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The Tokaido Road

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  846 ratings  ·  85 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
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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
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
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.
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
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
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!
"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
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
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
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
After reading The Tale of Genji i have become fascinated by historical Japan with it's customs and Samurai culture. This takes you for a tour of Japan as the main female character follows the Tokaido Road with such descriptive narrative that you feel each battle she fights in order to find justice for her family.

You won't be disappointed.
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.
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
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.
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 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geschiedenis, papier
Het verhaal is wat dun (hoe blijft iemand ontsnappen en wonderlijke toevallige ontmoetingen hebben) en wat te romantisch en happy, in een andere setting was het meer een kasteelromannetje. Maar de beschrijvingen, de sfeertekening, de cultuur en de verhoudingen van dit middeleeuwse Japan met zijn dubbele bodems en traditioneel gedrag maken het toch een boeiend boek
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.
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.
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.
Mark Halse
Feb 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-general, japan
This historical novel was a mixed bag. It had the best sense of place of any Westerner-penned novel about feudal Japan I've read and the characters were appealing, but its length and incredibly slow pace as well as the relatively unexciting plot hurt an otherwise appealing book.

This book was incredibly well-researched. I'm fairly well-versed in the Edo period and fluent in Japanese, and I could find very few nits to pick. The author demonstrated such a broad grasp of Japanese history that I was
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sharon 2017
Interesting book and a fascinating look at 17th-century Japan, but too bloody long by half.

I loved the beginning: to avenge her father, Lady Asano (aka Cat) goes on a journey along the Tokaido. She's alone, she wears a bunch of different disguises, she fights off hirelings, she meets lots of interesting people. At some point she picks up a country girl who becomes her servant and/or friend. Yay, roadtrip! The description of Japan and its customs is very detailed and I enjoyed all the attention t
Hilda Ellis-Davidson
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, japan
A little over ficitonalised in parts - if you know a little about feudal Japanese tradition some aspects will make you roll your eyes, but still enjoyable as a story.
Carole Rae
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
As you can tell, it took me forever to finish this one. Why? I have three good reasons. 1)It was a pretty big book with 544 pages of small print. 2)The small print gave me headaches. And 3) The first...300 pages kept putting me to sleep. I'm not kidding, which is the sad thing.

When I heard about this book I was really excited and I couldn't wait to read it! Many people compared it to 'The Snow Fox' and said so many good things about it! It's never good to go into a book with expectations and unf
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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