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Laura Joh Rowland

Författare till Shinjū

37+ verk 7,075 medlemmar 168 recensioner 9 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Historical mystery author Laura Joh Rowland writes the popular Sano Ichiro series, which is set in 17th-century feudal Japan and features a samurai detective protagonist. Before becoming a full-time writer, Rowland held several positions in chemistry, microbiology, and engineering. She studied at visa mer the University of Michigan and earned a B.S. in Microbiology and a Master's degree in Public Health. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre


Verk av Laura Joh Rowland

Shinjū (1994) 889 exemplar, 22 recensioner
The Concubine's Tattoo (1998) 629 exemplar, 11 recensioner
Bundori (1996) 578 exemplar, 8 recensioner
The Samurai's Wife (2000) 511 exemplar, 6 recensioner
Black Lotus (2001) 486 exemplar, 7 recensioner
The Way of the Traitor (1997) 482 exemplar, 4 recensioner
The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (2002) 441 exemplar, 2 recensioner
The Dragon King's Palace (2003) 427 exemplar, 5 recensioner
The Perfumed Sleeve (2004) 349 exemplar, 1 recension
The Assassin's Touch (2005) 312 exemplar
The Snow Empress (2007) 301 exemplar, 4 recensioner
Red Chrysanthemum (2006) 283 exemplar, 2 recensioner
The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Brontë (2008) 242 exemplar, 14 recensioner
The Fire Kimono (2008) 241 exemplar, 8 recensioner
The Cloud Pavilion (2009) 174 exemplar, 3 recensioner
The Incense Game (2012) 110 exemplar, 1 recension
The Ronin's Mistress (2011) 105 exemplar, 4 recensioner
The Shogun's Daughter (2013) 101 exemplar, 13 recensioner
The Ripper's Shadow (2017) 86 exemplar, 5 recensioner
The Iris Fan (2014) 59 exemplar, 2 recensioner
A Mortal Likeness (2018) 54 exemplar, 7 recensioner
The Hangman's Secret (2019) 48 exemplar, 9 recensioner
The Woman in the Veil (2020) 31 exemplar, 8 recensioner
Portrait of Peril (2021) 28 exemplar, 10 recensioner
Garden of Sins (2022) 18 exemplar, 4 recensioner
River of Fallen Angels (A Victorian Mystery) (2023) 11 exemplar, 4 recensioner
Mizu-Age (1998) 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

Crime Through Time II (1998) — Bidragsgivare — 78 exemplar, 1 recension
More Murder, They Wrote (1999) — Bidragsgivare — 24 exemplar, 1 recension


Allmänna fakta

Vedertaget namn
Rowland, Laura Joh
Namn enligt folkbokföringen
Rowland, Laura Joh
Andra namn
Роулэнд, Лора Джо
Land (för karta)
Michigan, USA
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
University of Michigan (B.S., microbiology)
University of Michigan (M.Sc., public health)
New Orleans Academy of Fine Art
sanitary inspector
quality engineer
Pam Ahearn (The Ahearn Agency)
Kort biografi
Laura Joh Rowland is the daughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants. She grew up in Michigan and was educated at the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology and a Masters in Public Health. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, Marty, and their three cats. My road to publication was almost as accidental as my road to becoming a writer. In 1992 I attended the New Orleans Writers Conference. Everyone who signed up and paid the registration fee got to submit an excerpt from a manuscript to be read and critiqued by one of the editors who would be speaking at the conference. My excerpt from Shinju happened to go to an executive editor at Random House. He liked it and asked to see the whole manuscript. Eventually, he bought it. That was 12 years and 10 books ago.



Plot that carefully incorporates many genuine historical personages and events, crystal palace, steam powered airship, Jack the Ripper, Thackeray. Unfortunately, at least for me, it didn’t work. Felt forced. May be too big a Charlotte fan to accept her as a fictional character in someone else’s world
cspiwak | 3 andra recensioner | Mar 6, 2024 |
This was the first in the series and I'll try more.
It did a good job of balancing the samurai ethos with what would be palatable to a modern western audience.
The protagonist is motivated partly by obedience, duty and honor, but somehow, ultimately by a desire to know the truth. Is it plausible that a samurai steeped in the traditions of the time would make the choices Sano does, perhaps not, but, for the sake of the story, it works. Women and servants enter the rooms on their knees, only certain classes can ride a horse and a samurai can, without question,kill someone for a minor infraction. The author presents the reality, but creates a sort of internal world that still appeals with familial ties and personal honor helping to link a world that might otherwise be out of reach… (mer)
cspiwak | 21 andra recensioner | Mar 6, 2024 |
Due to the shogun's evil chamberlain briefly taking over the court in the shogun's illness, Sano Ichiro is exiled, more or less, to Nagasaki with his chief retainer, Hirata. While at this time, Nagasaki is more like a resort town, it is also a hotbed of treachery and smuggling. This is because it is the only port that is open to the outside world. Everything is tightly controlled here because it's much easier to commit treason with the Dutch on your doorstep. It's also a recipe for disaster for Sano, who prizes truth and investigation above all. One easily misconstrued step, and he is finished. Yet, he and Hirata navigate the numerous alliances and secrets to discover the truth about who killed the Dutch director Jan Spaen.

In his search for truth, Sano is repeatedly pushed into the world of the Dutch, where he learns that Japan is a small country in a very big world, that there are all sorts of knowledge - scientific and otherwise - that are forbidden to locals simply because they're foreign. More than anything else, this tests Sano's loyalty to Japan. Throughout most of the book, he questions his life choices and his loyalties. He really grows in this book, and his transformation is really interesting.

The mystery is really compelling, but it's not resolved well, in my opinion. Sano keeps getting ultimatums to solve the mystery (three days, then two more days, then another day), so that the gimmick starts to lose its urgency. Additionally, the mystery isn't solved by Sano's deadline. All he and Hirata have are theories, but by a stroke of luck, they get that one more day they need to come upon the criminals in the act. It's wrapped up a little too miraculously at the end, but it was a very ambitious story. It's no surprise that things didn't quite come together. This untidiness also comes through in Sano's personality. There are times when the stress seems to get to him, and he becomes almost violent with his suspects, particularly a low class prostitute named Peony, that felt uncharacteristic of him.

In The Way of the Traitor Bushido is criticized even more than it was in the previous book. Many of the characters express they had no choice but to follow a life of crime because it was what their lord required of them, and Bushido demands complete and utter obedience. With such a strong cultural guide, you can't help but wonder as a reader what choice some of these people had, as they're forced to become criminals by circumstance. I also couldn't help the feeling that this is all likely to repeat itself, and more innocent people will be condemned because of their adherence to their strict culture. It certainly is a bittersweet ending.

Overall, this entry isn't as strong as the previous two, but it's still a poignant story that debates several themes of loyalty, truth, honor, and patriotism. The world is as vibrant as ever, and the scope is admirable. I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to the next one in the series.
… (mer)
readerbug2 | 3 andra recensioner | Nov 16, 2023 |
While women have played always played a prominent part of Sano Ichiro's world and mysteries, they take center stage in this volume. The Concubine's Tattoo at last elevates this series to what it is capable of being: an in-depth look at Japanese society for all walks of life. Not only must Sano solve the mystery of the murdered courtesan, he must also grapple with how the world he has taken for granted treats the people it deems less than. It's a compelling novel full of larger-than-life characters who are relatable across time and cultures.

After stalling for two books, Sano finally marries Ueda Reiko, the daughter of the local magistrate. He is looking forward to a quiet home life with a docile wife, but what he gets is someone as brave, as stubborn, and as intelligent as himself. The two clash almost immediately as Reiko is determined to help him solve the murder. However, it's not just chauvinism that prevents Sano from letting Reiko help. He knows how dangerous the work can be, and he's still haunted by the death of one of his assistants from the first book. He won't let that happen to Reiko, but he's unable to fully articulate that fear of his.

Reiko is a wonderful character, if a bit naive, but that's to be expected considered her upbringing. For his part, Sano's newest case opens his eyes to how society affects women. His investigation into Harume's life, her mother's, and those of the other concubines reveals to him how limited their options are, and how some of their talents are utterly wasted by their positions. While I doubt Sano is now a model feminist, his transformation is believable, and the novel does an excellent job of breaking down women's roles, something that is largely ignored. This extends beyond the women's roles to those of the eta, a class of 'undesirable' people who have lurked throughout the novels. Readers finally learn more about them, and we see along with Sano, how samurai society has imprisoned everyone in a rigid hierarchy.

Part of Sano's process to solve the mysteries is to go through the victim's life, and I particularly enjoyed learning about Harume's. There were so many twists. Just when you think you've figured it out, there's conflicting evidence. The characters of the Miyagi clan, Lady Ichiteru, Lady Keisho-In enliven the novel. Even the evil chamberlain Yanagisawa gets a new dimension in this novel that is both heartbreaking and justified. You feel just a tinge of pity for him before watching in horror as he ruins it for himself.

A word of caution: this novel is just as graphic and sexual as the previous two books, particularly since this is dealing with the world of concubines, and sexual politics is the name of the game. There are many scenes of coercion, some assault, sweet unions, and then some out-there stuff. Some folks might be uncomfortable reading these scenes while others might just be plain weirded out. There's definitely a lot to wade through, so keep that in mind.

Even with that warning, I still think this is one of the stronger books in the series thus far. The sex scenes are all about power - who has it, who lacks it, who wants it - and I think they're more purposeful than they have been in the past. Overall, it's a great mystery and a fascinating look at 17th century Japanese society that I have to recommend this book.
… (mer)
readerbug2 | 10 andra recensioner | Nov 16, 2023 |



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