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The Ronin's Mistress: A Novel Hardcover – Sep 13 2011

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Sept. 13 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312658524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312658526
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,208,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I’m still a loyal reader of Sano Ichiro novels. I love them. I love the mystery, the political intrigue and how Sano is always dangling by the thread but manages to save the day but there’s always something looming around the corner where he’ll be dangling by a thread again.

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!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa2d01d74) out of 5 stars 43 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d38a44) out of 5 stars A wonderful blend of legend and fiction and mystery Sept. 15 2011
By Augustus T. Granger - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Ronin's Mistress is another excellent read by Rowland in the Sano series. I anticipated this book and I was not disappointed. It very successfully intertwines the actual events surrounding the 47 Ronin act of vengence to restore their former Lord's honor against Kira with the fictional political story Rowland relates of the shoguns court. Rowland does create a mystery for Sano to investigate once again under the Shoguns severest penalty. Her blending of real and fiction is Michener-like (but not as wordy, thankfully). The central characters development continued especially with Masahiro and his mother's failure to see what was occurring.

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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d38c90) out of 5 stars Running out of steam June 9 2013
By Wabi Savvy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed the earlier books in this series but was dismayed by the quality of the writing and plotting in this volume. It's a given that one has to put aside most knowledge of Japanese culture and social behavior (gained from more serious reading and those elaborate NHK TV historical dramas) in order to enjoy these fictional diversions; still the author seems largely to have thrown away any attempt at portraying Japanese society of this period in any believable way.

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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d38c54) out of 5 stars Deft Re-telling of the 47 Ronin story April 8 2012
By SML - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read nearly every entry in Rowland's Sano Ichiro series. This rates as her most masterful work to date. This re-telling of the story of the 47 Ronin has multiple layers and numerous twists and turns before the climactic scene. In the meantime, Masahiro grows up a little, Hirata meets the mystical foe who has been stalking him for the last two years, Reiko meets Yanisigawa in person for the first time, and the Shogun gets to find out what physical danger feels like. Several father-son relationships are explored and contrasted in this novel, as well as a father-daughter and mother-son relationship. Loyalty to family vs loyalty to Bushido is severely tested here: which will win?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d38f48) out of 5 stars Not up to Par with the rest of the series! Sept. 23 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I was reading the Ronin's Mistress it almost seemed as if it was a different author. The action was stilted and the characters seemed to be disconnected. The beginning of the book was slow and boring, the middle picked up, and then the end slowed down again. Hopefully, the next one in the series will be back to the level of good development all her other books matched and in most cases exceeded.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d38fa8) out of 5 stars great entry in the Feudal Japan saga Sept. 13 2011
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In 1703 Edo, forty-seven ronin samurai arrive at the estate of the Shogun Tsunayoshi's master of ceremonies Kira Yoshinaka. Though the shogun had declared no vendetta, in an act of revenge for turning them into masterless ronin twenty-two months ago; the band's leader Oishi Kuranosuke beheads Yoshinaka for his evil involvement in the death of their master Lord Asano during a feud; others at the estate were also killed.

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.

Harriet Klausner