The Dragon King's Palace takes place in Japan, in June 1682. Lady Keisho-in, Reiko (the wife of Sano Ichiro), Lady Yanagisawa, and Midori, have all decided to go on a trip. They get attacked, kidnapped, and taken to the Dragon King's Palace. They are kept in a tower, with nearly no food or water, and Midori is expecting a baby. When Reiko escapes the tower she gets caught by the guards, and meets the Dragon King, who seems to like her a little too much. Sano and Yanagisawa must now find and bring back the women safely.
This report prepared by Tango-chan
St. Martin's, Apr 2003, 24.95, 336 pp.
In 1682 (actually the Genroku Period Year 7) Lady Keisho-in, mother of the shogun, decides to take a trip. The imperial mother demands Reiko (the wife of Sano the samurai chief investigator), the pregnant Midori (the spouse of Sano's assistant Hirata) and Lady Yanagisawa (the wife of the second-in-command Chamberlain Yanagisawa) accompany her from Edo to Mount Fuji. None of the three invitees want to go, but each feels they must as loyalty demands so. The Dragon King attacks their retinue resulting in deaths of the protectors and the four females incarcerated at a ravaged island palace.
The Dragon King sends a note to the Shogun demanding the execution of Police Commissioner Hoshina if he wants the return of his mother. The shogun assigns Yanagisawa and Sano to work the kidnapping case, but anyone with ambition sees an opportunity to gain favor by rescuing Lady Keisho. Yanagisawa manipulates the situation to his own benefit, as he prefers men to his wife. The clock ticks closer to a demented individual killing harmless women even Midori who just gave birth in captivity.
Though THE DRAGON KING'S PALACE is typical of a historical abduction mystery, the locale and the characters make this novel unique and wonderful. The story line remains fresh though this is Sano's eighth tale because of the insightful look at an era when palace intrigue rivaled Machiavelli and the samurai code rules. Through the actions, reactions, and thoughts of a deep cast, readers obtain a delightful historical investigative tale whose enchanting center is seventeenth century Japan.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner