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The Last Concubine Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Oakhill Publishing Limited; Unabridged edition (13 Mar. 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1846485541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846485541
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,177,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'Enthralling story that brings alive a distant exotic world' -- WOMAN&HOME, March 08

'Epic romantic drama set at a pivotal point in Japanese history. This fragile world with its rigid hierarchical structures is beautifully portrayed. This is a love story but far more'
-- reFRESHlite, 12 March 2008

'The Last Concubine is an extraordinary novel--richly-imagined and compelling. An amazing achievement.'
-- SANDRA GULLAND, author of Mistress of the Sun and the Josephine B. Trilogy

'a sweeping historical drama...fluently written, and the political events, battles, customs, minutiae of daily life and even the weather have all been meticulously researched to recreate Japan in the 1860s'
-- Literary Review, April 2008

Thoroughly researched, this beautifully descriptive historical saga offers a fascinating insight into the culture of imperial Japan, and will have you hooked from the first page - wonderful
-- MY WEEKLY --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Epic history and romance combine in a passionate, exotic novel featuring the mysterious mistress of the last shogun emperor. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a spell-binding, engrossing and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I had previously read Lesley Downer's study into the life of Geisha and found her an engaging and accessible author. I'm not a real fan of novels, but knowing that Downer had written it and that she had a broad and in-depth knowledge of Japanese history made me pick it up. I am so glad I did! It is absolutely amazing, the characters are well formed, the storyline engrossing and the backdrop of 1860s Japan awe inspiring. I read the whole thing in a matter of days (barely sleeping because I NEEDED to know what happened next!)

Some of the 1 Star reviews here complain about historical inaccuracy, but obviously these people did not read the book all the way through. Downer writes in the afterword that, while most of the setting is historically accurate, some has been stretched to fit into her story. And she explains which bits have been! She also lists a bibliography at the end for us to do our own further reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading The Last Concubine and couldn't put it down until I finished it. Aside from the easy enjoyment of Lesley Downer's page-turner tale, it was a bonus to be given such a strong sense of the period and its history by someone who is an expert in the field, quite aside from the fiction she writes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lesley Downer is that rare thing, an expert with a gift for sharing her encyclopaedic knowledge entertainingly. She writes with a sure, light touch - and she brings nineteenth-century Japan to life. The account of travelling on foot through the mountains to Tokyo in the last days of the Shogunate is atmospheric and masterly, as are the descriptions of customs, clothes, food, fads and even scents in the Japan of the period. The author takes the reader into a vanished world at the heart of which is a love story where destinies are decided on the strength of a look or a fleeting touch. The plot includes the obligatory foreigner - but it is a measure of Downer's success that she doesn't really need her enterprising British diplomat as an entrée to the world she describes: she has already made the reader completely at home. The Last Concubine can be thoroughly recommended to anyone with an interest in Japan or an appetite for stories of adventure and romance. Like one of the previous reviewers I very much look forward to the movie.
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Format: Paperback
Lesley Downer is a fantastic writer. She takes you away to this amazing place where you get lost in forbidden love, where the word "love" doesn't really exist. This was the first of all her books i read. I instantly fell in love with Sachi (the last concubine). You get to watch her grow from this young girl to a young woman, with all the different obstacles that face her.
Japan was a world in itself at the time of the Shogun. This gives us a glimpse of that world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I picked it up I said to myself, this is the way to get into Cio Cio San's dreams. I figured that Lesley Downer has spent so much time studying and thinking about Japan of that time, she would likely be able to get inside the skin of the characters. -- Indeed! All true. -- At first I said to myself oh, this is like a sword-and-sorcerers novel. This is not a medieval world, this is ancient. And that sense continued, with all the travel, geography, weather, at times nearly like a Lord of the Rings journey. Then there I was in the palace and I was afraid I would be confined there forever, dealing with endless details of protocol and refinement -- but the martial arts! Wow. And then, thank goodness, saved from all that and cast out into the great unknown again for more adventure. I really loved it. I know it is classified as a romance novel for me it is an adventure novel. With wisdom about the political and 'sociological' situation of the time. (The scenes of carnage after the European weapons entered the scenes reminded me of descriptions of the American Civil War, which was of course about that same time. The gore. The destruction. The change of a world. -- And because she managed to convey the sense of excitement about hand-to-hand combat, by the time the other butchery began, I could feel the difference viscerally.)
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Format: Paperback
A very engrossing novel. Set in 1860s Japan during the time of the Meiji Restoration and the years leading up to it.
Sachi grows up in a mountain village rural Japan. Her pale skin and fine features have always set her apart and made her feel different. At the age of eleven, the procession of the Imperial Princess sweeps up her up from her home to the woman's palace at the Imperial capital of Edo, where she is before too long, chosen as the concubine of the young Shogun after he sees and her and is smitten
Deadly female rivalries from people as diverse as Fuyu who was her contemporary when she joined the palace and the powerful mother of the Shogun, the retired one make for distress and danger. But after the death of the young Shogun from what is billed consumption but is certainly poisoning, civil war caused by rebellion by guerrillas from the south and the destruction of the palace at Edo force her to flee the palace, find love with a dashing Samurai, return for a short while to her native village, and discover her true parentage
Many brushes with death at the hands of the southern rebels , bandits and other desperadoes , which she survives in part due to her own skill she develops as a Samurai and a close company of heroes including her close friend the loyal and aristocratic born Taki. The sights , sounds, feeling and smells of the Japan of the time are brought to life from the cherry blossoms of the palace gardens to the stinking rank breath of a degenerate old bandit that tries to rape her unaware of her skill with a knife.
The author uses her knowledge of the Japan of the time to create a romance and adventure, and her love and understanding of Japan shines throughout. I love books with strong and beautiful female leads and really could get under the skin of Sachi and root for her. Highly recommended especially if you like books like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, A must for all Japanophiles
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