Takashi Matsuoka, Author . Delacorte $25 (432p) ISBN 978-0-385-33641-3

East collides with West in this complex, epic tale by Matsuoka (Cloud of Sparrows ), in which the ability to see the future is transferred from generation to generation in a Japanese clan. The mid-19th-century inheritor of the clan's visionary powers is Lord Genji, a powerful samurai warlord who favors western style modernization for Japan but faces fierce opposition from the antiforeigner element. Compounding his political troubles is his peculiar love affair with a beautiful young American Christian missionary. Emily Gibson has been in Japan for six years, doing her missionary work, trying to hide her feelings for Genji and translating a series of mysterious scrolls recounting the history of the clan. As she reads the scrolls, she discovers inexplicable references to her own life and her association with Genji's family. Meanwhile, flashbacks describe centuries of tangled relationships and events that result in Genji's rise to power, focusing particularly on beautiful Shizuka, Genji's 14th-century forebear, who has the sharpest vision of the clan's future. The convoluted tale is bursting with too many characters and jumps around in time too much to be a smooth read—a 13th-century Mongol invasion, assassination, clan warfare, romantic rivalries and an estranged son and heir to Genji's rule round out the packed narrative—but Matsuoka's rich, authoritative storytelling makes this an engrossing read. Agent, Candice Fuhrman. (Aug. 3)

Reviewed on: 07/19/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-385-33911-7
Open Ebook - 353 pages - 978-0-440-33458-3
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