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Island of Exiles
Akitada mysteries #5

by I J Parker

      Sugawara Akitada is weary of his assignment as provisional governor of snowy Echigo in the far north. Money is tight and his new wife and baby son are not in the best of health. When important officials come from the capital he hopes it is to assign him to a new position, and he is right. This is something rather different, working undercover as a convict on the feared Sado Island, the place where exiles are sent. Prince Okisada has been poisoned, and the governorís son is the prime suspect so it is up to Akitada to find out if this is true, and if anything else is going on. One thing is certain, he wonít be bored...

...And neither will you! Akitadaís fifth assignment is probably the best yet, more of an adventure than just another whodunit. His work is cut out for him on the island, and something happens on every page. As well as the engagingly three-dimensional protagonist, the book contains a colorful cast of interesting supporting characters, helpfully delineated in a dramatis personae at the front of the book. This book does not succeed through plot alone, as Ms Parker paints a convincing picture of 11th century Japan, presented warts and all without seeming too cozy or too bleak. I donít know enough about this period to be able to comment on the seriesí authenticity, but plenty of research has obviously been done and frankly I am too busy enjoying the story to pick holes. This series has the ability to transport the reader to a time when things were very different, but at the same time presenting it in a very accessible way. One of the best books of 2007 and... hugely enjoyable!

The Book

October 2007
Historical Crime [1015, Japan]
More at US|| UK
NOTE: Some violence

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007