Cloud Of Sparrows Paperback – 5 Feb 2004
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Cloud of Sparrows slings an impressive amount of full-blooded plot material at us along with an intelligent weighing out of historical fact. Young Lord Genji is a samurai whose blood feuds with the Shogun go back centuries--his family have predictive powers that have shown him that his future lies in forming alliances with the incoming Americans. Emily is a young missionary who considers Japan to be a place where her looks will be considered hideous and she will be free of male attention; Heiko is the most beautiful geisha of her generation, and also a ninja assassin who has fallen in love with her prospective victim, Genji. And Stark is a gunslinger posing as missionary who has come to Japan to find a man he has sworn to kill.
The strength of all this lies, in part, in the fact that both sets of characters are as exotic to us as they are to each other--Takashi Matsuoka is wittily smart about how much things change in a century and a half. He also writes brilliantly and excitingly when describing a scene of battle, a gun or sword duel. This is a startlingly good debut. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Digital Download edition.
"Rousing tale of Shogun Japan." (New York Post)
"Cuts deeper than a samurai sword." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"The adventure-chasing spirit of James Clavell lives in this triumphant debut novel." (People)
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Top Customer Reviews
An excellent riveting pair of books. Explores the human psyche, love, honour, betrayal, friendship. Epsisodes of high suspence and tension. Plus samurai, ninja, gunslingers, mongol hordes, zen priests all whilst spanning Japan's history from 1281 to 1953. I can only hope there will be more to come from this exemplary author!
I cannot describe this book in anyway that it deserves. It is Takashi Matsuoka's first book, and is a tale of when East meets West. Filled with glorious honour of the Samurai, the devious Ninja as well as the gunslingers and quick draws of the west.
The fights and battles are told in a way that will make you feel alive within the book, though the best aspect of it has to be...you are not bogged down by continous prose. Every second is filled with battle, intrigue or sensuality.
A real insight to the culture of Japan and America in the 19th century and how different they can be.
But be warned, if you start this book you will finish it in one day. It is that good that you will never want to put it down, the only reason I gave the book 4 stars...it is too short. All I can do is wait until Matsuoka brings out another book of such proportions that will change my view of the world forever.
I enjoy the complexity of the interaction of the 4 central characters. It is predominantly written from a Samurai Lord's point of view; however the central characters grab your interest from the get go. The ruling Lord cursed / gifted with the sight, his famously beautiful Geisha, lover or traitor? Then there are the 2 outsider missionaries Mathew Stark, an old west Ranger and perhaps fated to save the Samurai Lord or could it be Emily, the beauty only comfortable being considered hideous by Japanese standards. This should not detract from the well superbly written cast of support characters but are too many to mention here.
This is the type of book that when it is finished you have to drag yourself out of its pages and feel sorrow at the end of its telling. My only hope is that this story grows like the Wheel of Time series so that I can enjoy many years pleasure from it.
I started reading this book a few hours ago and I have only put it down to write this review to let you know how great it is.
Buy it, read it, love it!
I was amazed to discover that this was the first book by Matsuoka as it is one the most accomplished books I have read in the last 5 years.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the obvious and complex differences between east and west are unveiled in this beautiful story of honour war and love. i can't wit to read the next book in the series!Published 17 months ago by ANNE WRAITH
I read this book over 5 years ago and decided it was such a classic I would buy one for the shelves so I never lose it while borrowing friends.Published 23 months ago by LolaRuiz
Set at the end of the feudal period in Japan this novel faithfully explores the differences in Japanese and western cultures and tells an exciting tale of Samurai adventures with a... Read morePublished on 20 Feb. 2014 by Richard W Illingworth
This novel, a work of historical fiction with elements of fantasy, opens in Edo in 1861 as two centuries of Japanese isolation is forcibly ended by outsiders from the West. Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2011 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Very interesting story, nicely written, has the feel of real Japanese culture and language. I try to find the second book, Autumn Bridge, but seems very difficult to buy it new and... Read morePublished on 26 July 2011 by VP
This story appears to mix a Japanese legend of Gunji with an all action love story. It gives a fascinating insight to the culture of the 19th century, as well as of the conflicts... Read morePublished on 29 May 2011 by Mrs. N. F. Blamey
A good idea for a story and interesting characters but a style of writing and description I found hard to engage with.Published on 27 Nov. 2010 by George
If you enjoyed the Otori trilogy this is very worthwhile reading.
The story takes place towards the end of the shogun period and westerners are arriving in Japan. Read more