Guest Blogger: Eric Van Lustbader

I wrote THE NINJA in 1980 and it became an immediate worldwide sensation, ultimately spending twenty-four weeks on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list. The book was picked up by 20th Century Fox to be made into a film. Five more novels featuring the protagonist, Nicholas Linnear, followed.  But then something odd happened. Japan, which had been so much in the news during those years that elements of the federal government approached me to write what amounted to a propaganda novel about the dangers of the Japanese, fell into a three decade economic slump.  And on the film front, though mine was never made – for a variety of reasons – many very poor ninja films came and went, cheapening the genre.

Everyone’s attention turned to the Middle East and then China and now Russia.  Japan became a backwater.  If there’s anything that thrillers thrive on it’s current events.  My interests, like others, turned to the frightening new jihadist elements facing the world.  Still, since I went live on Twitter and Facebook, I have been constantly inundated with fans asking two things: 1. When would the Nick books be available in e-book format? and 2. When was I going to writer another Nick novel? Clearly, he’s been missed by an entire generation of readers for whom he has been a unique and iconic hero.

It took me some time to get the rights back to the first three Nick books, and also to my first fantasy series, The Sunset Warrior.  It took another two years for my agent to vet all the e-book publishers for just the right situation. THE NINJA and Nicholas Linnear have always been very close to my heart, and I didn’t want to make a mistake heading into the brave new world of e-books.  Finally, we found what we were looking for in Open Road, a company led by seasoned veterans who loved books and their authors, and young people who know the Internet and social media inside and out.

The result is that the first three Nicholas Linnear novels, THE NINJA, THE MIKO, WHITE NINJA will be available as e-books for the first time on March 25 through Open Road, along with the first three novels in the seminal Sunset Warrior Cycle.  A funny thing happened on the way to this publication.  I became so excited by the plans Open Road was making and the idea of Nicholas Linnear being introduced to a whole new generation of readers that I decided to complete his resurrection. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a short story – the first new Nick adventure in over thirty years. And, lo and behold, I discovered that I missed him as much as my legions of readers all around the world did.  So I am thrilled to tell you that “The Death and Life of Nicholas Linnear” will be out exclusively in e-book form sometime in the next few months.

After a long time in hibernation it feels so good to dust Nick off, shake him up, and place him in contemporary settings.  And the fact that he’s half-British, half-, well, we never did find out Cheong’s origin, so Nick could be half Chinese, Malay, who knows? – makes this particular resurrection easier than I had imagined.  Now it will be up to you, dear readers, to decide if I write more Nick stories, or possibly a new novel. Please let me know in your Comments below what you think and how you see the new Nick stories evolving.

Eric Van Lustbader is the author of many New York Times bestselling thrillers, including FIRST DAUGHTER, LAST SNOW and BLOOD TRUST. Lustbader was chosen by Robert Ludlum’s estate to continue the Jason Bourne series, and his Bourne novels include THE BOURNE LEGACY and THE BOURNE BETRAYAL. He and his wife live in New York City and on the South Fork of Long Island.


  1. I read the Ninja in 1980, and like many, loved it, and waited eagerly for each subsequent novel.
    Please continue his character, any way you like. A new novel would be great, but short stories to catch us up hi him would be fine, too.
    Thanks, mr Van Lustbader, for over 40 years of great writing…

  2. Mr. Lustbader, please, don’t stop with a short story, bring him back to a new world of readers and fans.

  3. This is good news indeed. I too read The Ninja in 1980, having just returned to the states from military duty in Japan. I’ve reread the six book saga more times than I can count, always finding something new and patiently awaiting Nicholas’ return. A 7th novel would be great, perhaps giving us closure, if it were to be the final chapter. I’d love to learn more about Nicholas as well as my favorite character, Saigo, when they were young. Well played Mr. Lustbader, well played.

  4. Would love to see more in the series! This is the only set of books that I’ve purchased multiple times in my life. I’ve also recommended the series to many friends.

    Was very excited to see the release of the first three in the series as e-books. Hopefully they will be available in the Apple Canada store soon!

  5. Bring him back, dust off his tsia, set him loose on a shadowy Zarchowy (sp?) or bin Ladin figure, maybe a former KGB psycho whose’s risen to power & trying to re-start the cold war?? (Late Mr. Clancy had incredible insight in his last work . . . )
    Maybe something to do with the cyber-tech war going on with China??
    Justine died, Yukio died . . . or did she?? Was there ever a body, or was that just one more riddle from Saigo (“drowned her in the Shimonoseki Straights”) Wouldn’t THAT be curious if she fled / survived . . perhaps a bit of kunoichi training??
    Love to see a GOOD movie-version of the original. Mr. Reeves might be a good choice, then again, Tom Cruise I thought was masterful in “Last Samurai” AND he certainly HAS the physique & ability to train. He’s average size, where Reeves is tall. Big tall guys just lack the agility & acrobatic grace we expect from or shinobi friends , I know that from personal XP, I’m 6’2″. The samurai-sensei from “Last Samurai” (who gave Cruise hell) might make a great Saigo, HE absolutely has been training a long time . . . Ken Watanabe might be Nikko’s sensei, Or Cho yun Phat. (Forgive my spelling).

  6. I loved your Ninja novels. It sparked my interest in martial arts which has been a good thing. Please do not write a short story for the following reason. It is too short! We need a real novel to dwell upon.

  7. Oh my … I can’t wait to read your new short story, and my dad will be very happy, too ! We love Nicholas Linnear ! Thank you, thank you very much !

  8. Good news to have Nicholas back on the radar.
    I first read The Ninja in the late 80’s. Just started college and felt I needed to read something other than the usual tomes of the educational libraries at that time. I had an interest in everything Japanese, and because of that, The Ninja almost leaped off the book shelf at me. From that series, I then read the Sunset Warrior books, and was introduced to another favorite fictional character of mine, Ronin….. I have since read all the Linnear novel, and the sunset saga, along with the the Pearl Saga.., which I think ended prematurely China Maroc series was also another series I devoured. I’ve started with the Jack McClure series now too. I haven’t read the Bourne books, for some reason they don’t appeal…
    BUT, I have to say I shall be giving the next Linnear novel a go! and I hope it leads to a proper book, and not just a novella. I am interested to hear just what or how the character can be resurrected, will it be Nicholas as a 70 year old? Or what? Wish yo all the best though EVL!!

  9. Dear Mr. Eric. I’m from Sri Lanka and I collect all the books about Nicholas. I have read The Ninja more than 100 times because his character is very unusual but practical. Please write more with Nicholas. Thank you

  10. I read The Ninja some 15 years ago and I must say what a reading experience it was, it was one of the most wonderful reading experiences of my life. I’m so happy that Mr. Lustbader is resurrecting such a great character and bringing him back for a new generation of readers to discover as well as old times fans like my self to rediscover.

  11. The Linnear novels are story lines I became totally invested and immersed in and I likewise have purchased several copies of each over the years.I first read the ninja right after its initial release and was hooked from the start. My only hope would be that their great depth and quality will not suffer under current pressure of the business side of things. Having said that, I cannot wait for more! i also read the sunset warrior books and loved them. Welcome back.

  12. Thank you for the excellent previous adventures of N. Linnear, keep it coming, those stories were so hard to put down, I’m sure I’ve re-read them three times at least. Please make sure that you keep the stories relevant and realistic as they other ones. It will be headed to role a ninja into the SWA (Southwest Asia) scenario but if anyone can do it, I’m sure it’s you

  13. Ninja must of been the 1st book i brought n read n loved the series ever since n it would be great if u did me Nicholas linnear novels

  14. The Nicholas Linnear novels are great , I was pleasantly surprised and very happy to see the two new short stories and eagerly await a new novel, novella, short story. Just give us more Nick!!!

  15. Nicholas Linnear is one of the most complex and compelling characters ever conceived. He literally taught me how to think and attempt control of my life. a world without more of him is very bleak. Please, mave we have more, Sir !!!

  16. A friend (Karate Sensei too…) shared the first three with me back in the 80’s. I read them all and loved them – the story, the history lines, Japanse society, all of it.

    So much so that I bought them off e-bay in the days before the e-book versions which I also now have.

    The stories are complex with incredible characters, a bit of naughtiness, and story lines that cause you to go… WHAT? Where did that come from? and others that cause you to acknowledge items ” I Knew it!.

    I can’t wait to read the next books in the series…

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