Heart of the Ronin is set in feudal Japan, a setting that Travis Heermann wove into the story with great skill to the point where it almost becomes like an extra character in the story. The story's protagonist, Ken'ishi, is an outsider as his name would suggest. Taught in the art of the samurai by a most unusual instructor, Ken'ishi is a skilled warrior who is trying to find a place in society that isn't ready to accept him. Besides his skill as a warrior, Ken'ishi is also able to speak with animals. There is an inherent shyness and lack of confidence to his personality, which works well in the story.
There are a good number of action and fighting scenes, which Heermann wrote with some skill. These were some of the more enjoyable scenes in the story. There is also a great deal of character development both with Ken'ishi and Yohachi. The pace of the story worked well, and there was sufficient tension throughout. From a technical standpoint, I enjoyed Heermann's prose. There was a level of professionalism that, as a fellow writer, I could admire. Heart of the Ronin sets itself up for a sequel at the very least, and I would look forward to reading it.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street