Blood Ninja by Nick Lake

The basics

Title: Blood Ninja


Series: Blood Ninja #1

- Blood Ninja (2009)
- The Revenge of Lord Oda (2010)
- The Betrayal of the Living (2012)

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Goodreads Summary:

In the course of a day, Taro's entire life changes: His father is murdered before his eyes, and Taro is taken by a mysterious ninja on a perilous journey toward safety. Someone wants Taro dead, but who -- and why? With his best friend, Hiro, and their ninja guide Shusaku, Taro gets caught in the crossfire of a bitter conflict between rival lords for control of imperial Japan. As Taro trains to become a ninja himself, he's less and less sure that he wants to be one. But when his real identity is revealed, it becomes impossible for Taro to turn his back on his fate.

Read a full summary of Blood Ninja by Nick Lake below. If you can’t remember what happened in Blood Ninja and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place. This recap was contributed by Atharva Shah.

What happened in Blood Ninja?

  • Prologue: At Nagoya Yukiko executes her assailant in the dead of the night, mentioning the name of Taro.
  • 6 Months Earlier: At Shirahama, Taro, A Japanese boy with his archery skills hunts rabbits for his family. He’s often mocked for his foreign looks and distinct personality from the peasant of Shirahama village. Taro aspires to live a chivalrous life and aspires to be a Samurai to serve Lord Oda.
  • Taro spectates his only friend, Hiro, sumo-wrestling against Ronins and hears about the murder of a farmer in Minata, a neighbouring village. Gaining victory, Hiro wins the bet money against Ronin.
  • Hiro is very loyal to Taro as he was saved by Taro in a shark attack when he was very young and his parents died an unfortunate death and he was taken in by Taro’s family.
  • Taro’s mother who is an ‘ama diver’ hears about the homicide in Minata and is shocked.
  • Taro’s father is ill and bed ridden. The same night, ninjas arrive at Taro’s house and cut off his fathers head and try to attack him but a renegade ninja saves him and Hiro and to save his life from the dire situation, he turns Taro into a kyuuketsuki (Vampiric Ninja).
  • With his newly obtained powers, the ninja and Taro overpower the attacking ninjas and the trio escape towards the north by a sea route. Torak observes the three leaved carving on the katana wielded by the ninja who saved him, surprisingly his bow also has the same carving.
  • Meanwhile, Torak mother is hidden and and the ninja asks her to be a ghost and never show herself again for everybody’s sake.Torak grieves his father’s death.
  • Vowing revenge he demands an explanation from the ninja, Shusaku who revealas that he was assigned the task to protect Taro from the attacking enemy ninja clan by unknown employee.
  • Now that Taro is a Kyuuketsuki, he will be rendered powerful, faster, stornger and agile more than ever but won’t be able to tolerate sunlight and will be a creature of the night. Additionally, he will need blood and nothing else as his primary food.
  • This news is received with shocking disbelief by Taro.
  • Hiro agrees to continue the journey with them and stand by his friend.
  • At Nagoya, Hana, Lord Oda’s free and wild spirited daughter while teaching her hawk Kame comes across a note tied to a messenger pigeon stating ‘The Boy Lives.’ She is terrified that her father will scold her for killing the messenger bird and due to the fact that she is being a tomboy-ish attitude he’ll soon marry him off to a noble lord to form a powerful alliance.
  • She delivers the note to Lord Oda personally.
  • Back at Shirahama, the trio arrive at Minata and rest near an abandoned hut near the boundaries.
  • Shusaku informs Taro that he’ll have to come at his clan village and train if he wants revenge against his fathers assailant and reunite with his mother.
  • Shusaku tells the duo that they’ll be staying at a friend of his, an old woman to get rid of ninjas who might be following their trails. Desperate for food, Taro tries to refrain from getting Hiro’s blood and chokes on squirrel meat and realizes that blood will be his only food from now on.
  • On his way back from the beach Taro is attacked and a couple of arrows pierce his hands but he’s not dying from it. Shusaku eliminates all the ninjas dressed in nothing and visible only to Hori. He explains that the tattoo’s on his body render him invisible against Kyuuketsuki’s.
  • Meanwhile, Hana, along with Lord Tokugawa’s son is learning calligraphy and in truth longing for horse riding and sword practice. Lord Oda’s spymaster Kenji Kira appears before her and informs that he’s on a quest to recover Lord Oda’s ‘Lost Asset’ which will bring her close to her.
  • The trio continue their journey around Lord Oda’s castle and maintaining a low profile hijack a passing palanquin and steal the identity of these people to move past the guarded checkpoint. Shusaku discovers that the person in the palanquin is a messenger to the Shogun. Taro feasts on the unconscious person’s blood, but enough that the person is unconscious.
  • Ito, a swordmaster approaches Lord Oda to deliver a masterpiece sword and confronts the scene of brutal killing fo the ninjas employed by Lord Oda for the assassination of Taro.
  • Impressed by the sword, Lord Oda asks demands a price to buy the sword from Ito but as the latter hesitates to reply quickly Oda dismembers Ito’s head with his own crafted sword.
  • In the palaquin, the trio bypass the guards at the checkpoint only to be surprised by two ninjas who survived from the night earlier appearing and attacking Shusaku.
  • Taro and Hiro join the fight and manage too kill the ninja duo with ease. Later, Shusaku mocks the hypocrisy of Lord Oda and his deceitful samurai philosophy. Continuing the journey, they come across Kenji Kira investigating a poor peasant about the Shagun’s messenger and killing him off.
  • Shusaku holds off an angered Taro. Upon arrival, the abbess, Shusaku’s friend welcomes the trio and her daughter, Heiko(eldest) and Yukiko talk to Taro and Hiro and are surpirsed to learn that Shukaku turned him into a kyuuketsuki despite Taro not being a ninja.
  • Befriending the girls, Taro learns that both were saved by Shusaku who was formerly a sumari and was like Taro, turned into a ninja. The girls were rescued when they were babies during the war. Shusaku’s love was killed by the Samuria.
  • Heiko runs off crying as she sees the Tatoo’s on Shusaku’s face.
  • Taro reveals to the abbess that his mother is an ‘ama’ and the abbes is shocked and correlates with the story of the ‘ama’ legend that a young woman gave up her life for her Emperor husband and retrieve the Buddha ball only to be tricked and curses the Emperor’s line that turmoil and war will follow until an Ama’s son becomes the Shogun.
  • Taro and Hiro completely disbelieve this but the Ama says that the Buddha Ball really exists.
  • Next, the ama reads Hiro’s and Shusaku’s fortune and revales that Hiro will be loyal and Shusaku’s eye’s will fool him.
  • Next, he has an abrupt vision claiming that Taro will bring death everywhere he goes and unsettles everybody. Taro eavesdrop and hears about Oda’s and Tokugawa’s hidden rivalry and bitter politics.
  • Deciding to leave without causing any more harm to the harm to the Abbess’ family the trio leave secretly. Kenji Kira threatens the abbess to kill her and her daughters unless she spits out Taro’s location.
  • The abbess gazes into Kenji’s eyes to see that he’s afraid of traumatic war experience and death with organic animals crawling everywhere. The abbess confirms that Kenji will die a gruesome death. Infuriated, he kills her after knowing that about Taro and the Buddha ball.
  • The trio realize that the abbess foresaw her own death and stumble upon a group of ronins kidnapping Hana at swordpoint. Shusaku and others make a move and execute the ronins to escort Hana back. Hana thanks the trio and gifts a golden ring to Taro who falls desperately in love with her.
  • Hana reaches back to her castle safely. The girls Heiko and Yukiko make an appearance.
  • Yukiko informs Taro that the mark on his bow is Lord Tokugawa’s clan mark. They escaped from the house as they had a premonition about Kenji Kira. Yukiko mocks and exposes the hypocrisy of samurai philosophy.
  • Shukaku opens up that when he turned ninja he pledged allegience to Tokugawa and surprises Taro by telling him that Taro is lord Tokugawa’s secret son.
  • Shusaku confronts the astonished Taro answering that Tokugawa tried to protect him and his mother and father are of royal blood. Taro figures out Kenji Kira and Oda are trying to kill him as he’s their enemy Tokugawa’s heir.
  • Shusaku informs Taro that he may not be welcomed by Tokugawa as he is a vampire now but still angry, Taro vows that the people who cared for him and grew him are still his parents and that he’ll avenge them. He tells Shuskau that he’ll accompany him when Tokugawa orders the assassination Lord oda.
  • The group continue thier journey. Taro suspects that the Buddha ball ahs been placed in his bow but he forgets the bow in the cave while resting which is picked up by a drunkard and locked into a rice store room. Taro follows but is unable to get it back.
  • Yukiko explains her sadness about Shuskau’s tattoo Sutra and retells the legend of the ‘Earless Hoichi’.
  • Shusaku enquires about the bow. The group reaches an underground cave like structure which Shusaku reveals to be his clan home- a dead volcano’s cauldron.
  • At their arrival, the clan’s assistant leader Kawabata criticizes and mocks Shusaku’s decisions for compromising the clan’s safety by bringing Taro along with him. Taro is tested with his archery skills and granted entrance in the clan to train as a ninja. Still, Kawabata and his son share the hatred against Shusaku and believe that Shusaku is the killer and a sociopath.
  • Taro wishes to retrieve his bow from the village with heiko’s assistance.
  • Hana eavesdrops and hers her father Oda ordering a ninja, Namai to kill Lord Tokugawa’s hidden son and improvising the castle’s safety as Tokugawa’s ninjas may breach the fourth tower and assassinate Hana for the sake of ruthlessness and revenge.
  • A tanner’s son shoots down a messenger bird for food which has Taro’s mother’s note revealing her hidden location. The letter is discarded by the boy. Little Kawabata’s hatred for Taro grows with each passing day.
  • Taro, with heiko’s help infiltrates the store room to retrieve the bow but he’s locked inside by little Kawabata along with Heiko and threatened that the sunlight will kill him.
  • Taro experiences that despite being a ninja he can tolerate sunlight and does not die from it. He teaches Kawabata a lesson for trying to kill him by drawing blood from his cheek and makes him promise that he’ll never hurt Taro and his friends again.
  • When the news reaches the ears of the clan members it is decided that Kawabata will be executed for attempting murder of a fellow ninja from the clan. Taro, merciful chooses the alternative and chooses to engage in combat against Kawabata unless one of them prevails but one of them must die.
  • The next day, as the situation seems unavoidable, Taro converts Kawabata into a vampire after killing him in the arena. Kawabata Junior hears his father’s plans to betray Lord Tokugawa and overthrow Shuskau by confessing that he’s already sent numerous letters to Lord Oda.
  • He also reveals that he himself killed Maria, Shusaku’s lady love. Shuskaku informs Taro that Tokugawa has ordered a strike against Oda.
  • Taro, Hiro, Yukiko, Heiko and Shukaku all infiltrate Oda’s castle but Heiko sacrifices herself to protect the identity of her friends hidden in plain sight in the cart. She is beheaded by Kira.
  • Yukiko vows to kill Kira. Shukaku and Taro reach the inner chambers of the castle. Shuskau turns invisible in order to clear Taro’s way into the fourth tower and is stabbed and killed by Namai, a formidable enemy. A furious Taro immediately finishes of Kenji.
  • Oda pleads Taro to kill Oda. When Taro reaches the floor above he is surprised to find Hana, the girl they rescued from the forest the other day here, right in front of him. He initiates his friendship with her.
  • Yukio is furious. She misunderstands this gesture and betrays Taro by reporting Taro’s invasion into the castle to Oda in his personal chambers and demands Kenji’s life in return. Oda accepts the offer and battles Taro and Hiro and also attempts to kill off Hana because of her disobedience.
  • Kawabata junior approaches and intercedes the battles saving Taro’s life and together all of them kill of Oda, Taro feasts on his blood to gain back some of his energy. Unknowingly to him a few drops of his blood fall back into Oda’s mouth and he’s passively converted into a vampire and brought back to life.
  • Hana is shocked about her fathers death but forgive’s Taro as he saved her life and had no bad intentions. Hana joins the group and Taro decides to seek shelter and find his real mother (the ama diver) soon and retrieve the Buddha Ball to set things right.
  • Oda, back from the dead plans to use Yukiko as a minion and converts her into a vampire. He sends her on an assignment to kill of Taro, Hana and the other remaining members and retireve the Buddha Ball for him. Elsewhere, Kenji Kira discovers the lost note of Taro’s mother and identifies her location and along with his troop rushes to the mountains.
  • At the end, Yukiko eliminates her assailant sent by Tokugawa to kill her and demands that next time let Taro be sent as he deserves to die.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Blood Ninja by Nick Lake. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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