In the year 1311, in the highest tower of Cloud of Sparrows Castle, a beautiful woman sits by the window, watching as enemies gather below and fires spread through the night. As she calmly awaits her fate, she begins to write, carefully setting down on a scroll the secret history of the Okumichi clan…of the gift of prophecy they share and the extraordinary destiny that awaits them.
For six centuries, these remarkable writings lay hidden—until they are uncovered by an American woman, a missionary named Emily Gibson, who arrived in Edo harbor in 1861, in flight from a tragic past. Soon an extraordinary man would enter her life: Lord Genji of the Okumichi clan, a nobleman with a gift of prophecy who must defend his embattled family—and confront forbidden feelings for an outsider in his midst. Emily, too, soon finds herself at a turning point; courted by two westerners, she knows her heart belongs to the one man she cannot have. But Emily has found a mission of her own: translating Genji’s ancestral history, losing herself in an epic tale of heroism and forbidden love.
For here is the story of Lady Shizuka, the beautiful witch-princess who has enchanted Okumichi men for generations…of Genji’s ancestors, Lord Hironobu and Lord Kiyori, and of the terrible betrayals that befell them…and of Genji’s parents: a wastrel father and his child bride whose tragic love has shaped Genji as a leader and as a man. As Emily sifts through the fragile scrolls, she begins to see threads of her own life woven into the ancient writings. And as past and present collide, a hidden history comes to life, and with it a secret prophecy that has been shrouded for centuries, and may now finally be revealed. Takashi Matsuoka’s spellbinding novel is infused with spectacle, intricately woven, magically told. Autumn Bridge is a feast for the senses, a work of truly dazzling storytelling.
“Exotic, entertaining . . . [an] exceptional first novel.”—San Francisco Chronicle
The year is 1861. After two centuries of isolation, Japan has opened its doors to the West. And as foreign ships threaten to rain destruction on the Shogun’s castle in Edo, a small group of American missionaries has arrived to spread the word of their God. They have yet to realize that their future in Japan has already been foreseen. For a young nobleman has dreamt that his life will be saved by an outsider in the New Year. . . and it is said that Lord Genji has the gift of prophecy. What happens next—when the handsome lord meets an appa rently reformed gunslinger and a woman in flight from her own destructive beauty—sets the stage for a remarkable adventure. For as this unlikely band embarks on a journey through a landscape bristling with danger, East and West, flesh and spirit, past and future, collide in ways no one—least of all Genji—could have imagined.
Praise for Cloud of Sparrows
“The book seizes you from start to finish.”—The Washington Post
“Rich . . . with an ambitious, unexpected ending that cuts deeper than a samurai sword.”—San Francisco Chronicle