My biggest question is why a Zen master is spouting Pure Land blessings......... This confuses me... but then again all of the Buddhism in this book, as well as every Japanese person, is apparently Pure Land Buddhist.
Anyway, it's good. I enjoyed it. It's not particularly well written, but there was a charm to it that kept me reading. Partly it made me laugh, a lot. It follows Genji who is a lesser Daimyo of 1861 Japan, which is why I got the book because I like that era. I haven't read any English literature about it yet, so that was ... interesting. I don't know that it counts though. The author has a purely Japanese name. I don't know if he's Japanese or his parents are.
Anyway, it also follows Emily and Matthew who are following a missionary to Japan. The missionary is shot within an hour of stepping onto Japanese soil.... which I really can't see what purpose that served except as plot device because Emily and Matthew needed a fanatical leader to bring them to Japan, but the man was obnoxious in the soap-box hell-and-damnation boardwalk preacher/televangelist sort of way. I was dreading the book with him in it, to be honest. Anyway, as annoying as the two Americans were in the beginning, a good number of the scenes with them in it were purely hysterical.
There were a lot of themes that were done to death, and massive amounts of cliche characters and relationships (Daimyo/Ninja-Geisha for one) that require a classification of Samurai love story of the black-and-white B movie variety. But the laughs were worth the five bucks. I don't think I'll be reading the sequal though. I'm mildly curious, but something about the obvious set-ups in the writing style just grated on me.
There was even the bit about the first fallen tear caught in the hand looking like a diamond. Eesh. Cause we didn't see that coming.