Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Zumaya Publications
Release Date: December 2002
ISBN: 1894869672
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre: Fantasy (Japan, period unspecified)
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

In the Service of Samurai
Gloria Oliver

     Young Toshi is a mapmaker's apprentice and has studied maps brought to Japan by the gaijin, as foreigners are termed. One day he is startled to be taken away to a new life of servitude for another master and his household on board their ship-and who are a real "skeleton crew." Lord Asaka's noble clan has been terribly wronged and their ship was sunk eight years ago, and since then has been trying to make landfall and secure a certain item. With the combination of Toshi and his special maps, their quest just might succeed at last. But Toshi just wants to go home and only a threat to make him one of the undead will force him to comply, but maybe he might have something to gain if he helps his new employers…

     I much enjoyed reading a fantasy with a totally different setting to the usual Tolkeinesque tubby tome. The author has done her homework and seems to have a good working knowledge of old Japan, which adds an extra dimension to the tale: fantastic characters in a realistic historical setting. Exciting at the beginning and picking up speed halfway through when landfall is made and Toshi's adventures begin in earnest, there is perhaps a preponderance of descriptions where he has a bath, eats a meal, goes on deck, etc. in the middle that could have been dealt with much quicker, thus getting on to the adventures. Nevertheless, this original and entertaining tale is sure to satisfy anybody who is looking for something a bit different. If you enjoyed Liam Hearn's Across The Nightingale Floor (also reviewed on this site), this ought to please as well.

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