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Bundori Paperback – Jan 1 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Robinson Publishing (Jan. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845299027
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845299026
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #748,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
In the vast, deep pond at Edo Castle's martial arts training ground, Sano Ichiro trod water furiously, trying to stay afloat. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my second Laura Joh Rowland book and like the one I read before (Perfumed Sleeve), I found this book to be pretty interesting and its murder-mystery premises to be entertaining and easy to follow. Once more, Sano Ichiro goes forth against all evil to overcome and solved the crime.
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.
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By A Customer on April 29 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bundori is an intriguing mystery thriller penned by Laura Joh Rowland, and the sequel to Shinju. The story takes place in Edo (now known as Tokyo), Japan in 1689, and centers around a murder investigation involving much more than simply murder. The "Bundori Killer" decapitates his victims and mounts their heads as war trophies for... what? And why? ("Bundori" means "war trophy" in Japanese.)
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In BUNDORI, Sano Ichiro takes on his next official assignment as the Shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People. This time he's searching for a bizarre serial killer who seems to be living in the past, presenting the heads of his slain enemies as "war trophies" in tribute to his lord. Once again, as in SHINJU, Rowland gives us a terrific read -- more thriller than whodunit. And she gives us a lot of info on society and everyday life in medieval Japan. She creates an AMAZING sense of place, combining the societal info with her excellent descriptions: "A haze of pale foliage added brightness and life to the city's drab brown thatched or tiled roofs. Cherry trees, in full blossom now, spread rosy clouds over the banks of the many canals, formed solid bands of radiant color along the broad, muddy Sumida River, and turned the hills beyond the castle into a breathtaking wash of pink and green. Their fragrance scented the air with an elusive, poignant sweetness. In the distance, high above the city to the west, rose Mount Fuji's serene, snowcapped peak."
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bundori is the 2nd installment in Laura Joh Rowland's Sano Ichiro series. Having secured shogun Tsunayoshi's favor in the first book, Sano has been elevated to "sosakan" level, kind of the chief investigator to the court. The main mystery plot involves a killer who is collecting "bundori" war trophies based on a century-old betrayal of the first shogun, Oda Nobunaga.
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.
Work areas:
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.
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