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Blade of the Samurai (Shinobi Mystery #2)

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  53 reviews
June, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori receives a pre-dawn visit from Kazu, a fellow shinobi working undercover at the shogunate. Hours before, the shogun’'s cousin, Saburo, was stabbed to death in the shogun’s palace. The murder weapon: Kazu’s personal dagger. Kazu says he’s innocent, and begs for Hiro’s help, but his story gives Hiro reason to doubt the young shinobi’s cl ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 645)
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Erin
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I felt I'd come late to the party when I picked up Susan Spann's Blade of the Samurai. Every review said her sophomore release was better than her debut and there I was jumping into book two, one eyebrow raised, wondering what the hell everyone was going on about. I'd never heard of the author, wasn't familiar with the series, was slightly wary of all the praise, and wasn't feeling it as I moved through the first few chapter
...more
Julianne Douglas
BLADE opens in sixteenth-century Kyoto a year after undercover ninja Matsui Hiro and Jesuit priest Father Mateo successfully solved a first murder case. The action moves from the local entertainment district to the shogunate, where Ashikaga Saburo, the shogun's cousin, has been found stabbed to death in his office a few days before the expected visit of an enemy warlord. The shogun, loath to exhibit any weakness before his visiting adversary and impressed by Hiro and Fr. Mateo's demonstrated inv ...more
Mieneke
I first became aware of Susan Spann when I came across her first novel Claws of the Cat last year. It immediately pinged a lot of the alerts on my radar: historical fiction, a murder mystery and an interesting setting in feudal Japan. Unfortunately I never came across the book, so I missed out on picking it up, but when I was approached about reviewing the second one I knew I had to say yes. For those of you who like me haven’t read the previous book: don’t worry Blade of the Samurai stands alon ...more
Michelle/ The True Book Addict
This mystery was intricately planned out and executed and to set it in 16th century Japan with such mastery of the time period is amazing. The reader is transported. As I'm reading, I'm seeing in my mind's eye the Shogunate, the town, Hiro and Father Mateo's house. It's this excellent imagery that really brings one into the story. And there are elements of surprise...and even whimsy. Case in point - the foreshadowing in this scene I will share here had me thinking that something alarming was abo ...more
Rosalind Hartmann
This is book 2 of the Samurai series by Susan Spann. Last year I happened upon Book 1 ‘Claws of the Cat‘ on netgalley and was genuinely entertained and amazed. As before, you are introduced to Hiro and Father Mateo, very much the Holmes and Watson of 16th century Japan. For every calculated step the shinobi takes, Father Mateo unknowingly stumbles with genuine curiosity and innocence at the very structured Japan culture of the samurai.



Father Mateo has been allowed to teach Christianity to one of
...more
Harvee
I enjoyed this second book as much as the first - the unusual main characters - a ninja (shinobi) investigator and a Portuguese Jesuit priest, the historical setting, the involved customs and politics of sixteenth century Japan, and the code of the samurai and the ninja. Also intriguing are how Hiro and Father Mateo go about their investigation, the people they interview, and the clues they put together to arrive at the surprising conclusion. Well written and plotted, this is an exciting new ser ...more
Ryan G
I've been sitting here trying to figure out what to say about Blade of the Samurai. Much like the last book I reviewed, All I Love and Know by Judith Frank, I'm of two mind on this one. Where a relationship flaw threw me in that previous book, it's the setting that I'm having a hard time with in this one.

Part of the reason why I wanted to read Blade of the Samurai, was because of how much I enjoyed the first book in the Sugawara Akitada series by I.J. Parker, The Dragon Scroll. It's another ser
...more
Kathleen
Susan Spann is an excellent writer and clearly knows this specific era in 16th century Japan. It is always up to me to remember the hereditary occupations of the characters, a trick when reading on my kindle where flipping to the author's fine glossary.

This mystery like the prior one was a very fine read. You will meet many new characters but only a few survived the multilayered mysteries that swirled around 16th century Kyoto. Our heroes and other characters got little sleep as they traveled b
...more
Jennifer Laam
As with Book One of this series, I love how Susan Spann brings the world of 16th century Japan to life in her tense mysteries. Her Shinobi detective Hiro is a steady presence with a hint of darkness in his past and an intriguing take on the world around him. Father Mateo is a memorable character as well. I particularly enjoyed his display of courage in this story...let's just say he is one tough guy. And of course I can't resist Gato's antics. Great read for fans of mysteries and historical nove ...more
Princess
I highly recommend this book, it keep you want to turn the page to find out, who is the killer in this historical suspense novel!! I will post more about this novel on the 30th !!!
Katherine
A First Reads giveaway from Goodreads, this was just a delightful mystery set in 16th century Japan. The plot is interesting and the setting unfamiliar enough to keep the reader engrossed. The second in a series involving a ninja warrior and a Portuguese Jesuit priest for whom he is responsible. In this episode, a high ranking clerk of the Shogun is found murdered and Hiro and Father Mateo are requested by the Shogun to find the murderer before the arrival of Lord Oda, an enemy of the Shogun. If ...more
Marlene
Originally published at Reading Reality

Blade of the Samurai takes place one year after the successful conclusion of the case that marked the opening book in this terrific series, Claws of the Cat.

Just like Claws of the Cat, the mystery in Blade of the Samurai is steeped in Japanese politics and culture. At the same time, the possible suspects for the murder include many whose motives are purely personal.

It is up to the shinobi Hiro to determine the real killer. In this case, he is drawn into the
...more
LuAnn
I kind of jumped at the chance to read and review "Blade of the Samurai". I grew up with a crush on Richard Chamberlain in the mini-series of James Clavell's "Shogun" on tv. I even remember a half-dozen or so words in Japanese from watching the drama.

With all the character names and Japanese terms in the book, it could have been easy to get somewhat lost, but Ms. Spann does a good job of making it clear what the terms mean so her readers can become involved with the story itself.

Some might find
...more
Ashley
Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann is a complex thrilling mystery set in 16th century Japan. Japan, especially during this particular era, has such a rich and complicated history that it’s always a challenge for non-Japanese authors to truly capture the essence of the culture. Spann more than impressed me with her attention to the historical details and her ability to truly transport readers back to another era. Any reservations I had about Blade of the Samurai were erased before I had finished ...more
Alex Hughes
4 and a quarter stars out of 5

Susan Spann’s second Shinobi book, Blade of the Samurai, is, if anything, better written than the first. She explores new territory by having her main characters Hiro and Father Mateo investigate a murder at the shogun’s palace, with a backdrop of a plot to assassinate the shogun that must be stopped. With high stakes, great characters I loved, and an interesting setting, this one made me happy on several levels. It also stood up well to evening reading a few chapte
...more
OpenBookSociety.com
http://openbooksociety.com/article/bl...

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele

Blade of the Samurai is a magnificent portal back in time to sixteenth century Japan. Here we find Hiro, a ninja working undercover as Jesuit priest Father Mateo’s translator, called upon by the shogun to find the murderer responsible for the shogun’s cousin’s death. Suspicion initially falls on Kazu, Hiro’s fellow undercover shinobi, and Hiro himself cannot help but question his friend’s innocence. However, as he inve
...more
Patty
I did not read the first book in this series but I don't feel it was detrimental to my understanding of characters in this book. Blade of the Samurai opens with a nocturnal visit to Hiro Hattori who is a shinobi or what we would more likely call a ninja. It's his fellow shinobi Kazu who fears he will be accused of murder as his dagger has been used to kill his boss, a cousin to the Shogun. Kazu swears he is innocent but Hiro had nigglings of doubt. He and the man he protects, Father Mateo are ca ...more
Marthahusain
I came to this second Shinobi mystery by Susan Spann already familiar with her characters. So they were like old friends. The best parts of the historical aspects of this novel were the portrayal of the culture and politics of Japan. Clothing, hair, a particular transom, and floors got the lion's share of setting description. I had a hard time picturing buildings from her descriptions, though, and the general feel and smell and sounds of Kyoto didn't come through except that it was always damp a ...more
Heather Webb
Ms. Spann keeps the series going strong with her sophomore novel--there's no slump here! In fact, I enjoyed Blade even more than the first with its intricate plot, political detailing, and juicy cultural tidbits about opium, and the shogun culture. I ripped through it in two days, on the edge of my seat, barely coming up for air. This author is a rising star among mystery writers, without doubt.
Kim Rendfeld
If you’ve read “Claws of the Cat,” those characters you’ve come to love – the pragmatic Hiro, the moral and courageous Father Mateo, grumpy but good-hearted Ana, dashing Kazu, obnoxious Luis, and even the furball of energy Gato – are back. And if you’ve not read “Claws,” this novel still works as a stand-alone story.

Again, Susan Spann has written a superb tale where “just one more chapter” turns into three, and it was with reluctance that I placed the book back on the nightstand to get some sle
...more
Becky
The shogun's cousin has been murdered in his office and Hiro and Father Mateo have been asked to investigate. They agree, reluctantly, but have hidden the fact that they are both already aware of the murder. In the wee hours of the morning, and just before the body is discovered, Hiro's fellow shinobi Kazu arrived at Father Mateo's residence begging for Hiro's help. The dead man had been murdered with Kazu's own blade! Kazu swore his innocence but Hiro isn't so certain - a shinobi like himself w ...more
Laura VanArendonk Baugh
First off, this really should be a 4.5 star rating, and I'd give that if I could.

One thing Susan Spann does well — and I can’t believe how fashionably correct this is going to sound, but it’s true — is to write marginalized characters who act powerfully. In Claws of the Cat it was a woman taking a man’s role in society; in Blade of the Samurai it’s a boy on the cusp of genpuku (ceremonial coming of age). Neither is an adult male in this hierarchal patriarchy, yet both are active and interesting
...more
MaykenAlanna
After devouring CLAWS OF THE CAT a few months ago, I knew what expected me in this sequel: a trip to a faraway land, and not only in geographical terms. BLADE OF EH SAMURAI is set in medieval Japan, and any reader struggling with foreign names (of people, places and objects) will have a hard time at first. Be advised: there is an excellent glossary provided at the end of each book. (I was halfway through CLAWS OF THE CAT before I found it, and it made following the story much easier.)
In BLADE, s
...more
Kerry Schafer
I loved Claws of the Cat, and this second book in the series is even better. The mystery is tight and intricately crafted, and the characters come alive on the page. This is all in addition to the incredible immersion into a fascinating culture and historical events.
Janet
The second installment of Ms Spann's SHINOBI MYSTERY SERIES gives us a lovely, intricate glimpse into the enigmatic world of sixteenth-century Japanese politics. At a time in which honor means more than life, Shinobi (Ninja) Protector, HIRO HATTORI and his sidekick, the Jesuit priest Father Matteo, are once again thrust into a murder investigation, this time for even higher stakes.

Ms. Spann's spare, elegant prose flows off the page. Her descriptions of Kyoto and the Shogunate in the fifteen hund
...more
Lelia Taylor
Sixteenth-century feudal Japan is an exotic setting in a fascinating age for Westerners. Of course, we had our own feudal period but the cultural differences between West and East at that time were dramatic. In some ways, the medieval Japanese were more brutal, such as in the concept that a criminal’s family could suffer the same punishment in addition to, or in place of, the actual criminal. On the other hand, they placed far more emphasis than Westerners did on proper behavior.

Such is the sett
...more
Tammy Salyer
Having only read one or two mysteries prior to beginning Susan Spann's Shinobi series, I had no idea what to expect. Now, I am a huge fan! Masterfully interweaving the deeply textured 16th century Japanese culture with the subtly and intrigue of a murder mystery, Blade of the Samurai draws readers in from page one and holds on relentlessly until the last page is turned. The first book in Susan's series, Claws of the Cat, hooked me instantly with its marvelous characters and rich world, and Blade ...more
Mike
** Disclosure: I received a free promotional copy of this book (as part of First Reads). This has in no way influenced my review. **

This is the second in Susan Spann's Shinobi Mystery series. It would stand fine on its own and (smartly) does not spoil the mystery of the first book, but given the common main characters and importance of the setting it is better to read from the beginning.

Late one night master ninja Hiro Hattori is troubled by a visit from a fellow shinobi reporting trouble at the
...more
Heidi Timmons
Oh, how I missed my friends Hiro and Father Mateo! From the time between Claws of the Cat and this eARC (yay!), I would often wonder how these characters were doing in 16th century Japan. I couldn’t wait to find out and read more of their adventures.

I was also excited to see the return of my favorite supporting characters like the grumpy maid, Ana, and the likeable swindler, Luis. Not to mention the introduction of new favorites.

I love how the author weaves in Japanese language, history, religio
...more
Aimie Runyan
Susan Spann's crime-solving shinobi, Hattori Hiro, and his Dr. Watson-esque companion, Father Mateo return to the pages in BLADE OF THE SAMURAI, sequel to CLAWS OF THE CAT. As before, Spann deftly transports the reader to 16th century Japan with a solid balance of world-building and storytelling that never lets the details of the former bog down the latter.

This time, we revisit some of our favorite secondary characters--Ana the devoted housemaid, shifty merchant, Luis, and the enigmatic Kazu-- a
...more
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6539560
Author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo.

CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013)
a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month

BLADE OF THE SAMURAI (Minotaur Books, July 15, 2014)

FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER (Minotaur Books, Scheduled for July 2015)
More about Susan Spann...

Other Books in the Series

Shinobi Mystery (3 books)
  • Claws of the Cat (Shinobi Mystery, #1)
  • Flask of the Drunken Master: A Shinobi Mystery (Shinobi Mystery, #3)
Claws of the Cat (Shinobi Mystery, #1) Flask of the Drunken Master: A Shinobi Mystery (Shinobi Mystery, #3)

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