Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bundori (Sano Ichiro, #2)” as Want to Read:
Bundori (Sano Ichiro, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Bundori (Sano Ichiro #2)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,173 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The sequel to the acclaimed novel Shinju again features detective Sano Ichiro as he trails a serial killer stalking feudal Japan. In 1689, an all-powerful shogun controls the state, surrounded by bitter machinations and political intrigues. When an ancient tradition suddenly and brutally reappears, Sano risks everything to bring the killer to justice.

From the Hardcover edi...more
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published April 7th 1998 by Villard (first published 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bundori, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bundori

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,758)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Brutal, yet entirely consistent with the milieu. I thought some of the sex scenes were entirely gratuitous, but the rest of the book was solidly noir. The story of O-tama was particularly lovely in the midst of all that squalor. It's kinda weird that I feel that Sano is on a downward spiral with each book, but I guess that's why it's hard-boiled. Good stuff, with the occasional deft turn of phrase like this one, so very representative of a life lived dutifully:

"One doesn't expect to find love, a...more
Bundori is full of information about life in Japan during the samurai era, but--as in the films of the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa--the information flows naturally from the story and never once intrudes on it. Sano Ichiro is an intrepid character, and this 2nd book in the series continues a satisfying character development arc while introducing both Hirata, who becomes Sano's retainer, and also the shogun's chamberlain, a more dangerous villain than the one in Shinju. Like some others...more
Having started the stories of Sano Ichiro with Shinju, I decided to progress onto the second book instead of jumping around in the series. I found the book to be enjoyable in both its changes and singularities.

The story takes place just a couple of months after Shinju. Sano is learning his way around the ways of Edo Castle and his new lord, Tokugawa. When the Bundori killings begin (bundori is the ritual preparation of the head of one's enemy in the time of war. A war trophy), Sano is assigned t...more
This one approaches 3 stars, but didn't quite make it for me. It's a slow starter, but picks up pretty well by halfway through. The formality of the prose may fit the culture, but I think it's taken too far and leaves one not knowing the characters well (and not caring to know) as well as distancing the reader from the action. It's not a bad book at all, but doubt I care enough about this series to read further.
Linda Bridges
The second book in the is series deals with the Bundori killer. Bundori is a trophy taken after warfare and presented to the commander--in this case the severed head of the victim. A person is stalking various people in medieval Japan and it is up to investigator Sano Ichiro to find the killer quickly. However, he faces obstacles from the shogun's chamberlain that hinders his investigation. Could the chamberlain, himself, be the Bundor killer? As Sano follows the twists and turns of the case, h...more
I found Bundori to be a frustrating book, but not because of the writing, or the story, or the plot points. It was frustrating because Sano was frustrated by Bushido, the set of principles, traditions, and customs that samuari were expected to adhere to. Sano's investigation was hampered by Bushido, his love life was hampered by Bushido, his friendships, lifestyle, even his acceptance by other samuari and his place in the Shogun's employ are all hampered by Bushido. Poor Sano can't catch a break...more
John Lee
The,and my,second of the series.
First, the negatives. The reader will know from some of my other reviews, that I will mark down what I consider to be gratuitous examples of sex or violence. One example in the latter stages of the novel was so extraneous as to be almost silly.
My recent review of Shinju made play of the fact that the 'strange' names were no problem for me to understand the plot. Hand on heart, I cannot say the same here, as I soon lost who was on whose side in the historic encount...more
When a serial killer gets loose in the city of Edo, all eyes (or at least the ones that matter) turn to Sano Ichiro, who has now given up his Yoriki job for being a Sosokan-Sama. Life can't get more difficult for Ichiro. When a serial killer is seemingly the last of your problems, you are probably scraping at the bottom of the barrel. A rudderless Shogun, a jealous chancellor, a ninja femme fatale and a prospective bride and her father who is a Judge are merely a few of the speed bumps in his li...more
Bundori is the next book after Shinju (set three months later), where Sano has risen to the post of sosakan-sama, the shogun's special investigator. He is still the outsider, as he does not have the background or family connections that his peers do. He is still learning of his duties when he is assigned a puzzling case: someone has murdered one of the shogun's hereditory vassals, in an odd manner: the head was removed as though it were a war trophy, a bundori.

Sano hasn't quite the social barrie...more
Written with more heart and passion than the next installments. The author's talent for vivid description is particularly evident in the part when Sano and Hirata are looking for the killer in the Fukagawa marshes. I also thought that the bond between the two was very well done.

Other than that, the plot is pretty simplistic, the characters not memorable apart maybe from... I was going to say Madam Shimizu, but no, she turned out to be mostly cardboard. The romance was good, and by this I mean,...more
The second of the series was rather disappointing when compared to the first. The novel offered the same level of intensity but seemed to deviate further from secondary sources about the specific period. In particular, the author explores some disturbing sexual images that were unnecessary to the story's successful completion. If the description of sex is unnecessary, then it should be alluded to without description. To do otherwise is to cheapen the experience for the reader. Thus I liked it bu...more
The first Sano Inchiro book, Shinju, really grabbed me with its striking and colorful setting and an intriguing case to be solved. Rowland's follow-up manages to be even more colorful than its predecessor thanks to the gruesome set of murders that Sano is tasked with investigating (Bundori being severed heads of enemies turned into trophies), and several graphic descriptions of sexual encounters that seemed peripheral to the story.

While the story didn't achieve that same 'race against time' paci...more
I came across Laura Rowland at a used book sale - which no longer happerns - those bookish folks in the WDC area remember the Good Will booksale - sniffle. Nevertheless, this author is great! Her first book in the series Shingju caught my attention for trite reasons - the cover - the gilded gold leaf and ornate Japanese design. My affinity for her work has me still in love!! 13 books later!! The most recent Fire Kimono is on my shelf with Toni Morrison and others. The best thing about Laura's wo...more
Years ago, I read Shinju, the first book in Rowland's series of historical mysteries set in Tokugawa-era Japan (late 17th century) and having Sano Ichiro, a samurai who becomes a sort of official detective for the shogun. This is the second book in the series, and I enjoyed it even more than I did the first one. The murders and the motives behind them are very interesting, and draw on aspects of Edo era Japanese culture such as reverence for one's ancestors. Sano's investigation and its obstacle...more
I love the historical information of the period (1689) BUT this is not a fast-moving, edge-of-your-seat mystery. Sano, young samurai in a period when they're not needed, is utterly bound up in honor to parents, bushido and the emperor, but surrounded by people in thrall to hereditary positions and unwilling to stick up for honesty and truth. He has to solve a murder, eventually a series of murders, basically without any help from the powers that be. Slow going but somehow worth reading to the en...more
Okay historical mystery set in 17th century Japan. The plot of the book often references real life events like the murder of Nobunaga Oda. I liked the historical backdrop, and I liked Sano, even though sometimes his strict adherence to bushido reads like pigheaded stubbornness. My favourite character was Hirata, and I'm curious to find out more about Reiko, but I don't know if I'll keep reading. The scenes with Yanagisawa were really skeevy... I don't think there was any need to describe him hav...more
When bumma was in the Hospice Center, where cancer finally claimed her June 28, 2009, I was at her bedside reading. The Hospice Center had a wonderful abundance of books, so when I'd finish mine, I'd exchange it for one on the book exchange shelf. This was one such book. I register and release it in bumma's memory and in her honor. She was the one who instilled my love of reading and of books. She was a fantastic mom and I miss her.

I like this series a lot and have read several in it. One of my...more
Alica Johnson
This is the first Shogun era mystery I’ve ever read, and I learned so much! I did have to focus as the names of the characters and places were difficult at first to remember, but the story was so worth the effort. I was ranting to my husband when the characters would make me mad, or were unfair, I’d tell him to be quiet as new information was revealed. The characters and story telling were very engaging, add in the mystery and Laura Joh Rowland has written an amazing book. Despite the length of...more
If I had to choose the "Sherlock Holmes" of ancient feudal Japan, it would have to be Sano Ichiro. His determination to solve mysteries and willingness to commit seppuku for the truth make him a hero.

Being a Japanese literature and culture addict, I could see that the author did her best to describe ancient Japan. In fact, her descriptions were terrific. I could really feel how important Bushido was to the Japanese.

Well, it's not as amazing as Murakami's and Gaiman's metafiction-y type of writi...more
unputdownable! off to The Way of the Traitor.
What is with Laura Joh Rowland's hate boner for gay guys? Dropping this series like a ton of bricks.
Apr 24, 2014 Tom added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, r
Sano #2
Samurai Detective Sano Ichiro has 5 days to catch the killer who is decapitating his victims and impaling the head on a spike for all to see - a Bundori, or war trophy. Edo in the year 1679 is rich with suptuous castles, pleasure districts, and quiet, serence temples, but chaos reigns as the killer passes through the city like a ghost. Sano relies on his training in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, to bring down the evil culprit.
The first I've read of the 'Sano Ichiri' novels, and I quite liked it. Not a book that will change your life, but well-paced, interesting characters, and I enjoy the setting - Japan during the time of the Samurai.

The author bases all her historical references in fact, so if you are a mystery or history fan, this is a good read. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series!
Serge Pierro
Being interested in feudal japan and samurai, I find this series of books to be well researched and Rowland is able to portray the setting convincingly. The series starts off a bit rough, but she really hits her stride later in the series, as both the story and her talent blossom. Fans of the CCG Legend of the Five Rings will find this series to be very interesting!
This one is the second. Sano Ichiro is charged wtih finding the person who has decapitated a samuri. Turns out the culprit is killing folks to make up for a historical "slight". Once more, Sano faces the ongoing struggle to meld honor and justice with the challenges doing so brings. He also falls in love and not to the woman he is engaged to.
Here is a mystery set in medieval Japan with a detective who is a samurai, Sano Ichiro. Its title, Bundori, means "war trophy." The historical background, the characters of the shogun's court, the romance with a Ninja, the intriguing sleuthing all make for an exciting read. This is the 2nd of the Sano Ichiro mysteries by Rowland.
I agree with the other reviewers who have said there is way more reference to events in the previous book than necessary and that the formal language and graphic sex get in the way of the story. But I did enjoy reading a mystery set in feudal Japan, and the author seemed to have researched the period thoroughly.
Denis Gaubert
Dec 31, 2007 Denis Gaubert rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Severine
The second in Laura's Sano Ichiro mystery series, this book is, like ithe first, an excellent general introduction to 17th c. feudal Japan. I usually prefer nonfiction, but I really like Laura's style! Plus, I can say I actually know the author! (She was in my still-life painting class.)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 58 59 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Black Arrow (Sugawara Akitada, #3)
  • The Floating Girl
  • Tattoo Murder Case
  • The Master of Rain
  • Jembatan Musim Gugur (Samurai, #2)
  • Floating City (Nicholas Linnear, #5)
  • Bamboo and Blood (Inspector O, #3)
  • The Emperor's Pearl
  • Suffer Little Children (Sister Fidelma, #3)
  • Villain
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...
Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1) The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro, #4) The Samurai's Wife (Sano Ichiro, #5) Black Lotus (Sano Ichiro, #6) The Way of the Traitor  (Sano Ichiro, #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »