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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

4.0 (214 )
5 star
 (86)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
 (35)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (11)
Overall
4.3 (51 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (50 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah, USA 06-21-08
    Amazon Customer Utah, USA 06-21-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    484
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    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
  •  
    Tim Br|hlGermany 07-16-06
    Tim Br|hlGermany 07-16-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    122
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    338
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Dismal..."

    I've given this dreaful book two stars because the author clearly put a lot of work into it. Unfortunately, it was to no avail -- in terms of quality it doesn't really deserve even one star.

    To start with, if you want to introduce that many characters in such a short time you'd better be pretty sure that you're Tolstoy, otherwise you just have a list of names. And a list of names does not a novel make.

    Then we have Japan and the fascinating Japanese people. Well, actually, we don't. Not even a little bit. Even the old pulp master James Clavell took some trouble to get into the Japanese psyche and the driving forces behind it and Japanese history. Here we just have cardboard cutouts.

    Alas, this also holds true for the plot. Plod plod plod blood plod plod blod kiss plod plod plod missionaries. All very tedious.

    To round it all off you have not even pedestrian narration by a reader who would clearly be better off recording special offer announcements for a big discount store.

    Oh dear.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Atherton 09-20-04
    J. Atherton 09-20-04 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    155
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Clunk"

    That's the sound of the wooden characters and the sound of my player after struggling through the first 30 minutes. I was hoping it would be as enjoyable as Lian Hearn's trilogy but it wasn't even close.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bushido Bryan Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan 12-03-12
    Bushido Bryan Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan 12-03-12 Member Since 2012

    Fear is the mind Killer, so Face Your Fear

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A book that truly captures fuedal Japan"
    What made the experience of listening to Cloud of Sparrows the most enjoyable?

    It truly embraced Japanese culture


    What did you like best about this story?

    The intrigue that goes on below the surface in Japan


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Genji


    If you could take any character from Cloud of Sparrows out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Genji


    Any additional comments?

    I hope more books from Takashi Matsuoka come to Audible

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon Stone Ridge, NY, USA 03-06-06
    Jon Stone Ridge, NY, USA 03-06-06 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    1
    Overall
    "grace and depth"

    The premise in "Cloud of Sparrows" was broad and beautifully realized. Main characters were complex and their plight was exciting. It had a cinematic feeling. The reader was very good. The second book, "Autumn Bridge" was good but not quite as thoroughly successful. I enjoyed the books of the Otori but I felt this was better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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