I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Betrayal at Iga
Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.
With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzō, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.
In Betrayal at Iga, secrets, oaths, and a murder must be uncovered to stay the hand of war between two provinces. Hiro, our beloved ninja assassin, finds himself back in the company of his family. And along with Father Mateo, they both must solve murder upon murder in what is another great book by Susan Spann.
I seem to be on kick lately in reading books that stay with me long after reading them. Betrayal at Iga is no exception. I love the idea of a ninja assassin under oath to protect a Portuguese priest, solving murder mysteries every where they end up. The surly attitude of Hiro and the sweet nature of Father Mateo make the perfect combination. Seriously, I wouldn’t mind if they made a TV/Netflix series out of this. They have such funny banter with each other.
The author sure knows her stuff when it comes to ancient Japanese culture. I’ve always been enthralled with it, and I do learn a few things from reading her books. I mean, come on! Samurai’s people! So cool and yet so deadly. There were some terms that I wasn’t sure about, but luckily there is always a handy dandy glossary at the end. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t too comprehensive, just normal Japanese terms like ryu and noren. At least I’m in the same boat as Father Mateo, who at times must ask for clarification on some Japanese traditions and translations.
I found Hiro to be a little bit more vulnerable in this story. At times his composure was lost in the face of the tragedy he suffers. This one was a little sad towards the end. Hiro was front and center throughout this story and I’m glad that we, as the reader can get a closer glimpse into his personality and past.
The mystery aspect kept me on my toes, lots of red herrings to be had. Just when I think I got the suspect pegged, something major happens that diverts that assumption unto someone else! Love a story that can do that to me.
I really need to go back and read the earlier stories, but to be honest, I kind of jumped on the wagon with book #4 and I did not find myself out of place at all. Lovers of mystery, Ancient Japanese culture, and sleuth stories, this one is for you!
- You can find my review of book #4: The Ninja’s Daughter here.
(Clicking on the images will take you to Amazon)