The best ninja books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about ninjas and why they recommend each book.

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The Ninja

By Eric Van Lustbader,

Book cover of The Ninja

This was the first book I read twice. It was groundbreaking back in the ’80s. A mixture of cultures, assassins, adventure, thrills, love, sex, and passion. A huge bestseller at the time. His detail of Japanese philosophy, fighting styles, honor, and code in a modern-day world is beyond captivating.

While he went on to a huge success with dozens of bestsellers, nothing topped this. It was a lifetime of daydreaming and research that he poured out onto the page.

I read it in two days on the beach under the sun and stars. Five days later, I read it again. I couldn’t get the story out of my head.


Who am I?

As an adrenaline junky—years of kitesurfing, skydiving, bungee jumping, Zero Gravity training—I have a passion for thrills and adventure, coupled with the love for my soulmate, Virginia, since we were kids, I live what I write and write what I live. Of course, I filter it all through my vivid imagination to raise the stakes and pull you in. When I look for a great book, it’s tough to get my blood flowing, to get me excited, but these books are the nearest thing to the thrill of freefalling and having your first chute fail to open (been there, done that. Thank, God for the reserve chute!). These books are truly unique, putting you on the edge of your seat and leaving you wanting more.


I wrote...

The 13th Hour: Chaos

By Richard Doetsch,

Book cover of The 13th Hour: Chaos

What is my book about?

A Mesmerizing Tale Told in Reverse. (Yep, You Start at The Last Chapter and Go Backwards)

“Ingenious The 13th Hour: Chaos, is a jigsaw puzzle in book form. It’s a love story, a political potboiler, and a thriller that upends expectations with every turn of the page. It carried me from heartbreaking opening to the razor edge of its ending in one sitting.” - James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestseller of The Last Odyssey

The Book of Five Rings

By Miyamoto Musashi,

Book cover of The Book of Five Rings

A classic of the ages and essential reading for any martial artist, The Book of Five Rings is a guide to self-discipline and learning. But you have to read between the lines, listen to the silences, and practice the way of the warrior yourself in order to get the most from it. The legendary swordmaster Miyamoto Musashi is the blueprint for Jack’s sensei and guardian Masamoto in my Young Samurai book.

Who am I?

I am a black belt martial artist and top ten bestselling children’s author with a life goal of ‘getting kids reading’. As an author, I practise what I term ‘method writing’. For my Young Samurai series, I trained in samurai swordsmanship, karate, ninjutsu, and earned my black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. This ensures my books are not only authentic but have the impact of a flying front kick. Hopefully, my stories will knock you out!


I wrote...

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

By Chris Bradford,

Book cover of Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

What is my book about?

Sword-wielding samurai, deadly ninja, and full-on martial arts action, The Way of the Warrior is an epic adventure story of courage, loyalty, and friendship. Inspired by my own martial arts journey, we follow the young Jack Fletcher as he is shipwrecked on the shores of 16th Century Japan where he learns the way of the warrior with the help of a samurai girl called Akiko in order to battle Dragon Eye, the mysterious assassin who murdered his father!

Over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide, the multi-award-winning Young Samurai is deemed one of Puffin's 70 Best Ever Books, alongside Treasure Island and Robin Hood.

Essence of Ninjutsu

By Masaaki Hatsumi,

Book cover of Essence of Ninjutsu

The 34th grandmaster of ninjutsu, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi has written many books on the art of the ninja. This is one of his best and examines over 1,000 years of the history and legends of the shadow warriors. A seminal book that provided the foundation to my own ninjutsu practise under one of Hatsumi’s students, Sensei Peter Brown. The secrets I learnt proved crucial to writing book 4 of the Young Samurai series, The Ring of Earth when Jack is taken in by a ninja clan.


Who am I?

I am a black belt martial artist and top ten bestselling children’s author with a life goal of ‘getting kids reading’. As an author, I practise what I term ‘method writing’. For my Young Samurai series, I trained in samurai swordsmanship, karate, ninjutsu, and earned my black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. This ensures my books are not only authentic but have the impact of a flying front kick. Hopefully, my stories will knock you out!


I wrote...

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

By Chris Bradford,

Book cover of Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

What is my book about?

Sword-wielding samurai, deadly ninja, and full-on martial arts action, The Way of the Warrior is an epic adventure story of courage, loyalty, and friendship. Inspired by my own martial arts journey, we follow the young Jack Fletcher as he is shipwrecked on the shores of 16th Century Japan where he learns the way of the warrior with the help of a samurai girl called Akiko in order to battle Dragon Eye, the mysterious assassin who murdered his father!

Over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide, the multi-award-winning Young Samurai is deemed one of Puffin's 70 Best Ever Books, alongside Treasure Island and Robin Hood.

Samurai

By Stephen Turnbull,

Book cover of Samurai: The World of the Warrior

Stephen Turnbull is one of the foremost authorities on the samurai and this book covers all of their military history. Beautifully illustrated and full of intriguing facts about the samurai and their world, this was my go-to book when writing the Young Samurai series. A fascinating read, this makes a beautiful gift for anyone with an interest in samurai or Japan.


Who am I?

I am a black belt martial artist and top ten bestselling children’s author with a life goal of ‘getting kids reading’. As an author, I practise what I term ‘method writing’. For my Young Samurai series, I trained in samurai swordsmanship, karate, ninjutsu, and earned my black belt in Zen Kyu Shin Taijutsu. This ensures my books are not only authentic but have the impact of a flying front kick. Hopefully, my stories will knock you out!


I wrote...

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

By Chris Bradford,

Book cover of Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior

What is my book about?

Sword-wielding samurai, deadly ninja, and full-on martial arts action, The Way of the Warrior is an epic adventure story of courage, loyalty, and friendship. Inspired by my own martial arts journey, we follow the young Jack Fletcher as he is shipwrecked on the shores of 16th Century Japan where he learns the way of the warrior with the help of a samurai girl called Akiko in order to battle Dragon Eye, the mysterious assassin who murdered his father!

Over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide, the multi-award-winning Young Samurai is deemed one of Puffin's 70 Best Ever Books, alongside Treasure Island and Robin Hood.

The Mystic Arts of the Ninja

By Stephen Hayes,

Book cover of The Mystic Arts of the Ninja

Every good book requires research, and in the case of my book, I feel that the best source for information concerning the legendary Ninja of Japan, and their shadowy Art, comes to us by way of Stephen K. Hayes, who introduced this subject to the West through his many books. The Mystic Arts of the Ninja not only showcases the weapons and the martial arts of the Ninja (which was vital in building my character, Ms. Adelaide DeMarcy) but provides a valuable insight into their mystical practices.


Who am I?

There is an adage that urges the writer to write about what they know, and I have followed this to the letter. In addition to being an author, I have worked as a private investigator. I have also trained at two martial arts schools that specialize in Ninjutsu; Genbukan Yamato Dojo, and Bujinkan. Moreover, as a patrolman, and an ambulance driver, I have had the privilege of serving with female partners, lending me a valuable insight into the struggles that they face in otherwise male-dominated fields. But this is not all; I am also an occultist, making me familiar with things that most people would not even believe exist.😊


I wrote...

Our Man Adelaide: The Faceless Man

By Martin Schiller,

Book cover of Our Man Adelaide: The Faceless Man

What is my book about?

It is the year 1912. The Titanic is preparing for her maiden voyage, and England and Germany are locked in an arms race. Although Europe is at peace, spies on both sides are gathering intelligence in preparation for war. In the midst of this increasingly volatile situation, Sir Thomas Blackthorne and Ms. Adelaide DeMarcy of His Majesty's Secret Service Bureau, are tasked with investigating the death of a member of Parliament. In the end, it will take all of Sir Thomas's talent as a psychic, and Adelaide's skill as a Ninja, to unravel the truth, and survive…

Trickster's Choice

By Tamora Pierce,

Book cover of Trickster's Choice

Technically two books (Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen), this duet follows Alianne, daughter of the heroine Alanna and spymaster George, who is kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave to an outcast royal family. The trickster god enlists/coerces her to aid the family’s plot to reseize their throne, which has Aly working as a spy against her homeland. All of Pierce’s books are fantastic, and the Tortall series shaped me as both a reader and writer of fantasy. It was interesting to move away from the heroism and adventure of the earlier books in this universe to a more morally gray protagonist with spy and assassin training who is secretly working for a god. Also, her love interest is a crow turned human, and it works surprisingly well.


Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to badass female protagonists in fantasy, but the femme fatale has a special place in my heart, and none more so than spies and assassins. Their weapons are a mix of daggers and subterfuge, poison, and seduction. They often straddle the line between cold-hearted villainess and righteous freedom fighter, and that complex morality can make for intriguing internal struggles that coincide nicely with their goal of dismantling corruption, which is not always black and white. Additionally, the aforementioned seduction means that they get to be unapologetically sexual (but only on their terms!). All of this went into Lily’s character.


I wrote...

The Black Lily

By G. D. Burkhead, Mandy Burkhead,

Book cover of The Black Lily

What is my book about?

The Black Lily is a dark fantasy novel following a lady spy/assassin tasked with killing the king and prince of Arestea. This book features courtly intrigue, seduction, backstabbing, and a game of cat and mouse between the kickass femme fatale Lily and naïve Prince Adrian.

The Decoy Princess

By Dawn Cook,

Book cover of The Decoy Princess

Tess learns that she is not actually a princess but a decoy, and that the king and queen, who raised her as their child, have hidden the real princess away in a convent for her protection. It would explain why the chancellor taught her the arts of diplomacy, politics, self-defense, and subterfuge and had her build up a tolerance to poison. Despite feeling betrayed by her parents, after they are murdered by a usurper, she has to use all of her skills learned since childhood to reclaim the throne for the actual princess. While Tess is a bit bratty in the beginning (not surprising since she thinks she’s a princess), she develops into a mature (but still snarky) spy. The sequel, Princess at Sea, continues her adventure after restoring her “sister” to the throne.


Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to badass female protagonists in fantasy, but the femme fatale has a special place in my heart, and none more so than spies and assassins. Their weapons are a mix of daggers and subterfuge, poison, and seduction. They often straddle the line between cold-hearted villainess and righteous freedom fighter, and that complex morality can make for intriguing internal struggles that coincide nicely with their goal of dismantling corruption, which is not always black and white. Additionally, the aforementioned seduction means that they get to be unapologetically sexual (but only on their terms!). All of this went into Lily’s character.


I wrote...

The Black Lily

By G. D. Burkhead, Mandy Burkhead,

Book cover of The Black Lily

What is my book about?

The Black Lily is a dark fantasy novel following a lady spy/assassin tasked with killing the king and prince of Arestea. This book features courtly intrigue, seduction, backstabbing, and a game of cat and mouse between the kickass femme fatale Lily and naïve Prince Adrian.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen R. Covey,

Book cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is another classic! I've tried to pick books that will stand the test of time and I think this is another one...

“Start with the end in mind” is an example of one of the 7 habits that Covey explores in this book, encouraging us to visualise our desired end result, and work backwards to achieve it.

It’s amazing how different we all are. Some don’t know what they want, others can picture what they want, but find it difficult to break that down into actionable steps or to formulate a strategy to get them where they want to go. Others are great with planning and attention to detail, but can get overly focused on details and as a result can lose sight of “the big picture”. Those who can both visualise and execute have got it made.


Who am I?

I’m the founder of Purposeful Group, an author, and a multi-award-winning entrepreneur who has started multiple businesses from scratch. I believe that when you have the right mindset, positive things will flow from this. As the designer of programmes for entrepreneurs and digital learners, I have recommended books that I hope will give readers a great foundation to build on to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. From a personal perspective, they have kept me on track, and helped me build a framework of “success behaviours.”


I wrote...

Don't Hire a Software Developer Until You Read this Book

By K.N. Kukoyi,

Book cover of Don't Hire a Software Developer Until You Read this Book

What is my book about?

Do you have an idea for a web or mobile app? If you do, but you’re unsure how to transform your business idea into a technical product, then this practical “software survival guide” is for you!

This is the second of 5 books I have published for entrepreneurs, designed to show you how to build your software application smartly! As a qualified tech professional and software delivery specialist, I mentor tech startups and entrepreneurs from around the world, explaining how to get digital businesses off the ground step by step. Understanding the do’s and don’ts involved in getting started helps founders to avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls experienced by aspiring tech entrepreneurs. Having led and worked in teams creating multi-million-pound digital products from scratch, I share insider knowledge about how to create a quality digital product quickly, efficiently, and economically.

Graceling

By Kristin Cashore,

Book cover of Graceling

Katsa, a Graceling, is unnaturally skilled at murder. As a result, she is forced to work as an assassin for her uncle, the king. Unlike the other characters on my list, Katsa hates being an assassin and loathes her abilities (in fact, she has quite a bit of self-loathing). She also prefers using her brawn over her brain. Her love interest, Po, is very much her opposite—a soft, well-read boy who also has a secret Grace of his own. Together, the two must rescue a princess and take down possibly one of the most awful villains I’ve ever read. Graceling is also part of a series that further expands the world, its characters, and its primary villain, and be prepared because it gets dark.


Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to badass female protagonists in fantasy, but the femme fatale has a special place in my heart, and none more so than spies and assassins. Their weapons are a mix of daggers and subterfuge, poison, and seduction. They often straddle the line between cold-hearted villainess and righteous freedom fighter, and that complex morality can make for intriguing internal struggles that coincide nicely with their goal of dismantling corruption, which is not always black and white. Additionally, the aforementioned seduction means that they get to be unapologetically sexual (but only on their terms!). All of this went into Lily’s character.


I wrote...

The Black Lily

By G. D. Burkhead, Mandy Burkhead,

Book cover of The Black Lily

What is my book about?

The Black Lily is a dark fantasy novel following a lady spy/assassin tasked with killing the king and prince of Arestea. This book features courtly intrigue, seduction, backstabbing, and a game of cat and mouse between the kickass femme fatale Lily and naïve Prince Adrian.

Real Ultimate Power

By Robert Hamburger,

Book cover of Real Ultimate Power

This is the sort of book I wish existed when I was a teenager. No hoity-toity “interpretation of what the author meant” required here, just childish, immature drivel. The first time I read this masterpiece I laughed so hard I nearly vomited. I had to keep closing the cover just so I could stop laughing long enough to catch my breath. Be warned, a warped sense of humor is a prerequisite for reading this gem.


Who am I?

By now you are probably wondering why the author of a dark and violent tale set in the Zombie Apocalypse is recommending humorous books. The answer lies within the five elements of survival: Shelter, Fire, Food, Water, and Mindset. A positive mindset can get you through a lot of dark and dangerous times, and being able to find the funny in the darkness will help you maintain that mindset (especially if you are injured or scared). 


I wrote...

Sleep with One Eye Open

By Beau Johnston,

Book cover of Sleep with One Eye Open

What is my book about?

The annual Zombie Pride Parade is set to begin in Sydney’s CBD. Instead of costumed revelers, the streets fill with zombies flooding out from an underground train station and into an unsuspecting public. A brawl erupts and people realize they aren’t just defending themselves, they’re fighting for their lives. 

We follow John’s journey as he flees the carnage and quickly prepares for a bleak and dangerous future. The spread of the undead is concealed by looting and vigilantism as countless zombies swiftly overrun entire suburbs. John’s journey takes him to places we’ve all been, or should make the effort to visit….. coastal and rural Australia. This is the story of an ordinary man who makes use of wit and guile to achieve the seemingly impossible.

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