A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life. All gathered in an extraordinary saga inflamed passion, conflict, ambition and struggle for power.

This is Japan's world-famous novel, which is the first book in James Clavell's masterfully Asian saga. Located in 1600, it tells the story of a daring English pilot whose ship was landed in Japan, where he met two people who had to change his life: a warlord in search of power and a fine interpreter torn between two ways of life and two ways of loving.

The main characters are John Blackthorne, whose dream is to be the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world, to take control of the trade between Japan and China and to return home a rich man and positioned; Toranaga, the most powerful feudal lord of Japan, strives to take the ultimate power by becoming the shogun - the supreme military dictator - and to reunite the samurai fiefs at war under his masterful and far-sighted leadership; and Lady Mariko, a Catholic convert whose conflicting loyalties to the Church and her country are complicated when she falls in love with Blackthorne, the barbarian intruder.

By portraying how a Westerner, the representative man of his time, becomes altered by his exposure to a foreign culture, Clavell provides a mesmerizing representation of a nation plagued by violence and intrigue from the medieval world to the modern.