Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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The Friday Morning "I Need A Coffee" Review: Way Of The Traitor

Contrary to popular rumour I do not only read SF and books on XML. If you'd been on the District Line or the Central Line over the last couple of days you'd have seen me engrossed in a complex mystery, set in feudal Japan.

Laura Joh Rowland's detective Sano Ichiro is the Most Honorable Investigator to the Shogun, a reluctant samurai detective forced by patronage to leave the life of a scholar to become a policeman in Edo. In The Way of the Traitor, the third volume of an ongoig series of thrillers, he is caught up in conspiracy and conflict, and finds himself assigned to "inspect" the port city of Nagasaki, Japan's only point of contact with the outside world. He arrives to find the city in turmoil, as the leader of the Dutch trade delegation is missing. When the body turns up, Sano is caught up in a tangle of greed and revenge that threatens to drag him into a dishonorable grave. Under suspicion, and opposed by the local authorities he must find out who murdered the Dutchman, and why... Rowland's Sano is an engaging character, driven by his vision of bushido to seek justice. This leads him into situations that put him in conflict with the institutions he is sworn to defend. Over the series we see him begin to question the very structure of the world, and his relationships with friends, family and staff.

The Way of the Traitor is a fun read, well researched, and with a fine sensibility for the darker side of a controlled society. Well worth a summer read. Of course, I had to nip off to and buy the 3 books in the series I didn't have...

Excuse, me, I have to go read Shinju on the tube now. I may be some time...
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