WHITE NINJA by Eric Van Lustbader
Kirkus Star


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Third but not last entry in Van Lustbader's series about the life of half-Caucasian/half-Oriental Nicholas Linnear, begun with The Ninja (1980) and continued in The Miko (1984). Here is Van Lustbader's best batch of ninja adventures, though still a whirlwind of demonic banality--a kind of Sax Rohmer Fu Manchu clone raised to supernatural battlefields. In the last installment, Nick defeated his insane half-cousin Saigo and his seductive mistress Akiko, killing them both. Now his own three-year-old daughter Itami is dead as Nick undergoes traumatic surgery for a brain tumor. Deeply depressed, Nick alienates himself from his wife Justine, loses his way on The Moonlit Path, is zapped of his ninja warrior powers by an invading spirit, and becomes a shiro ninja or white ninja. Meanwhile, his American/Japanese computer company's fantastic new chip, Sphynx T-PRAM, has been invaded by the MANTIS virus, much like Nick's spiritual virus, and is in danger of being stolen by the Japanese government's top-secret agency, Nami, and has also become the center of a political fracas in Washington, D.C. Lead villain among many is Senjin, a psychopathic (the word is too mild) young chief commander of Tokyo's homicide bureau, who uses his position to cover up his vile rape murders of beautiful young Japanese dancers (he strips their skin off); who is obsessed by the Demon Woman (in actuality his superbly beautiful twin sister Shisei, whose back he has tattooed with the great spider of the Demon Woman); and who is behind Nick's spiritual depression. In the novel's main action, Nick must recover his lost powers. He uses the estranged Justine to entrap Senjin, and meanwhile must uncover the spirit-truth behind his own family fortune: Was it too based on vile deeds? The story ends with MANTIS only temporarily delayed in its viral march through Sphynx T-PRAM and having returned in full-blown serpentine perfection. Van Lustbader offers his surreal spiritual blood-bath with strong Japanese hues and odors and a typhoon of storytelling--all of which should stir his fans and lift this latest adventure high up the charts.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Ballantine