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) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this follow-up to his debut, Cloud of Sparrows-a People Page-Turner of the Week-a woman sits in a castle writing a story of medieval Japan as enemies gather below. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-The characters in this epic tale of shogun-era mysticism fairly leap from the pages. Time lines cross, uncross, and converge in the tangled history of one of the great families of the age. Each great lord of the Okumichi clan comes to be known as a prophet who is often driven quite mad by his visions. What no one outside the family knows is that Lady Shizuka, who lived at Cloud of Sparrows castle until 1311, is the true visionary, and that she "visits" her descendants with knowledge of the future. In the 1800s, Lord Genji plays host to American Christian missionary Emily Gibson. She is charged not only with trying to convert the heathen Buddhists, but also with translating the scrolls that chart the history of the clan. Among the scrolls, Emily finds a hidden history of prophecy and knowledge seemingly written just for her: Lady Shizuka's writings, known as Autumn Bridge. The book is intricately plotted on a grand scale; the samurai code of duty, loyalty, and honor shines throughout. The heroism of individuals may be overshadowed by the arc of history, but it is the individual details that create the wonderfully complex atmosphere of feudal Japan. Although this is a sequel to Matsuoka's Cloud of Sparrows (Delacorte, 2002), it stands on its own. Teens interested in history, different cultures, or fantasy should enjoy Autumn Bridge.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Characters from Matsuoka's bellicose Cloud of Sparrows (2002) return for the calmer tale of an aristocratic family's extra-sensorily perceptive inheritance. Time folds in and out of itself, and characters chat across the centuries as members of the lordly Okumichi clan cope with the family curse: an ability to see, but not to change, the future. The prognosticatory DNA spliced itself into the gene pool in the 14th century when Go, a turncoat Hun whose mother always said she was a witch, crossed over from the seemingly invincible Mongol invaders to cast his lot with the samurai. Go's daughter, Lady Shizuka, endures a childhood made hellish by the madness of unsorted futuristic visions, then when she outgrows them focuses her forward look on a long-term relationship with 19th-century descendant Lord Kiyori, grandfather of Genji, the brilliant samurai who understands that it is Japan's fate to become modern. As the Japanese nation copes with the problems of the New, Lord Genji must cope with the perplexities of Love and Race embodied in exquisite American ex-missionary Emily Gibson. Christian sensibilities notwithstanding, Miss Gibson has it bad for Lord Genji. Since the collapse of her evangelical denomination, Emily has busied herself working on the translation of recently unearthed Okumichi family scrolls, missives from the past that hint at Emily's own arrival and family involvement. Genji, by the way, is the member of his generation who has inherited the view of the future, but rather than seeing everything he has only three visions, teasingly revealed over the stretch of the story. Such tension as there is in this pretty but rather slow drama comes from the plottings of Lord Genji'smany reactionary enemies, pressures on Emily to choose an American husband, Genji's own end, and the fate of his son, a native of San Francisco. Pleasant Asian take on the always reliable Aga saga. Agency: Helen Heller Agency
"Stretching back and forth through the centuries, Matsuoka weaves a timeless tale of intrigue and romance."
"Matsuoka’s rich, authoritative storytelling makes this an engrossing read."
"Offers one of the most impressive feats of storytelling to come along in years.... told in all the rich and exotic detail that made [Cloud of Sparrows] such a delight."
--San Francisco Chronicle Books
From the Hardcover edition.