If you haven’t watched Netflix’s Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan, you should. I highly recommend it. It is not just visually stunning, but this docudrama has all the action and intensity of a well-written fictional epic. It is about as far as you can get from boring history lessons and well worth your time.
One of the narrators is Stephen Turnbull*, is an “old friend” of mine. It was his book, Samurai: The Story of Japan’s Greatest Warriors, that I picked up when waiting for my kids to finish up at the library. It is one of the three books (the second one being on genetic engineering and the third being on nanotechnology) responsible for the Ravages of Honor series.
Not only are the narrators experts in their fields, this dramatized account of history emphasizes the relationships between the people making history, rather than dry, pedantic statistics related to dates, troop movements, and other non-sense that is likely to be forgotten the moment it’s not needed for a test.
Great acting, wonderful stories, amazing characters, my only complaint is that it is only six episodes of forty-five minutes each when it could be much longer.
So much of what I was seeing in this docudrama resonated with me, that I started taking notes, mostly ones that might be of use for further stories in my Ravages of Honor universe.
In case you’re new, my space opera series features genetically engineering warriors modeled — you guessed it — on the samurai. But it doesn’t just stop at the swords and honor codes. My writing also relies rather heavily on my favorite romantic trope–enemies-to-lovers.
When genres blur
As someone who didn’t grow up in the entitled First World where marrying for love, infatuation, or just hooking up was a valid thing, I’ve always found this interesting. History is full of stories where men and women married not just strangers, or people they didn’t love, but people who were their actual enemies.
This is why I used the enemies-to-lovers trope in Ravages of Honor, not because I was going for some Regency in space.
I used it because it’s hardwired into the samurai history I used as background for the donai. The marriages and concubinal arragements of this period (and others throughout history) precedes the Regency period and its ballrooms by centuries.
Austen may have popularized enemies-to-lovers, but she didn’t invent it, and it saddens me to see what has been tradition throughout most of human history relegated to second place because we have no knowledge (or appreciation) of why these things happened. It means all the struggles and sacrifices of the people (usually women, but men as well) caught between duty, honor, and passion has been forgotten.
The Ravages of Honor series, has far more in common with feudal Japan than it does with the ballrooms of Regency England. So, while the sparks, tension, and forbidden fruit of the enemies-to-lovers trope runs strong not just in Conquest but in the rest of the series, it is based on the political intrigues of a feudal culture, not ballroom dances and the matchmaking aspirations of mothers.
So, if you like Byronic heroes (Mr. Darcy was one), actual strong women (like Elizabeth Bennett), but want to trade the gossip and manipulations of the Regency era for political alliances where millions of lives are at stake, where freedom and survival on a planetary scale are hang in the balance, where the ravages of honor are borne by grace and strength, then I hope you’ll give my take on the enemies-to-lovers trope a try.
- Threading the Needle is out today!
- Relics. A SF-noir-flavored nibble
- Ravages of Honor: Handwavium Part 4, The Concept of Generations
- Ravages of Honor: Handwavium Part 3, The Genetic Engineering
- Ravages of Honor: Handwavium Part 2, Nanotechnology
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