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The Shogun's Daughter

(Sano Ichiro #17)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  548 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Japan, 1704.  In an elegant mansion a young woman named Tsuruhime lies on her deathbed, attended by her nurse.  Smallpox pustules cover her face.  Incense burns, to banish the evil spirits of disease. After Tsuruhime takes her last breath, the old woman watching from the doorway says, “Who’s going to tell the Shogun his daughter is dead?”

The death of the Shogun's daughter
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Minotaur Books
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  548 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Sharon Chance
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was captivated by this book from the first paragraph! I have always enjoyed fiction set in the Orient, and author Laura Joh Rowland does a magnificent job of transporting her reading right into the heart of feudal Japan of the 1700's with this novel. Her descriptive style of writing plus the fascinating narrative is a thing of joy to read. And if that isn't enough to keep the reader interested, then the intriguing mystery that weaves through this story will keep them on the edge of their seats ...more
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Even though this novel and this series of detective novels is set in 18th century Japan, the dialogue is fairly modern and the characters are so well drawn that we can easily relate to them. The plot is complex and though this story is fictional, the historical background and the detailed description of setting gives us a strong sense of the time and place, the atmosphere and political culture.

I have read several of the books in the series and enjoyed being transported to feudal Japan, by story
Jenny Q
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I've been trying to broaden my reading selections a bit this year, stepping out of the realms of American and European historical fiction to check out some books that I might not have normally picked up off a shelf. I was really intrigued by the description of The Shogun's Daughter and decided to give it a try. The story delves right into mystery and intrigue as the shogun's only legitimate child, his grown daughter, Tsuruhime, dies a gruesome death from smallpox at the same time a scheming memb ...more
...treachery in Ancient Japan! ______3 1/2 stars

I have long enjoyed this series though lately have not kept up as I would've wished to.
Townsend's brilliant descriptive writing immediately transported me to Edo in Ancient Japan. The opening scenes plunged me into the horrific aspect of Edo (Tokyo) post an earthquake. All too fresh a reminder of the disastrous Tsunami of recent times.
The aftermath of the earthquake has not only weakened the buildings but has left people exhausted and dispirited. G
Heather C
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
If this is what historical fiction set in Japan looks like, I’m in! I have always been hesitant to read novels set in Asia because the culture, especially in the historical sense, is very foreign to me and there is a lot that I do not really understand going into it. I was encouraged by this novel because the blurb reads like an adventure/thriller and that would help to keep it from being too mired in a culture I am very unfamiliar with. There were moments where I wasn’t sure what the characters ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
3.5 stars. "The Shogun's Daughter" is a historical mystery that centers around a potential murder in early 1700s Japan. When the story opens, Tsuruhime, the Shogun's Daughter, is on her deathbed with a horrible case of smallpox. Her ultimate death starts a investigation into what happened and it's quickly discovered that due to some of the political forces at play, her death may not have been all that natural. It's up to Sano Ichiro to investigate what happened, which may put his own family at r ...more
Yasi Roushani
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mandy Tanksley
Seventeen books in and I'm still hooked on this series. Over the past few books, the series has taken a turn that has left me feeling let down even though I've still enjoyed each one.

The stories are still there. Rowland's richly detailed world is still intact. The change? The characters. One of my favorite characters during the series was Hirata, Sano's best friend and underling. Hirata was not a very complex character, yet he was intriguing to me. When he was injured in a previous book, I felt
Not at all what I expected, this book is a mystery inside a beautifully rendered oriental setting. Laura Joh Rowland has written a story that clips along at a good pace, meant to keep an audience turning pages for the next answer in a puzzle that stays just out of reach. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel for several reasons.

First of all, it's been a while since I read such lovely details of costumes, arts and interiors of Japan. These descriptions brought me right into the novel visually. I could
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it

I love stories set in Japan and The Shogun's Daughter does not disappoint. I had not know of the writings of Ms. Rowland prior to this and I'm so happy to have been introduced. I now have 16 books to look forward to in my spare time. (Pause for laughing fit.)

The book opens with the heartbreaking death of the Shogun's daughter which sets the intrigue in motion. And intrigue there is! The Shogun is well, not too bright and the factions within his cabinet for lack of a better word have been at war
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Continuing series of Sano Ichiro and a solid plot in an interesting early 18th century feudal world. This one starts with a death which in itself strongly colors the succession/politico power structure. They are much alike in their style of the "telling", IMHO, these Ichiro series novels. Yet not in their plots. But in the "less is more" simplistic style noted by other posters. It emits a tone, a "face" that seems to me, intrinsically Japanese. And not at all a lack in the writing ability or ski ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Listen, I appreciate an ARC as much as any person; a beautifully-appointed hardcover ARC is relatively unseen, so I eagerly cracked open Rowland’s The Shogun’s Daughter. Some background: I have a B.A. in English literature and I also began my Masters in English Literature with an emphasis on the Japanese short story; I was and still am fascinated with the mystic realism inherent in Japanese literature.[return]Rowland writes well, in the sense that her syntax flows naturally, her imagery is rich, ...more
Prima Seadiva
Feb 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Audiobook on CDs. This book felt like reading about dysfunctional suburbanite drama in Japanese drag. Other than a small amount of description on costume or the reference to bushido there little historic or cultural detail. The characters were so annoying. The preposterous dialogue was unbearable. I did not care for the reader.

I picked this up, attracted by the promise of a fictional story and historical look at 18c. Japan. I realized after that this is one of many in a series but I have no desi
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013, own
Sano sets out to investigate the murder of the shogun's daughter Tsuruhime, the power struggle between him and Yanagisawa, who has freshly reclaimed his position as chamberlain, escalates to a new degree, the shogun's nephew Ienobu strives for the position of heir and a second murder might lead to ruin for Sano's entire family. Full of conspiracy, murder and betrayal as usual, this latest installment in the Sano Ichiro series was a captivating read that was almost impossible to put down - at lea ...more
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've followed all of Sano Ichirō and co's adventures, and this is perhaps one of the most engrossing stories of the series. I just could not put the book down. Finally, Sano stands up to his idiot boss the shogun, after a decade of keeping quiet in the name of Bushido. "Your honor will be the death of us all," his wife Reiko rightfully commented. Yet, some parts were rather hard to believe, like Reiko doing all the physical activity she did while six months pregnant. And Hirata -- the whole myst ...more
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I just gave up. I love being challenged out of my historical-fiction comfort zone by Rowland and inserted into the mystery and newness of Imperial Japan but I think I was tired of it before I even knew it. Another time the family is in danger from the investigation. Another time his best friend is more of an idiot than a companion. Another weird sexual angle. Rowland is persistently well-phrased and she is able to wonderfully imagine Imperial Japan with all of its sights and smells. I hope she f ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, ipad
After having read two incredibly textured novels (Hild and How the Light Gets In) filled with layers of sensations, it was kind of like moving from a 3D world into a 2 dimensional world. Short sentences, little description beyond what is necessary to propel the plot, THE SAMURAI 's DAUGHTER read like a novel for youngsters. I will admit I enjoyed learning about the characters, and the difficulties they got themselves into, but I wanted so much more.
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the better Sano mysteries! Laura Rowland at her sharpest!
D. T.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a frustrating book. It's page-turning historical mystery with a disappointing, ridiculous, and unnecessary side plot that's soured a once very enjoyable series.

Longtime readers should be pleased enough with this penultimate installment of the Sano Ichiro novels. The mystery is well-plotted and fast paced, but this time, the usual life-and-death stakes are ratcheted up just about as high as they can go. Palace intrigue and political machinations get a thorough workout all the way through to
I had actually forgotten about this series for quite a while as my interest was more and more diminishing for it with how repetitive each book was beginning to feel, plus the feeling that it never seemed like this was going to end. Luckily I needed something to listen to and when I poked around the available digital audio books from my library that didn't have a billion holds on it, this was conveniently suggested and was the next in the series I needed. My interest was especially sparked when I ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves historical mysteries.
This mystery novel is set in Japan some 300 years ago and involves Sano Ichiro, a high ranking Japanese official. The story involves the death of the Shogun's daughter and the resulting search for her killer. While trying to solve the murder of the daughter, Sano is accused of setting fire to the home of the Shogun's heir who reportedly dies in a fire. Sano is falsely arrested for killing the heir and he and his family are sentenced to die. Sano and his family must find the real murderers in ord ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
The novel takes place as the second novel discussing the effect of the earthquake on Japan. Rebuilding, shifting of loyalties, changes in the power structure. Ichiro Sano, his wife Reiko, and son Masahiro become involved in solving yet another mystery. Once again, the villain Yanagisawa causes problems but then he too is troubled by problems of his own.

At this point where I have read most of the novels in the series, I think I am over it. It was a good run and represents many hours of recreation
Kevin Vrieze
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Remarkable addition to the Sano series. I was, truly, wondering how he was going to get out of this one. The plot kept going to the very end. The Hirata, mystical, thread was left rather disconnected to the story. The thoroughly modern overtone toward the end was curious. Unless there is something planned for next time, this added little to the story except as it played on the irony Sano's sense of honor. The great disorder in this story begs resolution in the next. It was a very good story on i ...more
H Gibson
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
And just like that I finished another good book too soon. Should I read the last one in the series or make myself wait because once it's over... it's over. The era of the shogun's will always be one of my favorites in the history of Japan. I love how Ms. Rowland wrote her version of what happened leading up to the appointment of the new shogun, blending fact and fiction ever so well.
Brittany Wouters
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: d-n-f, history-buff
Childishly written from the first chapter- I confess I quit after the third page.
The author's note at the start was really nice, though; would it had been non-fiction, what a story it could have been!
Lynn Robertson
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
nice story, amateurish writing. Not subtle.
Jessica L Seay
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I had moments where I was so worried for Sano and is situations, and some parts made me cry because I have dealt with them. Overall it was a decent story.
Nicole Mcbride
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I finished this book a few days ago and I have to say, that I still wonder and think about this story. It seems to have lingered and there are not many books I have read that do that for me. Laura Joh Rowland has created an amazing tale full of mystery and Eastern martial arts magic that I found alluring. This was the first historical fiction book I have read from the Tokugawa era in Japan and I was not disappointed in the least.

Rowland did an excellent job at describing this foreign era in suc
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Set in 1704 in Edo, Japan, this novel is the seventeenth (!) book in a series about samurai Sano Ichiro. The novel opens five months after a massive earthquake (thought to be 8.2 in magnitude!) hit Japan. The shogun (who is not equivalent to an emperor, wiki tells me, but is answerable only to him) is in a panic about his legacy when his only child, his daughter, dies unexpectedly of smallpox. Without an obvious heir, he shocks everyone by dismissing his nephew and instead revealing a long lost ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I have received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The Shogun has only one child, a daughter named Tsuruhime. But Tsuruhime dies of smallpox and has left no heir. There will be no one to lead the kingdom after the Shogun dies and he is getting on in age. The death of the Shogun's daugther comes at a very trying time -- an earthquake has wreaked havoc on the country and rebuilding will take so much time and resources.

Up until Tsuruhime died, the Shogu
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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.

Other books in the series

Sano Ichiro (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1)
  • Bundori (Sano Ichiro, #2)
  • 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)