The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan

Lucia St Clair-Robson, Author, Lucia St Clair Robson, Author Ballantine Books $19.95 (513p) ISBN 978-0-345-37026-6
Robson ( Walk In My Soul ) opens this well-researched Japanese historical romance in 1702, during the rein of shogun Tsunayoshi, with young heroine Cat at the start of a long quest for vengeance. Lord Kira has caused the disgrace and death of her father, Lord Asano. Cat, the illegitimate daughter of Lord Asano and his ``outside-wife,'' is penniless, powerless and herself the prey of Kira's warriors. As the first step in rehabilitating her father's name, she must find Oishi Kuranosuke, leader of her father's samurai. Disguised as an itinerant beggar-priest she begins her search for Oishi on the dangerous Tokaido Road, experiencing myriad adventures along the way. Robson has based this picaresque tale on an actual feud and steeped it in the custom and culture of feudal Japan. The narrative is weighted down with explications of Zen thought and Japanese poetry, of the country's rigid caste system, even of the subtle nuances of using a bow. have restored some of what was cut When we don't like a book, we have to tell why. Honor is the operative element in this legend, taking precedence over everything, wish to restore the following 2 words; they are crucial to the meaning and justifying even the orgy of killing at the epic climax. Robson's detailed historiography is impressive, but the novel lacks the vital spark that might keep readers immersed in Cat's adventures. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 494 pages - 978-0-345-35639-0
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