The Sword Master

1983 by Steven Schlossstein
330 pages, Congdon & Weed
ISBN 0-86553-089-0
ISBN 0-312-92404-6 (St. Martin's Press)

Kensei, "The Sword Master, pits the technologically driven nation of Japan against an industrially declining America in a struggle for world supremacy.

Art Garrett, entrepreneur and president of one of Silicon Valley's smallest but most successful high-tech firms, is rocked by the sudden disappearance of his most sophisticated 256k optical chip, a vital component in the Pentagon's new electronic arsenal. Garrett suspects the Russians, of course, until his friend Sally Hendricks, an Asia specialist, unravels the threads of industrial espionage that lead them straight to Tokyo.

There, Fukuda Kenji, director of planning for the global giant Matsuzaka Electric — who is infused with the samurai spirit of Musashi and inspired by his beautiful mistress — has managed to procure this prized technology that his isolated country must have to achieve economic independence. These optical chips will soon hold all life on this planet hostage.

A worthy sequel to Shogun, Schlossstein's stunning first novel links Japan's rich historical past with its brilliant economic performance today. What is says for the future will chill every reader who worries about America's position in this increasingly competitive world.

Kensei was a bestseller in the Avon softcover edition (ISBN 0-380-69369-0). It sold nearly 500,000 copies.

A fast-paced tale of espionage that pits Silicon Valley against Japan.  - The New York Times