Book Blurb :
In feudal Japan, Kaede Hajime lives as a vagabond ronin, a samurai without a lord. As he spends the night at a village’s inn, the innkeeper begs him to help stop a mischievous kitsune, a fox spirit, plaguing their village. But when he captures the spirit–in the form of a hauntingly beautiful man–Hajime learns that the kitsune has troubles of his own. The pearl that contains the fox’s soul has been stolen, leaving him a slave to the new owner, who is forcing him to attack the village.
Hajime agrees to help the fox retrieve the jewel, but living with a fox spirit isn’t easy, and the budding trust between them is constantly tested. Kitsune are tricksters above all, and Hajime must decide how much of the story the fox tells him is truth. What’s worse, an old comrade of Hajime’s is in town, bringing with him the sour memories of Hajime’s time as a samurai. Hajime must find a way to locate the thief and steal back the jewel before the thief turns the kitsune’s considerable power against him.
Hajime Kaede was a Samurai before he lost his title. In Hajime’s mind, he lost it when he chose to abandon his lord and became a ronin. At least in Tanaka’s eyes he is still one, even if Hajime doesn’t want to hear it. Tanaka-san welcomes Hajime into his village with open arms, blabbing about a great evil that has befallen his village. He begs for Hajime’s help. The same night, Hajime is visited by a beautiful young man, a fox-spirit. Hajime is seduced by the fox-spirit, not knowing whom he slept with.
The next day Tanaka-san explains to Hajime that the village is haunted by a fox-spirit. He again asks Hajime for his help. Hajime promises to do what he can. Patrolling three nights and putting out traps around village, Hajime gets lucky and captures the fox-spirit.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere between Hajime and Katsura. The next day Katsura explains his own problems to Hajime. As a samurai, Hajime feels the need to help this spirit out.
I loved the words of Hajime:
There is no honor in committing treachery and there is no honor in punishing a victim.”
… and the fox, even if he had to pay for his crimes toward the villagers. Hajime believes killing the fox, Katsura, won’t fit the punishment. So Hajime decides to aid Katsura, and for his help, the fox will leave the land and the village forever. It is a great surprise when the fox tells Hajime that Nakamoto Yasuo, the great village exorcist and healer, is the one who stole the fox-spirit. That Nakamoto is the one, who was doing treachery toward the villagers.
In the bamboo forest, Hajime discovers why Katsura, the fox, has slept with so many different men in the village. Because without the pearl, which is in Nakamoto’s possession, he needs an extraordinary amount of energy, which Katsura gets through feeding on strong humans.
The last battle for the fox-spirit was epic and enjoyable. In general, I really enjoyed this fantasy storyline, it reminded me a bit of anime Inuyasha. It was well developed, had good dialog and a happy ending. I’m giving it 4 couples.
Pubisher :Storm Moon Press
Source : Manic Readers
Release Date:Feb 24 2012
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