Cloud of Sparrows Audiobook | Takashi Matsuoka | Audible.com
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Cloud of Sparrows | [Takashi Matsuoka]

Cloud of Sparrows

In 1861, foreign ships have forced open Japan's doors to the West. Missionaries have come to Japan; they are there to save men's souls, but to the Japanese they are there to spread false religion. The young Lord Genji, who possesses the power of prophecy, flees to the Cloud of Sparrows castle, where he shelters two American missionaries. Together with a legendary swordsman and an enigmatic geisha, they embark on a harrowing journey through a dangerous landscape to prepare for a final battle.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1861, foreign ships have already steamed into Shimoda Harbor and forced open Japan's doors to the West. Foreign missionaries have come to Japan; they are there to save men's souls, but to the Japanese they are there to spread false religion. The only man who could have foretold all this is the young Lord Genji, an aesthetic dilettante who nonetheless possesses the powerful gift of prophecy. Forced to escape from the capital Edo, which is under attack by the foreigners, he flees to his ancestral stronghold, the spectacular Cloud of Sparrows castle, where he shelters two American missionaries. Together with a legendary swordsman and an enigmatic geisha, they embark on a harrowing journey through a dangerous landscape to prepare for a final battle.

©2002 Takashi Matsuoka; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The book seizes you from start to finish." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (196 )
5 star
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4.4 (37 )
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4.5 (37 )
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  •  
    Barry Atlanta, GA, USA 12-16-03
    Barry Atlanta, GA, USA 12-16-03 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    95
    ratings
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    16
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    "The Quintessential Novel"

    Takashi Matsouka has written a masterpiece about Japan in the mid 1800's, where though threatened, the Samari culture still thrives. It does so, even though the Japanese live under the threats posed by the guns and canons of the multi-national war ships at anchor in their bays and the internal hatreds dating back hundreds of years.

    Grover Gardner's reading of it provides a seamless transition from character to character, while imbuing each with the rich individuality that the author had so perfectly shaped with his words. If the book can be faulted in any way, it would be by its ending. Not because the author failed in any way, but because it ended. I wanted it to go on forever. With Gardner's final words, came the fearful realization that I might never again find a book so beautifully written and dramatically read.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blackmac Japan 06-10-06
    Blackmac Japan 06-10-06 Member Since 2004

    Must like the main characters, be intelligently written and feel like I learned something at the end.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
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    177
    26
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    "Interesting but..."

    This book was good in the fact that it is well written and it does seem to take the reader away to a different time and place: Edo Japan. Unfortunately, if you can get past the quite unbelievable plot and characters, you won't be able to escape the one dimensional narration. The narrator sounds better suited to a PBS documentary and does not pronounce many of the simplest Japanese words correctly (e.g. Edo). This would be a better read than listen.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peyton Imperial, PA, United States 11-07-03
    Peyton Imperial, PA, United States 11-07-03 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    425
    9
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    Overall
    "Good Quality Semi-historical Fiction"

    An enjoyable read, Lots of blood and guts, honor, and some pretty good characters. A bit of a slow start, but an excellent choice while you are waiting for the third book in The Otori Trilogy. Not the same level as Across the Nightingale Floor, but close.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 02-02-05
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 02-02-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    165
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    568
    59
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    3
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    Overall
    "Quite good"

    This book gets a five star because it is good. Not the best book in the world that you listen to 500 times, but it is really a good book. I enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to the next in the series. I found the clash of the Japanese and American cultures for the first time to be funny and very realistic - my husband is Japanese and I am American, and many of the observations were only too true. Also, the characters were, for the most part, ones you could be swept away with and care about. Good narration only adds to the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Cheltenham, PA, USA 12-06-06
    Mark Cheltenham, PA, USA 12-06-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    "Great Listen"

    First the bad news...

    The combination of Japanese names and jumping between various sub-plots, times and cultures can be challenging in an audio book. I imagine that this would be less disruptive in the written form.

    but...

    I found it worth the effort. Besides being entertaining, I absorbed a bit of Japanese history in spite of my general impatience with anything vaguely educational. It was somewhat of a cross between "Shogun" and the "Otori Trilogy". The ending was somewhat disappointing in that it seemed to resolve little and largely attempt to sell the next book of the series. To that extent, it worked - I'm anxious for the unabridged version of "Autumn Bridge"

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra United States 04-28-06
    Sandra United States 04-28-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
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    160
    31
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    "Very entertaining"

    I really liked this book, its characters, and its subject matter. I saw one review that compared it to Lian Hearn's books. The topics are similar but the style, plot, tone and overall feeling are all very different. That comparison doesn't seem justified or accurate. I think this is an enjoyable book and very fascinating in its own way. I recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyman hilo, HI, USA 08-11-04
    Lyman hilo, HI, USA 08-11-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
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    63
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    Overall
    "Cloud of Sparrows"

    an enjoyable story. captivating characters. i found the end to be a little weak but my real disappointment was the westernization of japanes words, especially "samurai". that really made the japanese characters unbelievable. it would have been great if only the western characters pronounced it that way. but, the story is imaginative and entertaining and i look foward to his next book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Yarnall Frederick, MD 09-09-09
    Stephen Yarnall Frederick, MD 09-09-09 Listener Since 2009

    Dragonrider

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    20
    5
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    0
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    Overall
    "Great listening"

    Thought this was right up there with Clavell's Shogun. Very enjoyable fictional history.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Lake Forest, IL, USA 09-26-04
    John Lake Forest, IL, USA 09-26-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    61
    8
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    Overall
    "wow"

    I listen to books on tape while driving 1.5 hours each way to work. This is probably the most enjoyable book I have read all year.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WonderBunny Utah, USA 06-21-08
    WonderBunny Utah, USA 06-21-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    484
    16
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    0
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    Overall
    "Listen to the Otori Series instead."

    I have tried getting past the first two hours of this book about six times now and can't make it. The lack of plot moving action and the numerous characters bogged me down and I lost interest early into this novel. I got this as I enjoyed the sound of Autumn Bridge and then realized this book came first so I purchased that. I don't even want to attempt getting Autumn Bridge after the disappointment of this novel. If you're looking for a good read, check out the Otori series.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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