When a samurai is ordered by his lord to undertake a mission, he has no choice but to accept. So although Hasekura would like nothing more than to remain with his family in their marshland home, he is compelled by his master to travel to the ends of the earth as a emissary to Spain and Rome. His guide is Fr Velasco, a Franciscan friar determined to bring about the conversion of Japan, a desire equally the product of ambition and faith. Hasekura will discover many odd new things in his travels, but he will find nothing as strange and repulsive as the wretched figure the foreigners worship. Whatever the lords they choose to serve, the priest and the samurai must each, in the end, face a reckoning, though not necessarily those they expect.
Endo's novel is "based on a true story" in that he has taken actual historical events about which little certain is known and given them an imaginary context. In the process, he crafts a compelling and remarkably subtle tale of faith and suffering, hope and power, sacrifice and salvation.
A sensitive novel about Japan's relationship with Christianity in the early 1600's.
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