Yoshi says nothing. Life is all about balance. With only one leg, I understand that well. When Yoshi was much younger he accidentally killed a friend in a wrestling match. But then he saved my life and the balance was restored. Now it’s gone again.
‘All things happen for a reason. One day Yoshi will find this one,’ Sensei says. ‘The Captain has gone and we must travel on again.’
Sensei and his students, from the Cockroach Ryu, travel by sea from Japan to China, to give aid to the Shaolin Monks. On the way, the boat’s captain is drowned and Yoshi, who has tried to save him, is left troubled. In China one of Sensei’s past students, Qing-Shen, awaits – determined to gain retribution for Sensei’s broken promise. Qing-Shen wants to see Sensei dead, and he has the skills to carry out his wish – unless the Little Cockroaches can protect Sensei by outsmarting Qing-Shen.
Shaolin Tiger is the third title in the wonderful Samurai Kids series, a wonderful fantasy series set in Japan and China. Sensei is a wise teacher and his students – who appear to others to be each flawed – brave and eager to learn. The narrator, Niya, has just one leg, and his fellow students’ include children with physical differences, as well as Yoshi, who is fit and strong but has lost the will to fight others. Sensei himself also carries secret burdens, some of which are revealed in this book, and others hinted at for future instalments.
This third instalment does stand alone as a wonderful, action packed read, but readers will be keen to read the earlier titles , and equally impatient for the next instalment.
A must read.
Samurai Kids: Shaolin Tiger, by Sandy Fussell
Walker Books, 2009
This book can be purchased online at Fishpond