The male version of the “bodice ripper”.
Let me preface this review with the simple statement that this is: a) Not the kind of book I usually read, b) There is almost nothing about real “bushido” in the book, and c) Was purchased at a used book store for less than a dollar. Okay, I admit that I was looking for something different, and not too challenging to read, but I was hoping for more.
I finished Code of Bushido by Don Pendelton this week. This is from a series of “men’s fiction” (no, that’s not a euphemism for pornography!) called SuperBolan, which is named after the main character, Mack Bolan. It’s about as low-brow as you can get and still be reading books that don’t have illustrations.
The characterisation is weak and the rest of the writing is worse. Everyone is a giant characature of actual characters. Mack Bolan is a stereotypical, steely-eyed, tough-guy fighting a shadow war against terrorists for the CIA. He’s the ultimate dark hero. A professional killer who’s out there killing the bad guys and keeping America safe. Yes, it’s really that heavy-handed.
But, setting all that aside. It was entertaining. Entertaining in the same way that, say, a Sylvester Stalone movie is. Lots of action, a little mostly bad dialog and not much else. But, I didn’t have to think about it. It was what it was. There wasn’t any really deep social message here, just action and lots of it. So, it was an oddly soothing change of pace for me. The only really annoying thing was the totally wrong presentation of bushido and traditional Japanese culture. This author has obviously never read anything about bushido, or any of the traditional martial arts, or even talked to anyone with more than a passing interest in Japanese culture.
So, while I can’t reccomend this book in all good conscience, if you’re in the mood for mindless mayhem and a break from anything too heavy, this might just get the job done.
But, to counter the “low-brow-ness” of Code of Bushido, I started reading The Science of Words. Nothing like some good linguistics to wash the filth off!