The Ronin's Mistress: A Novel Hardcover – Sep 13 2011
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Masterful. (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Cloud Pavilion)
An exercise in pure entertainment. (The Washington Post on The Fire Kimono)
[Rowland's] Japan is a mix of Kabuki theater-like stylized formality, palace intrigue, and physical action that would do a martial arts movie proud. (The New Orleans Times-Picayune on The Snow Empress)
"Sano may carry a sword and wear a kimono, but you'll immediately recognize him as an ancestor of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade." (The Denver Post)
About the Author
LAURA JOH ROWLAND is the author of fourteen previous Sano Ichiro mysteries. The Fire Kimono was named one of the Wall Street Journal's "Five Best Historical Mystery Novels"; and The Snow Empress and The Cloud Pavilion, were among Publishers Weekly's Best Mysteries of the Year. She lives in New York City.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
This one was good, loyal readers will enjoy this and new readers will also like this. Background information on the 47 ronin helps a bit but not necessary. The title is a bit misleading, the Mistress is mentioned, but she doesn’t really play such a huge role in the book nevertheless. The plot was pretty good. Lots of twists and turns, and when you get towards the ending that’s where everything is so skillfully packed in you’ll feel like rereading it again just in case you missed something important. It’s always the last third of the book that gets you in the gut!
The only gripe I have, and I’ve been ranting about this for the past few novels now is the mystical Hirata issue. Please stop. It’s getting ridiculous and I’m finding when Hirata is featured, I’m starting to dread it. He used to be a personal favorite. Now he’s become this annoying mystical pest and I don’t care if he can feel auras of other people and can meditate in pretzel format (no, he doesn’t do this, but you know what I mean). He’s starting to become something I don’t want to read about. Please stop before you go further. This series DOES NOT need anything supernatural. Keep it real. Please.
Loyal fans will like this, newbies will too. A great historical read (and not many features in medieval Japan!) give it a go!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The main story was Sano's investigation of the 47 and it dominated the book. There was not as much story development with Hirata as in past books but there were sufficient hints of future conflicts and tensions for the main characters. For those persons aware of the story myths surrounding the Lord Asano and the 47 Ronin the book includes several of those versions in Sano's investigation while reaching Rowland's own explanation. I prefer the Chushingura version of the story rather than the author's conclusion. I have been to Sengaku-ji and I have observed the reverence the people visiting there have for memory of the 47 Ronin and their final act of loyalty. People who enjoy Sano Ichiro will once again enjoy this latest book in the series.
The writing is atrociously sloppy---the author simply could leave no cliche unused--- and she has reduced the characters of Chamberlain Yanagisawa and the Shogun to caricatures. She also fell into constantly reminding the reader of what was at stake for Sano san and his family at every turn---as if this were a mystery book for dummies.
With such a renowned story as that of the 47 Loyal Retainers to work with and dissect, this novel had such rich possibilities that I kept reading, hoping some plot twists would at least reward my patience with the clumsy writing and shallow characterizations. Alas, there were no surprises nor insights to be gained.
Perhaps Rowland should take a sabbatical from 18th century Edo.
Having been demoted from Chamberlain back to his previous job as the Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, Sano Ichiro leads the investigation though he seethes that manipulative, corrupt, ambitious and lethal Yanagisawa was back in power as the Chamberlain. At the same time, Kuranosuke's mistress Okaru informs Ichiro's wife Reiko, that the feud is not what is publically believed. Ichiro looks into the strange case of the forty-seven who completed a cleansing ritual and wait further "orders", but came quietly with him and his detectives. Now he needs to recommend whether the forty-seven commit ritual suicide as the honorable end to the dispute.
This is a great entry in the Feudal Japan saga (see The Fire Kimono and The Cloud Pavilion) based on the legend of the 47 Ronin. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Kuranosuke severs the head of Yoshinaka and never slows down as dedicated Ichiro and his wife uncover anomalies in what looks like a shut and closed case.