The Incense Game : Feudal Japan

  • by Laura Joh Rowland
  • Narrated by Bernadette Dunne
  • Series: Feudal Japan
  • 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the wake of a terrifying earthquake, Sano Ichiro races to solve a crime that could bring down the shogun's regime. When a massive earthquake devastates Japan in 1703, even the shogun's carefully regulated court is left teetering on the brink of chaos. This is no time for a murder investigation - except when a nobleman's daughters are found dead from incense poisoning and their father threatens to topple the regime unless Sano Ichiro tracks down the killer.
As Sano and his wife strive to solve the case in a world that is crumbling around them, Laura Joh Rowland - author of one of the "five best historical mystery novels" (The Wall Street Journal) - brings us her most powerful and evocative thriller yet.


What the Critics Say

"...stellar... Once again, Rowland sets the bar high for her hero, who must navigate treacherous political shoals as well as deduce the killer's identity." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I have read a few books in the Sano Ichiro series and I would definitely recommend. This series is accessible to absolutely anyone who loves a good mystery novel despite its exotic (to me) setting. The narrator was excellent and to my ear (although I am no expert) the pronounciation seemed true enough.

However this instalment in the series was a little overly-theatrical, in particular the finale. I would usually never suggest changing up the characters (I'm usually more of a "if it ain't broke don't, don't fix it" kind of reader) but some aspects *cough* Yanagisawa and the Shogun *cough* grow rather tiresome after a few readings - if you aren't going to add any extra dimensions to the character (especially villains/adversaries) they become clich├ęs! Also I don't like the idea of throwing too many roadblocks in the main characters way, after a while you stop admiring them as underdogs and start wondering when he/she is going to be revealed as a superhuman being.

But despite these qualms it was an interesting mystery, albeit a little overplayed.
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- Anna

Brilliant Execution

What made the experience of listening to The Incense Game the most enjoyable?

Bernadette Dunne's voice just somehow fit Rowland's writing style. It fluctuated with energy where it was needed and it legitimately felt like I was listening to the characters dialogue around me. Though I didn't quite imagine some of the characters to sound the way she portrayed them, it still worked and I've very pleased with this. Only listen if you've read/listened to the first fifteen books in the series (you won't regret reading one of her books).

What other book might you compare The Incense Game to and why?

The Sugawara, Akitada series by I.J. Parker. Though the Sano Ichiro series is set and the Edo era circa 1500s - 1800s and Sugawara is set in the Heian era circa 700-1200, I think these two detectives (though very different in social ranking and society, etc.) are very similar in their casework and relationships...though Akitada is a bit more hot-headed (I mean he was born into The Kyoto Nobility of the Heian era, he is bound to be a bit more spoiled than Ichiro who was born into the samurai caste of the edo period before working his way up, he knows how to keep a more level head.)

Which scene was your favorite?

SPOILER ALERT: When Reiko finally tells Sano that's she's pregnant with their third child and Marume finally laughs again! Made me emotional :)

Any additional comments?

I've read this series over the years and I almost feel like I've grown with these characters. It's definitely worth the investment of time if your genuinely enjoy classical Japanese history.

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- Sarah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-18-2012
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC