Sunday, September 13, 2009
"Black Arrow", by I.J. Parker
4th novel featuring Sugawara Akitada
The adventure is beautifully written bringing to life 11th century Japan, its action-packed plot is nicely combined with period details.
In this story, Akitada and his lieutenants Tora, Hitomaro and Genda are assigned to the remote and lawless province of Echigo to govern a hostile population and its treacherous warlords. They quickly become entangle in a murder investigation of an innkeeper and many other out of control situations. Forcing them, against all odds and risk to their lives to take up arms and bring the province back under the ultimate control of the Emperor.
This novel has a cast of fine characters, real to life, although none shine on their own. The narration is crisp and offers chilling moments with many surprises, the writing skilfully brings to the forefront the brutality of the period. I found even with its many twists the plot to be a bit predictable, removing some of the suspense.The reader will find the battle scenes to be very graphic, definitely not for the faint of heart.
This historical thriller is an entertaining addition to the series.