• by Trevanian
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 16 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Nicholai Hel, born in the ravages of World War I China to an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father, raised in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go Master, survives the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world's most artful lover and its most accomplished and highly paid assassin. Genius, mystic, master of language and culture, Hel's secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection: shibumi.Now living in an isolated mountain fortress with his magnificent Eurasian mistress, Hel faces his most sinister enemy, a super-monolith of espionage and monopoly. The battle lines are drawn: ruthless power and corruption on one side and on the other, shibumi.


What the Critics Say

2005 Audie Award Nominee, Solo Narration (Male)
"It's hard to imagine a more nearly perfect spy story." (Milwaukee Journal)
"Novels about international intrigue demand intricate plotting. Shibumi delivers." (Los Angeles Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

This is, in my humble opinion, one of the all-time great thrillers, and it stands the test of time exceptionally well. It's rare to find action and thrills and blood and guts mixed so seamlessly with thought-provoking ideas and philosophy, and even more unusual for the ideas in the book to be almost as compelling and fast-reading as the thrills . . . but Shibumi delivers both without ever slowing down the pace or losing momentum. I always hoped Trevanian would investigate these characters and ideas further in other novels, but I've had to satisfy myself by reading Shibumi over and over again in book and audiobook format instead (BTW, thank you Audible for finally carrying this title!). If you like thrillers with just a little more meat on their bones (or characters with a little more character than the typical comic book hero), you're not likely to find a more enjoyable page-turner than Shibumi. They just don't make assassins -- or thrillers -- like this any more.
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- Dave

Are previous reviewers relatives of the author?

This is my first review, as generally I agree with previous reviews and it makes little sense to write a "me too" review. However, I found the reviews already provided to be so far away from my experience as to wonder if I'm listening to the same book. I was first caught by the simple example of the author writing, "clattered silently." While this is nit-picky, it illustrates how poorly assembled this book seems to be. Characters are cliches, long tangential passages detract from the story, and the accents used by the narrator are childish and stereotypical (the "Arab" sounds more Japanese and sometimes French). Skip this one.
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- drewt "drewt7"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-26-2005
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.