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The Cloud Pavilion: A Novel (Sano Ichiro Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 27, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Rowland's masterful 14th historical to feature Sano Ichiro, a year has passed since the events chronicled in 2008's The Fire Kimono, but the calm that has prevailed since the shogun made Sano and his archrival, Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, co-chamberlains is about to be shattered. Maj. Kumazawa Hiroyuki, Sano's estranged uncle, comes to him for help after the major's 33-year-old daughter, Chiyo, disappears. The detective-turned-politician manages to find Chiyo, but not before she has been violated. The search for her assailant becomes more complicated once word reaches Sano that Chiyo was the third in a series of victims, following an elderly nun and a powerful gangster's teenage daughter. Established fans will be pleased by how Rowland has developed Sano's son, Masahiro, along with other secondary characters they have become attached to, while newcomers should find the people, plot and early 18th-century Japanese setting hard to resist. (Nov.)
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One of the best mysteries of the year. (Publishers Weekly)

Rowland has a painter's eye for the minutiae of court life, as well as a politician's ear for intrigue. (The New York Times Book Review)

Entertaining. . . . . Rowland creates a well-crafted portrait of an exotic place and time. (The Times-Picayune on The Cloud Pavilion)

An exercise in pure entertainment . . . [The Fire Kimono] takes us to an exotic time and place and overwhelms us with intrigue, romance, adventure, and frequent bloodshed. (The Washington Post)

Demonstrating an impressive level of sustained excellence, Rowland's mysteries set in seventeenth-century Japan form one of the best recent series in the genre. (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Snow Empress) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sano Ichiro Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312379498
  • ASIN: B0057D9S1C
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,914,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

L AURA JOH ROWL AND, the author of thirteen previous Sano Ichiro mysteries 'demonstrating an impressive level of sustained excellence' (Publishers Weekly), lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jay on November 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read The Cloud Pavilion I'm left wondering how many more Sano novels Rowland will try to crank out; much like Tom Clancy and his Jack Ryan series this one seems tired. Like her characters it seems that she's boxed herself in a corner with no honorable way out.

I've read every Sano Ichiro novel from the very beginning 16 years ago. Had Rowland left Sano as an investigator (ala Christie's Poirot or even Martin Cruz Smith's Renko) without all of the political intrigue she feels compelled to include it'd be much a more durable series. Alas before I cracked open the cover I already knew what to expect and got pretty much just that. I get the feeling that Rowland herself is bored with her characters and because of all of the political intrigue she's woven doesn't know how to bring the series to a good end. IJ Parker's Akitada mysteries seem to be avoiding that trap and thus I find myself wondering if Parker couldn't write faster! The Sano series lost that allure years ago.

Other reviews of other Sano novels have complained about the anachronisms but since this is fiction I generally don't see the problem with bending truth or reality a bit. However with each novel or two there seems to be a new entry in the "how far can I push this" contest. First there was his willful and disobeying wife Reiko. Though her character is toned down in recent novels she tends to stretch the bounds of believability for feudal Japan. Then there is Sano's chief retainer Hirata and his relatively new mystical martial arts prowess. In this novel it's Sano's son Masahiro and his willful headstrong intention to become an investigator like his father or Mitsuke spy..
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Edo in 1701, though some time has passed, Chamberlain Sano Ichiro reels from what happened last year that dishonored his family (see THE FIRE KIMONO). He knows he is fortunate to still have his position still and his beloved wife Reiko always at his side. Still Sano hurts with the betrayal, but vows to do his job with honor in support of his liege Japan's supreme dictator Tokugawa Tsunayoshi.

During a war scenario tournament to occupy the soldiers who have seen no action lately, Sano defeats his masked opponent, former Chamberlain Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, who the shogun has welcomed home from exile, an allegedly changed person. Sano does not trust his adversary further than he can throw him as he believes Yanagisawa and his most loyal son Yoritomo plot mischief. However, Sano has no time to consider what his enemy plans when his estranged uncle Major Kumazawa pleads with his nephew and Reiko to find his missing daughter Chiyo last seen at a nearby temple. Sano locates his cousin who was raped but his uncle wants to conceal the dishonor rather than pursue the culprit. Still with Reiko at his side they follow clues to the deadly criminal element inside of Edo while his fears of Yanagisawa's scheming come to bear against Sano with the shogun angry at him.

The latest Sano Japanese historical mystery is a super entry as the readers feels as if we have been transported back in time and place due to the rich background. As with the previous entry, the story line is driven by the cast especially Sano's extended family members who have been estrange for decades and of course his nastiest rival. Fans will appreciate THE CLOUD PAVILION as once again it is family matters that drive the hero and his intrepid wife.

Harriet Klausner
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hikari on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
3.5 stars. This is the 14th adventure starring our favorite samurai detective, Sano Ichiro, and I have often mused how many more of these Laura Joh Rowland has in her. Will we still be going back to Edo when Sano is gray and arthritic and Reiko is busy arranging the 'omiai' (meetings with prospective spouses) for her children, Masahiro and Akiko? Possibly. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of evocative titles and Hokusai-inspired cover art for dozens more of these installments, but I worry at times that Rowland comes dangerously close to running out of story. She's skirted the precipice several times (most notably in the abysmal "Red Chrysanthemum" and the nearly-as-bad "Snow Empress") only to pull back and redeem herself. The last book, "The Fire Kimono" restored some of the charm and effectiveness of this series, and while I don't rate this newest one as Rowland's absolute best (that would probably be the first two, "Shinju" and "Bushido"), it's a solid entry into the canon that manages to move our story along, albeit more turgidly than we might hope for.

After a bloody civil conflict ended up with Sano and Yanagisawa's joint enemy, Lord Matsudaira, dead, relative peace has settled over the court. The two former archrivals are uncomfortably sharing the post of Chamberlain, taking turns being in the doghouse with their supremely erratic boss, the Shogun. Things are quiet--too quiet and Yanigisawa is being on his greasy best behavior. Sano knows that Yanigisawa is plotting something, but he doesn't know what. Three completely disparate women are brutally raped and left for dead after being abducted from area temples: an elderly nun, a gang lord's teenage daughter, and a young wife and mother from an aristocratic family.
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