The Ronin's Mistress (Sano Ichiro, #15)
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The Ronin's Mistress (Sano Ichiro #15)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A brilliant new twist on the fabled tale of the 47 Ronin, from an author with "a painter's eye for the minutiae of court life [and] a politican's ear for intrigue." --The New York Times Book Review

Japan, 1703. On a snowy night, 47 warriors murder the man at the center of the scandal that turned them from samurai into masterless ronin two years before. Clearly this was an
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Hardcover, 324 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published 2011)
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D. T.
Longtime readers of the series should find this another satisfying installment to the story. The usual trappings are here: an intriguing murder, the malevolent machinations of übervillain Yanagisawa, the threat to Sano of the destruction of his family/way of life, all told with the usual fast-paced plotting in a well-constructed, immersive world. The story, which revolves around the historical and legendary story of the forty-seven ronin, adds another welcome air of reality to the story. Fifteen...more
Serge Pierro
Laura Joh Rowland delivers yet another excellent book in the Sano Ichiro series. This time she uses the story of the 47 Ronin as the basis for this book - adding her own little twists and turns - and the results are wonderful.

She has grown tremendously as a writer from her earlier work, and both Sano, and in particular, Reiko, have both become solid characters. Of course, Yanagisawa and his son Yoritomo, are still around wreaking havoc in Sano's life.

But, the character who is starting to beco...more
Svenja
I really really enjoyed this case, there were books in this series that i read and thought i would be done with this and not come back but i always do,because even if the cases are not brilliant/interesting all the time, the setting and characters always are.
In this book the case IS interesting though so i enjoyed it even more.
The only thing that somehow got old a bit is how Sano ALWAYS has to be worried about how the case might end his career because Yanagisawa is ALWAYS trying to bring him dow...more
Vic
Laura Rowland saved most of the action in The Ronin's Mistress for the last fifty pages with an almost painfully slow build up. In general I thought her writing was fairly mediocre and the story predictable. However, I love her characters and I have been following Sano from book one. I have enjoyed seeing all of the characters develop as they age and can't believe the wimpy Shogun is still in business.

The Ronin's Mistress, like all the preceding books paints a picture, or interpretation, of life...more
Raven
I received this book for free through a First Reads giveaway.

When I first started this book I did not know it was the latest book in a series when I found out I wasn't sure what to expect. After reading this book I find myself wanting to read more of this series. Honestly I'm not much into Mystery type books but this one kept my attention and was a great read. This book is set in feudal Japan which was one of the drawing points for me. This book doesn't seem to have much reference from the earli...more
Iejones
What can I say about Sano? I LOVE him!!!!!!!!! The palace is full of selfish and corrupt people however, there are people like Sano who live for Bushido and triumph in the end. Using the historical backdrop of the real stories the 47 Ronin - Rowland explains that there are moments in the historical record that have left knowing the unshakeable truth - impossible. Her fictionalized accounting takes the reader through the worlds of poverty, women and palace peculiarities possible but seemingly uni...more
Kristen
Laura Joh Rowland writes historical fiction right. She's chosen a place and an era, Japan in 1703, and seems to know it as well as you and I know 2011, from fur-lined kimonos to ritual suicide. The Ronin's Mistress is also page-turning suspense: Rowland's hero, the detective and former court chamberlain, Sano, must get to the heart of a bloody vendetta that left the court's master of etiquette decapitated.

Sano's nemesis, the deadly and corrupt Yanagisawa, is now chamberlain and is angling to ge...more
Sensitivemuse
I’m still a loyal reader of Sano Ichiro novels. I love them. I love the mystery, the political intrigue and how Sano is always dangling by the thread but manages to save the day but there’s always something looming around the corner where he’ll be dangling by a thread again.

This one was good, loyal readers will enjoy this and new readers will also like this. Background information on the 47 ronin helps a bit but not necessary. The title is a bit misleading, the Mistress is mentioned, but she do...more
Sallee
In this Sano and Reiko Ichiro feudal Japan mystery we find that the couple live daily with the threat that the Sho-gun will punish them and that punnishment might be losing thier lives. Sano is still in a demoted position of Most Honorable Inspector of Events, Situations, and People while his enemy, Yanagiswa, the current Chaberlain, second in command to the Sho-gun is doing everything in his power to discredit Sana and get him executed or banished. In 1703, two years before this story takes pl...more
R.J. Murphy
I was very happy to have won this book from the Goodreads giveaways. This is an enjoyable mystery.

Set in 1700's Feudal Japan, Sano Ichiro is given the task of finding the truth behind a murder committed by forty-seven masterless samurai (called ronin.) Other then give us the clue that starts the investigation, the ronin's mistress from the title doesn't really do very much. Sano, his wife and son take the reader from clue to clue in a mannerr equal to any of the great literary detectives. The s...more
Patricia
Such a fun series, this is a Japanese take on the medieval mystery genre. If you like Cadfael or Sister Frevisse, you may like Sano Ichiro. Rowland captures Japanese landscapes beautifully and mixes in bits of Japanese history and culture that are entertaining. I especially enjoyed the way she tried to explain the mystery of the 47 ronin. She includes the sorts of martial arts duels that recall Miyamoto Musashi, and her ladies are more reminiscent of Onna bugeisha, than they are of typical court...more
Clark
I've read four of Rowland's Sano Ichiro series and this is the best one so far. Rowland incorporates the legend of the 47 ronin and creates an intriguing mystery against the backdrop of the Tokugawa Shogunate at the dawn of the 18th century. Yanasigawa and the recently demoted Sano find themselves on opposite ends of the case. Are the ronin heroes -- or criminals? Political forces within the Court and societal pressures in the streets of Edo threaten to cause a rift in the regime.

If you're a fan...more
David A. Miller
The 47 Loyal Retainers retold again

Rowland effectively mixes actual historical events with her samurai detective Sano Ichiro to retell the famous story of the group of former samurai from Ako province who slew the man who caused their "daimyo" (lord) to die in disgrace.
I would have liked to see Rowland do more research into the history of that time and use the correct terms of address and Japanese vocabulary, exemplified by Lucia S. Robinson's "Tokaido Road".
Viccy
Sano and Reiko are back and solving mysteries. There is a legend in Japanese history regarding 47 ronin who went to their death after avenging their master. This story fleshes out the back story and gives the reader much more history about Edo and the Tokugawa shogunate. Lord Asano draws his weapon in the Edo Palace, which is forbidden, and he is forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide)as a result and his estate is dissolved, making his samurai warriors into ronin, or masterless samurai. Two ye...more
Susan
One of the things I liked most about this particular story is the picture of Edo in winter - the weather, the clothing, the landscape, etc.

Rowland has chosen to incorporate the legend of the 47 ronin with her series and provides one possibility for the background to the incident, which is renowned in Japanese culture. Sano's well-being and that of his family and retainers is at a low, and the Shogun charges him with discovering the explanation/truth behind the behavior of the 47 ronin, 47 samura...more
Kjirsten
I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I had never read a book from this series and was not sure what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will read more of the Sano Ichiro series. Set in feudal Japan, Sano Ichiro has only a short time to solve the mystery of why the 47 ronin waited two years to exact their revenge upon the man that was at the center of the scandal that caused them to become masterless ronin. I enjoyed the historical descriptions of feudal Japan and the ch...more
Tammy Ramey
although i don't usually read this type of book i was grabbed and pulled into the story from the first page. i found myself intrigued and fasinated by the historical facts in the story and the characters were a joy to get to know and watch them grow into their own.this was a truly wonderful book. the characters were intriguing and full of depth and vitallity. it was very easy to become emotionally connected to each of the characters and to empathize with them and what they were going through. th...more
Caroline
This is a stronger story than the previous book in the series, but still not up to snuff with where this series used to be. The 47 ronin story does make for an interesting mystery, and I did like that she used so many conflicting stories and perspectives within the narrative, staying in the spirit of the still-mystery surrounding the famous events.

Masahiro is finally getting to be something other than an annoying plot device, though, which is a positive aspect of where this series is going. Up u...more
Maura
This was a good book in the Sano series. It was not my personal favorite though. The family is paying for the bad blood between Sano and his rival Yanagasiwa and his son. It is a little sad since we know how honorable and dedicated Sano is. The plot was just not may favorite either. You spend the whole book trying to figure out if the soldier in charge left his family to keep them safe or because he didn't like his wife. I did not like the mistress either. As much as I am complaining this book i...more
Miste
Lastest in the Sano Ichiro detective series. I think this is about the 11th book or something. I enjoy this series. It is an easy, light read which can be read in a few days. Rowland does a good job of bringing the characters & time to life. She has added a bit of martial art mysticism with one of her characters that I can't say I find very believable. It would be okay of this was a fantasy series of books, but it is meant to be historical fiction so the mysticism is a tad bothersome for me...more
Nicki
I won this through Goodreads' First Reads Program. I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't read any of the previous books in the series, but I will now. The characters were fresh and realistic, and the book didn't take too long to read. Something I really liked was that the author knows her stuff about feudal Japan. I knew nothing about it, but she explained it really well and gave me a holistic view of the time period. The book was fast-paced and interesting. I loved it!
Potsdam Public
A great book, and timely as a major motion picture is also released. Beautifully told fiction, but historically accurate.
Thanks!
George
#15 in Sano Ichiro samurai historical mystery series. Novel opens in February, 1703. The story revolves around the Japanese story of the 47 ronin which the author uses to craft a mystery in which Sano investigates why the incident happened. As usual in this series, Sano's future is at stake as he investigates and everything is complicated by the rivalry between Sano and Yanagisawa who continues to be Sano's antagonist and determined to destroy Sano.
Carol
Another exciting mystery set in Feudal Japan. The main characters serve the shogun and are always involved with palace intrigue. This story was about 47 Ronin, which are Samuri that do not have a master. They revenge their master's death, which was very unusual in Japan at that time, causing a big investigation. I have read all the books in this series and I think they continue to improve and are always a fun read.
Tom Tran
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
I enjoyed the historical fiction of feudal Japan and the fact that the book was based on the actual 47 ronin. However, I thought it moved like a slow soap opera and nothing picked up until the last 50 pages. This is my first read of the series and I'm not sure if the mystic warrior thing is a recurrent theme, but I found it annoying and clashing with the rest of the book.
Ruth
Wonderful depiction of life in the 1700s in Japan. The way the samurai code affects daily life for everyone from royalty to servants comes to life. There are times when the story becomes heavy and slow moving because of the details of court life and intrigue. This is part of a series featuring Inspector Sano Ichiro. I'm likely to read other stories in the series.
Richard
This was an interesting and rather compelling treatment of the "47 Samurai" legend, involving Rowland's familiar set of characters from this series. She wove the whole together in a nice way. I particularly liked the various contradictory stories and how they worked out. Also I enjoyed the little side plot involving 11 year-old Masahiro (Sano's son).
Monica
Liked the vivid descriptions of life in the Edo palace in the early 1700's and learning something about the background story - which is true - of the 47 ronins who avenged their master's death. But the story was sort of halfway between soap opera and fairy tale and the mystic warrior thing didn't work for me at all.
J. Alton
The dialog sounds too modern to be realistic. And I doubt that anyone who served an absolute ruler, in this case the Shogun of 18th Century Japan, would survive to be "suspected" of treason long enough to participate in the events covered of this book. Still, it is interesting enough to continue reading.
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Granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, Laura Joh Rowland grew up in Michigan and where she graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and a Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She currently lives in New Orleans with her husband. She has worked as a chemist, microbiologist, sanitary inspector and quality engineer.
More about Laura Joh Rowland...
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