*Please note that we reserve the right to edit and post your questions and comments.

Q: Is there any new info on the forth installment of The Pearl Saga?
A: The answer is: no.  Ideally, I would have liked to have the fourth book out long ago, but life has a way of being unpredictable.  To be candid, the explosive success of my Jason Bourne books, along with my two recent thrillers, The Testament and First Daughter make a return to The Pearl series an impossibility at the moment.  I know this is disappointing news for all you fans of the series.  Please try to be happy with the three books you have.  Sensing this might happen, I redesigned Mistress of the Pearl (Tha Cage of Five Banestones outside the United States) for a satisfying ending.  If I were an octopus with four computers, I'd be able to to write the fourth book at the same time as my thrillers.  Alas, I only have two hands and one brain, so for the moment the series stands at three books.

All I can say is please be patient. And while you're waiting, why don't you pick up The Bourne Legacy, if you haven't already -- and The Bravo Testament when it comes out. Bravo, especially, should satisfy your hunger until the next volume of the Pearl Saga is published.

Q: Will you be reviving Ronin/The Dai San? Will you revive Moichi Annai-Nin?
A: I don't know how many book in the series you've read but there are, in fact, five books in the series. The fourth, Beneath an Opal Moon stars Moichi (this answers the second part or your question). Dragons on the Sea of Night, the fifth book, returns the Dai-San to center stage. Dragons has not yet been released in the U.S., but should be available through the HarperCollins website : www.fireandwater.com.

Q: What is your fascination with extradordinary eyes and features ? To me it's very interesting to see someone with strange eyes and odd looks...it indicates their soul...who they are.
A: My fascination with beautiful eyes comes from my wife, who has the most extraordinary eyes of anyone I've ever seen.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for The Ronin Chronicles from ?
A: Where does any writer get an inspiration for a character of a story? It's a mystery, even to me.

Q: I have been reading the Pearl series, and enjoying it very much, thank you. However, one thing troubles me - if the Grygon are neither male nor female, why are they always referred to using masculine pronouns?
A: I'm glad you're enjoying the series. Your question is a good one, one that I gave great thought to. The major problem with creating true aliens is that in some respects they're TOO alien for a human reader. In reality, even if the Gyrgon refer to themselves in some other pronoun, it would be neither pronounceable nor understandable translated into English. Because of their warlike nature, I chose to use the masculine pronoun when referring to them. However, if you've read Mistress of the Pearl, you know that there's another reason.

Q: I have read a number of your books and I think they're great. The series most I enjoyed was The Sunset Warrior. I have seen it advertised that, in 1997, you published a 5th book in that series called Dragons On The Sea Of Night. I would love to get this book if it is available but I have been unable to find it; could you tell me where I could find it.
A: "Dragons on the Sea of Night" has not yet been published in the U.S. I suggest you go on the www.Amazon.co.uk site or the HarperCollins site, www.fireandwater.com to find it.

Q: I am in Australia and read Cage of the Nine Banestones. You stated on your website that there are significant edits/changes between Cage and Mistress of the Pearl. Would you be able to elaborate on that some??
A: Thanks for asking this question. First off, let me tell you how this came about. Because HarperCollins, my UK publisher needs to get their books shipped out to you in Australia, as well as bookstores in New Zealand, their publication schedule is different than Tor, my U.S. publisher. I actually had to rush the editing process to get the books ready for the U.K. and for you. Since I had more time for the U.S. release, I went back and added some things, took out others, cleaned up some sentences I didn't like.

The changes are too numerous, and in many instances, too small to list here. The best way to find out is to buy a copy of each and read them both!

Q: Somehow I missed getting your fifth book of the Sunset Warrior series, Dragons on the Sea of Night. I know that this book was written some time ago and is difficult to find. Was there any printing in North America and can you direct me to a source where I may be able to get  it?
A: Dragons on the Sea of Night, the fifth book in the "Sunset Warrior" series, has not yet been published yet in North America (though we're working on deal). I would try the British Amazon site, or try Google for used fantasy booksellers.

Q: I have just finished reading the 3rd book of the pearl saga and I cant wait for the 4th one to come out. I was wondering when that will be and if you have a title for it so that i may keep a look out.
A: So many people are writing in with the same question that I thought I'd post this to the Web site. The fourth book in The Pearl saga is in the planning stages. No title yet and no pub date yet, either. Please check back frequently to the Web site for updates -- this is where you'll read it first!

Right now, I'm finishing up a thriller, The Bravo Testament, which will be published in the Autumn of 2006 by Forge Books. Later on this summer, I'll be starting the next Jason Bourne novel.

Q: As you must be aware, Ludlum fans are excited about the forthcoming release of 'The Bourne Legacy', and I personally am interested about how the story came about, as you are known as a fantasy author, and not a thriller/espionage writer.

I was wondering if maybe you could provide me with a little background to the novel?

A: Well, I guess the news is out and traveling fast! Let me say first that I'm as much a thriller writer -- more, really, as I've published over twenty best-selling thrillers worldwide, including The Ninja -- as I am a fantasy writer.

I was asked by the Ludlum estate if I wanted to take on the "Bourne" project and I said yes right away. Bob and I were friends and had a mutual admiration society when it came to our respective best-sellers. He knew that Jason Bourne was my favorite character of his, and it's always been a dream of mine to continue the character, so I know he's as delighted as I am that I'm furthering his legacy.

Q: One simple (or not so simple) question: from where do you get your knowledge of Japan and the Orient?
A: A good question. Here's the interesting (I hope) answer. I got interested in Japan many years ago through Japanese wood block prints. In fact, I fell in love with them and, living in New York, I sought out the best place to see them, which was the Ronin Gallery.

I became very good friends with the couple that own the gallery -- which in those days was a mecca for many Japanese living in New York. I spent hours talking with them, becoming more and more fascinated with Japan, its history and culture. The hours turned into days, then weeks, months... well, you get the picture.

One day, one of my Japanese friend mentioned ninja. I had no idea who or what they were, but as soon as he told me, my writer's brain went to work and I wondered what would happen if you put a ninja -- to me, a symbol of chaos -- in the center of orderly Manhattan. Nine months later, out popped my baby, The Ninja.

Q: Let me first start by saying that the books that I have read of yours are fantastic. I have currently read my way from Ninja through to Floating City, and I look forward to escaping my way through the rest of your novels. Your obvious deep research on the subject of Japanese martial arts and spirituality has raised questions and caught my imagination in many ways.

I am extremely interested by your use of the term "kokoro". I have further researched the internet on the subject spreading my questions over Shinto, ninpo, various martial artists, and Japanese Buddhist websites. I have received two worthy replies so far, as provided with the links below.

http://www.ninpo.org/tokyoshibucho/shibuchomssg1.htm
http://www.nihonbunka.com/shinto/blog/archives/
000099.html#more


These have proven to be valuable leads to the understanding to kokoro-gamae, though the former is loath to share the teachings of technique without personal martial arts training. The later provided an excellent outsiders view of the meaning or the words and his interpretation of them.

My main aim in understanding 'kokoro' is because I am trying to make some correlations with the individuals ability to attain levels of consciousness, establish mental to physiological control and meditation on the move techniques.

From my first level of research I have found that the term 'kokoro' means personal spirit, heart and mind, thought as I have found through your writings and my research, kokoro has a deeper meaning - a sense of intent.Was there much poetic license used in describing this or was it more or less on the ball? I have also noticed that you are a reiki specialist. I was wondering if you have found any correlation in reiki with this sense of kokoro? I am also trying to find a way of attaining kokoro. How may I go about teaching myself? Finally, could you possibly point me in the direction of some more leads on this subject?

A: Thank you so much for your thoughtful letter. I'll try to answer some of your questions. First of all, I'm not at all certain that kokoro and kokoro-gamae are one and the same term. Clearly, from the link you gave me, the terms are at the very least related. But you can see from the reply to your query that when it comes to the inner workings of Japanese martial arts -- especially the more esoteric ones like ninjitsu -- there are many answers to a single question. Everything, it seems, is a matter of interpretation.

The person who answered you is correct about one thing that is not open to interpretation. The Western word unconscious should never be applied to Japanese martial arts of any kind, simply because the core component of any of its disciplines is intent. In my vocabulary -- and the vocabulary of Nicholas Linnear -- kokoro is intent.

To be thoughtful in everything you do, to live in the moment, to put aside regret and anticipation, to be wholly and completely in the here and now, that is the essence of kokoro.

As to your last question, alas, I can't answer it. My sources have come to me through many years of research and energy spent. I never reveal them; this has been my pledge to them. But take heart. Some things cannot be taught; they must be learned.

I trust this answer has been of some help to you.

Q: I recently finished reading 'The Ninja' and found it to be a great read. What's puzzling me are two things in Nicholas' background that I would like some clarification on. The first is that you stated that Nicholas' father was a Jew who changed his last name to avoid discrimination, stating that he felt names were unimportant. But if names were so trivial then why did he change it? The second thing I noticed was when Nicholas was in an old movie theatre watching a movie starring Bruce Lee you mentioned that he once actually knew Lee personally. So my question concerning Nicholas' Jewish background and his acquaintance with Bruce Lee is: do these two things have any significance in any future novels?
A: What will discerning readers pick up? Lots of trivia, so it seems! Names may not have been of important to Nicholas' father, but they were to those around him, which was what led him to the decision to change his name. Overt racism against Jews was quite prevalent in those days. As for the Bruce Lee thing, that was meant as a joke -- an inside reference to a great martial artist. There's nothing else to read into it. But thanks for asking.

Q: I understand that the third book in the Pearl Saga is titled The Cage of Nine Banestones in some countries and Mistress of the Pearl in others. Can you explain why that was done and if there are any differences between the two books?
A: Judging from the flood of emails on the subject, there seems to be some confusion about the third volume of "The Pearl" series. This is for a good reason. Herewith, the explanation:

The Short Version: The novel is titled "Mistress of the Pearl" in the US and Canada, where it's published by Tor Books, the wonderful people who bring you this great and informative web site. In the UK and its territories, i.e., Australia and New Zealand, where the novel is published by HarperCollins/Voyager, it's titled "The Cage of Nine Banestones."

The Not-So-Short Version: Because HC/Voyager was on a totally different schedule, they had to publish first. "The Cage of Nine Banetones" was my first title. It happened that my American editor suggested "Mistress of the Pearl" which, frankly, I liked better. Therefore, the title was changed for the North American publication.

Also -- and this is quite important, especially for you compulsive completists out there -- because the UK edition had to go to press first, there are a number of significant edits/changes in "Mistress of the Pearl" that were not able to make it into the UK version. Therefore, this caveat: the two versions differ in some important respects. I highly prefer the US edition, in case anyone wants to know.

I'm truly sorry for the confusion, but the intricacies of international publishing sometimes get the better of all of us!

Now, I hope that puts all the questions to rest. If not, email me and I'll do my best to carry on the dialog.

Q: Just a query in regards to City of a Million Jewels. This is advertised on your website as a 2003 publication however, there are no publication details for it - not even on amazon.com. Could you please tell me what is happening with this title? Are you still in the process of writing or is it in the publication process.
A: Wow, a lot of you Australian readers have been asking the same question. Here's the answer. The title you reference was a very early working title for "The Cage of Nine Banestones." I can't understand why it's still on the web site, and I'll certainly get the HarperCollins IT people on it immediately.

Thanks for asking, and I hope you love "The Cage of Nine Banestones" under that title!

Q: I have a question about 'The Ninja', and in particular, something I read about on one website or another. I read that it was 'sold to' Richard Zanuck and David Brown. Does this mean that there has been a movie made, which was based on 'the Ninja' ? I did come across 'The Ninja' (1982) on imdb.com and movies.com, but could not find any more information which relates it to your book. Has there ever been a movie made based on 'The Ninja', and if not, why not ?!
A: Good question. The Ninja was, indeed, sold to 20th Century-Fox some time ago, but though it went through a number of directors and screenwriters it has not yet been made.

The good news, however, is that recently 20th Century-Fox has revived the project. They have a director attached to it and are currently looking for a screenwriter.

I'll keep you informed as to the film's progress on the Website.

Q: Dear Eric, I picked up your book "The Ninja" the other day from a bookstore in my country town of Bunbury, Western Australia. I must admit I became hooked straight away, I have never read anything that has keep me eager to finish the book because I can't wait for what happens next. The question I have to ask is could you please tell me the next book in the Nicholas Linnear series.

I have tried looking at websites but they all say different books is the second in the series. Could you please give me the correct listing of how the series goes so I can get the next book, as I am looking so forward to reading it

A: Thanks for writing in. The Ninja series was a great joy for me to write and it's been an enduring favorite among thousands of readers just like yourself. Here are the titles in the series, from first to last:

The Ninja
The Miko
White Ninja
The Kaisho
Floating City
Second Skin

Happy reading!

Q: Dear Mr. Lustbader, I was introduced a year ago to the Ring of Five Dragons when my dad saw it in a shop and (being such a fan of your work) bought it for me. I became hooked instantly. ROFD was one of the most memorable books I had ever read.

When I accidentally stumbled on the web page for Mistress of the Pearl on Amazon.com the other day I could not have been happier. Again, thank you for writing the Pearl Saga, and keep up the great work!

A: Thank you for your kind letter, it's replies like yours that make writing worthwhile. Keep coming back to the website for more surprises as Mistress of the Pearl is released.

Q. I love the Pearl series. When is the next book coming out? I can hardly wait!
A. The next book in the series is Mistress of the Pearl and it will be in stores on April 21, 2004.

Q. It was with great pleasure that I have discovered on the Internet that you have a lot of books I still haven't read yet. I've read Ninja, Miko and Blackheart. Currently I am reading Jian and know there's Shan translated to Portuguese also. Unfortunately, I have never heard about the other books I have seen on your website. I thought the Ninja series was over with Miko and now I know that's not true. Do you have any plans to translate these books to Portuguese? I'd love to read these books.
A. Thank you for writing. I am very pleased you love reading my books in Portuguese. Please write to the publisher of the books you have and tell them the titles of the books you want to read. Every little bit helps.

Q. I have been an avid reader of your books for many years now and have almost every, hard copy, book you have published. I first started my collection with "The NINJA". Unfortunately, a neighbor borrowed my copy, moved, and never returned it. I have searched every bookstore in my area but still haven't been able to locate a copy in good condition. Do you have any suggestions? Also, I have been trying to find the complete Dai-San works, to no avail. Any help or suggestions here would be appreciated.
A. Thanks for your letter. You have some interesting questions that have come up before. Since you have access to a computer, I would suggest you try Amazon.com for The Ninja. As for the Dai San books (there are five), the first four are out of print in the U.S. (the fifth has not been published here yet). We are working on a deal that would get them published in the U.S. In the meantime, I would suggest you try Amazon.co.uk, the British web site of Amazon, as I know they are still in print there. Alternatively, you could try ExLibris.com or the Web Site of my British publishers, fireandwater.com.

Q. What is happening with Nicholas Linnear?
A. I cannot believe how many people miss Nick. The truth is he's taking a well deserved nap at the moment, but you never know when he'll wake up!

Q. What made you decide to stop writing the Ninja series?
A. First of all, I needed a time-out. After twenty-odd years of wring international thrillers, I needed a break to re-charge my batteries. Second of all, I wanted to address new interests in my life and work. My struggle with the conflicts arising between technology and spirituality seemed to me to need a larger canvas than I could give it in a thriller. I wanted - and needed -- to create a world from the ground up. As a result, working on "The Pearl" series has been the happiest, most challenging and rewarding writing experience I've had since "The Ninja."

Q. How many books do you envision for the Pearl series?
A. From the outset, I designed the series to run for six or seven books. I say six or seven, because something happens near the end of the series and right now I'm not certain whether it will take one book or two to resolve. There has also been some talk recently about my doing a prequel that takes place before the V'ornn invade Kundala. I think that would be fun to do.

Q. What authors have influenced you the most?
A. As I grew up, my first love was science-fiction and fantasy, so first off, I'd have to say the usual suspects: J R R Tolkien and Michael Moorcock. But I was also influenced by Raymond Chandler and Victor Hugo. These days, my favorite author is Don DeLillo. As you can see, I like stylists. There's nothing worse for me than a storyteller without style.