Far from the Shogun's court at Edo, Most Honorable Investigator Sano Ichiro begins the most challenging case of his career. Upon the insistence of his strong-willed and beautiful wife Reiko, Sano arrives with her at the emperor's palace to unmask the murderer--who possesses the secret of kiai, "the spirit city," a powerful scream that can kill instantly. A high Kyoto official is the victim. Treading carefully through a web of spies, political intrigue, forbidden passions, and intricate plots, Sano and Reiko must struggle to stay ahead of the palace storm--and outwit a cunning killer. But as they soon discover, solving the case means more than their survival. For if they fail, Japan could be consumed in the bloodiest war it has ever seen...
A legendary land comes alive in this compelling murder mystery set in seventeenth-century Japan. Filled with finely drawn characters and suspenseful plot twists, Laura Joh Rowland's The Samurai's Wife is a novel as complex, vivid, and artful as the glorious, lost world it portrays.
With her fifth mystery set in 17th-century Japan, Rowland (The Concubine's Tattoo, Bundori, etc.) offers a rich historical that is equal parts police procedural and political thriller. The shogun sends his Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations and People, Sano Ichiro, to the ancient court city of Miyako to investigate the murder of imperial minister Konoe Bokuden. Normally such a crime wouldn't concern the shogun, but the victim was a spy who reported on activities among nobles of dubious loyalty. Sano has to solve the murder and diffuse any resulting political tensions, a job that requires delicacy and etiquette--and vigilance. Felled by a rare martial art that can vanquish the most skilled samurai, Bokuden had discovered a secret plot against the shogun involving members of the court, feudal lords, gangsters and ronin. To find the killer and avert civil war, Sano must step on imperial toes and risk both censure from the shogun and the displeasure of Reiko, Sano's spirited young wife. Rowland delineates the class distinctions of her characters with subtlety and pulls together the strands of her multifaceted plot with enviable grace.
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