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Bundori (Sano Ichiro #2)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,485 Ratings  ·  70 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
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published April 7th 1998 by Villard (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,355)
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Jul 04, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
Aug 05, 2012 Doreen rated it really liked it
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
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
Feb 05, 2015 Kala rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: east-asian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2009 Craig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Jun 23, 2014 Linda Bridges rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
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
Mar 18, 2016 CarolB rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story picks up the life and times of Sano Ichiro where "Shinju" left off. He's still unpopular with his peers, but this time they are all in the castle of the shogun. His nemesis is the shogun's chamberlain and former and/or part-time lover. The crime is the ritual beheading and display of heads of a string of people. A mysterious woman, Aoi, whose name I can't begin to figure out how to pronounce, is a ninja who may or may not have soothsaying skills. I learned more about the rigidity and ...more
Steve Sarrica
Our second outing with investigator Sano Ichiro. The lush description of the historical setting is a big plus. We learn more about bushido and its inherent limitations for our honorable protagonist when he has to deal with those who are superior in rank, but who are without honor. The mystery is pretty good, but the resolution is somewhat predictable. Some of the concluding action stretched what should have been physically possible given the situation. Some characters are excellently drawn and t ...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
May 27, 2015 Guyada rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No disappointment after the first book in the series (Shinju). Introducing ninjas to the story is a good move. Sano is a likeable character without any special skills - very human, unlike his many Oriental counterparts. Actually, he does not use any ingenious deduction either. Consequences lead him to the solution which the reader sometimes has to sheepishly follow. That is, in my opinion, the weak link in the stories. Many times, the characters think like people today but the historical backgro ...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
Apr 13, 2012 Rincewind rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
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,
Jul 25, 2014 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 28, 2011 Aidan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2015 Karyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series set in feudal Japan. The characters are well developed and engaging, great stories and I love the background and learning about Japan in this time period, social customs, dress, behavior, government structure.
Sep 13, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
An excellent mystery and moving explication of medieval Japan. Sano's career moves forwar, but at a great price. Rowland is great at depicting the culture of the Shogunate period, especially the tension between cultural expectations and the emotional reality of her characters.
Dec 22, 2008 Iejones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joel Champion
2nd book in sano ichiro series. falls in love. hereditary blood debts. Sano gets affluent. Mansion, servants, retainer, paired with hi class wife.
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
Alica Johnson
Jun 28, 2012 Alica Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-mystery
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
Sue Mccormack
Mar 06, 2016 Sue Mccormack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an intriguing series as it is based in feudal Japan in the late 17th century. The main character is a samurai Sano Ichiro that has saved the Shogun and been appointed a special detective. I like these really historical crime novels because there is no DNA, CSI, etc. Often the stories are woven with real events in history. The author does a good job of presenting the geography and culture of the time. Be warned - these are graphic in terms of violence and sex. Because of the times activit ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Amazing addition to the series
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
Sep 22, 2014 Gwendolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
unputdownable! off to The Way of the Traitor.
Mar 23, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good story that was yarned with more purpose and with few surprise twists
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Sano Ichiro (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1)
  • The Way of the Traitor  (Sano Ichiro, #3)
  • The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro, #4)
  • The Samurai's Wife (Sano Ichiro, #5)
  • Black Lotus (Sano Ichiro, #6)
  • The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (Sano Ichiro, #7)
  • The Dragon King's Palace (Sano Ichiro, #8)
  • The Perfumed Sleeve (Sano Ichiro, #9)
  • The Assassin's Touch (Sano Ichiro, #10)
  • Red Chrysanthemum (Sano Ichiro, #11)

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