The author (me) grew up hiding from the heat and humidity of New Jersey summers in the air-conditioned wonderfulness of the local public library. There I developed a lifelong love for history books, particularly the kind that enabled me to learn (never one of my strengths) without my even knowing it: historical fiction. That love (and learning) continued at Gettysburg College where the professor in my Civil War class assigned “Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara as required reading. I got a “C” on the Battle of Gettysburg test because I rehashed the entire book from memory, but completely ignored any issues not addressed by Michael Shaara. (Not finishing the other required readings prior to the test might also have hampered me.) Nevertheless, I graduated in a short five years and set off for Japan as an English teacher to earn my fortune.
Why Japan? Well in high school I had the good fortune of running into Dr. George Uchida who coached the US Olympic Judo Team in 1964 and taught judo at my high school. By “running into,” I mean he “threw me into” a wrestling mat over, and over, and over again. He also ordered me to stop getting into fights and to bring my grades up under penalty of being kicked off the judo team. Since leaving the judo team would have denied me the pleasure of being choked, slammed into the ground, and having my arms bent in unnatural directions, I hastily cleaned up my act. To reward me, he sent me on a one month high school exchange to Japan where I assumed I was going to kick back, enjoy the sights, and do some electronics shopping. Unfortunately, the good Dr. George Uchida had other thoughts. He was not convinced about my wholehearted commitment to the study of judo (utterly baseless, of course) so he sent me to a school where I practiced judo in gym class all day and then with the high school team after school. This would have been enough (ha, ha, good joke), but it turns out the host father owned his own judo dojo so when I arrived home exhausted, I got to practice again. Aside from the bruises, I also brought back a respect for the people (who couldn’t have been nicer), and a nagging interest in their history. I followed up in college with a semester abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, where once again, everybody was nice to me (no small feat). That’s how I wound up seeking my fortune in Japan.
I spent five wonderful years in Japan where nearly every Friday I met a group of Scots, Canadians, Englishmen, and a particularly curmudgeonly Welshman for beers at the Pig and Whistle Pub in Kyoto. These weekly bantering, drinking, and insulting sessions are the source of much of the dialog in my book. The Welshman has read my novel and provided helpful insights (to the extent a Welshman is capable of being helpful about anything).
At some point I decided I needed to get a real job, because sadly, teaching English, drinking, and hanging out with friends does not make one rich. I returned to the U.S. and was fortunate enough to get my dream job working for the Los Angeles Police Department where I’ve had the honor of working with some of the bravest (and funniest) men and women that I know. During my career, I spent two years as the Officer in Charge of a vice unit in Koreatown which provided inspiration for some of my more ribald scenes.
In writing this book, I’ve combined my life experience with my love of history to create a novel that, although it takes place in medieval times, is written as an adventure and is accessible to anyone who likes a good story.