No Peace Under Heaven can best be described as what happens when the written word meets all that action-packed anime you might have watched as a kid. I know most of you are thinking I described a manga just now, but this book is not that. At the core of each page, however, it’s apparent that the author, Trey Mack, was clearly influenced by Japanese culture, manga, anime, and old-school kung-fu flicks.
So yeah, I guess it is like a manga, minus the art, but with just as much action. And with a name like No Peace Under Heaven, I’m expecting a lot of bloodshed.
Enter Ashura, a young, reserved high-school student who is just trying to live his life day to day, but is haunted by nightmares of a past that is tainted with corruption and death. Ashura’s dreams are a phantasm of the eve his parents were murdered, and they are becoming more vivid with each passing night. He is left with nothing but unanswered questions and a desire to rectify his past and understand the power that is rapidly growing inside him.
I read the first three chapters of No Peace Under Heaven, and it definitely delivers on the action I was expecting. The battle scenes feel like something straight out of a Bruce Lee or Donnie Yen flick, with maybe some Ninja Scroll all rolled up into one. The basic structure of the plot is not unique – which is not necessarily a bad thing. For me, it’s all in how you tell a story, and given the hints of corruption sprinkled in these three chapters, I think it’ll be interesting to find out what really happened in Ashura’s past. The first chapter starts out a little slow, and it feels like a lot of information is poured out for the reader’s sake. I also was a little confused by Ashura’s personality at first, because while he appears to be a reserved person, he gives up a lot of details about himself almost too easily to other characters, which contradicted his nature. That being said, the story picks up more in chapters 2 and 3, where you get to see Ashura’s powers manifest in ways that I think will become central to the story in the future.
If you dig high-school students with special powers, jaded pasts, and a wicked motorcycle, you’ll probably dig this. You can read the first three chapters of No Peace Under Heaven online at http://heroicbloodshednopeace.blogspot.com/ , where you can also follow the story’s development and see some character art inspired by the (possible) future manga. Sorry, keeping my lips zipped on that one, but if you like the story, feel free to hound Trey about it all you want.
Until next time.
Trey Mack is the author of the battle manga inspired No Peace Under Heaven and is currently hard at work slaving away on more chapters for your personal entertainment. Also, he will (secretly) bust your ass in a cypher.