Book review: Shogun Iemitsu by Michael R. Zomber

41T8wgna+WL._SL250_Recently I was browsing through a selection of books available for review when I came across “Shogun Iemitsu.” I enjoy world history and the words “War and Romance in 17th Century Tokugawa Japan” below the book’s title caught my eye. I was immediately intrigued as I have not read many novels set in historical Japan.

I visited Amazon’s website in order to read the jacket blurb and after doing so I decided I wanted to read it. I have to say I am very thankful I did. The author, Michael R. Zomber, is a fantastic writer. He is wonderfully descriptive without becoming boring and his words bring each character to life. I must also commend him on being able to write so well about Japanese heritage because I understand their culture and customs are woven through with intricacies and subtle nuance. According to the author bio which is provided on the book, Zomber has had an ongoing interest in Japanese art and culture for almost fifty years. This fact is very apparent throughout “Shogun Iemitsu.” I applaud Zomber for being able to tell an amazing tale using his acquired knowledge in a manner that holds the reader captive instead of coming across like a text-book, becoming tiresome and verbose, or sounding like a pompous know-it-all.

In “Shogun Iemitsu,” Hideo and Kobiyashi are the main characters and although the book only chronicles a single, shared day in their life; the reader experiences much more than that. We learn about their past through their memories and we also learn about that which they seek to attain. There are many players in this intricate story and the reader will receive an eye-opening look into life during the rule of the Shoguns where every decision and action is but a minute part of a complexly woven web.

In closing, I give “Shogun Iemitsu” a solid five star rating although I would only recommend it to mature readers due to the graphic nature of the era it is written about. In a time before “death by lethal injection” justice was meted out with a sword. While Zomber does a good job of not being too graphic in these situations, a younger reader may have trouble with the gruesomeness of punishment in an earlier Japan.

Shogun Iemitsu
Michael R. Zomber
iUniverse, Inc. (2009)
ISBN 9781440155635
Reviewed by Charline Ratcliff for RebeccasReads (06/10)

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