THE SHOGUN'S DAUGHTER
The latest in Rowland’s long-running series paints an exquisite and detailed picture of feudal Japan. Rowland is an excellent writer and skillful at plotting mysteries. By now the characters all have long backstories, but she is able to enlighten the reader without slowing the action. The personal stakes are very high for Sano, who must solve a seemingly impossible murder. Politics, betrayal and the pull of family are all themes well and emotionally developed in this splendid mystery.
The Shogun’s daughter has died from a random case of smallpox. Her mother does not believe it’s that simple and is sure her daughter, who could have produced an heir for the Shogun, has been murdered. The Shogun is a stupid, vain and erratic man. He is however, Sano’s Lord. Sano follows Bushido, the way of the warrior, and cannot turn against him, no matter the price. Without an heir, Shogun officially recognizes his illegitimate son. It becomes much more dire for Sano, his pregnant wife and young son to solve the murder, since Sano believes the Shogun’s new heir has been positioned so that his old enemy, Yanagisawa, can take power. (MINOTAUR, Sep., 336 pp., $25.99)