Part of the Sano Ichiro series
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 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.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 20/09/2007
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9781845299026
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Review by smik
The setting of this book is historical, and one that I am familiar with: the Tokugawa Shogunate at Edo in Japan, 1689. There are now (2014) 18 titles in this popular series spanning 1689 to 1709. The historical and cultural setting is richly and authentically described. I began with the second in the series as my library does not have the first available. There are references in this title to the events in the first book.As the number of victims of the Bundori Killer mounts various districts of the capital go into panic and there are fires and vigilantes and the Shogun gives Sano four days to find the killer or face exile himself. Sano constantly reminds himself of the promise he made to his dying father to bring the family name into a position of honour, but for a while it looks as if he will only achieve disgrace.The Shogun, Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, relies heavily on his Chamberlain Yanagisawa who seems determined to point out Sano's failures. Readers of modern day police procedurals may well reflect that nothing much has changed.An enjoyable and satisfying read.