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The Way of the Traitor (Featuring Sano Ichiro) Paperback – Import, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
Book 3 of 18 in the Sano Ichiro Novels Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Featuring Sano Ichiro
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Feature; New Ed edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747258023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747258025
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,804,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read The Way of the Traitor several years ago and found it quite interesting. Now, as I write this review, I am sitting in a computer cafe in Nagasaki.

Rowland's plot is quite good. Sano has found himself essentially exiled from Edo by his unintended rival the Shogun's Chamberlin. He is given the task of "inspecting" Nagasaki which is just about as far from Edo as you can go and still be in Japan. Given the state of transportation systems in Japan during the Shogunate, it is possible the chamberlain was hoping Sano wouldn't survive the journey.

Nagasaki is Japan's window to the world and it is tightly guraded and only open a crack. The only authorized westerners in Japan are the Dutch and the are kept on a small man-made island in the harbor. Origianlly the concession was given to the Portugese who along with trade brough Christianity and this ultimately lead to the banning of Christian teachings, the expulsion of the Portugese and the persecution of Japanese Christians. The Dutch have filled the void left by the departed Portugese becasue they aren't interested in spreading the gospel, just@making profits on their investments. They can't leave the island unescorted and no Japanese can enter except on official business. To even go on the island one is required to take and oath against Christianity and desecrate Christian icons. The penalty for not adhering to the oath is severe - death.

Sano's arival coincides with the disappearance of one of the Dutch trading mission from the island. It is this investigation which Sano finds himself involved with that almost cost Sano his life in several different ways.

The plot is well set out.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
These series of novels are all pretty good. I have read three of the books all on the airplane. The mystery is usually pretty good and the time period and characters are great. If you like Feudal Japanese history, these books are for you. Again, not the greatest but certainly enjoyable
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh, my gosh! I can't find enough WONDERFUL POSITIVE adjectives to support this series. Previously, I expressed my literary interests as murder mysteries and secondly historical fiction. This morning, after continuing my total absorption in this 3rd novel in the series, I find myself online reading whatever history I can find about 17th century Japanese/Dutch relations because I want to KNOW that much more about what this story has to say as it unfolds. The author is THAT TALENTED in stimulating my interest in her subject. There is so much information in her novels that aid in not just learning but understanding the social mores, sites, sounds, flora, fauna, attire, relationships and how this whole ball of wax created this specific time and place in history. Not to mention my attachment to the main character. While reading the last novel (her second) I was practically biting my nails over concern for his welfare, safety and success. Take it for what its worth....I am teetering on the verge of 80 and have read hundreds, hundreds, hundreds of books since my early childhood......it is such a pleasure to find myself so totally emerged in my favorite pastime, reading. And, to think there are 15 (?) more novels in this series that I can look forward to! I better get cracking!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel picks up where Rowland's last Sano Ichiro novel left off: once again, Sano is the victor in the battle against crime, but loser of the war that rages within the Shogun's household. And, once again, his enemy is the Shogun's favorite, Yanagisawa. Sano finds himself essentially exiled to Nagasaki, the only port in which Japan allows foreigners -- closely watched, of course. A Dutch trader is murdered, and Sano offers to unearth the murderer, a seemingly impossible, and politically suicidal, task. Will Sano persevere? Since this is a series of novels, it's pretty obvious he will solve the case. However, I don't think I can take much more of Sano and his associates constantly beaten, wounded, and almost assassinated! The most interesting part of the book, in my opinion, is the picture of foreigners Rowland paints in the book: they are, to Sano and other Japanese, dirty, smelly, and almost completely uncivilized. The fact that Sano needs one of the Dutch delegation's help challenges his detective and physical senses to the extreme. Rowland is historically accurate in her depiction of the xenophobia present in Japan, and the fears that foreigners will somehow pollute the purity of Japanese culture, something that James Clavell did so well in 'Shogun'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you like historical mystery novels, this is for you. This is the 3rd book in the series. I prefer to read them in chronological order, but it is not necessary.

Its an interesting education in culture and gain some familiarity with a time period in Japan most Americans don't know anything about (including me).

Learn something and be entertained with a fast paced story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As the third book featuring Sano Ichiro, I was anxious to read it once I picked it up. The politics in Bundori whetted my appetite, and I was ready for more.

The story takes place a year-and-a-half after Bundori. Sano has not yet married, still mourning the loss of his love. He has also found that there is little he can do to change the corrupt administration of the government and is despondent about the corruption. Strangely enough, Hirata, Sano's chief retainer, is despondent over his service to Sano as he does not seem to want to be protected and takes unnecessary risks. If Way of the Traitor does anything, it solidifies the relationship between Sano and Hirata, setting up their companionship for the later books.

Sano is sent to Nagasaki where he has to unravel the mystery behind the murder of the head of the Dutch East India Company. As the story progresses, the stakes increase, and Sano takes more risks, putting his life and reputation at stake. Through the course of the story, he uncovers corruption in the administration of Nagasaki, develops camaraderie with the Dutch doctor and is convicted of treason himself.

In the end, Sano lives, and he returns to Edo (the series would be very different if he did not). However, it is the lessons he learns that makes the story important in the development of the character. For that is the purpose of the book in the overall series, developing Sano to deal with the challenges in the later books.

Now my complaint is since the story takes place in Nagasaki, I have the feeling that I will not see most of these characters ever again. As such, the politics were less pressing. I like the world Rowland is developing, and Nagasaki is on the edge of this world.
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