Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka
1. The book takes place in 1861, after Perry opens the door to Japan. After
centuries of isolation, Japan is lagging behind in ways of science and weaponry.
The main character, Lord Genji, is Lord of the Okumichi Clan. He and his
family are cursed with visions of the future. His uncle, Lord Shigeru, sees the coming
bloodshed and massacre in Japan’s future and slaughters his wife and children to
prevent them from suffering through it.
Heiko, another character, is a ninja who masquerades as a geisha. She falls in
love with Genji, and later confesses to him. He explains that he already knew of her
dubious nature and returns her love. Though later, after learning of her irredeemable
origins, Genji can no longer feel the same toward her and sends her to America.
Brother Zephaniah is a priest wishing to save the “crude heathens,” but dies
shortly after arriving from a gunshot meant for Genji. Emily, an American
missionary engaged to him, is running away from her destructive beauty to Japan,
where she is thought of as repulsive. She felt no feelings of love toward him, but
agreed to the proposal because he protected her from the horrible men who sought to
take advantage of her.
Stark accompanies Emily and Zephaniah, but instead of hoping to spread the
“True Word,” he is after revenge. He is in pursuit of Ethan Cruz, who murdered his
beloved Mary Anne and her two daughters. Ethan murdered them because Stark
murdered his father-like mentor who ran the whorehouse when he wouldn’t let Mary
Kawakami is Genji’s enemy and despises him above all things. He takes great
pleasure in knowing what others do not. They are enemies because years ago, there
was a great battle at Sekigahara and their families were on opposite sides. Both sides
are convinced the battle is not truly over and seek to eliminate each other...
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