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Publisher's Summary

In 11th-century Japan, Sugawara Akitada is an impoverished nobleman and earnest young government clerk in the Ministry of Justice. On his first official assignment, he is sent from the capital city on a nearly impossible mission to the distant province of Kazusa to discover why tax convoys are disappearing.

In the politically murky world of the Japanese court, he has been set up to fail. However, the ever-resourceful Akitada, his elderly servant, Seimei, and his impudent bodyguard, Tora, are determined to fulfill their mission and discover the truth in a town of dangerous secrets.

In an adventure filled with highway bandits, unscrupulous politicians, and renegade monks, The Dragon Scroll introduces readers to the captivating world of ancient Japan and an irrepressible new hero.

©2005 I.J. Parker; (P)2005 Books on Tape

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  • G. Steyn
  • Newton, MA United States
  • 03-11-14

Anachronistic, with a weak narrator

I'm fairly interested in Japanese culture and I enjoy mystery novels, so this book seemed like a good bet for me. Unfortunately, the story is weak, the novel is anachronistic, and the narrator is mediocre.

The story: The main story involves the disappearance of some tax convoys under mysterious circumstances. Unfortunately, the culprit isn't hard to guess, and Parker's attempt to throw a red herring in is pretty clunky, requiring characters to not talk to each other for no good reason (spoilers elided).

The setting: I suspect most people read this novel because the 10th century Japanese setting seems interesting. But the writing is really jarring, from calling women "skirts" to the easy familiarity between Tora (a peasant) and Akitada (a minor noble).

Narration: The narration is largely competent enough, but all minor characters get a bizarre faux Japanese accent. I know the book is set in Japan, but all of the major characters have an American accent, so the mix sounds very strange.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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A good read.

What made the experience of listening to The Dragon Scroll the most enjoyable?

The smooth continuity of the changes from on line of thought to another. It does not dwell on any one subject too long, yet continues to weave together, the several tasks assigned to different players.

What does Roy Vongtama bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Any good reader can improve a mediocre book, and a poor reader can damage a good book. In this case however, one has both an excellent reader and a very good story-line. The quality of this plot, along with this reader, made it a 'good listen'.