The Assassin's Touch (Sano Ichiro Series #10) [NOOK Book]


May 1695. During a horse race at Edo Castle the chief of the shogun’s intelligence service, Ejima Senzaemon, drops dead as his horse gallops across the finish line—the fourth in a recent series of sudden deaths of high-ranking officials. Sano Ichiro is ordered to investigate, despite his recent promotion to chamberlain and his new duties as the shogun’s second-in-command.

Meanwhile, Sano’s wife, Reiko, is invited to attend the trial of Yugao,...
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The Assassin's Touch (Sano Ichiro Series #10)

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May 1695. During a horse race at Edo Castle the chief of the shogun’s intelligence service, Ejima Senzaemon, drops dead as his horse gallops across the finish line—the fourth in a recent series of sudden deaths of high-ranking officials. Sano Ichiro is ordered to investigate, despite his recent promotion to chamberlain and his new duties as the shogun’s second-in-command.

Meanwhile, Sano’s wife, Reiko, is invited to attend the trial of Yugao, a beautiful young woman accused of stabbing her parents and sister to death. The woman has confessed, but the magistrate believes there is more to this case than meets the eye. He delays his verdict and asks Reiko to prove Yugao’s guilt or innocence.

As their investigations continue, both Sano and Reiko come to realize that the man he is trying to hunt and the woman she is desperate to save are somehow connected. A single fingerprint on Ejima’s temple puts Sano on the trail of an underground movement to overthrow the regime, and in the path of an assassin with a deadly touch. “Elegantly told and interspersed with delicious bits of history” (Kirkus Reviews), Laura Joh Rowland's The Assassin's Touch is a mystery you won't want to miss.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of Rowland's assured 10th historical set in 17th-century Japan (after 2004's The Perfumed Sleeve), Sano Ichiro, now the shogun's chamberlain and second-in-command, returns to his previous role of criminal investigator after the country's top spy, Ejima Senzaemon, drops dead on his mount during a horse race. Sano quickly finds that Senzaemon was just the latest senior official to die without warning. With the assistance of Hirata, his longtime assistant, the chamberlain uses his highly irregular sources to get on the trail of a martial-arts master using the legendary dim-mak, or touch of death. As always, the potential political ramifications of the crimes, which threaten the regime's precarious hold on power, add urgency to the inquiries, and failure risks not only Sano's status but his family's lives as well. While the significance of the subplot featuring Sano's wife, Reiko, may strike some as coincidental, the compelling story line, evocative detail and suspense should engage newcomers and satisfy longtime fans alike. At a point when many series show signs of wear, Rowland's characters remain fresh. Agent, Pamela Ahearn. (Aug. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the late-17th century, a Japanese husband and wife undertake separate probes of two murders. Outside the Edo Castle, a thoroughbred race turns tragic when one of the mounted samurai suffers a sudden unexpected pain and falls to the track to be trampled. It seems like an accident, but Sano Ichiro, in his tenth recorded case (The Perfumed Sleeve, 2004, etc.), discovers that the warrior, Ejima Senzaemon, was killed by dim-mak, an expert touch that causes its victim to bleed fatally from the head. A hard stroke kills instantly, but this one, coroner Ito explains to Sano, was deliberately gentle so as to trigger a later death. As chief of the metsuke, the Japanese national intelligence service, Ejima had many enemies. Though Sano has risen to the position of second-in-command to the shogun, discretion demands he conduct this case personally. Meanwhile, his wife Reiko is undertaking an equally sensitive investigation. A young woman named Yugao has been arrested for the brutal murder of her parents and sister, a charge she does nothing to deny. Because Yugao's family are hinin, Japan's lowest social caste, justice is a low priority. Reiko's father, Magistrate Ueda, thinks his daughter can reach the girl. Reiko seems to be succeeding until Yugao escapes prison during a fire, unknowingly placing herself in greater danger. A pair of conventional mysteries elegantly told and interspersed with delicious bits of history. Agent: Pam Ahearn/Ahearn Agency
From the Publisher
“Sano may carry a sword and wear a kimono, but you’ll immediately recognize him as an ancestor of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade.” —The Denver Post

Praise for Laura Joh Rowland

The Perfumed Sleeve“Readers who enjoy a deep, insightful examination of a bygone period will want to read Perfumed Sleeve and the previous novels of this solid series.” —Midwest Book Review

“In its careful, beautiful portrayal of a dangerous time in Japanese history, this ninth in a popular detective series is every bit as satisfying as the preceding eight. . . . Rowland has created a compelling and lively series.” —Dallas Morning News

“Defty combining a classic whodunit with vivid period detail, Rowland raises the stakes for her next book with an unexpected twist at the end that promises to present her dogged but fallible hero with even more difficulties in the future.” —Publishers Weekly

The Dragon King’s Palace“Rowland uses her fine eye for detail to portray the intricate surface and roiling underbelly of life in a tightly structured, controlled society. Her Japan is a mix of Kabuki theater–like stylized formality, palace intrigue, and physical action that would do a martial arts movie proud.” —The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

“A lively dissection of the samurai code of honor, sexual dishonor, palace infighting, and ancient Japanese mores.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Rowland is one of the best mystery writers around. You owe it to yourself to check out the best suspense series you’ve never heard of.” —The Flint [Michigan] Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429908481
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2006
  • Series: Sano Ichiro Series , #10
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 226,422
  • File size: 384 KB

Meet the Author

Laura Joh Rowland, the granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, was educated at the University of Michigan and now lives in New Orleans with her husband. The Assassin’s Touch is the tenth book in her widely acclaimed series featuring Sano Ichiro.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    Oh, please! Gimme a break! This is not 17th century Japan. It's a mediocre B-Movie + CSI:Tokyo. The Assassin's Touch is as authentic as California rolls. The characthers are not believable and their attitudes, actions do not correspond to those living in Edo in the late 1600s. Read it if you don't expect much.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A terrific Japanese historical police procedural

    In 1695 at Edo Castle, Japan, the chief of metsuke (spies) Ejima Senzaemon collapses, falls off his horse and dies while crossing the finish line victorious during a horse race. Lord Matsudaira, cousin to The Shogun, controls the shoguns and albeit runs the military dictatorship; he thinks a homicide occurred probably by the followers of the man he defeated former Chamberlain Yanagisawa. He assigns his trusted aid, the current Chamberlain and former criminal investigator Sano Ichiro who has come along since being a Ronin, to investigate the death of Ejima and three other senior government officials....................... Two of the previous three deceased died suddenly in their sleep; the other in a bathtub accident. Sano sees no connection to include the fourth death, but Matsudaira believes a conspiracy to disguise the murders of top officials is occurring. Sano and longtime aid Hirata begins the inquiries that lead to a link to his wife Reiko of a martial-arts adept who seemingly like a ghost uses the mythical dim-mak touch of death to kill his victims without a trace of foul play. If this unknown serial killer is not stopped soon, Sano knows the impact on a government struggling with a counter-insurgence and on his family especially his beloved Reiko.......................... Though Reiko¿s involvement seems too gimmicky and convenient, THE ASSASSIN¿S TOUCH is a terrific Japanese historical police procedural that as is the case with the nine previous novels in the series provides an astute look at Shogun Japan. The story line is action-packed with strong characters especially the hero and his activist wife while also using seventeenth century tidbits to enhance the plot. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest treasure while newcomers will seek other Sano titles.......................... Harriet Klausner

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