No Exit Press / Trafalgar Square, May 2012
An exciting thriller with a touch of woo-woo, the title, Kusanagi, refers to an ancient sword that is part of the Japanese royal treasury. In theory, an emperor cannot legally be crowned without these items being present. The treasures include a mirror, a necklace, and the sword. Imagine the consternation of palace bigwigs when a team of ex-Navy Seals discovers a vast storehouse of gold and jewels on the ocean floor, and when they bring them up and offer them for sale, it’s determined the goods are supposed to be safe in the vaults. Turns out the ship carrying these items went down centuries ago, which means the heads of state were crowned without proper accoutrements and ceremony. Perhaps not even legally.
With the find kept under wraps, the Navy Seals offer a golden box for sale at an auction house in London that deals with ancient artifacts. This is when Jim Evans, possibly the richest man in the world due to his business acumen, gets involved. He bids for and wins the the box, then he, and his butler who is a bodyguard and someone high-up in government, have the challenge of opening the box. When they succeed, the sword, necklace, and mirror are revealed. Of course, everyone wants the treasure. Some are willing to pay for it. Others would rather kill.
The action is swift in this story. Most of the characters are appealing if not downright loveable, and the villain is someone you’re certain to hate, if for nothing else, his attitude toward his zoo. Better yet, the title sword, Kusanagi, is not just a piece of metal, but a truly magical artifact with an active role in the story. Thumbs up on this one.
Reviewed by Carol Crigger, June 2012.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.