I have just finished re-reading Shibumi (my favourite book) for the umpteenth time.  Still a great pleasure.

And now I have started to re-read Don Winslow’s book about Nicholai Hel called Satori.

This is my first time re-reading this since it came out in 2011.

I was very excited to read it at the time. A new story about Nicholai Hel (and some familiar characters from the original book). And an endorsement from Rodney Whitaker’s daughter Alexandra on the Trevanian website.

At the time I didn’t enjoy it to be honest. I didn’t recognise Winslow’s Hel to be the same person as Whitaker’s. I note that Whitaker had two conditions for the idea of another author writing about Hel:

The character of Nicholai Hel — the aji of Nicholai Hel — must be respected, and the book must be of a quality that would not disappoint his readers

Anyway, I’m not that far into the book but I spotted a glaring error on the second page!

Winslow says that Hel killed his father-figure Kishikawa with “a single finger-thrust to the trachea”. Anyone who read Shibumi know that he killed him with a pencil (naked/kill is not about killing with no weapon, it’s about being able to use anything as a weapon).

How could anyone make such a mistake about a well known detail, and then hope to re-create the character of Hel?!

Anyway, I am reading the book and (in spite of what I have said above) trying to do so with an open mind.

By the way, while I’m writing about Trevanian once again, I should mention the sad update that:

  • There is nothing on the IMDB website to indicate that any work is going on in relation to creating new movies based on either Satori or Incident at Twenty-Mile
  • There is nothing on Alexandra Whitaker’s website to indicate that there is any progress in relation to Street of the Four Winds