The most unusual bridge book you'll ever read!
The story told in Samurai Bridge takes place in a remote village in early 19th Century Japan. At first, the characters may seem familiar - Shintaro, the heroic ronin (a masterless samurai), Gunpei, the evil town magistrate, Kiku, the tea house hostess with a heart of gold, and so forth. But soon, one becomes aware that these people are not quite what might be expected - in fact, they are all fanatical bridge players, and the climactic battle between the forces of good and evil takes place not in a dojo, but at the bridge table.
A host of fascinating characters inhabit this book, including a seductive ghost with her own plans for the ronin: a Buddhist monk who has some difficulty relinquishing earthly pleasures; a bathhouse-girl whose humble appearance masks something much more deadly; an out of work actor who has unwillingly become involved in a complex masquerade; a notary who's father was a bridge professional at the court of the Emperor until he fell out of favour and an old comrade-in-arms whom Shintaro may have to face in a duel to the death.
Shintaro's story naturally includes swordplay as well as cardplay, interspersed with romance, philosophical asides on the game of bridge, and a fascinating account of bridge and politics at the imperial court. An exotic potpourri of love, mystery, mayhem and a lot of bridge too, set in a world where life is cheap, This is Seven Samurai as Charles Goran might have written it!
Dr Robert MacKinnon, 256 pages
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