Betrayal at Iga: A Hiro Hattori Novel is the fifth book in Susan Spann’s Shinobi Mystery series, which follows Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori, the master ninja hired to protect him, as they solve murders and enact justice in the days of 16th-century Japan..
Picking up shortly after where 2016’s The Ninja’s Daughter left off, Betrayal at Iga has Father Mateo and Hiro, the master ninja who guards him, traveling to the latter’s home province of Iga to participate in peace negotiations between two rival clans at the behest of Hiro’s clan leader and cousin, Hanzo Hattori. However, when the leader to the opposing clan’s delegation dies at the dinner table and the entire negotiations are put at risk, it is up to the unconventional detectives to solve the murder and stop a war from breaking out.
To complicate matters further, all the potential killers are not only assassins trained in the art of stealth and deception but also Hiro’s family members and friends – forcing Hiro to have to figure out who to trust, and ultimately choose between his loved ones and his honor.
Like other entries in this magnificent series, Betrayal at Iga works perfectly well as a standalone novel featuring a mystery that is utterly compelling. However, after reading this story you may find yourself reaching to catch up on the entire series, particularly if you enjoy the fantastic relationship between Father Mateo and Hiro – a pairing that started as simply business, but evolved into a strong camaraderie thanks to their mutual respect for each other.
Featuring fully realized characters, snappy dialogue, political intrigue, thrilling twists and evens a little romance, Betrayal at Iga offers a little for everyone. While there is a lot of exposition throughout the novel it never feels jarring in any way, but rather flows out naturally through our hero’s interations with the unique cast of characters and is never less than compelling.
If you’re a fan of Japanese history, murder mysteries, and overall Ninja badassery, Betrayal at Iga is a must read. Susan Spann’s absolute love of Japanese culture and lore is more than evident throughout her work, where she meticulously manages to authentically recreate the setting, culture and feel of medieval Japan in a way that will make you easily get lost in its pages. With ninjas being everywhere these days – from the Lego Ninjago movie to blenders to even Ninja Casino – you will definitely get your fill of the legendary assassins in this novel.
Betrayal at Iga: A Hiro Hattori Novel by Susan Spann was published by Seventh Street Books on July 11, 2017. It is available in both physical and digital formats in Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online bookstores.
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.