The Ninja (Nicholas Linnear, #1)

ISBN: 0449209164
ISBN 13: 9780449209165
By: Eric Van Lustbader

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Reader's Thoughts

Jon West

Well written and suspenseful. Our protagonist is the son of a Chinese/Japanese mother and a British officer, raised in post-war Japan. The story takes place in New York, approximately 1980, with frequent flashbacks to boyhood in Japan. The flashbacks explain the training and formation of the hero's personality. The east-west influences of his background are an important part of the character. We are also entertained with love interests and an arch-enemy. A little different and highly recommended.My rating system (* = star)1* couldn't finish book2* finished book, but didn't like it3* a good read4* a very good read often with a novel concept or unusual plot5* an exceptionally good read, a prominent example of the genre


I read a lot of Van Lustbader's books as a teenager. Always a little shiver of "whoa, I don't think I should be reading this at my age". Sigh, that innocence is long gone.


Excellent book....Nicholas Linnear is an excellent protagonist who excells @ martial arts . I have enjoyed all of the Linnear books and only wish there were more of them.


Since I was young I've always loved ninjas. This is a geek-out some 20+ years after the fact. An ok action thriller, reminds me oddly of 80's made-for-TV action movies. It has a little magic thrown in, which I did not expect. I can't say I like Nick Linnear very much as he seems a little flat character-wise. I liked the detailed historical bits on Japanese culture and warrior mindset, though. I would imagine that this is probably slower-paced and more deliberate compared to something of its ilk.


I received a free copy of The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This book was first published in 1980; Open Road Media is re-releasing some of the titles in the Nicholas Linnear series. The Ninja is the first book in the series. There are two more books available for the Kindle. Before I was completely finished with The Ninja, I purchased both those titles.It took a little longer than usual for me to get into this book, but once I did, there was no stopping until I was finished. I know very little about Ninjas insofar as what it takes to train oneself to become what is essentially a killing machine. I'd never even watched a Bruce Lee movie all the way through because martial arts never interested me very much. The closest I ever came to understanding what it takes to control one's mind and body to this kind of discipline was from watching The Karate Kid. After that I knew the difference between a dojo and a sensei, and I got the concept behind "wax-on; wax-off". None of that helped me one bit in fully understanding what it is a Ninja does. I'm still no authority, but I have a much clearer picture not only of Martial Arts but also the Asian background experience with it.When the book begins, Nicholas Linnear is about to quit his job and completely give up the life he had made for himself in this country. He's walking toward his office to give his boss the news that he's leaving just as a body is being pulled from the ocean. Because he doesn't believe the body has anything to do with him, Nick proceeds with his plans for the day and ignores all the attention the discovery of the "floater" is attracting. Later he finds out that the dead man was someone he knew because the man lived a few doors down from him on the beach. The story then shifts back and forth from Nick's childhood in Japan to the present time when the dead bodies begin to accumulate. While the current state of affairs with the murders is interesting and well written on its own, Nick's background is equally as fascinating as we learn more and more about the Eastern mindset as opposed the the Westernized version of life as Nick it lives now. He is aware of a continuing conflict inside himself in trying to combine two very different ways of not only living but also thinking.Nick's father was instrumental in helping to rebuild Japan after World War II. Nick's mother was Japanese, and she saw the worst of the war when her husband was killed before her eyes. Nick grew up combining the best of both cultures in his home. It was only when he became a young man that he was drawn into the complexities of two very different cultures.I am not a huge fan of gratuitous sex scenes in books or anywhere else for that matter. I usually end up trying to figure out if the couple groping and slobbering all over each other could really perform all those acrobatic moves in real life. Eric Van Lustbader indulges himself in some wordsmith creativity when it comes to bedrooms, living rooms, or wherever is handy to do some bodice ripping and sexual contortionist tricks. It added absolutely nothing to the story and was distracting. Once I got past all that though, the book improved enormously. Van Lustbader had a very involved plot that was full of historical detail as well as explaining what the art of Kenjutsu entails. Given that this book was first published in 1980, it is very much to the author's credit that the story held up with the passage of so much time. There really was life before cell phone texting and Twitter.This was not a quick read. There is a lot of background content to cover in understanding how all the bodies do relate to one another. For me, the more I read, the more deeply involved I became with the characters. I look forward to following more of Nick's storyline with the other characters who survived this first book of the series. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy reading about vastly different cultures along with interesting historical references to Japan's involvement in World War II.


Read this as a teen going through my ninja-wannabe phase and loved it then. Read it again as an adult and surprisingly still enjoyed. I do still wear black pyjamas though, so this could be construed as a biased review.Good to see the author went on to wider success, penning a sequel to the Bourne Trilogy amongst other things. A good action book and if, like me, you have always aspired to the lofty heights of martial arts without ever getting further than a green belt then this could be just the sort of book for you. You will be creeping about the house in the dead of night activating your heightened sense of awareness in no time.


This book was written the 90s and very popular. It is being release in e-format. It is not my kind of book, I am sure if you like adventure and suspense you will probably like it. I will not finished and gave it 2 stars for the excellent writing.Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

Shawn Mcvay

Spy novel meets fantasy.I read this book in High School. I am past Graduate School now. At the time I read it, I was moving from Tom Clancy novels toward fantasy, and this was an excellent step. The main character is a Ninja, but a Red Ninja, more or less neutral. The author toys with how much neutrality, as he should, and a human being would. Black Ninjas are evil, they are out there, and the hero is working against them. There are also White Ninjas but that is a complete novel of its own in the series. If you like spy novels, action novels, read this. If you like fantasy that tends toward tactics and politics, read this. You will not be disappointed.

William Bentrim

The Ninja by Eric Van LustbaderI have tried reading Lustbader before. I guess, considering his success, that it is me. Sounds like a blow off for a relationship but his books sell well. I just find them disjointed. This plot features a Ninja which should be enough right there for excitement. I just found the jump from character to character just too much. I did not finish the book. I don't say that very often. I pride myself on plowing through just to see the end. I couldn't get interested enough to plow through. Again, Lustbader sells a ton of books so somebody out there is captivated, I'm just not one of them. web site:


I have not finished it because:- two much graphic and not so good sex;- the story was overcomplicated by this going back and foward in the life of the "hero";- too many people, too many names;- it is probably a good book but not my type of book.Non ho terminato il libro per le seguenti ragioni:- troppo sesso grafico e privo di emozioni;- la storia é stata ipercomplicata per via di tutti i salti temporali per spiegare le varie questioni nella vita dell'eroe;- troppe persone e troppi nomi da ricordare-,- é probabilmente un buon libro per alcuni, ma non per me.THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA FOR THE PREVIEW!


I'm probably giving this book a higher rating than it deserves, because I'm remembering it from when I read it as a teenager. It's a cheesy, blood-splattered "Oriental" (I deliberately use the pejorative term) novel of dubious verisimilitude with steamy but pointless sex scenes. It was written when the ninja craze was just beginning in the U.S. In short, it's mindless pulp entertainment with not much of a plot, but I still have fond memories of it.

Kathy Russo

This novel was first published in 1980; Open Road Media is re-releasing some of the titles in the Nicholas Linnear series by Eric Van Lustbader. The Ninja is the first book in the series.The plot itself is divided into five 'books,' each is then further separated amongst the past and present. This method helps illuminate the story for readers, as well as skilfully evading overuse of flashbacks. Van Lustbader has a gift for effortlessly moving among periods of history, from A.D. 792 all the way to the [presumably] 1980s. He exhibits a deep understanding in the variances amid Eastern and Western philosophies.The interactions, with their parallels and disparities between Eastern and Western train of thought, were enthralling to see. Although the story was evidently fictional, it was exceedingly well examined and felt realistic. The imageries all assisted to set not only the tone, but also the stride of the novel.In the end the novel returns to the inner division in a man with his feet in two immensely diverse societies, and his struggle to merge the fluctuating parts of his heritage. The Ninja is a great read for fans of historical fiction. An Advanced Readers Copy of the book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.


I wanted to like this book. It has some of the goofy trashiness of an 1980s ninja movie -- sword battles, wall climbing, hypnotism, throwing stars, all that good stuff.Unfortunately for a book about ninjas it is overwritten and takes itself way too seriously. There's an overabundance of back story for the main character and there are too many unnecessary characters. It takes the focus from the sweet ninja action I want from a book titled "The Ninja." A good editor could easily chop 25% out of the book and lose nothing.

Dave Etherton

I first read this book in the early 80 when it came out and I loved it then.Got it reduced price on kindle I had wanted to re read it and have thoroughly enjoyed it again the second time round. but it does mean I will have to get the rest of the series now......

Vincent Stoessel

This book right here is not for anyone born after 1975. It's wrong in so many ways, it's 1980s through and through from Reagan America to our obsession with everything Japan. Lustbader took that Shogun/Bushido/Ninja obsession and ran with it on this Nicholas Linnear series and some of the other Asian based series that he wrote during this fertile period. Having said all that, I enjoyed this book.

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