This is a work of historical fiction set in Japan (Nihon) in the 1600's.
Any book set in this period will probably be compared with the late James Clavell's great novel Shogun, particularly as The New Shogun begins at the period where Shogun ended.
James Clavell had an Englishman (the Anjin-san) as his main character. I have a Japanese, Matsuda, a senior General, as the main character. Matsuda is a complex yet very human individual, whose character was forged in the way of the samurai, the bushido code, and the rigidity of military protocol. He dislikes the many unnecessary brutalities imposed by the system, yet is a man of humor and of human foibles, such as his penchant for falling love with beautiful women.
Thanks to his generalship, the great battle of Sekigahara is won, bringing to an end the hundreds of years of the "warring provinces period" so creating a united country. The New Shogun (new because there was no Shogun for the previous forty years), survives many assassination attempts and two bloody sieges of Osaka castle, before his position is secure. Matsuda finds it difficult to adjust to the period of change, making his life in the new era of peace far from peaceful.
Two great tragedies occur in his life, and he faces death frequently. He meets the Anjin-san (as himself-William Adams), who indirectly saves Matsuda's life when helping him meet one of the menial tasks imposed upon him.
Breaking the rules of protocol in the castle, Matsuda is reduced to being an exile, that for a samurai is a living death. Resenting the restrictions placed upon him, he seeks to remove the daimyo responsible for imposing them. He breaks the rules of exile no less than three times, first by travelling to Edo where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Lady Tokiko, and again, forced by dwindling finances, he travels with the Anjin-san to Kyushu to seek trading investments. There he falls in love, and is caught up in the Shimabara rebellion, barely escaping with his life.
The era of peace is maintained only at the cost of strong military and bureaucratic control, turning many against the New Shogun. Reluctantly Matsuda is caught up in a plot to kill the Shogun but fate again intervenes.
Will he be able to live his life in the way that he wishes?
Will he always have to live with the code of the samurai, even as an exile, a non-person?
Duty is heavier than a mountain
Death is lighter than a feather
Will he find someone with whom to share his life after his second great tragedy?
Can he resolve his many internal conflicts?
Having brought peace to so many, can he find peace for himself?
I researched material for this book during and after the seven years I lived in Japan, and sailed the Pacific coast of Honshu, where Matsuzaki on Izu hanto (the setting for much of the book) was my home port.