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Publisher's Summary

In 1861, foreign ships have already steamed into Shimoda Harbor and forced open Japan's doors to the West. Foreign missionaries have come to Japan; they are there to save men's souls, but to the Japanese they are there to spread false religion. The only man who could have foretold all this is the young Lord Genji, an aesthetic dilettante who nonetheless possesses the powerful gift of prophecy. Forced to escape from the capital Edo, which is under attack by the foreigners, he flees to his ancestral stronghold, the spectacular Cloud of Sparrows castle, where he shelters two American missionaries. Together with a legendary swordsman and an enigmatic geisha, they embark on a harrowing journey through a dangerous landscape to prepare for a final battle.
©2002 Takashi Matsuoka; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The book seizes you from start to finish." (The Washington Post)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Barry on 12-16-03

The Quintessential Novel

Takashi Matsouka has written a masterpiece about Japan in the mid 1800's, where though threatened, the Samari culture still thrives. It does so, even though the Japanese live under the threats posed by the guns and canons of the multi-national war ships at anchor in their bays and the internal hatreds dating back hundreds of years.

Grover Gardner's reading of it provides a seamless transition from character to character, while imbuing each with the rich individuality that the author had so perfectly shaped with his words. If the book can be faulted in any way, it would be by its ending. Not because the author failed in any way, but because it ended. I wanted it to go on forever. With Gardner's final words, came the fearful realization that I might never again find a book so beautifully written and dramatically read.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful


By Blackmac on 06-10-06

Interesting but...

This book was good in the fact that it is well written and it does seem to take the reader away to a different time and place: Edo Japan. Unfortunately, if you can get past the quite unbelievable plot and characters, you won't be able to escape the one dimensional narration. The narrator sounds better suited to a PBS documentary and does not pronounce many of the simplest Japanese words correctly (e.g. Edo). This would be a better read than listen.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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