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The Tokaido Road

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  947 ratings  ·  96 reviews
After the execution of her father, the young and beautiful Lady Asano is in grave danger from the powerful Lord Kira. In order to save herself Asano must find Oishi, the leader of the fighting men of her clan. She believes he is three hundred miles to the southwest in the imperial city of Kyoto.
Disguising her loveliness in the humble garments of a traveling priest, and cal
Paperback, 528 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Forge Books (first published January 30th 1991)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  947 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a very pleasant surprise for me, I loved this book and I have reread it several times. I might have to add it to my list of need to read again books now that I've brought it out of the dust. I have always loved Japan and this was a very colorful and detailed book about feudal Japan. I love history lessons any time they are interesting to read, this one was. The love story between the two main characters was beautiful. Danger, adventure, revenge, swords, true love, what more could you as ...more
Mikki Crisostomo
Ever been so down on your luck after your father was politically assassinated that you went and sold yourself to a brothel as a high-class courtesan to hide from his enemies? Me neither (my dad is just just fine, thanks!), but Lady Asano, otherwise known as Cat, has recently fallen from grace in those exact circumstances and figures she doesn't have anywhere else to go.

A dish of poisoned blowfish and a dead client shatter her life as a courtesan at the House of the Carp. Once again, Cat is on th
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to read if you are interested in learning about Japan during the Edo period. The author actually lived in Japan, carefully researched the time, and traveled the Tokaido Road itself. The story is filled with fascinating details about how the ordinary people of the time lived - their day-to-day activities, food, traveling, method of worship and many others. The blurb on this copy read like a Harlequin romance, but the story is very far from it. It is actually based on a true s ...more
John Simmons
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. My wife got it years ago and read it several times. The cover and blurbs for it made me think it was a romance novel so I never picked it up. When I was looking for a book that was in the vein of Shogun (one of my favorites), Tokaido Road kept popping up. So, since we already had it, I decided I would give it chance.

Within the first chapter or two, I was hooked. The detail and the storytelling combined to keep me enthralled. About halfway through the book, I decided to go ahea
Ashley Marie
The audiobook narration was godawful. I may reread my physical copy eventually but after awhile it just seemed like a lot of nothing. "Travel" books tend to have this repetitive quality about them that authors really have to fight against in order to make things interesting, and I wasn't super-invested in any of it.
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
This proves that while I might teach Asian history and quite enjoy reading about history (in real life), novels about East Asia are not for me. For a story based on a real life event (and one that has been represented in song/theatre/film multiple times), this novel had nothing much that was new to add. Maybe it was revolutionary in its time (1991) but, 20 years later, it's not aged well. The first 100 pages or so plod along, much like Lady Asano (or Cat). The last part picks up a bit but, by th ...more
Cheli Scott
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was rich, lush, and well researched. It pulled you into a complicated family drama, but was action packed. The romance was beautiful, but not soppy. It was a long read, but I hardly noticed and when I finished it I wanted more! I suggest it for anyone who likes historical fiction and intricate detail. A must read for new adult women, because it was both empowering and sexy!
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hard to put down - and, my goodness, I can hardly wrap my head around the complicated rules of 17th century Japan! Thoroughly researched, gripping, and very interesting.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Tokaido Road
by Lucia St. Clair Robson
The Tokaido Road is a break for Lucia St Clair Robson from her adventures in the American Revolution, and the American tragedy of the Trail of Tears. The Tokaido Road is a dynamic story showing the ideology of Feudal Japan. The complex characters and use of imagery, poetry, and art bring to life the noble Japanese spirit. I will add this as another in my collection to be placed with Memoires of a Geisha, Life of a Geisha, and the tale of Genji, the tale o
Apr 29, 2016 added it
I gave up on this half way through.. honestly it all started rather fascinating and stayed like that until page 120 and then I began to skim the pages. I think the main problem was my lack of general knowledge concering the history of feudal Japan. Also after reading some of the reviews on goodreads I found that I wasn't the only one struggling with the unwarranted length of this novel. One benefit came out of this: I will start reading some more books about this era in Japan. I really found it ...more
"The Tokaido Road" is, at first glance, a road trip wrapped around a tale of revenge . . . and a beautiful one, at that.

Lady Asano, nicknamed "Cat," is a gorgeous, refined daughter of a samurai lord who was betrayed and forced to commit suicide. We first meet Cat, who has been forced to work as a courtesan thanks to her family's disgrace, as she stares at a dead "client," who died eating a poisoned dish meant for her. Within moments, Cat uses her ingenuity to escape her brothel and begin her jou
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book. I learned about it because it received a high rating on Smart Bitches but it took until almost the end for me to determine why it might be considered a romance novel.

Lady Asano, aka Cat, escapes her life as a courtesan and takes to the Tokaido road to travel to find her Sensei and seek his help in avenging her father's death. She is chased by her father's enemies and a ronin (former samarai) sent be the house where she worked. Along the w
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not sure what my fascination is with feudal or just slightly post-feudal Japan, but the Floating World is fascinating. In this story, the heroine Cat does more than float. She's well-trained in swordsmanship and in the duties of the daughter of a disgraced father. She undertakes her own vendetta and hurries along the Tokaido road in pursuit of Lord Kira who is responsible for her father's death. As in any road story, from Chaucer onward, the fellow travelers become the story. Some aim to prevent ...more
Marceline Smith
Aug 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, borrowed
This has been sitting around for ages but I finally read it and enjoyed it a lot; it’s a retelling of the famous 47 ronin tale of old Japan. It has clearly been meticulously researched for realism so it’s a nice look into Japanese customs as well as an epic tale. I wonder if they made it into a film.
Jonathan Lupa
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Things this book made me do:
1. Order a copy of Musashi's Five Rings.
2. Read poetry.
3. Not get any sleep until I finished.

This is an absolute joy to read... neither too thick, nor too thin. Well paced, in a wonderful setting.

Rebecca Huston
Sadly, this one I could not finish. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get into this one.
Marty Nicholas
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up off the bargain table. Sat around for ages...Excellent, Well written, based on the 47 Ronin tale.
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed thoughts on this book. As someone genuinely interested in Japanese history and the feudal era, I was a bit disappointed by how the plot of the classic 47 Ronin legend panned out. The author creates a new character in this retelling by giving Lord Asano an illegitimate daughter named Cat, leading one to believe the added character would give readers a refreshing spin as Cat seeks revenge for her father along the Tokaido Road.

However, her adventure concludes anti-climactically, makin
Kevin Fedigan
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I loved the character of Cat/Lady Asano/Kinume. She proved to be a determined, resilient, and resourceful protagonist. I thought that Hanshiro would be Cat's enemy, leading to their meeting on the Tokaido, but I was pleasantly surprised that he turned out to be Cat's devoted ally and lover. The relationship between Cat and Kasane is strong, and Robson did a terrific job of developing their bond from an uneasy alliance to an unbreakable friendship. Robson's description of the scenery, towns, and ...more
Megan Olsen
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
So many random things to say. In no particular order...

I was a little intimidated when I saw how long this book was (I listened to it, and the audiobook was 20 hours and change), and I went in wondering if it would drag. That was not the case. There are many suspenseful and interesting adventures going on, and one or another of these kept bringing me back. There was one place, about 70% through, where I got a little bored with their extended adventures on the road, but I also think I was a littl
Tom Johnson
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Tokaido Road by Lucia St Clair Robson. Promoted as a Japanese erotica and martial arts novel, I would question the claim of erotica, as it just wasn’t there. However, martial arts fans will enjoy all the action. This is feudal Japan, probably in the 1400s. When her father fails to bribe the official, Lord Kira correctly, he is removed and his name pulled from record. He commits suicide, which is the only thing left for him to do. However, his daughter wants his named revenged. Kinume Asano, ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2020
Retelling the classic story of the 47 ronin through Lord Asano's (newly invented) daughter, this historical novel was a pleasant surprise in many ways. The extensive research that went into writing this book is evident in the wealth of detail that enlivens the setting in feudal Japan, the protagonist who started out fairly unlikable (to me, at least) grew on me more and more over the course of her journey once she started forming relationships with her newly found companions, and I enjoyed the r ...more
4.5 stars
The perfect behemoth of a novel to end 2018. This is one of the best Japanese historical fiction books I have ever read. Even though it was a long, arduous journey I found myself interested in the story. It was incredibly well researched, and I love the poetry and romance interspersed throughout. I need to buy myself a copy of this for my library! The only thing I had a hard time getting past was that the protagonist's name was "Cat" - it didn't feel as authentic as "Lady Asano", "Oishi
Debra Gillespie
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've had this paperback for several years now and have read this novel numerous times; I really enjoy the mixture of drama, poetry, adventure and the learning of the everyday life of people in feudal Japan in the early 18th century. Although it is historic fiction, it is based on the true story of the 47 master-less samurai that successfully avenged the death of their lord, and then were arrested and committed ritual suicide.
Desiree Valenzuela
Kindle edition needs better editing.

This has been one of my favorite historical novels since it was first published. I re-read it every few years and still enjoy it tremendously. I was thrilled to find it was available for my Kindle. The novel itself merits five stars in my opinion. I have deducted one star only because of the poor editing of the Kindle edition. Too many misspelled words, missing or misplaced punctuation, and italics where they don't belong.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books historical novels I have read in a long time. Lucia St. Clair Robson has successfully pulled me into this novel . it seems well researched and I would hope it could be made into a movie someday. the characters are rich and the narrative is smooth . I had a hard time putting this one down and am saddened that it is concluded .
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An interesting story about Japan in 1700. A bit long as the author wishes to describe many aspects of Japanese life and culture and works it all into the story, even when it doesn’t particularly advance the plot. Still it was written well enough to keep my interest through the end.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great tale about the daughter of a samurai, on a quest to avenge her late father's betrayal. The story covers a lot of aspects of Japanese culture during that time period. There is a romance, but it's not the central aspect of the novel.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Don't remember when I read it, but I loved the story and the exploration of the culture. Must have been before I started keeping track, but the memory of how much I liked it has stuck with me. Maybe I should read it again.
I could have walked the Tokaido Road many times over myself in the time it took me to read this book lol. Despite that, it really is good. I loved that we get to see the story of the 47 ronin through the perspective of a woman. And I'm always impressed when someone can craft a novel after real people and events and do them justice. Read my full review here. ...more
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Lucia St. Clair Robson has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a teacher and a librarian. Her first historical novel, RIDE THE WIND, appeared on the New York Times best seller list, and in 1983 received the Golden Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Since then she has written seven more novels set in a variety of times and places. Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Few novelists working today have a bet ...more

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