This is an remarkable book. Even though it is a translation from Korean, it is written beautifully. It takes a little while to get into but soon you’ll be unable to put it down. It was a very quick read for me.
The story is set in Korea, and features for hire assassins and plotters. One particular assassin is Reseng, a killer who religiously does his job but with a sense of honor, soul and compassion. He still has dreams of how life would be like if he had a wife, a child and a job perhaps in a factory, he even dreams of moving to another country and working a normal job once.
Reseng is an orphan, raised by Old Racoon, a kingpin in the killing machine in “The Library” – the center of where plotters come to find assassins for hire. Although he is discouraged from reading, he learns to read, he becomes an intelligent and self-taught and becomes a sort of philosopher, living in an apartment with two cats named Desk and Lampshade. One day he finds himself a target, and also Old Racoon, because the new generation of assassins want to establish their own ways of doing business and change the center of power. As you get along, different characters – Bear, Trainer, Barber, Mito, Miso, are introduced and they help push the story to a thrilling end.
Not a literary masterpiece, and although violent and dark, it is still very powerful, engaging and enjoyable if you like thrillers.