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

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  665 Ratings  ·  68 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
Hardcover, 513 pages
Published January 30th 1991 by Ballantine Books (T) (first published January 1st 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,093)
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May 03, 2011 Charmayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ever been so down on your luck after your father was politically assassinated that you went and sold yourself to a brothel as a high-class courtesan to hide from his enemies? Me neither (my dad is just just fine, thanks!), but Lady Asano, otherwise known as Cat, has recently fallen from grace in those exact circumstances and figures she doesn't have anywhere else to go.

A dish of poisoned blowfish and a dead client shatter her life as a courtesan at the House of the Carp. Once again, Cat is on th
Jan 30, 2012 Shari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 19, 2012 Jindra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
"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
Mar 29, 2015 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tokaido Road
by Lucia St. Clair Robson
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 o
May 09, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book. I learned about it because it received a high rating on Smart Bitches 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
Jul 04, 2011 Priya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2012 3GirlsMom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I gave up on this half way through.. honestly it all started rather fascinating and stayed like that until page 120 and then I began to skim the pages. I think the main problem was my lack of general knowledge concering the history of feudal Japan. Also after reading some of the reviews on goodreads I found that I wasn't the only one struggling with the unwarranted length of this novel. One benefit came out of this: I will start reading some more books about this era in Japan. I really found it ...more
Cheli Scott
Nov 20, 2013 Cheli Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Jan 18, 2010 Bill Currie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Winter Alley
Oct 30, 2015 Winter Alley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2015 Jjlupa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things this book made me do:
1. Order a copy of Musashi's Five Rings.
2. Read poetry.
3. Not get any sleep until I finished.

This is an absolute joy to read... neither too thick, nor too thin. Well paced, in a wonderful setting.

Interesting book and a fascinating look at 17th-century Japan, but too bloody long by half.

I loved the beginning: to avenge her father, Lady Asano (aka Cat) goes on a journey along the Tokaido. She's alone, she wears a bunch of different disguises, she fights off hirelings, she meets lots of interesting people. At some point she picks up a country girl who becomes her servant and/or friend. Yay, roadtrip! The description of Japan and its customs is very detailed and I enjoyed all the attention t
Nicholas Jasper
Feb 15, 2014 Nicholas Jasper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Heh, I've been reading a lot of road trip novels lately.
This one turned out to be a pleasant surprise, quite charming and memorable. Very well researched, too.
There are multiple POV characters but most chapters are from the heroine's point of view.

Her journey along the Tōkaidō - at the very beginning of the 18th century - is being told in all its detail. So if you just want to read a fast-paced, action-packed samurai story, then The Tōkaidō Road probably isn't the right one for you.

P.S. The hero
Marty Nicholas
Nov 16, 2012 Marty Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 07, 2014 *Patty* rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 27, 2015 Jenni rated it really liked it
This book really just made me want to go to Japan. I know it's set hundreds of years ago, but still. It painted such a rich picture of the Japanese culture and customs of the time. I could practically taste the food and smell the crisp mountain air. The author spared no detail in describing everything. It made for such a beautiful book. The story of Cat's thirst for justice and revenge and the journey she takes along the Tokaido Road was an interesting one. While the basic premise of the story w ...more
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
Aug 21, 2013 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, lit-general
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
Erin Markel
Feb 01, 2013 Erin Markel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 21, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 11, 2016 MamaT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorite stories. It has romance & adventure. Set in Ancient Japan, a geisha runs away, disguised as a man, to seek vengence for her father's death. I place this up with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon for intrigue, adventure, romance. An all around "goodread"!
Sam Grace
Feb 26, 2013 Sam Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre, she-has-eggs, poc
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
Jul 11, 2014 Sara Murphy rated it it was amazing
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
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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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