been too long since I've read it & I happen to philosophically disagree with the idea of 'Shibumi'. Your mileage could very well vary, though. As I recall, it was well written. If you like David Morrell's or Stephen Hunter's spy novels, you'll probably like this.
jwcooper3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shibumi loses one star because Bill O'Reilly stated it was his favorite book, and another star for it's never ending descriptions and repeated disdain for everything American. I know this was written with a tongue-in-cheek perspective but I found myself flipping back and forth between engrossed and impatient.
ryosode on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great read. This is not only a labor of love but a demonstration of Trevanian's cultural awareness.I believe writing a full review for this book is a major task. I will let it sit and sink in, maybe read it one more time, maybe even study a bit about Basque culture before writing a proper review.
rexmedford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, but I did not love it. Trevanian spent alot of time explaining SHibumi, developing the main charachters, and gives an in depth picture of the Basque country, caving, post war Japan etc. His other charachters are a bit lame....the company...the diatribe against big oil, not very well develped, but his opinion against corporate America...as such the story fails to be on the level of Ludlum and Le Carre, although it has its entertaining moments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in awe. This book is as riveting a read as it was when I 1st picked it up 40 years ago; and ecological events barely thought of import then, by many, have marched to the forefront of our collective conscience today. I particularly enjoyed his view of history, and opens the door to again to pessimistic world view, but one that I tend to agree wt ... sigh. It is beautifully written, wt a hero unlike any you're likely to encounter anywhere, a plot that keeps unfolding, and an ending...well, you'll have to read it for yourselves. All I can tell you is that you will not regret the read.
nhoule on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Trevanian never dissapoints. The main character is no less captivating than Hemlock.
Brian-Skulemowski More than 1 year ago
Shibumi is an amazing book. If you want to read a thriller this is a good book to start with, also if you like John Wick. This book isn't a normal one as it has a lot of twists and turns, but it's enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone look for an interesting read that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
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