This one was a change from my usual sword and sorcery and/or sci-fi since it was a mystery novel. Apparently there is a series that features the main character of this novel, Sano, and his new wife, Reiko. I’ve always liked mystery novels, but I always like a spin on them so that they aren’t too ordinary. This one was good since it takes place in medieval Japan. Well, maybe not totally medieval, but they’re all wandering around with swords and riding horses, so I assume that if it’s not medieval, it’s at least not earlier than that.

What else did I like about this novel? Rowland has a knack for making things easy to read, without giving things away! The story begins with the wedding between Sano and his new bride, which was arranged, so that the two of them barely know each other. Thing is, they never get to the celebration part, because they are interrupted with the startling discovery that one of the Shogun’s many concubines has just died. It’s obvious from the start that it’s not a sicknes, but murder, and it’s Sano’s job to find out who did it and why. I also like the fact that this novel is so well grounded in the history and the customs of the time. Sano risks his own life by confronting the Shogun’s mother about certain evidence that points to her. Very good book. I’m off to the library soon to see if I can’t find some others!

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