V THE ALIEN SWORDMASTER BY SOMTOW SUCHARITKUL

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tarzan

Copyright 1985.

Tomoko Jones is a Japanese-American anthropologist who is studying the Ainu when the Visitors kidnap the village for storage aboard the Mother Ship. She is revived to be the consort to Fieh Chan the commander of the Tokyo Mother Ship. Well before anything can happen the red dust is released into the atmosphere. Fieh Chan throws Tomoko into a skyfighter and they escape but are forced to parachute out. Tomoko assumes that Fieh Chan didn’t make it and heads back to California.

Four months later Tomoko makes it back to her husband Matt Jones. Matt is a karate expert and runs a school in a strip mall in suburban Los Angeles. He has taken in a twelve year old boy named CB who lost his parents to the Visitors during the occupation. Just then Matt gets a cryptic message stating “Beware the Alien Swordmaster is Coming.” He thinks its a prank until other martial artists across the country are being kidnapped after receiving this message. He is almost taken by Visitor ninjas when a mysterious swordsman saves him.

Kenzo Sugihara is a master swordsmen from Japan. He has news that not all the Visitors were driven off by the red dust. Fieh Chan had developed molecular pressure suits that can protect the Visitors from the dust. A number were stranded when the Mother Ships left in Japan. They were able to maintain control over the converted Japanese government officials and still rule in Japan. They have converted the country into a feudal society isolated from the rest of the world. The leader Lady Murisaki is building an army of converted Ninjas. Since the martial artists in Japan committed seppuku rather than be converted, they have to kidnap them then outside Japan.

Kenzo enlists Tomoko, Matt and CB and the three go to Japan to put an end to the Visitors reign of terror.

This is one weird book. I had a lot of problems with it. First the molecular pressure suit. A plastic that covers the body and lets in oxygen but keeps out the red dust. But what about the mouth? The Visitors eat a lot and apparently have no trouble eating what should be contaminated food. Also the plan to build an army of ninjas. I didn’t see what the purpose was. They wouldn’t fare very well against opponents with guns. And I also had a problem with the rest of the world not noticing and doing something.

Oh and of course the cliché of dragging along the pre-pubescent teen on a dangerous mission. Is that ever a really good idea? And a reveal that I saw coming a mile away, Fieh Chan was Kenzo Sugihara. The book had a really grim tone what with all the Zen suicides and Visitors eating people all the time just puts this book as one of my least favorites in the series.

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