The Shogun’s Queen – OUT NOW!
Only one woman can save her world from barbarian invasion but to do so will mean sacrificing everything she holds dear – love, loyalty and maybe life itself . . .
“The shogun, his wife and their advisers grapple with a great question … a choice that makes Brexit seem simple. … This is the fourth novel – although chronologically it is the first – in a quartet about Japan’s 19th-century dilemma, seen through the eyes of its women. Downer … is a persuasive storyteller and the setting is mesmerising.”
– ANTONIA SENIOR, The Times
“It is completely absorbing, showing Lesley Downer’s deep knowledge of Japan and her mastery of its complex history during the nineteenth century.”
– LIAN HEARN, author of Across the Nightingale Floor
“Lesley Downer has pulled off a remarkable achievement in making the beautiful, strange and dangerous world of one woman in a 19th-century Japan facing Western invasion utterly believable, and utterly gripping.”
– VANORA BENNETT, author of Portrait of an Unknown Woman
“Atsu is what we all want to be: a courageous woman of heartbreaking intelligence… set against our own darkest selves. This tale of western imperialism has so many resonances in the modern world, written with passion, depth and brilliance, and a sense of time and place that is earning Lesley Downer a reputation as the Shogun’s Writer for the twenty first century.”
– MANDA SCOTT, bestselling author of the Boudica novels
“What a wonderful storyteller Lesley Downer is, and what an amazing story she tells in The Shogun’s Queen. Set at a pivotal moment in Japan’s history, her novel effortlessly transported me to nineteenth century Japan. At its heart is Okatsu, Downer’s heroine for all seasons, plus a vivid cast of characters – some loyal, some treacherous – all caught up in the turbulent politics of the time. I was only sorry to reach the end of this gripping and deeply suspenseful novel.”
– MARGOT LIVESEY, author of The House on Fortune Street
Japan, and the year is 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma Clan, in Japan’s deep south, the fiery, beautiful and headstrong Okatsu has – like all the clan’s women – been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd, and to ride a horse.
But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence. And turns Okatsu’s world upside down.
Chosen by her feudal lord, she has been given a very special role to play. Given a new name – Princess Atsu – and a new destiny, she is the only one who can save the realm. Her journey takes her to Edo Castle, a place so secret that it cannot be marked on any map. There, sequestered in the Women’s Palace – home to three thousand women, and where only one man may enter: the shogun – she seems doomed to live out her days. But beneath the palace’s immaculate facade, there are whispers of murders and ghosts. It is here that Atsu must complete her mission and discover one last secret – the secret of the man whose fate is irrevocably linked to hers: the shogun himself . . .