Jade Palace Vendetta is the second book in the Samurai trilogy. This
series is set in 1603, medevial Japan, at the time when a new warlord has declared himself
Shogun. The hero of the series is Matsuyama Kaze (not his real name), who once was trusted
lieutenant to the former Shogun, but now he wanders the country as a ronin (a rogue samurai), searching for the
daughter of the his overthrown lord. He has been searching for this child for 2 years already, and the clues
At the start of the tale, Kaze rescues a merchant from a bandit attack.
The merchant's guards have been slain, and the merchant threatened, when Kaze attacks from the
rear, slaying three quickly and scattering the rest. The merchant is transporting a cart full of
gold, and he implores Kaze to aid him. Knowing that the bandits are likely to return, Kaze helps
the merchant. The first third of the book details the adventures of the merchant and Kaze vs the bandits.
Eventually, the merchant is delivered safely to his home, and there it seems that the real Jade Palace
mystery can begin - the tale on with the gold filled cart on the open road comes off as a long intro
to the real story, it is not really necessary to the tale - it felt like the novel was padded - the
whole novel is only 222 pages in the hardcover edition that I read. There isn't much of a mystery
or suspense in this novel, it is really more of character study - and there Furutani does a great
job at depicting Kaze.
Kaze is an ideal guy - a lethal killing machine, yet humble and polite in
his manner. He shows respect to peasants and is uninterested in wealth. He devoted to his task of
rescuing the missing child, but he can take the time to aid those he meets along the way, like the
merchant in the chart. Kaze may be TOO ideal - but so far I haven't gotten disenchanted with his
character. He sure seems to win an awful lot of swordfights though, especially against great odds.
The other characters are also interesting, though actions of the rival swordmaster, Enomoto, at
the end of the book didn't make that much sense to me. Why not look for trouble?
The Jade Palace Vendetta survives the "middle book" in a trilogy jinx, it
successfully tells it story, and advances the story of Kaze, setting everything up for the grand
finale in the final book, which I intend to read.