In 934, Emperor Taizu united most of China under the New Song Dynasty. Simeon Bar Asher is a great artist and decorated soldier in Emperor Taizu's army. When the war ends, Bar Asher faces a hard choice. Return to Kaifeng to join his family in the silk trade and take part in an arranged marriage that neither he nor his potential bride want, or escape the world he knows and face the vast unknown lands to the East.
As a member of China's small Jewish community, Bar Asher cannot simply hide in plain sight. With the help of his best friend Qian, Bar Asher begins a journey that takes him to Japan, and involves him in political intrigue he could not have imagined. Emperor Murakami rules Japan in theory, but the Fujiwara clan is the true power. Bar Asher finds himself in the midst of a political battle between Murakami, who has come to regret his opulent lifestyle, and seeks to help those less fortunate, and the Fujiwara clan, who do not want the Emperor to succeed.
When Bar Asher meets the brilliant, tough, and beautiful Fujiwara no Himiko, he falls in love, but as a foreigner his path is a dangerous one. As the political maneuverings in the Japanese court unfold, Bar Asher's talent as a soldier and artist, along with Himiko's great understanding of politics and male hubris, are needed to preserve the Heian dynasty.
The Accidental Samurai is based on real and fictional events. The settings are historically accurate and magnificent to the finest detail. This is a work of fiction, but a great deal of research was used to set the story in a world that was real more than one thousand years ago. The Accidental Samurai is Book 1 of the Generations series.
Frank S. Ravitch's non-fiction books have been published by Cambridge University Press, Prentice-Hall, Thomson West, NYU Press and Northeastern Press. He holds an endowed chair in Law & Religion at the Michigan State University College of Law and runs the Kyoto Japan Summer Program. Ravitch was also a Fulbright Scholar in Kyoto, Japan. He speaks English, Japanese and Hebrew.