Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Dragon King's Palace; L. J. Rowland

Written by Laura Joh Rowland in and published in 2003 by St. Martin's Minotaur. This is the eighth in an ongoing series. Set in 17th century Japan the sleuth is Sano Ichiro, often aided by his wife Reiko. I love this series because Ms. Rowland carefully maps out the interconnected spiderweb like relationships between all of the characters. Pluck one string on a spider's web and many others vibrate with it, if you see what I mean.

Reiko is one of the ladies in waiting for the Shogun's mother. When Lady Keisho-In decides to take a vacation Reiko & 2 others must go as well. Staying in Edo Palace without Lady Keisho-In isn't an option; never mind that one of the women is pregnant and due any day. During their travels the ladies are kidnapped by a well armed, well trained group of mercenaries. Who are they and what do they really want? Having the Shogun's mother is a powerful political chip- what is the agenda?

The husbands were left behind with the Shogun in Edo Palace. Too late they discover the kidnapping. Finding and rescuing the 4 women is problematic. The Shogun is weak minded and easily led. Sano and one of the other men are political and personal enemies who are very reluctant to have to work together, to put it mildly. The fourth man is Sano's assistant. Who among them has enemies powerful & wealthy enough to kidnap these women?

How far would you go to ensure your survival and that of your friends? How many bridges can you either build or burn, politically and personally, to rescue your loved ones? How much of your own integrity can (or should) you compromise to ensure you survive? Is the price you must pay worth it?

ETA~This is the first book in the series that really pushed my ick factor. I won't reveal why or how because of plot factors. I did finish reading it and there is some resolution to particular issues raised by the kidnapping. As in 'real life' however, other factors are left grey. I appreciate having a few strands left hanging loose. A little detail, but one I felt added to the realism.


Marg said...
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Marg said...

You know, a friend sent the first 6 or 7 of this series to me a couple of years ago and I haven't even got around to readin even one of them!!

So you really like this series huh?