The Snow Empress is the twelfth book by Laura Joh Rowland in the Sano Ichirō mysteries series. It was published in October 1st, 2007. It was preceded by Red Chrysanthemum and followed by The Fire Kimono.
"The eight-year-old son of Chamberlain Sano mysteriously vanishes. Sano discovers that Lord Matsudaira, his political rival, has had the boy kidnapped and sent to the northern frontier island of Japan known as Ezogashima (Hokkaido). Something is rotten there: Communications between Ezogashima and the capital have broken down. Sano and his wife Reiko travel to Ezogashima to rescue their son and find themselves caught up in big trouble that involves the murder of a woman who belonged to the native Ainu people, a samurai warlord gone dangerously mad, and escalating racial conflict between the Ainu and the Japanese. Sano and Reiko must solve the murder if they want to escape Ezogashima alive."
This book is dedicated to Fat Boy, one of Rowland's cats.
- Sano Ichiro
- Sano Reiko
- Sano Masahiro
- Sano Akiko
- The Rat
- More to come...
- On Rowland's official site, the summary given for The Snow Empress differs greatly from the blurb given on the back of the book. Most notably:
- Instead of being vague about which of Sano's rivals kidnapped Masahiro, it outright states that Lord Matsudaira did it.
- It gives the modern name of Ezogashima (which would be Hokkaido).
- It refers to the people who originally inhabited Ezogashima as there proper name: Ainu. This is in stark contrast with the book, where all of the characters refer to them as Ezo.
- The only character to refer to the Ainu people with their proper name is Hirata.
- The paperback 2008 edition includes the prologue and chapter one of The Fire Kimono at the end of the book.