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The Dragon Scroll Paperback – 31 Jul 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (31 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035329
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.6 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Dragon Scroll by Parker, I.j

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 July 2005
Format: Paperback
With her third mystery in three years, I. J. Parker continues her series featuring Akitada Sugawara, a twenty-five-year-old member of the nobility whose family is no longer influential in the emperor's court in 11th century Japan. When three yearly tax shipments from Kazusa province disappear without a trace, Akitada is assigned to investigate, a task he accepts enthusiastically, believing it to be a great honor. Traveling through the cold countryside by horseback in the "Gods-Absent Month" of November, Akitada is accompanied by an elderly family retainer, Seimei.
From the outset, Parker creates a fast-paced and exciting narrative which keeps the reader interested both in the action and in the revelations of eleventh century culture and tradition. In the first fifty pages, the reader experiences the murder of a beautiful noblewoman, the gruesome death of a prostitute, the attempted robbery of Akitada and subsequent fight to the death with robbers, the attempted assault of a young deaf-mute woman by several Buddhist monks, and a violent attack on a member of Akitada's party by a female martial artist of enormous skill.
Though this novel is the most recent Parker novel to be published, the story line occurs chronologically earlier than both The Rashomon Gate and The Hell Screen, two previous mysteries in the same series. Akitada is a young bachelor here, meeting Tora, who figures in the action of both the previous books, for the first time. As Akitada tries to discover the fate of the tax convoys, he investigates the death of the retired governor of the province, observes the behavior of "monks" who seem unfamiliar with traditional ceremonies, prowls through the storerooms of a monastery, discovers a mysterious group of imprisoned monks, and falls in love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Doolan on 10 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I only found these books about two weeks ago. I read Black Arrow and was hooked so I wanted to read them in chronological order. I had to wait for the first one....The Dragon Scroll... to come all the way from the States and ignore the other six sitting by my bed......it wasn't easy but then it finally arrived. I started to read Akitada's adventures from the beginning and I wasn't disappointed. These stories are great. The settings are wonderfully written and you can almost feel the icy cold rain in your face. Unlike a lot of novels it's not just the main character you care about but here there are a whole crowd of interesting faces. I love Tora and in the next book another character turns up, a Captain Kobe whose already endeared himself. I am spending many long nights sitting up in bed reading these novels because I can't help myself reading "one more page." Highly recommended if you like a good mystery in a very unusual setting.
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Format: Paperback
The Dragon Scroll was the first Akitada book I had the pleasure of reading and is an amazing book. All the novels in this series offer an amazing world brim full of culture and custom that the reader is surrounded and engrossed by. The one US review that suggests you won't learn anything from this novel is wrong. The research behind these novels is academic and meticulous and, consequently, the books ooze an accuracy and consistency which, as aforementioned, offers one of the most engrossing and fulfilling worlds I have had the pleasure of reading into.
Yes, this book was a `quick' read, but only on account of not being able to put it down as the intricate and gripping plot unravelled and took hold. I am still amazed that these books are not held in higher esteem, they are amazing!
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By TheDoc on 30 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this series of books about the detective (????) Akitada and this one is brilliant. BUY IT
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
"Like the call of the owl fading at dawn, so ends this dream we live." 6 July 2005
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With her third mystery in three years, I. J. Parker continues her series featuring Akitada Sugawara, a twenty-five-year-old member of the nobility whose family is no longer influential in the emperor's court in 11th century Japan. When three yearly tax shipments from Kazusa province disappear without a trace, Akitada, a minor official in the Ministry of Justice, is assigned to investigate, a task he accepts enthusiastically, believing it to be a great honor. Traveling through the cold countryside by horseback in the "Gods-Absent Month" of November, Akitada is accompanied by an elderly family retainer, Seimei.

From the outset, Parker creates a fast-paced and exciting narrative which keeps the reader interested both in the action and in the revelations of eleventh century culture and tradition. In the first fifty pages, the reader experiences the murder of a beautiful noblewoman, the gruesome death of a prostitute, the attempted robbery of Akitada and subsequent fight to the death with robbers, the attempted assault of a young deaf-mute woman by several Buddhist monks, and a violent attack on a member of Akitada's party by a female martial artist of enormous skill.

Though this novel is the most recent Parker novel to be published, the story line occurs chronologically earlier than both The Rashomon Gate and The Hell Screen, two previous mysteries in the same series. Akitada is a young bachelor here, meeting Tora, a powerful aide who appears in both the previous books, for the first time. As Akitada tries to discover the fate of the tax convoys, he investigates the death of the retired governor of the province, observes the behavior of "monks" who seem unfamiliar with traditional ceremonies, investigates unsavory neighborhoods and elegant residences, and falls in love. The action develops gradually, and builds to a conclusion that is filled with fireworks.

The cultural separation between noble and commoner, the tension between the Buddhist and Shinto religions, and details about government and cultural traditions are included very naturally within the story. Parker develops her characters realistically, allowing her readers to identify with them, also including unusual characters whose idiosyncrasies make them memorable--the Rat, a beggar-informer; Higekuro, a former member of the nobility who is now the paralyzed director of a martial arts school; and Otomi, the deaf-mute artist whose sketches of a monastery figure in the investigation. Often humorous, Parker creates a well-developed and exciting mystery about a different kind of detective, continuing a series which deserves to draw many new readers! Mary Whipple
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Excellent mystery set in medieval Japan, first-rate beginning for a first-rate series. 26 Aug 2006
By R. B. Bernstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Historical mysteries are like comedy -- either they work or they don't, and there is no middle ground. This mystery, the first of what I hope will be a long series, works wonderfully well. It is thoroughly grounded in the world of early medieval Japan, and it carries its immense learning and scholarship so lightly that only if you've read Japanese history for this period will you realize just how sound its view of Sugawara Akitada and his world is. The writing is always clear, amusing when it wants to be, and deeply moving at the right times. The plotting is sure and sensible, and the mystery unfolds at just the right pace. I read this one and immediately sought out the next. Highest recommendation.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Decent Mystery Read 7 Sep 2005
By kenshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Cutting to the chase, this is simply a good quick read, nothing more. It is the perfect book to read at the beach or on a plane. The writing is not very deep, vivid or profound. Despite how this book is promoted, do not expect to learn a lot about ancient Japan nor culture. Do not expect this to be a book about samurais since the period portrayed is before the age of the samurai. Do not even expect a classic intense mystery thriller since it becomes obvious early on who did the crime. Instead expect a book that goes out of its way to explain the class differences between nobility and peasants.

Despite all of this, I found it enjoyable only because the setting was interesting. My only major complaint about this book was the sex. I found the description awkward, lacking passion and out of context to the point where had it been omitted I would have assumed that the target audience for this book was young adults.

Still, its good quick read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable mystery 13 Sep 2005
By Sylvia J. Rzeminski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third book by I. J. Parker though timewise, the action takes place before the other two. It is an interesting look into the ways of ancient Japan with the plus of being an excellent mystery to boot. I find the characters believable - I wouldn't have read all three books if I hadn't. The premise of the book is that the main character is sent to a province to investigate the disappearance of taxes being sent to the capital. To say more would give away the whole plot.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable read 2 April 2006
By R. Reiners - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have read few mystery books/novels over the years but I do enjoy material concerning Japan and China (I was stationed in Japan for two years), and when I saw this at the store I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it throughout. It was difficult for me to put down once I picked it up. Besides the ancient Japanese setting, I also enjoyed the humor that the author found time to put in. I look forward to reading the other novels in this series.
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