14-year-old Seikie, a tea merchant’s son has hopes of one day being a Samurai. Considering Samurai are born, not made, this is virtually impossible. Yet, an unlikely meeting with a “ghost-thief” proves instrumental in bringing Seikie towards a dangerous path that could turn his dreams to reality.
With 18th century Japan as the setting, readers will receive an education in Japanese culture and tradition while using their wits to solve this Sherlock Holmes style mystery. As would be expected with a story starring Samurai and Shoguns, there is violence in the form of sword fighting, execution and acts of “seppuka” (suicide). Descriptions were not in excess, but even the mention of the brutal acts can be shocking or disturbing to children.
The roots of Christianity are worked into the plot, and a key character was a Samurai whose father converted and was eventually murdered. However, the Samurai was not the best Christian example, as his life pursuit was to return honor to his family through vengeance.
Overall, the book was good with enough action and suspense to keep the readers engaged in the story. I would anticipate your kids to pose many questions on Japanese traditions and history, so I’ve listed a few links that may be useful for further study
The Demon in the Teahouse Is the sequel to The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn.