Bundori Paperback – Jan 1 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I think this is a pretty decent book and it could have been better if the main villian wasn't so one dimensional. The Yanagisawa character proves to be very cardboard like in its characterization. Once more, I think that the author's understanding of Tokugawa politics appears to be very limited. Nobody with Yanagisawa's personality and tact as described in the book would last very long in samurai politics. Another thing is that the author seem to think that homosexual politics was paramount within the Tokugawa bakufu. Unfortunately for the author, homosexual activities in Japan was no more and probably no less then those in Europe. Why an all powerful Yanagisawa would ever fear a relatively nobody just because the Shogun seem to be mildy fond of him proves to be totally illogical. Another interesting oversight was the fact that Sano wears a Tokugawa crest when he works. That crest alone, would historically give him almost unlimited powers. No mere police officials would stand in his way or anyone's way if that individual was wearing the Tokugawa crest on his back. It appears that the author seem to be putting artifical elements in her story to created artifical dangers for her hero.
While good reading overall, the writing proves to be relatively lightweight in material and plot.
The rather difficult task of answering these questions falls to Sano Ichiro, the shogun's sosakan-sama (Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People). Already a daunting case, Sano's job is made much more difficult by the interference of the second most powerful man in Japan, Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Yanagisawa is jealous of Sano because he saved the shogun's life and feels that he is a threat to his own power. Another unexpected element is thrown into the mix in the form of a female ninja disguised as a shrine maiden working for Yanagisawa against her will. He orders her to sabotage Sano's investigation, but... let's just say things don't go quite as smoothly as Yanagisawa could have hoped for.
As the mystery unfolds, the story and characters only grow more intriguing. As the real murderer isn't revealed until the very end, it makes for a very suspenseful read. Being a fan of pretty much all things Japanese, the frequent use of Japanese terms, greetings, and such was a big turn on. It also provided an interesting look at 17th Century Japanese culture, and the mind frame of the people that made up that culture. The story was crafted beautifully and executed in a very believable manner. Bundori is one of those books that draws you in and keeps you hooked until the very end.Read more ›
I found the detailed sex scenes a bit distasteful, but they did contribute to the sense of character and to the tension. These books are a tremendous amount of work. Rowland can be very proud. Great entertainment. These books are very well done.
Sano must find the killer, while avoiding the wrath of the jealous chamberlain Yanagisawa, the allure of the mysterious priestess/ninja Aoi, and a host of uncooperative samurai and citizens.
Throughout the book are colorful descriptions of old Edo (now Tokyo) that give a sense of place. Rowland evokes the five senses, as well as inner senses with respect to atmosphere. I liked that there was action in the city aside from the investigation, such as the riots and resulting fire that burned throughout the latter portion of the book. This gave me the idea that there were other things happening outside the life of Sano. Rowland gives detailed physical descriptions of characters. Her use of history and cultural notes pulls one into the period. I also liked the sexual tension between Sano and Aoi, with love interest possibilities, plus the addition of the loyal Hirata as a sidekick.
The mystery ends up not nearly as compelling as the numerous subplots that surround it. As an antagonist, Yanagisawa basically has no redeeming qualities. There were times when Sano, an educated and intelligent man, acted so thickheaded that I wanted to throttle him. While the sensual details worked, Rowland needs work on showing emotions rather than telling them. There were also instances of someone saying something in Japanese, then translating it themselves into English, such as "Okashii ridiculous.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I usually don't read mysteries, but I had recently purchased another one of the Sano Ichiro books. I lent it to a friend while I was reading another story, and she gave it high... Read morePublished on March 14 2003
I liked this book, in fact I liked it alot. I wish I could give it an A but I can't. It isn't strong enough to merit it. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2003
Sano Ichiro, the Japanese shogun's (ruler's) official investigator, has "an inquisitive spirit and a talent for uncovering truth. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2003 by tertius3
This wonderful book immerses the reader once again into feudal Japan, where the unconventional investigator Sano Ichiro must solve a series of horrible crimes while dodging the... Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2003 by subgrav
Laura is a good writer...and seems to improve a little each book. Despite this being the second book in the series, I believe it is her best: (her writing style has improved in... Read morePublished on July 29 2002 by Sensei Scott
I have to say that I was disappointed in this book after reading all the wonderful reviews the publisher reprinted inside my copy. Read morePublished on June 13 2002 by kallan
After reading the first book in this series, 'Shinju', I was expecting a little bit of a letdown -- I didn't think this book would be as good; after all, it's hard to be inventive... Read morePublished on May 19 2002 by Tracy Davis
I admit I approached this book prepared for a little disappointment. Ms. Rowland's 'Shinju' was a lot of fun to read, I liked the main characters and all in all it set a pretty... Read morePublished on May 15 2002 by gtoherder