Review: Fires of Edo by Susan Spann

Review: Fires of Edo by Susan SpannFires of Edo (Shinobi Mystery #8) by Susan Spann
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: historical fiction, historical mystery, mystery
Series: Shinobi Mystery #8
Pages: 230
Published by Seventh Street Books on February 15, 2022
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

Edo, February 1566: when a samurai’s corpse is discovered in the ruins of a burned-out bookshop, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo must determine whether the shopkeeper and his young apprentice are innocent victims or assassins in disguise. The investigation quickly reveals dangerous ties to Hiro’s past, which threaten not only Edo’s fledgling booksellers’ guild, but the very survival of Hiro’s ninja clan. With an arsonist on the loose, and a murderer stalking the narrow streets, Hiro and Father Mateo must save the guild—and themselves—from a conflagration that could destroy them all.

My Review:

The entire Shinobi Mystery series, starting with Claws of the Cat, takes place in feudal Japan beginning in 1564, at a time when few foreigners were permitted in the country. (For reference, 1564 was early in Elizabeth I’s reign in England, William Shakespeare was born and St. Augustine, the oldest continuously-inhabited European-established settlement in what is now the continuous U.S., would not be established until the following year.) More importantly, 1564 and the years following in Japan were a time of political upheaval, as the events that push the series forward frequently show.

This is particularly the case in Fires of Edo. Hattori Hiro and the man he has been hired to protect, Father Mateo Ávila of Portugal, have stopped at Edo (the future Tokyo) on their long journey from Kyoto to a location that is still under debate between the two of them.

Hiro is supposed to take Father Mateo to the safety of the Portuguese colony at Yokoseura – where Hiro can keep the man who has become his friend over the course of their association – safe. But Father Mateo does not have any desire to be “safe” and confined among his fellow countrymen. He wants to continue to explore Japan – because once he enters that sanctuary he may not be able to get back out.

But that safety starts looking pretty attractive during their entirely too eventful sojourn in Edo.

As they have made their rather meandering way across the country, Hiro has been carrying out a self-appointed mission for his ryu – the clan of shinobi (read as ninja) that raised him and trained him. The identities of his fellow agents have been compromised, revealed to Oda Nobunaga and the forces that support Nobunaga’s rise to control the shogunate (which eventually happened in 1568).

Hiro and Father Mateo have faced plenty of adventures along their journey, some begun by Father Mateo’s inability to keep from poking his nose in places it doesn’t belong. Others as a result of either Hiro’s mission or his hidden identity as a shinobi or both.

They’re both responsible for their landing in the mess they uncover in Edo. Father Mateo can’t bear to see a man who may be innocent condemned to death without an investigation for a crime that even at the briefest glance appears to have not been his fault. Something reeks about this whole case – and it’s not just the camphor that seems to have started a whole bunch of coincidental fires that are too many and too much alike to be truly coincidental.

Meanwhile, one of the men that Hiro has come to warn is the investigator for the crimes. He is also a man whom Hiro has never trusted after their rivalry in childhood and young adulthood. Hiro is certain something is rotten in Edo and in this investigation – if only because his old enemy is in it up his neck.

Or possibly up to Hiro’s.

Escape Rating B: When Hiro and Father Mateo arrive at their comfortable inn in Edo, at first it seems as if they will finally get a bit of a rest. Or at least not have to face the metaphorical ghosts they did in the previous book in this series, Ghost of the Bamboo Road.

This time around, the ghost that Hiro has to face is entirely too real. The man that Hiro has come to Edo to warn, Daisuke, is a ghost of Hiro’s past. When they were both young and being trained in the arts of the shinobi, Daisuki locked Hiro in a small space with a corpse. They were young, they were being entirely too foolish, and the incident left Hiro with no fear of corpses or ghosts whatsoever – unlike the norm for his time and culture.

But it did leave Hiro with a profound distrust of Daisuke – a distrust that continues into adulthood. Father Mateo believes that Hiro should forgive the other man, not for Daisuke’s sake but for his own.

But Hiro can’t shake his distrust – a distrust that grows into suspicion as the three men are caught up in a series of crimes that seem to be intended to either expose the shinobi in Edo or cover up their activities – at the expense of an innocent man’s life if necessary.

That the crimes that this mystery is wrapped around all involve printing and bookbinding shops made the story a bit of a treat for this librarian. On my other hand, the character of the intrusive, ineffective, conclusion-jumping junior police officer grated on my last nerve.

Of course, he’s supposed to. That he managed to fail upward at the end was a bit more annoying – even if all too realistic – than I really wanted to see. (Honestly, I wanted him to turn out to be the criminal. He was so obviously suspicious that it didn’t seem possible but no one stuck out quite the way he did.)

The crimes that are covered and uncovered seemed as if they were tangential to the real business – right up until the end. So I was certainly fooled – but not quite as enthralled as I was with Ghost of the Bamboo Road.

But I adore this series, and can’t wait to see where Hiro and Father Mateo’s wandering journey takes them next!

Review: Ghost of the Bamboo Road by Susan Spann

Review: Ghost of the Bamboo Road by Susan SpannGhost of the Bamboo Road: A Hiro Hattori Novel by Susan Spann
Format: ebook
Source: purchased from Amazon
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: historical fiction, historical mystery, mystery
Series: Shinobi Mystery #7
Pages: 272
Published by Seventh Street Books on November 12, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

When a vengeful spirit terrorizes a mountain village, a ninja and a Jesuit must save the villagers from the phantom’s wrath.
January 1566: En route to Edo, Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo spend the night in a rural mountain village whose inhabitants live in terror of a legendary vengeful ghost. When the innkeeper's wife is murdered and Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, is blamed for a crime she did not commit, Hiro and Father Mateo are forced to investigate and reveal the truth. But when another woman turns up murdered in the snow, the detectives must face the shocking truth that the vengeful yurei the villagers fear might be more than just a legend after all.

My Review:

No one wants to think that one of their neighbors is capable of committing murder – or even any lesser crimes. It’s why so many small town and country house mysteries usually start out with everyone involved pointing the finger, not at each other, but at some unknown wandering stranger. We all want our own little closed group to be blameless – it’s too uncomfortable to think otherwise.

But for the blame for not one or two but eventually four recent deaths in an isolated rural village to be attributed to ghosts and not any living humans at all is a bit too much for either shinobi (read ninja) Hiro Hattori and his friend and protectee Father Mateo to credit. The villagers may believe in ghosts, but Hiro has too much practical experience of the world to believe in ghosts. Father Mateo’s faith means that he does not believe in ghosts either – no matter how many times one of the villagers claims that he already is one.

Both Hiro and Father Mateo also have way too much experience in investigating mysterious and uncanny murders that always turn out to have been committed by humans and not any supernatural creatures at all.

Color them both skeptics. Even in the face of seemingly an entire village quivering in fear of an avenging ghost who seems to be systematically eliminating every remaining villager who refused to help her when she was alive.

It’s too easy for the logical Hiro to see that while the deaths may be mysterious, placing the blame on a ghost is a bit too convenient for someone. Or perhaps more than one someone. But the inconvenience of the local samurai refusing to allow them to leave until the crime is solved is all too real – and his blackmail attempt all too transparent.

It’s up to Hiro to suss out the real killer and their real motives – along with discovering who is responsible for a string of thefts that is somehow tied up in the murders – before they can continue on their self-appointed journey to Edo.

Escape Rating A-: I was so tempted to start with a Ghostbusters riff, because neither Hiro nor Mateo are afraid of any ghosts. Making this story an attempt to tell a ghost story with two total non-believers at its center.

The journey that Hiro and Mateo are on, from the disaster at Mount Koya in the previous book in the series, Trial on Mount Koya, is self-appointed or self-inflicted on Hiro’s part. The organization and family that trained him in the hidden arts of the shinobi is under threat from the capital, and Hiro is trying to warn all the covert agents along the way to Edo. Father Mateo is on the run after the events in a previous book in the series, The Ninja’s Daughter.

That being said, this story does stand somewhat alone. Not that knowledge of the previous events in the series isn’t handy or that acquiring that knowledge by starting at the beginning in Claws of the Cat isn’t a great reading time, but it would be possible to pick this up without starting at the beginning as this is set in an isolated part of their longer journey.

However, this series as a whole is an absolute treat for historical mystery and historical fiction readers. At the time the story takes place, Medieval Japan was mostly closed to outsiders. Father Mateo’s presence as guide and audience surrogate provides a window into a time, place and culture that was just opening to outsiders. We have been able to explore and discover along with him, while helping – or sometimes hindering – Hiro’s investigations along the way.

And while watching their relationship, initially curious strangers, bodyguard and protectee, change into friendship verging on brotherhood – with all the affection and exasperation inherent in that kind of family tie.

The case they have to solve here is both fascinating because of its setting and familiar because of the all-too-human motivations that set these crimes into motion. Hiro and Mateo are always outsiders even in places where they are most familiar, but in this tiny village they are more obviously so. It’s clear that much is known but not spoken of, and it’s up to these two strangers to bring those secrets into the light of day.

If only so that they can finally escape the place with their own mission also accomplished and their household intact!

I’ve followed this entire series, and loved every minute of it. But somehow I missed this book when it came out, and didn’t discover it existed until I learned about the upcoming publication of the next book in the series, Fires of Edo, which is due out in mid-February. From the title, it looks like their rather fraught journey to Edo is going to reach its destination, but hopefully not its end.

I’m looking forward to traveling with them again. Soon!

Review: Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann + Giveaway

Review: Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann + GiveawayTrial on Mount Koya (Shinobi Mystery #6) by Susan Spann
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: historical mystery
Series: Shinobi Mysteries #6
Pages: 256
Published by Seventh Street Books on July 3, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan's most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple's priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife--the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests--including Father Mateo--become unwilling members of the killer's grisly council of the dead.

My Review:

One of the factors that makes historical mysteries so interesting is that the investigator, whoever they might be, is forced to rely on instinct and intelligence, as forensics as we know them today do not yet exist. At the same time, the investigator can’t let their instincts get too much in the way. To quote Will Rogers, who won’t be born for more than three centuries after Trial on Mount Koya takes place, “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”

Shinobi (read ninja) Hiro Hattori is usually an excellent investigator. In his own society, mid-16th century Japan, he is an outsider on multiple levels. First he’s a master assassin. Second he’s the bodyguard and now friend of a Portuguese Jesuit priest. And third he is masquerading as a ronin, a masterless samurai. He’s normally on the outside looking in, even while appearing to be part of everything.

But in this particular case, while he is an outsider in this group of isolated people, he is unable to muster his usual clear-sighted lack of emotional involvement. He is still grieving the events of the the previous book, Betrayal at Iga, and his judgment is clouded because his friend is as threatened as everyone else in this remote killing ground.

And having just lost his lover in a murder that he believes he should have prevented, he is afraid of losing his closest friend as well. As a consequence he is jumping at shadows, unable to see or admit that his clouded judgment is causing him to miss vital clues and suspect people who he should have eliminated from suspicion – if he were operating as his usual, rational self.

Normally, between the Jesuit Father Mateo and the shinobi Hiro Hattori, Hiro is the level-headed one while Mateo rushes in where his religion’s angels would certainly fear to tread. And while Mateo still serves as our “Watson” in this outing, being the outsider to whom Hiro must explain the ins and outs of their purpose and location, in this particular story he is much more clear-sighted than his friend.

This story is also a variation on one of the classic mystery tropes. A relatively small group of people is isolated by a blizzard in a remote location. No one can get in, and no one can get out. There is a murderer amongst them who turns out to be a serial killer. And he must be one of them, because he can’t escape and no one could be hiding on the mountainside in the fierce and freezing storm.

It is up to Hiro, with the assistance of Mateo, to first get his head out of his own ass, and then to figure out whodunit. The setting is a remote monastery, where someone is methodically murdering the monks. As Hiro puts it, the usual methods for murder are love, money and power. They are in a monastery, a Buddhist monastery. It seems as if those motives could not possibly apply.

But of course one of them does. It is up to Hiro to figure out how and why before his best friend becomes the next victim.

Escape Rating B: This series is absolutely fascinating, both for its characters and for this recreation of a marvelous world that seems both incredibly exotic and extremely familiar. Exotic because I have little knowledge of the place and period it covers. Familiar because in the end, the characters are so very human, in all their muck and glory.

Human beings are, at heart, the same all over. While what constitutes money and power may vary from one society to another, the lengths that humans will go to in order to achieve or steal them are all too similar.

And, as always, that love is all there is is all we know of love. But what Hiro to his surprise grasps on the one hand, he loses track of on the other. Eros is not the only form of love. A strong enough version of any form of love could be a motive for murder.

Or the killer could simply be barking mad. Or both.

In its remote setting and isolated group of religious observers, Trial on Mount Koya reminds me just a bit of The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. With one major difference. At the end of The Beautiful Mystery, while I certainly felt for the victims, I also understood why the particular events, the murders, happened. When completed, the story felt finished and I felt satisfied that all had been resolved, good had, if not triumphed in that particular case, at least lived to fight another day.

As much as I enjoyed Trial on Mount Koya, the deep dive back into Hiro and Mateo’s world, and the progress of the investigation, as well as learning more about 16th century Japan and its culture, the revelation of the killer and his reasons felt unsatisfactory. This is possibly because the killer was both utterly insane and completely organized at the same time. It may have been because his logic and his motives were so far outside my own perspectives that I just couldn’t understand them enough.

And it could be that there is more yet to discover, not about this killer in particular but about the outside events that set Hiro and Mateo on this particular journey in the first place. I’ve enjoyed every one of their adventures from the series’ beginning in Claws of the Cat, and if you love historical mysteries I highly recommend starting this series at the beginning.

I’ll be back to follow them on their journey. They are intending to take the road to Edo. I’m sure they’ll have more fascinating adventures along the way. And probably turn up a dead body, or two, or six.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I am very happy to be giving away a copy of Trial on Mount Koya to one lucky US or Canadian commenter.

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Review: Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann + Giveaway

Review: Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann + GiveawayBetrayal at Iga (Shinobi Mystery #5) by Susan Spann
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Series: Shinobi Mysteries #5
Pages: 256
Published by Seventh Street Books on July 11th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans. With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor."

My Review:

From the very beginning of this series, all the way back in the marvelous Claws of the Cat, I have been itching for the story of the first meeting between Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo. And while I didn’t get it in Betrayal at Iga, the story does get a lot closer to the source of their partnership, that old contract between Mateo’s secret (presumably) benefactor and Hiro’s shinobi (read as ninja) clan.

Someone, somewhere, still unknown, was willing to pay a lot of money to contract with one of the two greatest shinobi clans to keep the Portuguese missionary alive. That contract has saved Mateo’s life over and over again, even as it has endangered Hiro’s, generally at the same time. In Betrayal at Iga, Hiro has been forced to bring Mateo to the seat of his clan’s power, in order to keep him alive after the tumultuous events of The Ninja’s Daughter.

(If you are getting the hint that this series is best read in order, that is one of the correct things to glean from the above. Also, the whole series is just damn excellent, so if you like historical mysteries, the whole thing is well worth reading. Period. Exclamation Point.)

The stakes are higher than ever in this fifth book in the series. Hiro and Father Mateo have arrived at Hiro’s home just in time for negotiations of an alliance between Hiro’s clan and the rival Koga clan. The clans are not currently at war, but not exactly at peace, either. Rivals seldom are.

Both feel as if peace is being forced on them from outside. Shinobi are always outsiders, samurai who are not acknowledged as samurai, trained in the shadow arts of espionage and assassination. Most shoguns hire them at need and otherwise leave them alone. But in the current political upheaval, both clans are all too aware that the new shogun, brought to power in a bloodbath, seeks to control all not currently under his sway. The shinobi clans’ independence is at stake, as is their livelihood and their very lives. Only by banding together will they be strong enough to resist the shogun’s iron fist.

But the negotiations are threatened from within. In the opening moments of the welcome feast, just as Hiro and Mateo arrive at Hiro’s childhood home, one of the rival negotiators dies of obvious poison in front of the entire assembled clan. In a household consisting entirely of assassins and practiced poisoners, every single person in attendance knows the result of poisoning when they see it spew in front of them.

In order for the negotiations to continue, someone must pay for the all-too-obvious crime. If the real killer is not found, the person who pays with their life will be the one who prepared the feast, even though the poison could not possibly have been contained within. That person is Hiro’s mother Midori, and Hiro can’t let her die, no matter how willing she might be to sacrifice herself to save the family’s honor.

It is up to Hiro and Father Mateo to find the real murderer, and the true motive for the murder, before his mother is forced to ritually kill herself. And before someone gets away with murder. But in a household of assassins, everyone is more than capable of the crime. Hiro has many too many suspects, and time is running out.

Escape Rating A: The best detectives are often outsiders. And in all of their previous cases, Hiro and Mateo have definitely been outsiders, Mateo by culture and Hiro by profession. But every once in awhile, it can be illuminating for the detective in a series to find himself all too much on the inside of a crime that he is investigating, where he already knows all the players and has previously formed opinions of the possible suspects. That is certainly the case in Betrayal at Iga, where Hiro is back at home, and the most likely suspects seem to be his mother, his grandmother, his cousin and his former lover. He comes home and into the middle of the mess with preconceived notions about all of them, and not all of those notions are to either his or the potential suspect’s benefit.

At the same time, the crime has to make some kind of sense, and it just doesn’t. Or at least not for any of the members of the Iga Ryu (clan). His cousin Hanzo wants this alliance – and killing the members of the Koga delegation guarantees it will fail. Hiro’s mother, grandmother and former lover are all capable of the crime, but none of them would commit it without Hanzo’s orders as clan head. Which it made no sense for him to give. One of the women could be a traitor, but even Hiro’s jaundiced opinion of his ex makes that extremely unlikely.

None of the obvious suspects benefits – so who does? And therein lies the key to solving the mystery, in spite of all of Hiro’s many distractions.

This peek inside the closed world of the shinobi provides fascinating insights into Hiro’s history and character, as well as an absorbing mystery that seems perfectly set in its time and place. If you enjoy historical mysteries or historical fiction that provide windows into times and places that might not be familiar, this series is a treat from beginning to end. Start your trip back in time with Claws of the Cat.

I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next stage of Hiro and Mateo’s journey, hopefully next summer.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I love this series, so I am very happy to be able to give away a copy of Betrayal at Iga to one lucky US or Canadian commenter:

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Review: The Ninja’s Daughter by Susan Spann + Giveaway

Review: The Ninja’s Daughter by Susan Spann + GiveawayThe Ninja's Daughter (Shinobi Mystery, #4) by Susan Spann
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Series: Shinobi Mystery #4
Pages: 230
Published by Seventh Street Books on August 2nd 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes &

Autumn, 1565: When an actor's daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto's Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim's only hope for justice.
As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun's recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace--but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto's theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

My Review:

The world portrayed within the pages of Susan Spann’s Shinobi Mysteries is endlessly fascinating. Not just because it is the past, but because it is set in the history of an area that those of us in the West do not know well. In this setting, we are even more fishes out of water than Father Mateo, one of the author’s two protagonists.

This series takes place in Feudal Japan, not long before the time period of James Clavell’s famous novel (and TV miniseries) Shogun. But the circles in which Father Mateo and his bodyguard and translator Hiro Hattori travel are not the rarefied courts of the Emperor and the Shogun, but rather the streets where regular people live, and where being hauled into the local Magistrate’s Court is always a constant threat.

At the same time, like so many historical mysteries, this series is set at a time when the world is in flux. In 1575 one Shogun has fallen, and powerful families are jockeying for position. Most people are just trying to stay out of the way. But the Portuguese Jesuit priest Father Mateo is one of the few Westerners admitted to the country, and his position is always under threat, as is his life.

It is Hiro Hattori’s job to keep the Jesuit alive at all costs. His life is forfeit if he does not, as is his honor. But as much as he respects this man from another place and another faith, they do not always see eye-to-eye, either about life in general, or hanging onto theirs in particular.

In the story of The Ninja’s Daughter, Father Mateo involves himself in the case of a young woman who has been murdered. Because Emi was an actor’s daughter, the Magistrate has declared there is no crime to be investigated. But Emi’s father Satsu is a hidden warrior like Hiro. They are both shinobi, as we say in the West, ninjas. To complicate matters further, Satsu is Hiro’s uncle, making the murdered girl his cousin.

Father Mateo does not believe that Hiro is willing to let the matter rest in injustice. Hiro runs himself ragged, trying to solve the crime so that he can spirit his charge away from Kyoto ahead of assassins that he has been warned are on their way.

He needs all the help he can get.

Escape Rating A-: The Ninja’s Daughter is a story about masks. Both literally, as the theft of a famous Noh mask is one facet of the investigation, and figuratively, as all of the players in this drama are hiding important pieces of who they really are.

Hiro himself always wears a mask. He is a shinobi, one of the hidden warriors. But his disguise is as a ronin, a masterless man, who has taken on a job that should be beneath his dignity, serving as translator to the foreign priest.

Father Mateo also wears a mask. He speaks Japanese well, and understands the culture much better than anyone except Hiro gives him credit for. He pretends to bumble, when all the while he sees much more than anyone expects.

And then there are the players in this little drama, dead Emi, her father Satsu, her sister Chou, and Chou’s fiance Yuji. Everyone is lying about something, the question is about what. Everyone has something to hide. And everyone believes that they knew the dead girl much better than she knew herself. The mess caused by her death proves that they didn’t.

In the midst of political upheaval, we have what turns out to be a relatively simple murder, obscured by a bunch of actors each playing the part they think they should.

claws of the cat by susan spannFor those who love historical mystery, this series is a treat. While these stories could be read as stand alones, the immersion in this world works better if the reader begins at the beginning, with the lovely Claws of the Cat.

Hiro’s cat Gato is an adorable little scene stealer.

And for those who have gobbled up this series and are waiting for the next, Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart, although set in China rather than Japan, has much of the same feel.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

Courtesy of Seventh Street Books, I am giving away a copy of The Ninja’s Daughter to one lucky U.S. or Canadian commenter

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This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews and features.