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Blade of the Samurai

by Susan Spann

Series: Shinobi Mystery (2)

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343581,863 (3.65)None
"Master ninja Hiro Hattori is trying to sleep when he has an unexpected visit from his friend Kazu, a fellow shinobi and member of the same ninja clan working undercover at the shogunate. Kazu says that Saburo, the Shogun's cousin, has been stabbed to death within the walls of the Shogun's palace with Kazu's dagger, and that though he is innocent, he fears he will be blamed for the murder. He begs Hiro's help in escaping the city. But before he can flee, Hiro and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest under Hiro's protection, are summoned to the palace to aid in the investigation"--… (more)
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This mystery was intricately planned out and executed and to set it in 16th century Japan with such mastery of the time period is amazing. The reader is transported. As I'm reading, I'm seeing in my mind's eye the Shogunate, the town, Hiro and Father Mateo's house. It's this excellent imagery that really brings one into the story. And there are elements of surprise...and even whimsy. Case in point - the foreshadowing in this scene I will share here had me thinking that something alarming was about to happen. And low and behold...

(quote)

"The attack came from behind and without warning. A dozen tiny daggers punctured Hiro's shoulder and upper back. He grunted with surprise and pain and tried to twist away, but the effort made Gato sink her claws even deeper into his flesh. Her free paw batted his hand and grabbed at the saying tail of hair.

"Ow!" Hiro grabbed Gato, determined to pry the kitten away before her efforts ruined his hair completely."

(end quote)

See! Hiro is attacked not by a human, but none other than his own kitten. A fine example of suspense transitioning to whimsy. Quite clever.

Not to say that the book doesn't have its moments of sheer suspense because it does. There is a murder and sinister doings afoot. Watching as Hiro and Father Mateo navigate the stringent customs of the Japanese Samurai while trying to solve the murder was indeed entertaining and interesting.

This author has a true talent in writing not only mysteries, but also capturing an entire culture in the pages. I can't wait to go back and read the first book in the Shinobi Mysteries, Claws of the Cat, and I look forward to her next offering, Flask of the Drunken Master.
( )
  TheTrueBookAddict | Mar 22, 2020 |
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. Blade of the Samurai opens with a nocturnal visit to Hiro Hattori who is a shinobi or what we would more likely call a ninja. It's his fellow shinobi Kazu who fears he will be accused of murder as his dagger has been used to kill his boss, a cousin to the Shogun. Kazu swears he is innocent but Hiro had nigglings of doubt. He and the man he protects, Father Mateo are called to the Shogunate to help solve the murder. And to be scapegoats if the murderer is not caught.

This was a very easy book to read. The mystery plays out in a straightforward manner and there is an over all feeling of calm despite the search for a murderer and several subsequent murders. I never really felt a sense of urgency. All was done in an orderly fashion and that was that. Much was made of Hiro's status either as not being worthy because he was a masterless samurai or of his being shinobi yet it was not really explored. Perhaps this is the one area where reading the first book might have helped.

I liked the three main characters ( Hiro, Fr. Mateo and Kazu) and their interactions. It was, as I mentioned, an easy read. The historical and political details were interesting as this is a period about which I am not that well versed. The book just seemed a little too simple for lack of a better word. I wanted more. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Sep 10, 2014 |
We learn more about Hiro, politics of Edo Japan and customs of samurai families. Quite interesting.
  ritaer | Sep 9, 2014 |
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For Michael, for too many reasons to meantion --
but mostly, because I love you.
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Hiro opened his eyes in darkness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Master ninja Hiro Hattori is trying to sleep when he has an unexpected visit from his friend Kazu, a fellow shinobi and member of the same ninja clan working undercover at the shogunate. Kazu says that Saburo, the Shogun's cousin, has been stabbed to death within the walls of the Shogun's palace with Kazu's dagger, and that though he is innocent, he fears he will be blamed for the murder. He begs Hiro's help in escaping the city. But before he can flee, Hiro and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest under Hiro's protection, are summoned to the palace to aid in the investigation"--

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Minotaur Books

An edition of this book was published by Minotaur Books.

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