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The Samurai's Wife (Sano Ichiro, #5)
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The Samurai's Wife

(Sano Ichiro #5)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,624 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Far from the Shogun's court at Edo, Most Honorable Investigator Sano Ichiro begins the most challenging case of his career. Upon the insistence of his strong-willed and beautiful wife Reiko, Sano arrives with her at the emperor's palace to unmask the murderer--who possesses the secret of kiai, "the spirit city," a powerful scream that can kill instantly. A high Kyoto offic ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 15th 2001 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 2000)
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Showing 1-30
3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,624 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, period-piece
Sano and Reiko become soul partners, committing to each other in ways which were impossible in feudal Japan. The events of this story are not completely implausible, but the action allowed in the relationship between the two spouses is purely contemporary, impossible. I read this story in January, 2000, and in March have already forgotten whodunnit....oh yeah, it comes back to me...

What I did find interesting was the relationship arc developed in the storyline of the prime minister. The author t
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in the series that is set in Kyoto (or Miyako, as it is properly called in the novel). The story takes a slightly different angle in this installment. Finally, things come to a head between Sano and his nemesis, Yanagasiwa, who just takes great pleasure and pain in sabotaging Sano’s work. After all Yanagisawa’s plotting and hating, he gets himself right smack into Sano’s investigation and finds himself not so great after all. Through blackmail, he ends up working with Sano ...more
Jul 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I had read the first few books in this series several years ago, beginning enthusiastically and with each successive book getting less enthralled. I'm all about second chances so decided to give this a try again, but after giving it an extra-long chance and reading about 100 pages (I generally have a 50-page rule) I decided to give up. I am not even really sure what drove me away...there is something about the author's writing style or how she portrays the main characters that just turns me off ...more
Serge Pierro
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The chemistry between Sano Ichiro and Reiko starts to develop. 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. Fans of the CCG Legend of the Five Rings will find this series to be very interesting!
May 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was the worst book that I’ve read in quite a while. I have a bad habit of finishing books even when they are terrible, and I could not stop rolling my eyes while I read this. The writing is atrocious. The characters are one dimensional. Rowland has a terrible habit of telling instead of showing, so all the actions and motivations are over explained. The detective Sano jumps to conclusions all the time, so I’m not sure why we’re supposed to believe he’s good at his job. The romantic “attract ...more
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a random find at the library book sale. I had heard of this series before, but never read it. I hate starting in the middle of the series, but for some reason I just jumped right in.

Sano works for a shogun, but his rival has engineered an embarrassing situations that puts him out of favor. He gets a chance to recover face by investigating a mysterious death of a member of the Imperial Court in Kyoto. He takes his new wife Reiko with him and they set off to discover the truth.

The investi
Man, I'm really enjoying this series. Rowland's magic lies in her ability to bring feudal Japan to convincing life in a vibrant, exciting way. She has really done her research, and it pays off in the way she uses each mystery novel in the series to introduce and explore new facets of Japanese culture. This entry even throws a slight mystical element into the mix. She also knows how to develop her characters well, and they evolve steadily with each book. Not quite as convincing are the mysteries ...more
Introduction First off all let me tell you a bit about the translation: it was horrible. I don't know what they did at Lektűr but nothing good came out of it. First off all they decided to write the names according to their Hungarian pronunciation, which made me cringe more than a couple of times. And then there was the problem of missing words. Some sentences just were one or two word short so they ended up as an incomprehensible mess. That already made the book a bit difficult but that wasn't ...more
Michael Barnette
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery lovers or Japanophiles
Recommended to Michael by: Katie Uberti
I've read part of this series out of order due to the fact I wasn't able to find them all at my local bookstore. (I still haven't gotten a copy of #4 yet.) But the books are so well done that you don't really need to read them all sequentially. Having said that, you really should buy them all as everyone, including this one, has been an amazing read.

This book too receives my highest recommendation, as like the others, it's a terrific read.

Unfortunately I've since lost my copy of this book, but i
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Again, I wish there were half-star ratings. This was more of a 2 1/2-star rating. I had a lot of difficulty getting into the writer's style. It was very choppy, and so simplistic that I wondered if it was aimed at young adults. The historical background was interesting, and some of the characters were intriguing, but the mystery was somewhat irritating. I felt that the author could have put all the murders suspects up on a wall and thrown a dart to pick the actual murderer; that's how random and ...more
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am loving this series! I have always had a fascination for all things Samurai, and I love the way Ms. Rowland brings the Japanese culture and customs alive in this incredibly readable book. The main characters, Sano Ichiro and his wife Reiko are so endearing, I rooted for them throughout the story and I cringed when a situation or intense character threatened to harm one or the other of them. Ms. Rowland's descriptions are pure opulence and just like any good "period piece" I was transported t ...more
This book is awful. Stilted writing, implausible characters, bad research, no feeling of time and place. And I still love it. Maybe because of the m/m pairing which is much more interesting than the love between the main character and his wife, I don't know. I'm going to read it again despite all the improbabilities and glaring mistakes. The plot - a shogunate investigator suspecting the imperial family and telling them what to do, when in fact he wouldn't even be admitted into their presence - ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this back in grade 8, and I loved this book! I couldn't wait to read more. I still remember most of the plot; a bit of mysticism, intimate relationships, loyalties and culture. Equally descriptive as well as sharing a large part of dialogue with it's own subtext. I can't remember much for grammar and syntax, but it wasn't as aware of it then as I am now. I recommend it to any reader looking for frequent twists, relatively defined characters and a look into another time and place.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I liked this book a lot. I certainly learned a lot about Japanese culture at the time. The twists and turns kept me interested and I liked that you actually saw them follow leads that went no where. I wished there was a map of Miyako and a glossary. The author did a great job of explaining terms the first time they were used but I wanted to be able to look some of them up when I ran across them again.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading the previous book in this series (The Concubine's Tattoo) I was thinking of quitting this series as there was a lot of explicit sex and unsavory details. However, I had read other books in the series that had nothing objectionable. So I decided to give this book a chance and was glad I did. There was one short part that I did skip when I saw it coming. Other than that, it was fine. The plot and characters were interesting and I enjoyed it.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-books
I've become accustomed to the adventures of Sano Ichiro, and Reiko. This one has a play of political intrigue, mixed with suspense and a good murder mystery. The story wraps up well.

The title is the only thing that doesn't make too much sense to me. She does play a pivotal role in the story, and as I've not read these stories in sequence perhaps it's pretty much the introduction of Reiko as wife, but the book seems like it should have been titled differently.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the messiest of the Sano Ichiro books to date. The predecessors (and the 16th) were a lot tauter in construction, and rang a lot truer emotionally: this one was a bit too soap-opera/contrived for me. I liked the ending, if not the reveal of who the killer was. A decent, if not terribly strong installment.
This book is much better than "The Concubine's Tattoo." The mystery is rich, and the setting of the Imperial Court is a good change from the palace of the shogun. I was hesitant to read another Sano Ichiro book after the dismal "Concubine's Tattoo", but I'm glad I took the chance.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book - it flowed much better than the last one, maybe two books in the series. Very interesting character development with Yanigasawa; the multiple-suspect political intrigue worked very well also. Glad I decided to give the series another shot.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
It started slow for me and I struggled a bit. I almost stopped a couple of times but I have been to Nijo Castle and loved it so much and loved how the places were discribed that I finished it. I am glad I did and will read the next one.
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
would have given 3.5 stars if it was possible. enjoyed this one alright, but wasn't too blown away by the story ...
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-read
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Sano gets married and his wife tends to get involved in the mysteries hat her police husband is trying to solve. The world of Sano, his wife and ancient Japan is culturally rich.
Tahira Carroll
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
I guess I just expected a lot from this book and it was just okay, without expectations it might be a good read.
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Laura Johnston
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Still enjoying the series.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Love this series, deep insight, unique and intrigue.
Aug 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Apr 24, 2014 added it
Shelves: japan, r
Sano #5
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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)
  • 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)