Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.
With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzō, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.
My review of Betrayal at Iga
I’ve read all the books in this series and have been intrigued by the attention to detail Spann includes in each book. Betrayal at Iga is no different. There are insights to the 16th Century Japanese culture that are fascinating—from the mindset of those in power to the callous way in which a life might be destroyed.
The banter between Hiro and Father Mateo is generally entertaining and shows how each character is learning more about the differences in their cultures—and how they’re changing as they learn more about those cultures.
The plot was intricate and included twists to keep the reader off balance. Pacing was, at times, slow due to the continued discussion of motives each character might have had to commit murder. There was also too much time spent rehashing Hiro’s regrets and suspicions from his earlier days without new insights.
For readers interested in Japanese history and society, Betrayal at Iga will offer entertainment along with that insight into life in 16th Century Japan.