Cloud of Sparrows
On January 1st, 1861, Okumichi no kami Genji, Great Lord of Akaoka, receives three visitors from America. Zephaniah Cromwell wants to spread the word of God, Emily Gibson is fleeing the attention of her countrymen, and Matthew Stark has come to Japan because of ten dead men.
Genji's life is the target of Manipulative Bastard Kawakami; his death will break the spirit of the shogun's opponent's, resulting in a united Japan which will be able to repel outsider influence. Unfortunately for him, the Okumichi clan's gift of prophecy and the influence of the Americans will destroy him and bring an end to the samurai.
- Anachronic Order: How all the backstories are revealed.
- Attempted Rape: Emily seems to suffer this a lot.
KatanaAx Crazy: Shigeru, until he snaps out of it, unfortunately far too late for his poor family.
- Beauty Equals Goodness
- Bishonen :Genji, describes as 'too pretty for a man'
- Culture Clash
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: All the characters are a product of their respective times and cultures, which means even Hero Genji will massacre an entire village, including the family of the woman he loves, in order to keep the secret of her birth, because it would cause him scandal.
- Dual-Wielding: Shigeru is the only person in the book strong and skilled enough to pull this off, and is well known for it.
- Feudal Japan
- Genre Savvy: Genji and Shigeru are both well aware that prophecies rarely turn out the way one expects.
- Going Native: Jimbo
- Guns Akimbo: Stark's favoured method of fighting.
- The Gunslinger: Stark
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Mary Anne. Heiko might qualify as well
- Manipulative Bastard: Kawakami
- Mighty Whitey: Stark, who is shown to be nigh unstoppable in katana quick-draw duels after only 10 minutes of instruction. Averted in that he was already an unstoppable quick-draw with pistols and this work was not written by a white person.
- Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Stark's heart "is a dead man's heart", but he has a score to settle...
- Ninja: Both realistic and pop-culture style.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Genji
- Punny Name: Jimbo. It's a contraction of James Bohnannon, the guy's name, but is also reminiscent of jimbozu, a Japanese word for a Buddhist monk.
- Shrouded in Myth: Stark in America
- So Beautiful It's a Curse: Emily. Oh God, Emily.
- And Heiko, as it turns out... "She will devastate many men." And look what that ends up meaning, for her and her family.
- The Wild West