Pamela S. Turner

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

“With more behead­ings than you can shake a katana at,  this account of the life of twelfth-cen­tu­ry samu­rai Minamo­to Yoshit­sune is pure excite­ment.” (Book­list, starred review)

Samurai Rising

About the Book

Child exile.
Teenage run­away.
Mil­i­tary genius.
Immor­tal hero.

Yoshit­sune had lit­tle going for him. Exiled to a monastery, he had no mon­ey, no allies, and no mar­tial train­ing. He wasn’t big or strong or good-look­ing. His only assets were brains, ambi­tion, and a dream. But child­hood dreams can change history.

At the age of fif­teen, Yoshit­sune escaped. Blow by painful blow, he learned the art of the sword. Fall after bruis­ing fall, he mas­tered mount­ed archery. He joined his half broth­er Yorit­o­mo in an upris­ing against the most pow­er­ful samu­rai in Japan.

This is the sto­ry of insane courage and dar­ing feats, bit­ter rival­ry and fatal love. Based on one of the great works of Japan­ese his­to­ry and lit­er­a­ture, Samu­rai Ris­ing takes a clear-eyed, very mod­ern look at the way of the samurai—and at the man who became the most famous samu­rai of all.

Awards and Recognition

  • Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion Notable Book
  • Book­list Edi­tor’s Choice
  • Book­list Top Ten Biog­ra­phy for Youth
  • Eure­ka! Gold Award, Cal­i­for­nia Read­ing Association
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Kirkus Reviews Best Mid­dle Grade Books
  • School Library Jour­nal Bat­tle of the Kid’s Books Contender
  • School Library Jour­nal Best of the Year
  • YALSA Excel­lence in Non­fic­tion Award finalist
  • Nerdy Book Award
  • Non­fic­tion Detec­tives Best of the Year
  • Book­list starred review
  • School Library Jour­nal starred review
  • Bul­letin of the Coop­er­a­tive Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Books starred review
  • Kirkus starred review
  • Capi­tol Choices
  • NYC 365 Reads List
  • Texas Topaz Read­ing List


Book­list starred review
”With more behead­ings than you can shake a katana at, this account of the life of twelfth-cen­tu­ry samu­rai Minamo­to Yoshit­sune is pure excite­ment…. Kids who thinks his­to­ry is bor­ing will lose their heads over this one.”

School Library Jour­nal starred review
“Minamo­to no Yoshit­sune, the 12th-cen­tu­ry Heian hero who defeat­ed the rival Taira clan only to be undone by anoth­er mem­ber of the Minamo­to group, is a samu­rai leg­end … The text rips along, skill­ful­ly engag­ing teens in many swift turns of events. VERDICT: Japanophiles, action lovers, and future his­to­ri­ans will all find this book gripping.”

Kirkus Reviews starred review
“The life of 12th-cen­tu­ry samu­rai Minamo­to Yoshit­sune unfolds in this com­pelling and often shock­ing non­fic­tion account. The open­ing warn­ing does­n’t lie: very few peo­ple die of nat­ur­al caus­es … A well-researched nar­ra­tive told with true grit.”

Bul­letin of the Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Books starred review
“It’s not often that ‘biog­ra­phy’ and ‘page-turn­er’ come togeth­er in one thought, but Turn­er’s tale of the twelfth-cen­tu­ry war­rior Minamo­to Yoshit­sune is just the work to draw samu­rai fans from the man­ga and movie aisles into the non­fic­tion shelves.”

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