Sakura Genji is a flying fish, the title given to the traveling actors in seventeenth century Japan who performed both on and off the stage, playing their roles to entertain their audience, then playing a different role behind the scenes for the samurai who demanded their bodies for an entirely personal sort of pleasure.
Genji’s beauty makes him the ideal actor for the role of the Samurai Princess, as well as it serving to keep him in a constant supply of warriors willing to pay for the pleasure of using him to slake their lust. It’s not a part of the profession Genji enjoys, but when a man doesn’t own his own body, he’s left with very few options to survive.
Minamoto Daisuke is a masterless samurai with a heart full of grief and a head full of revenge after his wife was murdered by the lord of the Kai Province. For five years he’s been a ronin wandering the country, perfecting his swordsmanship and biding his time until the day he can return and kill the man who stole his wife and his life from him, for no better reasons than pride and jealousy and fear.
That day has come now, the day Daisuke has planned so long for, but fate has quite different intentions for Minamoto Daisuke. Finding Genji bathing in an isolated pool outside of his home village, Daisuke is stunned to discover that the one who has ignited a flame of passion in him is not a woman but a man; though in a place and in a time when men loving men was not uncommon, Daisuke isn’t as shocked to discover he burns for another man as he is to discover that there’s still a spark there to consume him at all after five years of burying everything else beneath his insatiable hunger for vengeance.
Genji and Daisuke’s feeling for each other are intense from the start but their relationship is not a simple one. Daisuke is a man who has dreamt of nothing but avenging his wife’s death for years, but once again fate intercedes. Genji is a man owned by a callous taskmaster who demands Genji’s submission, but again, fate steps in to redirect the course of their lives.
If you’ve ever been tempted to judge a book by its cover, go ahead and do it now because Flying Fish is every bit as lovely on the inside as it is on the out-. This is a lush romance, a love story pure and simple, woven into a land where the shoguns once ruled and where a man’s honor was sometimes his only currency.
If you’ve never read Sedonia Guillone’s work, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend starting right here. The picture she paints with her words is vivid and well worth spending the time to appreciate.
Reviewed by: Lisa