It is 1861. After two centuries of isolation, Japan has opened its doors and a whole way of life is about to die. Lord Genji of the Akoaka Clan knows this and plans to escape to his ancestral home, the Cloud of Sparrows. But the road is long and there are many places for a samurai to attack.
Emily Gibson has come to Japan as a missionary, to start a new life. In America her beauty drove men wild. In Japan she possesses no beauty at all. Matthew Stark speaks like a missionary but wears a pistol like a gunslinger. Emily has come to Japan to bury her past, Stark has come to kill his. It is 1861 and after two centuries of isolation Japan has been forced to open its doors. A whole way of life is about to die. Lord Genji of the Akoaka Clan knows this. Blessed with his family's power of prophecy he has foreseen that his and Japan's fate lie in the hands of outsiders. But this knowledge is dangerous to many powerful men, and deadly for Genji. As intrigue mounts and the city of Edo and the Shogun's palace are smashed by foreign ships, Genji plans his escape to his ancestral home, the Cloud of Sparrows. With him travel Emily and Stark, and Heiko, his beautiful geisha and a deadly spy. However, the road is long and there are many places along the way for a samurai to attack and for Genji to die.