Off the Shelf
By Marcus Pan
Dai-San is the third part in the Sunset
Warrior Trilogy, a samurai-fantasy by Eric Van Lustbader. A late 70s novel
that helped build the clichés of the genre, Dai-San follows
the lone exploits of Ronin, a masterless samurai seeking to solve a riddle
written on an ancient papyrus to help quell the sorcerous power of The Dolman
which seeks to wipe out mankind.
Being the third part in the series, and my having been
unable to find the first two (The Sunset Warrior & Shallows of
Night respectively), I had to start here at the storys end. We
open with Ronin and his mysterious mute friend Moeru on a ship in search of the
fabled Ama-no-Mori, a lost island where the sorcerer-warriors of mans
previous golden age are said to still exist. He carries with him a tattered
parchment that may hold the key to unlocking the weakness of the strange, evil
Dolman, a chaos creature from who-knows-where.
The issue I had with Dai-San was how pedantic it can
be. Eric takes strong liberties of poetic license with short pointed sentence
structures and confusing descriptions rife with clichés of the
fantasy genre. Now had I read this book back in 1978, I might have enjoyed it
more. But today it comes across dated and jaded. Lots of obsidian eyes, dark
spooky descriptive overtones and everyone has jade-encrusted armor and flashing
blades. The lone heros name is Ronin for crying out loud, a word that you
can find in almost any Japanaction fantasy flick or novel.
Theres not much more I can say about Dai-San.
It didnt inspire me much. His forays to help release Moeru from her
dreamy demons is pure cheese as is the transformation of Ronin into the Sunset
Warrior hero through some strange magical birthing rite that left me more
confused than ever. The confrontation with The Dolman is again badly written,
overusing fantasy writing descriptory structures and short bursts of verbiage.
Like. This. The darkness. Engulfs me.
Theres tons of better literature out there in this
genre, just as old, that will never date.
Dai-San by Eric Van Lustbader
Copyright © 1978 by Eric Van Lustbader
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