Steven Bein’s Daughter of the Sword is a story taking place on several levels. A detective is assigned to look into an attempt to steal a samurai sword from elderly professor Yasuo Yamada. In between passages, we are given a glimpse into the history of this blade, and others from the same forge.
More than a century before the other great sword makers of Japan were beginning, Inazuma was crafting his blades. To most, his story is little more than fanciful legend. Few realize he was real, and that his swords still exist. They have traveled down the centuries, cherished by those who hold them, because Inazuma put magic as well as superb steel into his work. But magic is not always benign.
Mariko Oshiro, the first female Detective Sergeant of the Tokyo P.D., has been assigned a task below her skills and pay-grade, looking into an attempt to steal a samurai sword. Professor Yamada knows what he has, and dares not whisper the truth to his peers, for his expertise would be dismissed did he talk of Inazuma. Detective Oshiro needs to learn of swords and swordsmanship, if she is to stop a dangerous Yakuza who already owns one such blade, and will stop at nothing to have another.
“If you have any interest in Japanese culture, samurais, bushido…ah hell, just read it…freaking epic.”
I’ve been hounding readers for submissions, and my friend Bill Good was kind enough to pass along the following thoughts on far-out Urban Fantasy novel Mob Rules penned by talented newcomer Cameron Haley:
Dominica (call her Domino) Riley was born on the wrong side of the tracks, and the wrong side of the law. Some folks get out, some stay, some prosper. Domino’s prospered. She’s got a little something extra going for her. She can handle the juice. And she can handle it well enough that she’s second in command to Shanar Rashan, the Turk. Rashan’s really a 6,000 year old Sumerian, but in the L.A. Underworld he’s known as the Turk.
Things have been quiet, business has been going well, but now one of Domino’s crew is dead. Skinned and squeezed. By someone using juice. And as the Turk’s representative, it’s up to Domino to find out who, why, and make an accounting for it. She’s a gangster, not a detective, but her people expect her to get the answers and get payback, so she’s doing what she can. And she’s got the juice to do a lot…
I enjoy Urban Fantasy, and I enjoyed this variant of it. It’s a different take from anything else I’ve read, and the idea that most magic users end up on the outside of the law makes quite a change from the more standard heroic setting.
Mob Rules is the first entry in the Underwold Cycle series. The second installment is fresh of the presses, is titled Skeleton Crew, and you can snag a copy here.