Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in  as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Ninja’s Daughter” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I love reading the Hiro Hattori novels:
(previously known as the Shinobi Mysteries)
Spann has a way of integrating cultural references into the undercurrent of her narrative, giving the experience of soaking into her suspenseful mystery series a pure delight to any reader who likes to learn about cultures outside of their own.
She has an intricate knowledge to share about weaponry giving a light on the tools of the trade for the Shinobi. There is a clever balance between Japanese spirituality, Zen Buddhism, Christianity, and a few others in-between all three. I love writers who find a way to etch a spiritual presence as part of the make-up of a character’s mind.
(excerpt from my review from Claws of the Cat)
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! Today I am celebrating the #PubDay #bookbirthday release of The Ninja’s Daughter by an author whose been happily writing sequential stories in my beloved Cosy Historical Mystery series since I first became a book blogger! Our paths crossed initially in late 2013, however, I did not read my first Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori adventure until 2014! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first opened up Claws of the Cat, but what I found forever changed my impression of what a Cosy Historical Mystery set in 16th Century Japan could entail! The visualisations alone make this series a wonderful exploration of the century – as everything is on full display – the fashion, the cultural heritage and the traditions of the Japanese I grew up knowing about due to a cultural interest of my grandparents.
Ms Spann doesn’t just root you to the pages your reading, she flickers such a strong connection of recognition for the century in which her series is set, that you are intimately familiar with the local environs of Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori as soon as you find your feet planted on the footpaths these gentlemen are taking to solve some of the most heinous and horrific crimes of their era. Each capsule of the series is an connective tissue of beautiful continuity and seamless transitions from one story to the next, where you can happily arrive anywhere in the series and find your way inside the stories.
The ease of acceptance within the friendship of Father Mateo and Hiro is what originally endeared me to this cosy historical mystery series, and it is this same connection of two souls of different cultural backgrounds that holds my attention. Spann has a wonderful gift for capitalising on secondary characters who prove to have pivotal roles within the story as we move forward — so much so, that they become a bit of a fixture in your mind’s eye as you re-visit their environment.
Spann continues to write in such a beautiful arc of narrative voice, styling her cosy historical mysteries after the culture she celebrates with each novel she pens. She keeps the characters true to not only their own personal beliefs and convictions, but to the cultural heritage they are naturally akin to representing. I may have voiced wanting to see more emotional responses from the samurai, but that was only as an observational notice of how well controlled their emotions are and how wisely they choose not to show too much emotion to the outside world; as it would be a completely slip of weakness.
There are simply times where you feel as a reader, one character, even if a minor one in a story might react differently than their training; and it is in this, that I celebrate Spann’s gift for historical accuracy as much as personality of character accuracy. The ways of the West and the East do not always align, and by representing her characters with the strength of their own individual personalities, a bridge is reached and crossed.
(excerpt from my review from Blade of the Samurai)
I, personally have held a curiosity for the Samurai, and through this series I feel as if I have developed a kinship awareness of what these men (and select women!) went through for honour, duty and the freedom to respectively serve those of whom they protected. I even love how she bridges the cultural divides between her two lead protagonists whilst owning to the humble truths of both men. They each have their individualistically unique personalities and this aptly shines through the series as well. They have a brotherhood bond between them with an ease of awareness to understand each others’ feelings whilst keeping check with each other if boundaries are crossed.
If you celebrate secondary characters taking their scenes to shine and lead characters who have an intricate path to walk, this is a historical mystery series you can sink your teeth inside with pleasurable joy! I know I have and I am beyond blessed to be continuing to review this series as a reviewer with Ms Spann’s new publisher Seventh Street Books! I am twice honoured as I get to tie-in my showcase of the fourth release with the latest blog tour hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, of which I love being a blog hostess of as Amy Bruno has the knack for selecting wicked good historical fiction to feature through her blog tours whilst uniting all of us who love reading the historical past across centuries and continents! It is through historical fiction narratives we all happily get to become time travellers seeking knowledge, empathy and a moment of truth that is sometimes hidden or overlooked.
On my connection to Susan Spann:
I started visiting the chats hosted by @LitChat in the latter months of 2013, as it was around the time of the conference at The Betsy in which I started to cross paths with regular chatters, amongst whom were Natalia Sylvester (début novelist of “Chasing the Sun”) and Susan Spann. I am unsure which month I first started to notice Ms. Spann as a friendly presence who always reminded me of myself — someone who provided cheerful commentary, engaging questions for each visiting guest author, and a wicked knowledge base on a variety of topics. Generally speaking, I always click-over to read a person’s Twitter profile, but whilst engaged in those #LitChat(s) I felt like it was this magical rendezvous for the bookish and those who are attuned to bookish culture.
In this way, it wasn’t until I learnt of Blade of the Samurai was going on a blog tour that I decided to discover a bit more about her! In so doing, I learnt who she was ‘behind the curtain’ so to speak! I always considered her one of my ‘friends in the twitterverse’ but I never disclosed this to her until I was on the (Blade of the Samurai) blog tour in September 2014! Such serendipity as the tour brought us a bit closer and I am grateful that Twitter is a social-positive method of reaching past our distances in geography to connect to people who share a passion for the written word. We have continued to remain in touch although we do not get to ‘meet-up’ on Twitter as often as we once did due to our schedules in recent years.
I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Spann through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst attending #LitChat or in private convos. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author, whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their series in sequence of publication.
Notation on Cover Art Design: I personally love the realism in this image – it reminded me so very much of the Japanese masks and porcelain china dolls. Interestingly enough, originally this novel in the series was entitled: Mask of the Fallen – the only evidence of which is how this cover reminded me of that title due to how brilliant the cover resembles a ‘mask’. I was keen to see if this played out to be of key importance in the newly titled The Ninja’s Daughter or if the clue of the title had changed. It’s such a sophisticated treat to see this cover art and to see the new direction of the book jackets!
Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.
As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Author Q&A : Susan Spann (on behalf of her Shinobi mysteries), Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, Flask of the Drunken Master, Interview with Susan Spann (FLASK), Author Interview (Hiro Hattori Novels)
Published by Seventh Street Books
on 2nd August, 2016
Format: Paperback ARC
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Converse via: #HiroHattoriNovels + #HistoricalMystery or #HistMyst
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge