THE SNOW EMPRESS
The newest addition to the Sano Ichiro series is like a beautiful prism with many colors. Turned one way, you get
a compelling political thriller; another, and it's a fascinating historical saga; still another, and it's a poignant love story and turned once more, it's an intriguing mystery. Mix these components together and, with a gifted raconteur like Rowland, the final combination is an enthralling tale.
With his ascent up the political ladder, Chamberlain Ichiro Sano is a more attractive target for his enemies. This becomes abundantly clear when Sano's son Masahiro is kidnapped by his fiercest rival and sent to Ezogashima, the northernmost part of Japan. Sano and his entourage arrive to find a region in chaos. The reigning lord's mistress has been murdered, and he won't let anyone come or go until the killer is found. So Sano strikes a deal. He'll find the murderer, if he can look for his son. But what seems straightforward becomes convoluted when the personal and political become entwined. Will Sano survive long enough to even begin the search? (ST. MARTIN'S MINOTAUR, Nov., 304 pp., $24.95)