Read Jade Palace Vendetta Online

Authors: Dale Furutani

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #General

Jade Palace Vendetta (23 page)

AUTHOR’S NOTE
 

The reception given to
Death at the Crossroads
, the first book in this series, by reviewers and readers was gratifying. I found the perceptiveness and knowledge of Japan communicated by some of these readers and reviewers truly astonishing.

Many noticed that my books always have a small scene that emulates something from one of the movies of the late Akira Kurosawa. This is both an homage to Kurosawa, the finest of the Japanese film-makers, and a reminder that I should strive to capture the same spirit exemplified by a Kurosawa film. A few readers have understood that these books have comic characters in them that echo the buffoonery and delightful silliness of the
kyogen
roles found in Noh plays. Still other readers are practitioners of the martial arts I write about, and they understand the mechanical techniques as well as the spiritual motivation I describe.

This book,
Jade Palace Vendetta
, is the second in a trilogy chronicling the life of the ronin Matsuyama Kaze. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, but it also advances the story of Kaze’s search for a kidnapped nine-year-old girl.

I was inspired to write this particular book by a walk down a dirt road in rural Japan. The rice growing next to the road was nearing harvest time, and the heavy stalks of grain made the green shoots rustle and bow in the slightest breeze. The windblown ripples in the field looked like a dynamic version of the raked sand of the famous Zen rock garden at the temple Ryoanji in Kyoto. To the side of the road
was a Buddhist cemetery, high on a hill. The weathered rock monuments were surrounded by ancient pines, with a few late wildflowers dotting the hillside. In the far distance was a small farm village. Except for the ubiquitous television antennas and lack of thatched roofs in the village, it might have been a scene from a Japanese
ukiyo-e
woodblock carved hundreds of years ago.

The scene made me think of the old Tokaido Road. At one time, the Tokaido was so thick with traffic that people sometimes walked shoulder to shoulder. In 1603, the year I write about in the trilogy, commerce on the Tokaido was not as rich. The famous fifty-three stations of the Tokaido Road were not as established as they would be in later years, and the huge number of ronin in 1603 made travel and commerce difficult and dangerous.

This experience on a country road inspired me to start this book on the Tokaido Road, and my love of Kamakura made me want to conclude it there, even though the road to Kamakura was really an offshoot of the Tokaido Road.

It’s my intention to entertain with this series, although I have tried to be as accurate as my research and talents allow. It’s my hope that the reader will be transported to a different and unique age. It was an age of turmoil and violence, but so is our age. In 1603 Japan, however, the concepts of honor, loyalty, and duty seemed to have a more tangible existence than they do today.

DALE FURUTANI
is the first Asian-American to win major mystery writing awards and his books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists. He has spoken at the US Library of Congress, the Japanese-American National Museum, The Pacific Asia Museum, and numerous conferences. The City of Los Angeles named him as one of its "Forty Faces of Diversity" and
Publisher's Weekly
called him "a master craftsman." He has lived in Japan and traveled there extensively. He now lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Website:
DALEFURUTANI.COM

BY DALE FURUTANI

Death in Little Tokyo

The Toyotomi Blades

Death at the Crossroads

Jade Palace Vendetta

Kill the Shogun

The Curious Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in Japan

"Dead Time,"
Shaken: Stories for Japan
(anthology written to aid victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsumami)

"Extreme Prejudice,"
Murder on Sunset Boulevard
(anthology to benefit the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime)

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