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The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan
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The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  490 ratings  ·  56 reviews
So lonely am I
My soul is a floating weed
Severed at the roots


This is how Lady Asano has felt since the forced suicide execution of her father. Adrift in a dangerous world, Lady Asano vows to avenge her father's death and restore his name to honor. to do so, she will have to travel the Tokaido Road.

Lucia St. Clair Robson is renowned for her beautifully written and carefully
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Hardcover, 513 pages
Published January 30th 1991 by Ballantine Books (T)
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Martial Fiction
117th out of 127 books — 105 voters
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Best Novels About Japan
21st out of 22 books — 27 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,259)
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Charmayne
This was a very pleasant surprise for me, I loved this book and I have reread it several times. I might have to add it to my list of need to read again books now that I've brought it out of the dust. I have always loved Japan and this was a very colorful and detailed book about feudal Japan. I love history lessons any time they are interesting to read, this one was. The love story between the two main characters was beautiful. Danger, adventure, revenge, swords, true love, what more could you as ...more
Shari
This is a great book to read if you are interested in learning about Japan during the Edo period. The author actually lived in Japan, carefully researched the time, and traveled the Tokaido Road itself. The story is filled with fascinating details about how the ordinary people of the time lived - their day-to-day activities, food, traveling, method of worship and many others. The blurb on this copy read like a Harlequin romance, but the story is very far from it. It is actually based on a true s ...more
Jindra
Hard to put down - and, my goodness, I can hardly wrap my head around the complicated rules of 17th century Japan! Thoroughly researched, gripping, and very interesting.
Scott
"The Tokaido Road" is, at first glance, a road trip wrapped around a tale of revenge . . . and a beautiful one, at that.

Lady Asano, nicknamed "Cat," is a gorgeous, refined daughter of a samurai lord who was betrayed and forced to commit suicide. We first meet Cat, who has been forced to work as a courtesan thanks to her family's disgrace, as she stares at a dead "client," who died eating a poisoned dish meant for her. Within moments, Cat uses her ingenuity to escape her brothel and begin her jou
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Theresa
The Tokaido Road is a break for Lucia St Clair Robson from her adventures in the American Revolution, and the American tragedy of the Trail of Tears. The Tokaido Road is a dynamic story showing the ideology of Feudal Japan. The complex characters and use of imagery, poetry, and art bring to life the noble Japanese spirit. I will add this as another in my collection to be placed with Memoires of a Geisha, Life of a Geisha, and the tale of Genji, the tale of Murasaki.... The Tokaido Road is travel ...more
Elizabeth
Wonderful book. I learned about it because it received a high rating on Smart Bitches http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.co... but it took until almost the end for me to determine why it might be considered a romance novel.

Lady Asano, aka Cat, escapes her life as a courtesan and takes to the Tokaido road to travel to find her Sensei and seek his help in avenging her father's death. She is chased by her father's enemies and a ronin (former samarai) sent be the house where she worked. Along the w
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Priya
This proves that while I might teach Asian history and quite enjoy reading about history (in real life), novels about East Asia are not for me. For a story based on a real life event (and one that has been represented in song/theatre/film multiple times), this novel had nothing much that was new to add. Maybe it was revolutionary in its time (1991) but, 20 years later, it's not aged well. The first 100 pages or so plod along, much like Lady Asano (or Cat). The last part picks up a bit but, by th ...more
3GirlsMom
Not sure what my fascination is with feudal or just slightly post-feudal Japan, but the Floating World is fascinating. In this story, the heroine Cat does more than float. She's well-trained in swordsmanship and in the duties of the daughter of a disgraced father. She undertakes her own vendetta and hurries along the Tokaido road in pursuit of Lord Kira who is responsible for her father's death. As in any road story, from Chaucer onward, the fellow travelers become the story. Some aim to prevent ...more
Cheli Scott
This book was rich, lush, and well researched. It pulled you into a complicated family drama, but was action packed. The romance was beautiful, but not soppy. It was a long read, but I hardly noticed and when I finished it I wanted more! I suggest it for anyone who likes historical fiction and intricate detail. A must read for new adult women, because it was both empowering and sexy!
Bill Currie
After reading The Tale of Genji i have become fascinated by historical Japan with it's customs and Samurai culture. This takes you for a tour of Japan as the main female character follows the Tokaido Road with such descriptive narrative that you feel each battle she fights in order to find justice for her family.

You won't be disappointed.
Marceline Smith
This has been sitting around for ages but I finally read it and enjoyed it a lot; it’s a retelling of the famous 47 ronin tale of old Japan. It has clearly been meticulously researched for realism so it’s a nice look into Japanese customs as well as an epic tale. I wonder if they made it into a film.
Nicholas Jasper
I don't know how many time I have read this book. If I had to pick my favorite book this one might very well be it. It is lots of fun, lots of action and historically accurate. It is about the 47 ronin whom the Japanese revere above all others. The hilarious thing about this book is that it violates my most closely help prejudices! I am very seldom a reader of books written by women. The author of this book is a woman. I NEVER read adventure books wherein the hero is a woman. The hero of this bo ...more
Marty Nicholas
Picked this up off the bargain table. Sat around for ages...Excellent, Well written, based on the 47 Ronin tale.
Rebecca Huston
Sadly, this one I could not finish. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get into this one.
Mike
Great historical fiction that brings in a possible back story surrounding the 47 Samurai.
*Patty*
Questo romanzo si ricollega alla vicenda dei 47 ronin (samurai senza padrone) e della loro vendetta ai danni dell'uomo che ha provocato la morte del loro signore. L'autrice incentra le vicende sul personaggio inventato di Gatta, figlia di secondo letto del defunto, che intraprende un lungo e pericoloso viaggio attraverso la Tokaido, l'unica via che collegava Edo (oggi Tokyo) a Kyoto per reclamare il suo diritto di vendicare la memoria del padre.
Quattro stelline sia per la narrazione ma soprattut
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Carole Rae
As you can tell, it took me forever to finish this one. Why? I have three good reasons. 1)It was a pretty big book with 544 pages of small print. 2)The small print gave me headaches. And 3) The first...300 pages kept putting me to sleep. I'm not kidding, which is the sad thing.

When I heard about this book I was really excited and I couldn't wait to read it! Many people compared it to 'The Snow Fox' and said so many good things about it! It's never good to go into a book with expectations and unf
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Phil
This historical novel was a mixed bag. It had the best sense of place of any Westerner-penned novel about feudal Japan I've read and the characters were appealing, but its length and incredibly slow pace as well as the relatively unexciting plot hurt an otherwise appealing book.

This book was incredibly well-researched. I'm fairly well-versed in the Edo period and fluent in Japanese, and I could find very few nits to pick. The author demonstrated such a broad grasp of Japanese history that I was
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Erin Markel
The Tokaido Road is a vividly written slice of life in feudal Japan, with a heaping dose of suspense and action mixed in, topped with a sprinkling of romance. Although the book is long and the writing can be dense, the story was never predictable and was packed with enough action to keep me wanting to know what would happen next. Plus I left the book feeling like I'd been treated to a master class on 18th century Japanese culture and society.

After the treachery of Lord Kira causes the execution
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Michelle
This is an old favorite and the second time I've read this book. Yes, it is still as exciting to read the second time around, and I can count the number of books I've read twice on one hand. Set in feudal japan, it's about a female (if you will) warrior whose is on a quest to avenge her fathers death, which can only be achieved by traveling the Takaydo Road and finding her sensei. She has many adventures on this trip including the one she leasts expects. My kind of romance! But primarily this is ...more
Sam Grace
This is one of the books I have enjoyed rereading many times over the years, and expect to enjoy a lot longer. It is not, however, one of the books I often recommend to other people. I love the world-building in it, though I know so little about the historical context that I have no idea if it is accurate. I love the impatient, arrogant, extremely accomplished, and definitely still flawed main character - though I totally understand why many people would not like her at all, or even find her fla ...more
Clearwater Public Library Staff Picks
an amazing adventure of a lone woman along the Tokaido Road which ran between Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. This is also a tale of vengeance and romance. If you want an aborsbing read, this is a good book for it.
Sara Murphy
Deeply engrossing and well-written. The action and plot keep the reader engaged throughout the novel and her technique makes it easy to visualize a time period from long ago and in a strange, distant land. Having read several novels set in Japan from all time periods, I must say this is on my top ten list. Some of the most compelling action I have read can be found in this book and the ending, where she describes the scene of the 47 ronin descending on their enemies castle to exact revenge is th ...more
Ann Dahlheim
Enjoyed for many readings. Just as good the first time as last. Details about feudal Japan, the Hidden World and Samurai, especially Ronin woven into story. The kind of book you don't want to end.
Mary Zambales
Like what a lot of people have mentioned, this book starts off pretty slowly. It does, however, pick up in the middle. My one main gripe, though, is the main character. Personally, I found Cat too arrogant for my liking. I know she's the daughter of the samurai and all, but it's hard to root for someone who thinks she's better than everyone. The fact that she's so accomplished in everything, as someone had previously noted, makes her unbelievable as well. Only when she warms up to Kasane does Ca ...more
Jacqie
I like historical fiction, but I think this book just hasn't aged especially well. I'm usually all for description, but this book actually managed to be too granular in description of dress, setting, etc, even for me. The characters felt very distant- I couldn't really empathize with them, although they sometimes did interesting things.

You'd think the theme of a young woman impersonating a man to escape a brothel in order to avenge her father would be exciting, but the book seemed very slow pac
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Jenny
It was a gorgeous journey and the author really knows how to make a hero you want to drool about.
Bibliophile
A wonderful, engrossing mixture of a picaresque novel, a Bildungsroman and a love story set in early 18th century Japan, in which a young woman embarks on a quest to avenge her father's unjust death.
Scott Gillespie
Loved it. But then I have a bias toward any story centring on Japan, particularly when the author has taken pains to ensure as high a degree of historical accuracy as possible.

The book looses it's way a bit toward the end and fizzles rather than ending with a bang but by then the reader is already the benefactor of a pretty good story well told.

I have no idea as to the accuracy of the many poems/haiku quoted in the book but they are an enjoyable spice added to the story.
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Lucia St. Clair Robson has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a teacher and a librarian. Her first historical novel, RIDE THE WIND, appeared on the New York Times best seller list, and in 1983 received the Golden Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Since then she has written seven more novels set in a variety of times and places. Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Few novelists working today have a bet ...more
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