LAURA JOH ROWLAND is the author of twelve previous Sano Ichiro thrillers, including The Snow Empress, which Publishers Weekly chose as one of the Best Mysteries of 2007. She lives in New Orleans.
Set in 1700, Rowland's outstanding 13th Sano Ichiro mystery (after 2007's The Snow Empress) finds Sano, whom the shogun raised to the rank of chamberlain several books back, waging a fierce struggle with his chief rival, Lord Matsudaira. The stakes are raised at the outset when Matsudaira's forces almost succeed in killing Sano's wife and occasional sleuthing partner, Reiko. The chamberlain soon suspects that someone else may have been behind the attack, but soon he faces a more daunting task--proving his mother innocent of the murder of one of the shogun's cousins, who vanished during the great fire that destroyed much of Edo and whose skeletal remains were just uncovered by chance. Sano must now question everything he thought he knew about his mother, with his own family facing execution should she be found guilty. Rowland has given her hero his greatest challenge yet in this suspenseful look at feudal Japan. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"Pure entertainment...it takes us to an exotic time and place and overwhelms us with intrigue, romance, adventure and frequent bloodshed." - THE WASHINGTON POST "Outstanding.... Rowland has given her hero his greatest challenge yet in this suspenseful look at feudal Japan." Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
Adult/High School-Sano Ichiro, second in command to the shogun, is preparing for war against his enemy, Lord Matsudaira. The shogun is weak and unable to rule effectively and the two wage battle behind his back, each wanting to stop the other from gaining more power. In the thick of this enmity, a skeleton is unearthed and discovered to be the body of the shogun's cousin, murdered 40 years earlier. Sano is sent to investigate, only to find that his own mother is implicated. He must not only save her from execution, but also come to terms with the secrets she's held all his life. This turn of events provides Lord Matsudaira with the fodder he needs to try to oust Sano. The story threads are neatly tied up to create a satisfactory ending that leaves readers wanting more about these all-too-human characters. This series stars Sano and his wife, Reiko, who solve mysteries. The book can be read on its own, but it would be a richer experience for teens familiar with the preceding titles. The plot is complicated, with many auxiliary stories taking place alongside the thread of the mystery. Rowland brings Sano, his wife, a cast of supporting characters, and 18th-century Japan to life with a sweet, simple writing style.-Connie Williams, Kenilworth Jr. High, Petaluma, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
When his 12th case hits too close to home, samurai detective Sano Ichiro and his wife must unravel dangerous secrets or forfeit their families' lives in 18th-century Japan. Rowland lives in New Orleans. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.