Shibumi was published in 1979 and features a cabal of sinister corporations (which makes it relevant today). Written by “Trevanian,” a pseudonym of Rodney William Whitaker (an academic who remained mysterious for most of his writing career), Shibumi is the kind of suspenseful thriller that engages you and won’t let you go until the last page. Shibumi is set in the 1970s. The plot of the novel revolves around the struggle between the “Mother Company” (a group of energy companies who secretly controls the world) and an assassin, Nichola├» Hel. Like most of the Trevanian novels, questions of identity, conspiracy, and secrecy swirl together. If you enjoy suspenseful fiction with plenty of action, Shibumi will delight you. I’ve enjoyed all the Trevanian novels and can recommend all of them. Tomorrow, I’ll review the new Don Winslow novel, Satori, which is the just published prequel to Shibumi (after 32 years!) featuring the back story to super-assassin, Nicholai Hel. Stop by tomorrow and check out the review.

Next Friday, FORGOTTEN BOOKS will be hosted by the improvisatory and impulsive Todd Mason. And, the week after that, Patti Abbott (Queen of Forgotten Books) will return to reign over the reviews of works that don’t deserve oblivion. Here’s the list of this week’s FFB contributors:
Gerald Saylor
Elizabeth Foxwell
Yvette Banek
Joe Barone
Paul Bishop
Bill Crider
Scott Cupp
Martin Edwards
Ed Gorman
Glen Harper
Jerry House
Randy Johnson
B.V. Lawson
Evan Lewis
Steve Lewis
Julia Madeleine
Todd Mason
John Norris
Juri Nummelin
Richard Pangborn
James Reasoner
Richard Robinson
Ron Scheer
Kerrie Smith
Kevin Tipple
David Rachels

27 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #107: SHIBUMI By Trevanian

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Great, now I guess you see my cunning plan to wait 32 years to read this worked!

    Seriously, the only Trevanian books I’ve read are THE EIGER SANCTION and THE MAIN.

    Good to know this one is worth reading.

  2. Scott Cupp

    I had a friend or two who had Whitaker as a Professor at the University of texas. I knew he was Trevanian and never went by to get books signed. Idiota!

    1. george Post author

      There’s a cult of “Trevanian” collectors who wished you had dropped by for a visit with their idol, Scott. And you might be driving a BMW today.

  3. Todd Mason

    Well, improvisational and expulsive, anyway. The synopsis of SHIBUMI, which I, like Jeff, have been Meaning to Get To for some decades, reminds me of Algis Budrys’s wild hopes for the success of MICHAELMAS. But Berkley wasn’t going to put that much effort in.

    1. george Post author

      I read MICHAELMAS, Todd. I bought it when it first came out and was disappointed in it. I found it nowhere as near as good as Budrys’s earlier work.

  4. BV Lawson

    I love the NYT’s description of Trevanian/Whitaker as “the only writer of airport paperbacks to be compared to Zola, Ian Fleming, Poe and Chaucer.”

  5. Drongo

    SHIBUMI put me to sleep, even though I really wanted to like it. George, somebody other than you must also admire it though, because it’s been years since I encountered a copy in a used bookstore.

  6. Julia Madeleine

    Never read Shibumi. Looks interesting though. I didn’t do my FFB this week. I didn’t finish reading the book in time. But I’ll have one for next Friday. In the meantime I’ll check out everyone else’s books. Thanks :o)

    1. george Post author

      Making the FFB links is tedious, Rick. But, Patti deserves a break so I’m happy to host FFB from time to time. I’m sure you’ll be an excellent FFB host!


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