||March 16, 2006
Author Kei Swanson
Aderyn Aquilla, a sixteen year-old of Welsh Portuguese decent, is stranded on the island of Kyushu in 1490 Japan. Scared and alone, she used her wits and her knowledge of Japanese to make friends with her captors.
Aderyn watched the man who had been such a mystery before leave. The guard was Hikita! Lord Sanematsu! She had spied on him these past nights. Sachi said he would leave at late morning of the third day. Why did he leave now, long before midnight? Could something have gone wrong with him and Tsuta? Dare she hope?
Sanematsu Yoshihide is the samurai lord of Nishikata, is tired of war, having see too much in twenty-five years of life. When the strange foreign girl arrived on the coast of his domain, he protected her as an interesting distraction.
Little did either know they would fall in love and have to fight the whole of Japan to remain together.
The long osode, the outer robe of the same lavender uchiki she had worn the night Sanematsu spoke with her alone in his sleeping chamber, unfolded as she stood. Aderyn liked the traditional costume most at night, after bath and before bed, the only time she could handle the sensation of feeling feminine.
Immediately, Aderyn's spirits rose. She was ebullient, her heart pounded wildly between her breasts, her breath was short, and her face was hot and flushed. Not stopping to think whether it was a good time or not, she hurried to catch up with Sanematsu.
"Lord Sanematsu?" Aderyn called when near enough for him to hear without rudely screaming. "Is everything all right?"
"Ko-tori." Sanematsu turned abruptly, seeming, only for a moment, to smile. "You are awake late."
"I was retiring when I saw all the people." She pointed to Tsuta's room. The group thinned and returned to their beds. His disheveled garment did not cover his upper body and threatened to slip off his broad shoulders. He was trying to slow his rapid breaths. "Are you well?" Her words brought him out of his consideration.
"No. Everything is quite well," Sanematsu replied. A churning began in his loins. His heart increased its rhythm. Now was not the best time to be with Tori. He was too vulnerable. "You should retire."
"I was just going. Good night, Yoshihide-sama." Aderyn turned to leave.
Still enticed by her, Sanematsu watched Tori. When his friend had called to him and he had first seen her in the moonlight, Tori’s osode, worn without an underskirt this late at night, pulled apart at the bust to reveal the deep cleavage and the soft upper curves of her breasts. Now as she walked away in seemingly slow motion, he could not break away. Her hair, piled on top of her head in no true fashion, left the smooth skin of her nape exposed to all. His eyes fell to her neck.
Sanematsu felt as he had when Master Wada struck him in the pit of his stomach with the hilt of his sword during martial practice. At the cove, he had been affected by her sensual naked curves, but not to the degree the small patch of skin ordinarily hidden with hair or silk by chaste women, affected him at this moment. Tori could not consciously do or appear anymore erotic than she did innocently in the moonlight. Sanematsu stared as awkward as a teenager as a rush of heat filled his Jade Root, until she absentmindedly unpinned her hair.
As she walked away and the cascade of tresses fell to her thighs to curtain off his view of her nape, Sanematsu found he could breathe freely, ashamed of himself and his episode of voyeurism. Embarrassed by his physical reaction and afraid of what it all meant, he rushed to his own quarters.
The time is fifteenth century Japan where a central seat of government is perilous at best. Civil wars rage through the country, local warlords fighting other warlords to attain the position of supreme military advisor to the Emperor. It is time of men and martial matters.
Thrown into the mix by fate, is a barbarian woman, a girl of 16 from the land of the West. With Aderyn Aquilla’s arrival, change comes to both the island of Kyushu and the daimyo of the Satsuma Provinces. Change that will bring war and peace to Nihon over several lifetimes.
Sue Waldeck for The Road to Romance
"...the relationship between these two people is a tender one that is truly enjoyable to be a part of. The cliffhanger at the end leaves us waiting for the next installment,...the book is an enjoyable read..."
Beverly Pechin for Reader Views
Somehow, from the very first words you read, you get lost. Kei Swanson brings you into the Japanese life of a Samurai leader and you simply never want to come out again! I was truly riveted from the beginning and couldn't put the book down.
“The Seabird of Sanematsu” is dramatic story of love, betrayal, war, and romance. Every emotion gets charged as you read about a young Daimyo (somewhat like a King) named Sanematsu Yoshihide who finds friendship and more in the "barbarian" he captures from a ship at sea. Her entire family is diminished as his warriors take over their cargo trading ship with only Aderyn left to survive. But, to what perils? As the head of the Samuari's comes aboard her ship, Sanematsu's childhood friend and now nemesis, finds the youngest daughter, Aderyn, still alive. For some reason the young Daimyo is captivated by her and tells them to spare her life and bring her back to his palace. Matsumoto, the head of the warriors and Sanematsu's childhood friend, finds the "barbarian" girl quite fascinating himself and when she becomes the fascination of the Daimyo it becomes his mission to get what he cannot have.
Finding a friend, confidante and eventually a love in his new "prisoner", the Daimyo finds himself in perils he never imagined. Never is a woman to create such a stir inside a true warrior such as himself, yet the mere sight of her makes him weak in the knees. As time goes on and he fights not only his own turmoil’s, but the turmoil’s of all those surrounding him for allowing a stranger to enter their world, he has to make life changing decisions while constantly watching over her to keep her safe.
The story is completely enthralling and truly one you will not want to put down. The only thing that will haunt you forever is the ending, three small words that will cause you to cry out. Find out what three little words can change your life so intensely as you lose yourself in a land of mystique.
Marilyn Rondeau, RIO – Reviewers International Organization
From the very first page you will be hooked by this lively action packed historical read. The author, Kei Swanson has found a unique niche that I’ve found to be immensely interesting. Kei, after having written two other contemporary novels featuring oriental heroes sets her newest dramatic historical adventure back in time to 1480 feudal Nihon -- otherwise known as Japan.
The young Daimyo (a feudal lord) Sanematsu Yoshihide boards a ship that Matsumoto his war general and troops had taken over. They had killed all on board except a young girl who was found lying beneath the bodies of her slain family. Discovered, Aderyn bravely and defiantly faces them even as she herself is about to be cut down. Sick of the senseless killing and admiring her courage, Sanematsu stops his once childhood friend and nemesis Matsumoto from slaying her. Instead, Sanematsu orders she be sent to his castle where he intends to discover what she knows of the land beyond the Nihon borders. Later when she is brought to him, Sanematsu finds her forthright manner provoking and also discovered that she ‘cleaned up’ rather nicely!
Expecting at any time that she would be killed, or worse, fifteen year old Aderyn thought it wise to hide the fact that she understood some of the Nihon language. The youngest daughter of her slaughtered family Aderyn had always thirsted for knowledge and now, here was a disturbingly handsome great feudal Lord who wanted something from her -- information. As the days turned into weeks and months, Aderyn who was re-named Tori after the seabird, had become more of an honored ‘guest’ in Sanematsu’s household than captive. The more time Sanematsu and Tori spent together many began to notice that the young ‘barbarian’ and the lord of the castle seemed to be more than just friends. Young Aderyn who was just now awakening to her own sensuality was confused by her feelings for her captor. More confused was the Daimyo Sanematsu who was discovering that he actually was beginning to care about Tori, in fact, astonished that he respected her as a person in a way that went against everything he’d ever been taught. Could this unheard of feeling for a female ‘barbarian’ be what was referred to as love? Against all odds the love that blossomed between these two was something that one person in particular whose hatred for Sanematsu and his ‘barbarian’ would be determined to never see flourish.
Fascinating, absolutely fascinating! Not only has Swanson done meticulous research in providing the most incredible background for feudal Nihon, but she breathes the very life and soul into her characters as she opens up the fascinating world of the Samurai warrior in a time fraught with war and violence. When being a Samurai was almost ‘god-like’ in their ability to determine life or death by the swing of their sword one man would discover his destiny. In this beautiful romantic epic there is an undeniable focus on the Samurai doctrine, their way of life, which I found completely fascinating and this author does a remarkable job of bringing all this detail vividly to life.
The depictions of the main characters are deeply fashioned with emotion and motivation. Great care is taken in describing the rituals, the gardens, and the secondary characters from the lowly servants to the high and mighty. The love story revolves slowly and builds upon a feeling of trust and respect that I found to be immensely refreshing. If there is anything that is detrimental to this fabulous story is that it leaves you with three little words at the end that after such a fantastic story almost broke my heart. I am going to be ANXIOUSLY waiting to get the sequel to this most fabulous adventure of a love story!
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