A Novel

Book - 2011
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Trevanian's Shibumi was a landmark bestseller, one of the classic international bestselling thrillers of the twentieth century. Now, chosen by Trevanian's heirs, the hugely admired writer Don Winslow returns with an irresistible "prequel": Satori .

It is the fall of 1951 and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six-year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hodo korosu or "naked kill," and fluent in over six languages. Genius and mystic, he has honed extraordinary "proximity sense" -- an extra-awareness of the presence of danger -- and has the skills to be the world's most formidable assassin. The Americans need him. They offer Hel freedom in exchange for one small service: go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union's Commissioner to China. It's almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive violence, suspicion and betrayal while trying to achieve the ultimate goal of satori -- the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, c2011.
ISBN: 9780307398710
Characteristics: 504 p. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Trevanian


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Oct 28, 2015

If this was an original tale I would have given it five stars however it is inconceivable to me that an author with Winslow's street cred would have to stoop to this four star recreation. I thought it was not only hilarious but callous and savage to boot. It was like Quentin Tarantino meets Will Ferrell. While it was spectacular to have so many Frenchmen killed by this assassin there was one French character who could not stop making outrageous exclamations like, "By the Pope's wrinkled scrotum or by the pubic hairs of the Mona Lisa or by the blue veins in the sainted Jane Russell's breasts!" It was a period piece after all. He was by far my favorite character in this novel. Satori translates as seeing life as it really is and not with the blinders of western wishful thinking or the illusions of this world or in simpler terms it means sudden enlightenment. I doubt to ever come close to satori in this lifetime but I think I may come close tonight as I head out to the K for game two of the World Series with my world champion Kansas City Royals! Vamanos los Royales!

May 16, 2014

Worthy prequel of the mysterious Nicholai Hel. Foreign lands, spy versus spy, cast of shady characters, Go mastership and double-crosses.

ChristchurchLib May 11, 2014

"As clever as he is handsome, assassin Nicholai Hel was first introduced to readers in 1979, in pseudonymous author Trevanian's bestselling novel Shibumi. In this homage/prequel, Don Winslow traces Hel's life up to the events in Shibumi, centering on one particular event mentioned in passing in the original novel -- the CIA-approved assassination attempt on the Soviet commissioner to China. The mission draws on all of his strengths (fluency in seven languages, an extrasensory awareness of danger, and his mastery of the hoda korosu martial art, also known as "naked kill"). It's sure to appeal to fans of the original -- and to anybody looking for a fun, thrilling read." Thrillers and Suspense May 2014 newslettter

grobison Feb 14, 2013

Not as good as Shibumi, but it was creative and added dimension to the characters. A clever novel that drew me into the story and kept me picking it up to discover what was next.

Aug 03, 2011

Wonderful! Began "Satori" with a great deal of apprehension. Books based on the work of others are usually disappointments. But Don Winslow has proven himself with a long list of excellent titles to his credit. So I decided to take a chance. I am so glad that I did. He enters seamlessly into Trevanian's world while remaining true to his own voice. He has crafted an engrossing spy thriller with which it was a pleasure to spend an evening.

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