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Year of the Demon: A Novel of the Fated Blades

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Overview

A MASK OF DESTRUCTION

Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit—and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the ...

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Year of the Demon: A Novel of the Fated Blades

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Overview

A MASK OF DESTRUCTION

Detective Sergeant Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Japan’s elite Narcotics unit—and with this promotion comes a new partner, a new case, and new danger. The underboss of a powerful yakuza crime syndicate has put a price on her head, and he’ll lift the bounty only if she retrieves an ancient iron demon mask that was stolen from him in a daring raid. However, Mariko has no idea of the tumultuous past carried within the mask—or of its deadly link with the famed Inazuma blade she wields. 

The secret of this mask originated hundreds of years before Mariko was born, and over time the mask’s power has evolved to bend its owner toward destruction, stopping at nothing to obtain Inazuma steel. Mariko’s fallen sensei knew much of the mask’s hypnotic power and of its mysterious link to a murderous cult. Now Mariko must use his notes to find the mask before the cult can bring Tokyo to its knees—and before the underboss decides her time is up....

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this gripping follow-up to 2012’s Daughter of the Sword, Tokyo police officer Oshiro Mariko is now working in the Narcotics division. In the aftermath of a raid, an ancient mask is stolen, and its Yakuza owner demands that Mariko retrieve it. Her search for the mask leads her to a cult with a deadly agenda and a centuries-old mystery connected to the legendary sword she now possesses. Extensive flashbacks to the lives of two historical characters—Daigoru, a 16th-century lord who wielded Mariko’s sword, and Kaida, a 15th-century one-armed pearl diver forced to contend with ruthless mercenaries—further expand the story, essentially making it three books in one. Bein combines the best parts of police procedurals, buddy-cop films, historical fantasy, and intrigue-laden adventure, enhancing them with painstaking research and attention to atmosphere. Despite all the action, this middle volume feels incomplete, but all three stories promise to wrap up in gripping style. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Library Journal
★ 10/15/2013
Because of her efforts to prove her worth, DS Mariko Oshiro has been promoted to Tokyo's Narcotics Unit, an elite group of detectives who tackle the most difficult cases. When a member of a powerful yakuza syndicate places a price on Mariko's head, she finds that the only way the bounty can be lifted is if she retrieves the iron demon mask recently stolen from the crime lord. In tracking down both the mask and her enemy, Mariko encounters the turbulent history of the artifact as well as its ties to the samurai sword she uses. Bein's sequel to Daughter of the Sword adds new complications to Mariko's story and opens a window onto modern Japanese culture as seen through the eyes of its crime fighters. VERDICT Vibrant and unforgettable characters combine with Japanese history and fast-paced action to create an urban fantasy for fans of Asian culture.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
Sequel to Bein's exotic law-and-order fantasy, Daughter of the Sword (2012). Tokyo's DS Mariko Oshiro, the lone female on the elite Narcotics unit, has a price on her head thanks to a local yakuza boss known as the Bulldog. Then things get seriously weird. After a successful if routine drug warehouse bust, a man dressed as a SWAT team member steals an ancient iron demon mask from the premises--and the Bulldog declares that he'll lift the bounty if Mariko recovers it. That night, somebody enters her locked apartment and steals the rare Inazuma sword that hangs on the wall above her bed--without waking her and without leaving a trace. The sword has the peculiar property of guaranteeing victory to those who wield it--but only if they don't want to win. The mask grants the ability to seek out Inazuma swords but renders the wearer dangerously obsessive. Somehow, mask and sword are linked, and Mariko delves into the voluminous notebooks of her late sensei, professor Yasuo Yamada, who was not only a swordsman and scholar, but also knew of the magic properties of both items. In two historical excursions, cumulatively larger than the main story, Bein details the association between mask and sword. In the late 16th century, the samurai Daigoro wields what will become Mariko's sword against the mask's wearer, who is clearly insane, while more than 100 years earlier, ninja cultists force young shell-diver Kaida to use the mask's power to retrieve the sword from a deep shipwreck. There's no doubting the authenticity of Bein's creation as he elegantly binds all the elements together, even if the points of attachment are things rather than people. The main flaw is long-windedness, with long sentences preferred over telling phrases. A solid effort but one that badly needs streamlining.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451465191
  • Publisher: Roc Trade
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Series: A Novel of the Fated Blades Series , #2
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 772,972
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Bein

Steve Bein teaches Asian philosophy and Asian history at the State University of New York - Geneseo. He holds a PhD in philosophy, and his graduate work took him to Nanzan University and Obirin University in Japan, where he translated a seminal work in the study of Japanese Buddhism. His short fiction has been published in Asimov's, Interzone, Writers of the Future, and has been anthologized for use in college courses alongside the works of such figures as Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, and H.G. Wells.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    Disappointing follow up to the first one.

    Such a let down.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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