I just finished this book and “spoiler alert”… I loved it! I actually knew nothing of this series when I picked it up at my local library but there was “something” about it that drew me in within the first few pages so I went ahead and borrowed it.
The setting is the 1500s in Kyoto, Japan and there’s been a murder of a young girl on the river bank, and so begins the whodunit. But then complications arise… Social norms and mores surround if/how/whether an investigation even need be done… What???
The main protagonists are a Jesuit priest, Father Mateo, and his undercover Ninja bodyguard Hiro, and the book follows them as they try to solve this murder mystery.
The author obviously knows a lot about ancient Japanese culture and that’s one the things I thoroughly enjoyed about this book… Stepping back in time to ancient Japan and the days of Samurais (is that the proper plural…??) and Ninjas and duels with Samurai swords.
This particular book is the 3rd or 4th in a series (so I found out as I read). It belongs to the Hiro Hattori Mystery series and even though I haven’t read the preceding books in the series, I had no problem following along with this particular story.
From the get-go the author jumps right into the story. No wasting time on lengthy descriptions and prose that gets you lost along the way. The conversations (and mystery) start almost immediately and so does the journey, and I really appreciated that.
In my defense, I don’t like spoilers so I don’t look at the back of the books I read because I don’t like to know the ending before I arrive at it 🙂
That said, even though it would have been helpful along the way as I read the book, I still managed to get the main gist of the story regardless.
My suggestion to the publisher would be to put that glossary in the front even though I do know that glossaries tend to be at the back, but for those of us who don’t want to risk seeing any spoilers, we’d appreciate that 🙂
Also, there is a Cast of Characters at the back of the book as well. I’m actually glad I stumbled on it after I’d finished the book because I think it would have confused me to read the list outside of the context of each character’s part in the story.
It was just easier to get to know the characters as I went along and met them in turn as they appeared in the story.
Some of the characters appear to have been introduced in earlier books in the series but that didn’t cause any confusion for me (not having read the other books in the series) or mess up the flow of this story.
Some lines of dialogue just really stood out to me and I hope I can blend them into my own repertoire from time to time so that I can sound like a sage 😉
Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:
Fish will spoil with age; revenge does not
No man can maintain vigilance forever
Words that could not help were often better left unspoken
Final Book Rating
8.7 out of 10 stars