Autumn Bridge by Takashi Matsuoka
(Cloud of Sparrows)

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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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Takashi Matsuoka

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Takashi Matsuoka was born in Japan and raised in the United States. He lives in Honolulu, where he was employed at a Zen Buddhist temple before becoming a full-time writer. Cloud of Sparrows is his first novel.
Published August 3, 2004 by Delacorte Press. 448 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Characters from Matsuoka's bellicose Cloud of Sparrows (2002) return for the calmer tale of an aristocratic family's extra-sensorily perceptive inheritance.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Autumn Bridge (Cloud of Sparr...

BC Books

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Nothing makes driving from point A to point B more dramatic than an epic tale of swords, sorcery, and honor. Autumn Bridge fits the bill nicely, I'd say. "All of this has happened before, and all o...

Sep 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Autumn Bridge (Cloud of Sparr...

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