The sequel to the acclaimed novel Shinju again features detective Sano Ichiro as he trails a serial killer stalking feudal Japan. In 1689, an all-powerful shogun controls the state, surrounded by bitter machinations and political intrigues. When an ancient tradition suddenly and brutally reappears, Sano risks everything to bring the killer to justice.
“Bundori is terrific. . . . So good you won’t want to put it down, even to get off a plane. . . . [Laura Joh] Rowland hits her stride as a writer who can deal equally well with the pacing of plot and the nuances of character development. . . . Rowland clearly knows how to build suspense and action, a talent that she demonstrates with great skill.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Bundori is one of those mysteries in which the itch to find out whodunit recedes before the pleasure of prowling through a different world.”—Washington Post Book World
“Sano may carry a sword and wear a kimono, but you’ll immediately recognize him as an ancestor of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade.”—Denver Post
“A colorful pictorial style that conveys . . . excitement and . . . danger.”—The New York Times Book Review
Brutal murders linked to an ancient betrayal send late 17th-century Tokyo into a panic. They also spell big trouble for the Shogun's special investigator, Sano Ichiro, in this sequel to Rowland's well-received first novel, Shinju. The killings are made known when the severed heads of the victims are put on public display, in the manner of an ancient custom known as bundori, or war trophy. The victims are descendants of warriors who, more than a century earlier, were involved in the murder of a powerful warlord. As the killings continue, Sano, though hampered in his investigation by his devotion to the warrior-code of bushido and its precepts of silent obedience and service, suspects three of the most powerful men in the Shogunate, including Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Also complicating Sano's quest for the truth is a female ninja in Yanagisawa's power; aiding it are an eager young officer in the Tokyo police and a quirky old morgue attendant. Sano's allegiance to bushido makes him an unexpectedly passive hero, undermining the author's apparent attempt to wed Japanese philosophy to Western mystery-thriller conventions. But the novel reads smoothly and positively smokes with historical atmospherics.
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Can't get enough of this hero!
I am entranced by Laura Joh Rowland's histories of feudal Japan centered around her flawed and passionate hero Sano. I have read several books in this series, and dread the moment I will have read the last one. Her writing carries me away. Her attention to detail and vivid descriptions of time and place are breathtaking. She is incredibly insightful. For those who love a good read, for those for whom the novel is an artform that allows us to escape to another world, this is the ultimate series.
Pamela Phillips Oland
Author of "The art of writing great lyrics" and "The art of writing love songs"