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While Sugimoto races north by dogsled, Asirpa crosses the border with Kiroranke into Russian territory. Kiroranke—who was once involved in the assassination of the Russian Czar Alexander II—and the Russians, tipped off by Tsurumi that Kiroranke was heading into their territory on Karafuto, have set an ambush at the border. The dark pasts of Asirpa’s traveling companions are now coming to light, along with the secrets of her own father…
A gold rush, a young indigenous girl, an ex-soldier: no, it's not the Old West, but rather Hokkaido, Japan, in the early 1900s. Saichi Sugimoto, known for his invincible status on the battlefield, is now one of the myriad penniless, misbegotten Russo-Japan war vets. One day in the backwoods of Hokkaido he finds an old miner who tells him a campfire tale about gold stolen from the Ainu, the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido. Once the tale is proven true, it sets Saichi on a quest to find the gold with the help of a local Ainu girl, Asirpa. This story has everything its genre requires: competing forces, rascally escaped convicts, attacking bears, and a hero forced to realize that he's a better man than he thought. It also integrates respectful, in-depth research into the Ainu; this volume alone has a textbook's worth of informative about them and the island's history. The book is gory and definitely for adults. The pristine artwork, background detail, and catchy characters leave readers wanting more.