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  • Writer's pictureJames McGee

Mark your calendar and set your watches....

Sadly, I'm of an age where I remember the original series starring Richard Chamberlain,

so I can't wait to see this new version. It looks terrific.....

Here's the link to the trailer.

If you're not familiar with the story, the original TV series and this one are based on James Clavell's epic novel of the same name, a fictional account of the adventures of a real character, Will Adams, an Elizabethan seafarer and the first Englishman to set foot in Japan.

What's even more interesting, however, is that Clavell wasn't the first author to bring Adams to life. Shogun was published in 1975. Two years previously, British writer Christopher Nicole penned his novel Lord of the Golden Fan, featuring Will Adams by name. While it's around a third of the length of Clavell's tome, it's still a cracking read. Sadly, it became overlooked in favour of Clavell's version - probably because of the TV adaptation - but I highly recommend it because Nicole was a pretty good writer, and a prodigious one, with over 200 novels to his name. He died in 2017 at the grand age of 86 and to my mind never quite achieved the recognition he deserved.

One series of his which I devoured featured Jonas Wilde, a British government assassin, a character who would have given Bond a good run for his money. A film of The Eliminator, the first novel in the series, was made into a film starring the late Richard Johnson.

And Nicole wasn't the first author to write a fictional account of Adams' life in Japan. There was The Needle-Watcher by Richard Blaker, published in 1932. James Scherer's Pilot and Shogun came out in 1935, while Daishi-San, written by Robert Lund, was published in 1962.

Just to add, I suspect that Clavell might have been writing Shogun when Nicole's novel came out and I can't help but wonder if that was the reason Clavell called his hero John Blackthorne as well as using fictitious names for his main Japanese characters as opposed to Nicole who used real identities.

Whatever the reason, it doesn't detract from it having become a classic historical-adventure novel. Fingers crossed this new small screen adaptation does it justice.

Oh, and if you'd like to read the true story of Will Adams, there's also an excellent biography of the man, written by Giles Milton and published in 2002, entitled: Samurai William.


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