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Clash of Medieval Titans: Knight Versus Samurai

rose-and-crane

In the late fifteenth century, England was caught in the throes of the bloody, familial, civil war now known as the “Wars of the Roses.”  Exactly who is a member of which house is both confusing and subject to change, but the reigns of King Edward the Fourth (Eddy) and King Richard the III (Dick), are not a good time to be a Lancastrian. Simon Lang of Exeter, whose father has been slain in battle, and mother beheaded, can attest to this.

Half a world away, the clans of Hosokawa and Yamana have just leveled the beautiful city of Kyoto in a little starter civil war known as the “Onin War.” This powerfully confusing fracas over shogunal succession preps the country for a joyous hundred years of all-encompassing civil war. Emerging from this feud comes Kojiro Takeda, a samurai of legend who has been mysteriously absent for the last ten years. Unluckily for Kojiro, he re-emerges as a captive aboard a hated enemy’s ship, traveling to his own execution.

The enterprising and nautically-inclined Simon Lang looks to revise his misfortunes in one fell swoop by setting off for China with the intrepid Venetian explorer Aldo Mitachionne. Naturally, they become lost since neither of them has the faintest idea how to get to China. This is a fortunate turn of events for Kojiro who is freed when Simon and Aldo, aided by gunpowder, win a one-sided battle over his captors.

After returning to Venice, Simon is convinced by an attempt on his life that his best hope for staying alive is to rid England of its plague of Yorkists. To this end, Simon falls in with Henry Tudor who is scheming to take the English throne from Dick with an army of Scots, Frenchmen, and Welshmen. Indebted for saving his life, Kojiro joins Simon as he treks through the hinterlands of Wales, mispronouncing town names (containing let’s face it-ludicrous numbers of consonants) as they go. Ultimately, they take part in the climactic struggle that will decide the fate of England for over a hundred years: the Battle of Bosworth.

*Note: The western region of Japan’s main island of Honshu, that includes the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Nara, is known in Japan as the Kansai or Kinki region, so get your minds out of the gutter.