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The Swords of Fire Trilogy - Book Feature

The Swords of Fire Trilogy - Book Feature

Fiction writer Shaun Curry talks to Together about his first book in The Swords of Fire Trilogy; The Swords of Silence. Set in 17th Century Japan where the persecution of Christians was rife under the Shogun rule, comes a gripping story based upon historical fact.

I have always been fascinated and inspired by Japan. From a relatively early age, I studied martial arts and taught English in the centre of Tokyo – a period that I found quite influential among my life experiences. It was really during this time that I developed a passion for the country, its culture and history.

Following these defining experiences, it was not long before I started work on The Swords of Fire trilogy, where a substantial part of my research originated from old Jesuit letters in the papal archives in Rome. All in all, it took me over a decade to complete my historical research to formulate the series. Over this period, I conducted detailed work in the archives of the British Library in London, the Metropolitan Library of New York, and dozens of museums, churches, and places of interest throughout Japan. Around this time, I also became an avid collector of rare books, maps, and artifacts dating back to the time of the Shogun and the early missions in Japan.

As part of my historical explorations, which I have always considered an interesting hobby, I conducted comprehensive on-theground research in Nagasaki and surrounding cities and regions on the southern island of Kyushu. On a more global level, I interviewed and consulted extensively with priests, historians, and scholars, including members of the Society of Jesus in Europe, North America, and Asia.

I often joke that my inspiration to write The Swords of Fire trilogy was inspired by a previous life as a warrior in early 17th Century Japan. Humour aside, I wrote The Swords of Silence and the remainder of the Swords of Fire trilogy for two main reasons. The first is historical revelation. This is an important – and shocking – time period in world history that remains fairly obscure and unknown in modern society and so I thought it was important to increase our awareness of this era and to highlight some of the brutal things that happened in Japan during this time, particularly given the resurgence of religious intolerance that appears to have resurfaced in today’s society.

The second reason is perhaps less tangible but relates to faith and courage. Under the Shogun’s rule, Christians in Japan experienced tremendous oppression and persecution. The Swords of Silence is a classic story of David vs. Goliath, where the main character, a Jesuit priest, takes on the Shogun’s regime and survives their dictator’s imposed annihilation of Christianity through unwavering faith. 

Thematically, each book in The Swords of Fire trilogy has a unique message and when writing the series, I took biblical inspiration from 1 Corinthians 13: “And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.”

Broadly speaking, the theme of book one is Faith, the theme of book two is Hope, and the theme of book three is Love. In book one, The Swords of Silence, the primary character, a Jesuit priest named Father Joaquim Martinez, saves his village from a death sentence through an act of faith. In book two, he conquers his fears and defeats an archenemy via hope. And in book three, he sacrifices his life for his village and the future of Christianity in Japan through an act of love.

I believe the Jesuit missionaries in 17th Century Japan were some of the bravest souls in the world at the time and this trilogy is partly dedicated to them. Through their passion and selfless works, Christianity was effectively passed on underground – in secret – from one generation to the next for over 200 years while deep in hiding. Taking inspiration from them, I often think perhaps their faith can help inspire and fortify ours today.

Last but not least, I wrote this series to engage readers in real world history and enthrall them in an exciting historical series. Firmly rooted in brutal times gone by, the Swords of Fire trilogy pits the Shogun’s ruthless regime, including fierce feudal warlords and their legions of cold-blooded samurai against dedicated missionaries and defenceless Christian peasants – all packaged into an epic action-packed adventure of East meets West in the heartland of the samurai warrior.

Shaun Curry Shaun Curry was fascinated by Japan where he studied and worked in Tokyo and developed a passion for the country, its culture and history. His expertise in feudal Japanese history has informed his fiction and also a variety of articles on the subject. He is also a speaker on Christianity in Japan.

Products mentioned in or related to this blog post
Swords of Silence (Paperback)
Curry, Shaun
Retail price: £8.99
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