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Bundori (1996)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sano Ichiro Mysteries (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
551637,755 (3.52)12
In 17th Century Japan, Investigator Sano Ichiro probes a series of revenge killings connected to a century-old dispute. But how to bring the guilty to justice when they are powerful men? Part mystery, part personal drama as Sano--himself a samurai--tries valiantly to follow bushido, the way of the warrior in a society whose ancient noble ways have been all but forgotten. By the author of Shinju.… (more)

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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Oh man, this book was so hard to get through. Mostly because of its length and the way it was written, than out of dislike for the story.

I admit I have a love/hate situation going on with this series. On the one hand, I love all the historical details and how they're woven into the story, the settings are realistic, Sano is (albeit slightly annoying to me in his personality) portrayed in a way believable to what and who he is supposed to be, and the crime/mystery aspect of the series is very well played and more or less interesting.

On the other hand, I (as I already stated) dislike Sano's personality, don't really care what becomes of the characters, find the repetitive descriptions dragging, and the sprinkled Japanese words reek of fanfic (and I'm not even talking about the titles of their jobs, which require a one paragraph explanation on what position it exactly is else no one [except those who know Japanese and their history] would know, because using the actual words in English like "retainer" and "captain" or whatever apparently takes it too far out of 'the setting').

I don't think I'll be continuing the series unless I'm very bored or very in need for a kick for some Feudal Japan. I know they're not the longest books ever, but something about the writing style just makes them drag on forever. If the books were about half the length they are, I might have read on, but as they are... nope. ( )
  AshuritaLove | May 24, 2020 |
The setting of this book is historical, and one that I am familiar with: the Tokugawa Shogunate at Edo in Japan, 1689. There are now (2014) 18 titles in this popular series spanning 1689 to 1709. The historical and cultural setting is richly and authentically described. I began with the second in the series as my library does not have the first available. There are references in this title to the events in the first book.

As the number of victims of the Bundori Killer mounts various districts of the capital go into panic and there are fires and vigilantes and the Shogun gives Sano four days to find the killer or face exile himself. Sano constantly reminds himself of the promise he made to his dying father to bring the family name into a position of honour, but for a while it looks as if he will only achieve disgrace.

The Shogun, Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, relies heavily on his Chamberlain Yanagisawa who seems determined to point out Sano's failures. Readers of modern day police procedurals may well reflect that nothing much has changed.

An enjoyable and satisfying read. ( )
  smik | Aug 13, 2014 |
When bumma was in the Hospice Center, where cancer finally claimed her June 28, I was at her bedside reading. The Hospice Center had a wonderful abundance of books, so when I'd finish mine, I'd exchange it for one on the book exchange shelf. This was one such book. I register and release it in bumma's memory and in her honor. She was the one who instilled my love of reading and of books. She was a fantastic mom and I miss her. I like this series a lot and have read several in it. One of my University degrees is in Asian Studies, and the details here delighted me. ( )
  bookczuk | Jun 12, 2011 |
Bundori, by Laura Joh Rowland, is a slow moving detective story set in 17th Century feudal Japan. Sano Ichiro, the main character, succeeds not through brilliant leaps of logic but through doggedly pursuing all leads. At times, he seems to succeed almost in spite of himself.

What I found more interesting that the detective story was Rowland’s depiction of the time period. Wealth did bring a certain degree of influence, but it did not control the real power, the Samurai class. Yet, the Samurai were not all glory either. This time period was more like our Wild West: out of work warriors frequently took to being swords for hire. They did have a strict code of honor, and that code becomes corrupt for some. That is the basis for the plot.

Not rich enough in historical personages to really be historical fiction, the book may best be described as a period piece with a mystery twist. Overall it was enjoyable makes for some light reading; three and a half stars. ( )
  PghDragonMan | Oct 24, 2010 |
This is the second book in this mystery series by Laura Joh Rowland. Set in 17th century feudal Japan, we follow along with Sano Ichiro as he, at the shogun’s request, investigates a series of beheadings . After the killer decapitates his victims, he mounts the heads and leaves them on display as a “Bundori” or war trophy. The young samurai has pledged to follow the way of “Bushido”, a samurai code of honour, and he is determined to solve these murders. He is very much the outsider at the Shogun’s court and unfortunately the petty jealousies and court intrigues that swirl around him makes honour difficult to hold onto.

This is an excellent historical mystery series. Laura Joh Rowland gives us both a good, suspenseful read and an added bonus of lots of historical details about Japan in the 17th century. I enjoyed Bundori and look forward to the next book in this series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jan 5, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This is an excellent read for anyone who loves to read historic mystery and also wants to learn a little about the Japanese culture. I read it in one day, it's a quick but very good read.
added by LaRhonda | editCleveland Plain Dealer, LaRhonda (Feb 22, 2011)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rowland, Laura Johprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberts, JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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In memory of my grandparents:
Day Hung and Susanna Joh
Gow Sing and Quon Gin Lee
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As the hour of the boar approached, the great city of Edo lay shrouded in a heavy mist that blurred the darkness and muffled sound.
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In 17th Century Japan, Investigator Sano Ichiro probes a series of revenge killings connected to a century-old dispute. But how to bring the guilty to justice when they are powerful men? Part mystery, part personal drama as Sano--himself a samurai--tries valiantly to follow bushido, the way of the warrior in a society whose ancient noble ways have been all but forgotten. By the author of Shinju.

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Average: (3.52)
1 3
2 7
2.5 4
3 47
3.5 13
4 43
4.5 3
5 16

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