April 6, 2004
Available in: Hardcover
November 1694. The streets of Edo are erupting in violence as two factions struggle for control over the ruling Tokugawa regime. One is led by the shogun's cousin, Lord Matsudaira, and the other by the shogun's second-in- command, Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Each side pressures Sano Ichiro, the shogun's most honorable investigator, to join its ranks. When one of the shogun's most trusted advisers is found dead, Sano is forced to honor a posthumous request for a murder investigation. Senior Elder Makino believed that his death would be the result of assassination rather than natural causes. Although he and Sano were bitter enemies, Makino knew that the incorruptible Sano would be duty-bound to oblige his final wish. Under the watchful eyes and thinly veiled threats of both Lord Matsudaira and Chamberlain Yanagisawa, Sano moves with caution. Each is eager to implicate the other in Makino's death. Sano must discover whether the death was indeed murder, and if so, whether it was motivated by politics, love, or sex. The discovery of secret alliances, both romantic and military, further complicates matters. Sano's investigation has barely begun when violent death claims another of the shogun's favorites. With his wife, Reiko, working undercover, Sano and his chief retainer, Hirata, must not only investigate multiple deaths, but stem the tide of an impending civil war.
Laura Joh Rowland is a bestselling author of historical mystery novels. Her newest series stars Miss Sarah Bain, a photographer in Victorian London. The latest book is THE HANGMAN’S SECRET. Laura's previous series, which is set in medieval Japan and features samurai detective Sano Ichiro, has been published in 21 countries, been nominated for the Anthony Award and the Hammett Prize, won RT Magazine's Reader's Choice Award, and been included in The Wall Street Journal's list of the five best historical mystery novels. Laura has also written a historical suspense series about Charlotte Bronte, the famous Victorian author. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She is a former aerospace scientist, a painter, and a cartoonist. She lives in New York City with her husband Marty.