The Nature of Mystical Japan: The Islands In The Mist by James Calbraith

The Nature of Mystical Japan: The Islands In The Mist by James CalbraithThe Islands in the Mist by James Calbraith
Series: The Year of the Dragon #3

Published by Flying Squid on October 8th 2012
Also by this author: The Shadow of Black Wings, The Warrior's Soul, The Rising Tide, The Chrysanthemum Seal, The Withering Flame, The Shattering Waves, The Last Dragon King
Also in this series: The Shadow of Black Wings, The Warrior's Soul, The Rising Tide, The Chrysanthemum Seal, The Withering Flame, The Shattering Waves, The Last Dragon King
Genres: Fantasy
Format: ebook
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Amazon Bestseller in Historical Fantasy and Alternate Fiction

Guided by the mysterious samurai, Bran and the girls reach the fabled shrine of Kirishima, where his dragon is held. But other forces are also keen to put their hands on the prize...

The Black Wings have landed, and Edo is in turmoil. So is Kiyo, after the recent disturbing events. Doshin Koyata receives a strange red signal in his dreams...

In Qin, Dylan trains an army of volunteers to stop the onslaught of the Rebels, with the help of an old Admiral - who seems to know many secrets...

We’re continuing our journey through Yamato, James Calbraith’s alternate version of Japan. The Islands In The Mists is the third book in the series The Year Of The Dragon. This is the first book where the story in Yamato splits into multiple points of view, as well as expanding on the burgeoning storyline in Qin only teased in earlier books. Hold on to your obis, because you’re in for a bumpy ride.

The prophecy as seen by Nagomi, the young priestess, is set in motion. The pawns are moving across the board and more are joining in. The story still focuses on what’s happening in Yamato, but Qin is also becoming more unstable with the civil war and foreign naval forces are entering the waters of Yamato. The whole world feels the unrest and Yamato is the heart of the storm.

Bran, Sato, and Nagomi are still on their way south to Kirishima to rescue Bran’s dragon. However, they soon find out that they are not the only ones going after it. The rare specimen is desired by the daimyo as a secret weapon in a rebellion.

In this third book, we get to see the other side of Yamato. Where the common people are depicted mostly as traditionalists, conservative, and loyal, we now see the shadow side. High ranking nobles are plotting against the taikun and even the mikado, the rulers of Yamato, assassins working together with demons, daimyos are trying to deceive each other. Manipulation is shown to also be part of the otherwise respectful Yamato culture.

With the addition of the new storylines, the book becomes more complex than the two previous ones. It adds a new layer of depth since the new characters show us the part of the story far away from the three protagonists, such as the going-ons in the capital of Yamato, Edo. The court in Edo was part of Nagomi’s vision, as it was prophesied to fall. We slowly get to know the court and the dire possibilities of its downfall, either from within or without.

James Calbraith has shown that his story is well thought out and carefully planned. He gives us parts of the different storylines in bite size to keep things interesting and maintain a good pace and the introductions of new perspectives are a great way to tell the overarching story. The Islands in The Mist has truly evolved in a more epic story than I had anticipated when I started the first book.

About James Calbraith

James Calbraith is a Poland-born British writer, foodie and traveler.

Growing up in communist Poland on a diet of powdered milk, Lord of the Rings and soviet science-fiction, he had his first story published at the ripe age of eight. After years of bouncing around Polish universities, he moved to London in 2007 and started writing in English.

His debut historical fantasy novel, The Shadow of Black Wings, has reached Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finals in 2012. “The Year of the Dragon” saga sold over 30,000 copies worldwide.

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