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The Way of the Traitor Hardcover – 3 Jul 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 3 Jul 1997
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (3 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747220336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747220336
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,886,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Like Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, Rowland's novel is an excellent whodunit. (Booklist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Crime, murder and treason in the third thrilling mystery set in feudal Japan featuring Sano Ichiro, samurai detective. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book obviously styles itself on James Clavell and his novels on Japan, especially the epic Shogun, and in comparison it appears to fall short of such a high standard. The plot is is finely structured , but I never felt involved and ultimately felt unsatisfied having read a book which just retreads old ground
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Format: Paperback
If you love Japan then this book is for you. Well the whole Sano Ichiro series. Rowland describes medieval Japan in a way that makes the reader able to see, feel and smell what the characters do. A must read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8c5a9aa4) out of 5 stars 30 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c67e63c) out of 5 stars Excellent Story 3 July 2005
By Paul Sayles - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read The Way of the Traitor several years ago and found it quite interesting. Now, as I write this review, I am sitting in a computer cafe in Nagasaki.

Rowland's plot is quite good. Sano has found himself essentially exiled from Edo by his unintended rival the Shogun's Chamberlin. He is given the task of "inspecting" Nagasaki which is just about as far from Edo as you can go and still be in Japan. Given the state of transportation systems in Japan during the Shogunate, it is possible the chamberlain was hoping Sano wouldn't survive the journey.

Nagasaki is Japan's window to the world and it is tightly guraded and only open a crack. The only authorized westerners in Japan are the Dutch and the are kept on a small man-made island in the harbor. Origianlly the concession was given to the Portugese who along with trade brough Christianity and this ultimately lead to the banning of Christian teachings, the expulsion of the Portugese and the persecution of Japanese Christians. The Dutch have filled the void left by the departed Portugese becasue they aren't interested in spreading the gospel, just@making profits on their investments. They can't leave the island unescorted and no Japanese can enter except on official business. To even go on the island one is required to take and oath against Christianity and desecrate Christian icons. The penalty for not adhering to the oath is severe - death.

Sano's arival coincides with the disappearance of one of the Dutch trading mission from the island. It is this investigation which Sano finds himself involved with that almost cost Sano his life in several different ways.

The plot is well set out. The are a large number of potential suspects ranging from@the surviving Dutch traders to a Chinese religious leader to corrupt local officals. It is not an easy trail for Sano to follow and Rowland makes the sidetracks and false leads quite intriguing. The conclusion to the investigation is excellently done.

I have read this book several times and have found it just as entertaining now as when I first got it. Now reading it in Nagasaki it is almost like being in a time warp. Looking at the Nagasaki of today, it is easy to not see the houses clustering on the hills around the city and to see it as it was in the late 17th Century. It is a hot, humid and foggy night as I sit here writing - just the right conditions for a stranger to the city to look for a murderer who might be any one of a number of people.

Rowland is an exceptional story teller. She

weaves an exceptional tale of the very narrow meeting point between Japan and the rest of the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes history interlaced with their fiction.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d333ad4) out of 5 stars A Pretty Good Shogun-esq Mystery Series 16 Mar. 2000
By wutanglen - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These series of novels are all pretty good. I have read three of the books all on the airplane. The mystery is usually pretty good and the time period and characters are great. If you like Feudal Japanese history, these books are for you. Again, not the greatest but certainly enjoyable
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c897c84) out of 5 stars East Meets West...Unwillingly 19 Nov. 2002
By Tracy Davis - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel picks up where Rowland's last Sano Ichiro novel left off: once again, Sano is the victor in the battle against crime, but loser of the war that rages within the Shogun's household. And, once again, his enemy is the Shogun's favorite, Yanagisawa. Sano finds himself essentially exiled to Nagasaki, the only port in which Japan allows foreigners -- closely watched, of course. A Dutch trader is murdered, and Sano offers to unearth the murderer, a seemingly impossible, and politically suicidal, task. Will Sano persevere? Since this is a series of novels, it's pretty obvious he will solve the case. However, I don't think I can take much more of Sano and his associates constantly beaten, wounded, and almost assassinated! The most interesting part of the book, in my opinion, is the picture of foreigners Rowland paints in the book: they are, to Sano and other Japanese, dirty, smelly, and almost completely uncivilized. The fact that Sano needs one of the Dutch delegation's help challenges his detective and physical senses to the extreme. Rowland is historically accurate in her depiction of the xenophobia present in Japan, and the fears that foreigners will somehow pollute the purity of Japanese culture, something that James Clavell did so well in 'Shogun'.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c67ea74) out of 5 stars More Character Development 27 Oct. 2005
By John W. Oliver - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As the third book featuring Sano Ichiro, I was anxious to read it once I picked it up. The politics in Bundori whetted my appetite, and I was ready for more.

The story takes place a year-and-a-half after Bundori. Sano has not yet married, still mourning the loss of his love. He has also found that there is little he can do to change the corrupt administration of the government and is despondent about the corruption. Strangely enough, Hirata, Sano's chief retainer, is despondent over his service to Sano as he does not seem to want to be protected and takes unnecessary risks. If Way of the Traitor does anything, it solidifies the relationship between Sano and Hirata, setting up their companionship for the later books.

Sano is sent to Nagasaki where he has to unravel the mystery behind the murder of the head of the Dutch East India Company. As the story progresses, the stakes increase, and Sano takes more risks, putting his life and reputation at stake. Through the course of the story, he uncovers corruption in the administration of Nagasaki, develops camaraderie with the Dutch doctor and is convicted of treason himself.

In the end, Sano lives, and he returns to Edo (the series would be very different if he did not). However, it is the lessons he learns that makes the story important in the development of the character. For that is the purpose of the book in the overall series, developing Sano to deal with the challenges in the later books.

Now my complaint is since the story takes place in Nagasaki, I have the feeling that I will not see most of these characters ever again. As such, the politics were less pressing. I like the world Rowland is developing, and Nagasaki is on the edge of this world. Now, I hope I am wrong, but I will not know until I push farther into series.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read the previous ones. I am less likely to recommend this book on its own since it builds so much upon the events of Bundori.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c67ec24) out of 5 stars A good read 21 April 1998
By ( - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Way of the Traitor was okay. It had it's twists and turns and the suspense, but it lacked the punch that I liked in Rowland's previous book Bundori. The main character, Sano, had to leave Edo so none of the characters whom I loved to loathe wasn't in this book. Also, I wanted the author to have done more with the sidekick, Hirata. Overall, I love the "history lesson" that Ms. Rowland gives and her writing style makes me feel like I am watching a movie because she is so descriptive.
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