Three Oaths

Three Oaths
Josh Reynolds
Published date

“Three Oath” is the fourth instalment of A Daidoji Shin Mystery series. I adore the protagonist in this series, and I always looking forward to getting back and see new adventures of a clever Crane. This time, Shin’s new hobby of solving complicated cases brings him literally into the Lions’ den. He is approached by his acquaintance Akodo Minami (who you might know from previous books) and asked to investigate a long-lost member of the Lion Clan, Itagawa Mosu, who miraculously came back from the dead just in time to marry Minami’s cousin. Or did he? Is it the matchmaker’s chosen man or an opportunistic impostor? To find the truth, Shin takes the role of the wedding planner.

For those unfamiliar with Legend of the Five Rings lore, Lions and Cranes are like fire and water. They hold centuries of grudges and hostilities and would rather commit seppuku than admit that their counterpart brings any value to the Rokugan. Alas, knowing all that does not stop Shin from waltzing boldly into Lion’s district, where everyone is just one step from killing him to keep traditional clan relations. On the topic of the world, what I like about this series the most is that even though it’s based on medieval Japan, using a lot of historical traditions based on the culture, it also embraces equality and diversity.

So, we have a lot of women holding positions of power, like generals and clan leaders, and same-sex marriages are something normal. It’s not historically accurate, but since we are in a fantasy genre, it’s good to see authors painting the world as it should be, disregarding social issues with unfairness and discrimination we face every day in the real world.

Getting back to the story itself, it’s very entertaining. Shin is, as usual, his most charming and clever self, trying to carefully navigate the hostile territory and find the truth. It is also good to see that even though most Lions are highly suspicious of him, some people have met him before, and those few held enough social sway to ensure no one murders him right away. That shows that even the most stubborn can be persuaded and overcome years of prejudices.

What I also like about Shin as a character, and what particularly shines in this book, is that with all the flippant attitude he shows to the world, he cares for people and their lives, even if they are strangers to him. While slowly putting the whole story together, he was cautious presenting it so it didn’t harm those involved more than necessary.

“Three Oaths” is also the first book in the series where the most significant mystery starts to show. We get more and more clues that all the small cases that Shin was working on in the past books are connected, and there is someone out there who is orchestrating everything. And quite possibly, they might finally get fed up with Shin’s constant involvement in interrupting their grand schemes. That promises a lot more excitement for future books. Also, the ending brings one more development in Shin’s personal life that hugely impacts how the story goes.

I’m very excited to continue the series and see how Shin gets out of the newest conundrum he landed himself in at the end of this book.