In this book I meet Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo for the first time. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me the book at no charge. I thank Susan Spann for two very interesting characters.
About the Blade of the Samurai:
June, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori receives a pre-dawn visit from Kazu, a fellow shinobi working undercover at the shogunate. Hours before, the shogun”s cousin, Saburo, was stabbed to death in the shogun’s palace. The murder weapon: Kazu’s personal dagger. Kazu says he’s innocent, and begs for Hiro’s help, but his story gives Hiro reason to doubt the young shinobi’s claims.
When the shogun summons Hiro and Father Mateo, the Portuguese Jesuit priest under Hiro’s protection, to find the killer, Hiro finds himself forced to choose between friendship and personal honor.
The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the shogun and overthrow the ruling Ashikaga clan. With Lord Oda’s enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro must use his assassin’s skills to reveal the killer’s identity and protect the shogun at any cost. Kazu, now trapped in the city, still refuses to explain his whereabouts at the time of the murder. But a suspicious shogunate maid, Saburo’s wife, and the shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want Saburo dead. With the shogun demanding the murderer’s head before Lord Oda reaches the city, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time . . . or die in his place.
Susan Spann’s Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in sixteenth-century Japan.
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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.
Other Books by Susan Spann:
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