The Ronin's Mistress is a brilliant new twist on the fabled tale of the 47 Ronin, from Laura Joh Rowland--an author with "a painter's eye for the minutiae of court life [and] a politician's ear for intrigue." --The New York Times Book Review
Japan, 1703. On a snowy night, 47 warriors murder the man at the center of the scandal that turned them from samurai into masterless ronin two years before. Clearly this was an act of revenge--but why did they wait so long? And is there any reason they should not immediately be ordered to commit ritual suicide?
Sano Ichiro, demoted from Chamberlain to his old post as Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, has mere days to solve the greatest mystery of samurai legend--while his own fortunes hang in the balance.
At the outset of Rowland's tense 15th Japanese historical featuring Sano Ichiro (after 2010's The Cloud Pavilion), 47 ronin (samurai without a master) enter the estate of Kira Yoshinaka, the shogun's master of ceremonies, and one of their number beheads Yoshinaka in delayed revenge for Kira's role in the death of their master, Lord Asano, two years earlier. The motivation for the initial feud between Kira and Asano as well as the attack's timing are the questions considered by a specially convened supreme court, which delegates Sano, who's adjusting to his demotion from the position of chamberlain, to investigate. Meanwhile, Okaru, the mistress of the ronins' acting leader, reveals to Sano's brilliant and assertive wife, Reiko, that the origin of Kira and Asano's vendetta is not what is popularly believed. Rowland nicely balances action and detection while providing a revealing glimpse of Japan under the shogunate.