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Blade of the Samurai: A Shinobi Mystery (Shinobi Mysteries) Hardcover – July 15, 2014
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First in a new series from bestselling author and famed O. J. Simpson trial prosecutor Marcia Clark, a “terrific writer and storyteller” (James Patterson). Learn More
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“An outstanding historical mystery set in Japan during the shogunate…What adds to the enjoyment of the history is a most elegant mystery that grows out of the politics of the time… All this is told in stripped down prose as we edge carefully through the thickets of confusion and emerge on to the plain of revelation as the killer is unmasked and uncertainty over the threat to the shogun is resolved. ” ―San Francisco Book Review
“The second Hiro Hattori mystery (after 2013's Claws of the Cat) finds the sixteenth-century ninja--and unofficial investigator--presented with an interesting problem…A strong second entry in a very promising series.” ―Booklist
“Hiro and Father Mateo's second adventure (Claws of the Cat, 2013) combines enlightenment on 16th-century Japanese life with a sharp and well-integrated mystery.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“After her exciting historical mystery debut, Claws of the Cat, Spann proves she has the touch in her sophomore entry. The deceptively simple prose educates readers about 16th-century Japan, while the well-plotted story moves at ninja speed. The endearing characters fight to defend honor and truth, giving this strong YA appeal.” ―Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms. Spann's spare, elegant prose flows off the page. Her descriptions of Kyoto and the Shogunate in the fifteen hundreds, are so believable, you'll swear you can smell the lotus blossoms. The best part about BLADE is the deepening friendship between the ninja, and his charge, Father Matteo, that grows ever stronger with each installment.
Hiro hides Kazu before urging him to flee Kyoto. The next morning, he is awakened by a messenger summoning both him and Father Mateo to the shogunate to investigate the murder. On the face of it, they are called in because the shogun has heard of their discreet success in an investigation the previous year, but truly - with Kazu having no family and Hiro a known friend - Hiro is being set up to take the retribution for the murder if Kazu isn't found.
The view into the culture of Japan and the strictures it imposes are fascinating. That alone almost makes the book worth reading, but there is so much more to it. Though the book has some aspects that are somewhat formulaic, Hiro is a hero to root for, and Father Mateo is an moralistic Jesuit priest at his best.
As Lord Oda is coming to Kyoto with apparent designs on the shogunate, Hiro and Father Mateo have just three days to present the killer. With plenty of intrigue and additional plots in play, the book keeps moving. It is another of those where I promise that I'm just going to finish the chapter then put it down, only to find myself starting another chapter to see what happens next.
Kazu was unable to leave Kyoto, but he refuses to assist Hiro in answering the simple question of where he was on the night of the murder - and why his dagger was left on his desk and use to kill his superior.Read more ›
With all the character names and Japanese terms in the book, it could have been easy to get somewhat lost, but Ms. Spann does a good job of making it clear what the terms mean so her readers can become involved with the story itself.
Some might find it harsh that, after being 'hired' (in a sense) to find a murderer, if Hiro and Father Mateo cannot solve the murder in a couple of days, they will be killed in his (or her) place and face will be saved. Of course, when you live in a military society where might makes right (not a judgment-just a statement), and you never know what another family will do to oust those in power to advance their own status...there is little or no room for error.
There are many twists, turns and intricacies in the plot of "Blade of the Samurai". It's like being presented with a complex piece of origami and trying to figure out how to make it yourself by reverse engineering. Each new fold uncovers a hidden gem, a piece of the larger puzzle. Each time I thought, "Aha, that is the murderer," some new piece of evidence would pop up. It made me want to keep reading until I found out who actually committed the crime.
"Blade of the Samurai" is a well-researched novel that shows despite a 500 year distance, people are people. The characters have hopes, dreams, aspirations, jealousies, obstacles much like we do today.
(Disclosure: I received a copy of "Blade of the Samurai" from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)
My only disappointment with this series is that the next isn’t due out until 2015, of course. I highly recommend this to historical mystery fans especially those that have enjoyed the Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full of samurai lore and Japanese life but the characters aren't very convincing as people, even the formal Japanese people who are portrayed.Published 3 months ago by Jolivore
Claws of the Cat", the first novel in the Shinobi Mysteries from Susan Spann, was a delicious historical novel starring the phlegmatic shinobi - a special kind of ninja -... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Bob Van Laerhoven - Belgian novelist
This book was just as exciting as the first one of Susan's books.Published 17 months ago by Dale J. Fitzgerald
** Disclosure: I received a free promotional copy of this book. This has in no way influenced my review. **
This is the second in Susan Spann's Shinobi Mystery series. Read more
<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18404175-blade-of-the-samurai" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img alt="Blade of the Samurai... Read morePublished 19 months ago by reteach
"Blade of the Samurai" is the second in the Shinobi Mysteries by Susan Spann and it is just as enjoyable as the first. Read morePublished 19 months ago by K.B. Owen
I did not read the first book in this series but I don't feel it was detrimental to my understanding of characters in this book. Read morePublished 20 months ago by P. Woodland
Susan Spann's BLADE OF THE SAMURAI rings with authenticity as we are transported back to 16th century Kyoto with its rigid social conventions, points of etiquette and violent... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Tessa