In the face of mounting challenges, a ninja is torn between her mission as guardian of a magical pearl and loyalty to her friends.
In this sequel to Deadly Flowers (2016), Kata finds herself in Madame Chiyome’s clutches again, the very person who molded her into the stealth warrior she is today. Kata soon learns that she is up against far more than Madame Chiyome’s wrath. Saiko, her sworn enemy, is the real mastermind and is after the pearl in Kata’s possession. Even though a true ninja must always act alone, Kata must trust her friends: Jinnai, a thief who professes his love for her; Otani, an ex-samurai–turned-bandit; and her ninja sisters. With their help, Kata escapes and continues on her journey. At every turn, Kata has difficult decisions to make. Should she stay focused on her mission? Or trust her friends and remain loyal to them? Somehow, things fall into place. Together, they fend off enemy ninjas and samurai as well as bakemono (shape-shifting creatures) to create safe passage for Kata. As her mission nears its climax, Kata faces an epic battle alone and must decide between the lesser of two evils. Kudos to Thomson for a well-researched story with plausible characters in a fantastical world reminiscent of 16th-century Japan.
Jam-packed with thrilling action and hurtling plot twists—readers may forget to breathe. (author’s note, glossary) (Historical fantasy. 10-14)