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Cloud of Sparrows

Takashi Matsuoka

3,092 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0091794544 / ISBN 13: 9780091794545
Published by Hutchinson, London, 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Author's first novel. Japan in 1861. Highly praised. Bookseller Inventory # 003551

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Cloud of Sparrows

Publisher: Hutchinson, London

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First English Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Emily Gibson has come to Japan as a missionary, to start a new life. In America her beauty drove men wild. In Japan she possesses no beauty at all. Matthew Stark speaks like a missionary but wears a pistol like a gunslinger. Emily has come to Japan to bury her past, Stark has come to kill his. It is 1861 and after two centuries of isolation Japan has been forced to open its doors. A whole way of life is about to die. Lord Genji of the Akoaka Clan knows this. Blessed with his family's power of prophecy he has foreseen that his and Japan's fate lie in the hands of outsiders. But this knowledge is dangerous to many powerful men, and deadly for Genji. As intrigue mounts and the city of Edo and the Shogun's palace are smashed by foreign ships, Genji plans his escape to his ancestral home, the Cloud of Sparrows. With him travel Emily and Stark, and Heiko, his beautiful geisha and a deadly spy. However, the road is long and there are many places along the way for a samurai to attack and for Genji to die.

Review:

Following in the substantial footsteps of filmmaker Akiro Kurosawa and Shogun author James Clavell is Takashi Matsuoka, whose action-packed debut novel, Cloud of Sparrows, unfolds as the age of the samurai warrior starts to wane. The year is 1861, and Lord Genji of Akaoka, last in line of the Okamichi clan, welcomes missionaries Emily, Matthew, and Zephaniah to Japan. Cut off from the West for more than 2,000 years, Japan is as completely unprepared for these outsiders as the missionaries are for geishas and honor killings. Genji, his geisha love Heiko, and the missionaries suddenly find themselves in the middle of several nefarious plots to overthrow the Okamichi leader from as far away as the shogun's palace and as close as Genji's own henchmen. Genji and his visitors journey together across treacherous terrain to seek refuge at the faraway Cloud of Sparrows palace. Although it's a rip-roaring yarn full of ambushes, swordfights, cross-cultural friction, love, and prophetic visions, the book does read a bit like a screenplay, cutting quickly from one scene to another. But the frequent shifts in the story's tempo succeed in making the novel all the more vivid, allowing simultaneous action and contemplation to deepen the story and its inhabitants. --Emily Russin

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