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The Iris Fan

(Sano Ichiro #18)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  433 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Japan, 1709. The shogun is old and ailing. Amid the ever-treacherous intrigue in the court, Sano Ichiro has been demoted from chamberlain to a lowly patrol guard. His relationship with his wife Reiko is in tatters, and a bizarre new alliance between his two enemies Yanagisawa and Lord Ienobu has left him puzzled and wary. Sano's onetime friend Hirata is a reluctant conspir ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published December 9th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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D. T. I'd advise to read them order. The series follows events in Tokugawa Japan from 1690 to 1709. The main character himself starts off in as a young man…moreI'd advise to read them order. The series follows events in Tokugawa Japan from 1690 to 1709. The main character himself starts off in as a young man of lowly position and we see his stock and fortunes rise. While Rowland does include explanations of previous plots designed to inform the new reader of salient points (and remind the forgetful longtime reader), every book builds on the character development (promotions, courtship, marriage, children, rivalries, grudges) that inform and enrich the plots of the next. The mysteries themselves are self-contained and solved in each book, but sometimes they affect the plots of books further down the line. I imagine you could pick one up and go, but I would think you'd feel like there was something you were missing. (less)

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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  433 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Jeannette Nikolova
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

I've been reading the Sano Ichiro books for the bigger part of my teenage years, up until now. Considering the gap between the publication of each book, it's sort of hard to keep track of the storyline. That's also why I prefer reading a series after all of the books come out. But I'm not seeing an end to this.

What I think is positive about the Sano Ichiro series is that the books are not too long so the author doesn't have enough time to make it too lame, like,
I have been following Sano’s adventures for quite a while now. According to Goodreads, Rowland is my most read mystery author. So I’ve grown attached to Sano, and his wife Reiko who often assists with Sano’s investigations.

I received a free copy of The Iris Fan from the publisher via Net Galley and this is my honest review.

The character dynamics and plot motifs in this series tended to repeat themselves. This is why I’ve complained that a number of these books were formulaic. I was most impress
Nov 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm sadden by the end of such a captivating series. I'm sure Rowland's next endeavor will be equalling enthralling and entertaining as this fabulous series.

The Iris Fan does not disappoint with providing a riveting ending to a wonderful series. I will miss Sano and his family, I feel as if I am saying farewell to an old friend. We have experienced the multitude of challenges Sano faced, the hardships and consequences his family endured with his choices and undying allegiance to honor. By involv
Lelia Taylor
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: full-reviews
I always find it difficult to read the last book in a series when I know ahead of time that it is, indeed, the last and I usually take the coward's approach, putting it off till my own mental nagging gets the best of me. I couldn't do that this time since I agreed to participate in the author's blog tour so here I am, wallowing in my own self-pity at the thought of losing a favorite hero.

Sano Ichiro---and his creator, Laura Joh Rowland---have been in my life for many years ever since I "discover
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, japan, reviewed
Fascinating historical mystery set in 1700's Japan. The sleuth, Sano Ichiro, and his wife Reiko set out to solve the attempted assassination of the current shogun who has been stabbed with an iron fan. Although the writing style was somewhat pedestrian and simplistic, I enjoyed learning about Japan of that period. Besides the mystery, I enjoyed following the personal dramas of Sano and his family. A bit of the supernatural was introduced, which fell in line with what I've read of Japanese kwaida ...more
H Gibson
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I hate that the Sano Ichiro series is over. I put off reading the last book as long as possible. At least Laura Joh Rowland wrapped it up well considering this novel probably put Sano and the good characters through some of their worst trials. I read most of my mysteries by accident, stumbling across them because they've been incorrectly labeled general fiction and shelved in that area of a library, but I'm glad I found Sano all those years ago. If I said it once about a good book, I said it a t ...more
Carole Rae
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the 18th and last book of the Sano series, however it stands alone pretty well. There were some backstories I missed out on (like Sano and Reiko getting together and their adventures), but besides for that it does stand alone pretty well. I am upset, because it IS the last of the series and I feel like I cheated. XI However, it has motivated me to go back to the beginning. :)

Oh my Atlanta there was so much going on with SO many characters and POVs. Alongside the main plot about the Shogu
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
See my other reviews at Never Enough Books

The year is 1709 and the shogun is sick and ailing. Sano Ichiro, once Chamberlain to the shogun has been demoted to a lowly patrol guard. His home life is faring little better as his marriage is in tatters. His friend and once loyal retainer is now a wanted criminal. Yet despite all this, Sano remains dedicated to Bushido – the way of the warrior.

When everything seems at it’s worst, the unthinkable happens – the shogun is stabbed in his own bedchamber. S
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This is the 18th and last of the Sano Ichiro books. When the first book of the saga, "Shinju" begins in 1689, Sano is a lowly policeman - or at least the equivalent of that position in feudal Japan. Over the course of the series Sano marries Reiko, fathers two children, rises in rank to become the shogun's top advisor and, through the constant machinations of his court rival, Yanagisawa, faces demotion and death too many times to count. Through it all Sano's dedication to bushido, a samurai's lo ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it

The last four years have been disastrous for Sano Ichiro, a samuri in the 1709 court of his shogun, the ruler of Japan. During this time, he has been demoted from the court's chief investigator of crimes to a lowly foot patrol soldier, as his enemies manage to foil his attempts to reveal their crimes. Each time he fails to bring the truth forward, his livelihood is reduced again. Even more wrenching, he sees the discord his stubborn insistence on the truth has brought to his family. His wife, Re
Talk about melodrama. It just needed a cane to pull people off the stage, a live audience and a piano. This was not my kind of all. It could have been. I thought it was right up my alley since it is historical fiction and it is a mystery to boot. These are two genres I spend a lot of time in.

This book hit almost every one of my pet peeves. I'll only hit a few of the major ones. There wasn't any descriptive value. It was kind of sparse and dry in that department. The story seemed like
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016, crime

Vějíř s kosatci přinesl napínavé, čtivé a důstojné završení celé série. A i s tím koncem, třebaže poněkud fantastickým, jsem byla v závěru spokojená. Byl akční, dojemný, trochu smutný, trochu šťastný, prostě takový jaký měl být. Přesto si Laura Joh Rowlandová nechala otevřená zadní vrátka pro případné pokračování s Masahirem v hlavní roli. Jestli se ho ale dočkáme, to ví jen sama autorka. Já bych se dalšímu dobrodružství ve středověkém Japonsku rozhodně nebránila.

Celou recenzi si můžete přečíst
Margaret Sankey
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Sano, in disgrace from the events of the last book, has a chance to either redeem himself or doom his family while investigating the attempted assassination of the elderly and corrupt Shogun with his unorthodox methods and reliance on crazy things like the forbidden "Dutch science." Rowland, unlike too many historical mystery writers, offers convincing details and motivations that fit with early 18th century Japan, even when they strike a 21st century American reader as alien.
May 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Вече го докарахме съвсем на сапунена опера с добавка на фантастични елементи. Толкова по-добре си беше, когато бяха криминални истории с политичски елемент и малко любовни драми за разнообразие.
Но, като съм се хванала на хорото, ще чета... Утрепахме за разнообразие някой и друг по-главен герой, Изабела е бременна и имаме и призрак. Та така...
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As good as this was - I feel I'm losing a member of the family. This is the last Sano novel! I must say Rowland ends on a high note. I'll take a year off & enjoy the 18 stories again, but this time there will be no wait. I hope Sano makes his way to the silver screen.
D. T.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
2 1/2 Stars. The swan song of the Sano Ichiro mystery series gets a regrettable, disappointing conclusion. I briefly debated the rating of this one, but the weaknesses of this installment far outweigh the positives. It started off promisingly, and the mystery, as usual, is interesting enough, but it's the denouement of the series as story arcs converge that does it all in.

As Sano considers at one point: "The story about the secret society and the ghost was too fantastic…to believe." And that, in
Astor Reinhardt
May 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, asian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was about time that this series finally wrapped up. There were only so many times I could go for the "Sano must solve a mystery to the shogun's liking or else something awful is going to happen" plot that pretty much the entire series has followed.

There were definitely some irritating moments here as Sano and Reiko have a complete communication shutdown between this book at the previous, and their fragile relationship felt more forced in for extra dramatic tension than anything else. I felt l
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Did not realize that I was starting with the last book in the series but I didn't have any real problems understanding the past connections and intrigues. For the most part, the author explained enough backstory that it made sense.

Sano is/was the Shogun's chief investigator. Because of past incidents and his strict adherence to honor, he and his family has fallen out of favor. When the already ill Shogun gets stabbed, he is assigned to find out whodunit.

What follows is an adventure full of intr
Kevin Vrieze
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent finale to an excellent series. All the threads are resolved in very interesting and satisfying ways. It takes til the very last page for the reader to put it together, but it's a great read. The heroes don't ride off into the sunset. There is, however, a lovely conclusion that one rarely sees in contemporary fiction and especially the mystery genre. Well worth the read on its own. More so worth reading the whole series to get to this one.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone has put plenty of detail into their reviews so I'll keep it simple.

I so didn't want this series to end. Ever since I read the Concubine's tattoo I've been hooked, buying all the books to read and have only found two dubs in the lot.
Meika Bashline
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just like the other books in this series... WONDERFUL!
Palazzo di
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
In truth, two and a half stars. She gets the extra bump for fairly well done intrigue. It wasn't predictable.
Thomas Dale
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think that Laura Joh may have saved the best story for her last novel in the series. It was great fun to read.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Four years after the events of The Shogun's Daughter, Sano still hasn't given up on trying to find conclusive evidence tying Lord Ienobu, the shogun's nephew and heir apparent, to the deaths of the shogun's daughter Tsuruhime and Yoshisato, the previous heir whom the shogun believed to be his son. So far, his dogged pursuit of the investigation against the shogun's direct orders hasn't led to anything except powerful enemies and repeated demotions that have left Sano a lowly patrol guard with hi ...more
David Harton
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before reviewing this book, I should state that I'm extremely biased - I love this series more than anything other, so I admittedly turn a blind eye to some of it's downfalls.

Having said that, I truly believe this is a great final chapter to the Sano Ichiro stories. While I wish Rowland would continue the series in the future, I'm certainly satisfied with how she ended it. I wish Sano and Reiko's relationship was different than it was (especially for the first two-thirds of the novel), and I was
Erin Al-Mehairi
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Laura Joh Rowland has brought us exciting mysteries from feudal Japan for something like 20 years! That seems unheard of in today’s publishing market, but alas, as The Iris Fan is the Sano Ichiro #18, it looks like this will be the last of the series. I don’t blame Laura for wanting to concentrate on writing new things, but with such longevity, Sano certainly now seems like a household name we can call on in time of need (even if we have to call by opening our time travel doors back to the 17th ...more
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is my second book by Ms. Rowland but it makes me wish I had more space in my reading schedule to fit in more of Sano’s adventures. I would very much like to go back to the beginning of his story and read it from its inception. Don’t worry that you need to have read any of the previous 17 novels in the series to fully appreciate The Iris Fan because you don’t – it stands alone just fine with sufficient flashbacks to pertinent information without being overbearing.

Sano had been demoted in the
Candace Chesler
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Picking up from the events of The Shogun's Daughter - Sano is still in disgrace, Yashishoto is still missing and Ienobu is still the heir apparent. Then the shogun is stabbed in his chambers. Sano is asked to investigate. Yashishoto reappears - chaos ensues amongst the Ienobu and Yanigaswa factions - and in the meantime Hirata returns under the influence of General Otai. It all ends with Sano restored to a position of power - but lots of bloodshed along the way.
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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)