The Snow Empress : Feudal Japan

  • by Laura Joh Rowland
  • Narrated by James Yaegashi
  • Series: Feudal Japan
  • 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Chosen by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 2007, The Snow Empress showcases author Laura Joh Rowland's deep understanding of 17th-century Japan and her impeccable gift of storytelling. This thrilling novel finds samurai detective Sano Ichirõ working to gain freedom for his son by investigating the murder of a lord's beloved mistress.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Japanophile delight

I was worried about reading a book by a non-Japanese author, but this was unfounded. The book is very Japanese. Another reviewer said "no one talks like that", but actually, upper class courtly Japanese would seem very stilted in English. And the narrator, who is probably a native speaker, pronounces Japanese names beautifully. This book reminded me of the beautiful Japanese countryside, and makes me want to go back--this time to Hokkaido. I rated it 4 stars because nothing compares to Tales of the Otori...
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- Lee


I was able to only get through about 2 hours of this book. It's hard to figure out why it was even written and why the author thought this was a good story. Who set off 500 years ago in a boat in the middle of winter to a place no one ever goes, inhabited by so-called "barbarians", with absolutely no clues or leads, looking for a child who was allegedly kidnapped months before by enemies? Crimes today are harder to solve after the "First 48" house. What "gangster" in a male-dominated society has a nervous breakdown following the murder of his golddigger mistress in an era when men had a kazillion wives and concubines? The book is named for that mistress, a woman described as a "whore", who slept with the whole village, and "rode (one conquest) like a horse". This is more like a very bad Danielle Steele trying to write about Samurai warriors. "Thrilling"? I don't thinks so. There's no excitement, suspense or even a sense of intimate connection between the main characters. The descriptions of the characters and places aren't well-developed so you forget that the story takes place in the 1600's. The dialogue is so contemporary that I kept waiting for someone to jump into a Ford Explorer, answer his cell phone, or send a fax. The narrator adds nothing to this mess. Besides being flat and uninspiring, he blows through Japanese names like a person who learned the language using a Rosette Stone program. He brought none of his heritage to the narration. I'm glad I only paid $4.95 for this book during one of Audible's sales. But even that was money wasted.
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- Linda Lou "OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-25-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books