Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Puns and poetry, high flyers and fools abound in the latest Mary Russell novel. And ninjas. Yippee! I was a bit wary when I started reading; somewhere along the line, though I read the first five or so Mary Russell novels, I quit the series. I was reminded of it recently when asked for recommendations, and this solidifies my intention to read them all. King is a very good writer of prose. There's action, an intellectual puzzle, travel to Japan and Oxford, scene-setting and character building in descriptions all the way from lush to lurid and everything in between. King aims to both instruct and entertain, and succeeds.
Basho and Buddhism make appearances. Threats of international incident. The arrogance of empire; the smug assumption of superiority by the very smart; the blinkers and shades of custom and culture. And honor: among thieves, nations, detectives and spies.
Such are the themes and meanderings in this homage: for it’s really a love story about Japan and Oxford all boxed up in a mystery. I'm sure there will be others who think one of the stars of the story is the missing book--so lovingly described I can feel it in my hands, and I surely desire to hold it and its beautiful illustrations. I want to walk along the road that Basho walked on. I want to look at the Pinterest board.
Haiku of varied
Quality sprinkle the text
Like cherry blossoms
but I hope the reader is inspired to look up Basho and Issa and other masters of this deceptively simple form. Dream on!
I received an EARC for review from Penguin Random House and Netgalley.
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