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 (# 22 in the Akitada series)

Akitada discovers that his appointment as governor comes with baggage in the person of the prime minister's favorite nephew. Then things turn really ugly.

He arrives to find a flooded province, mutinous nobles, and an empty tribunal, the previous incumbent having fled from a hostile population. When the P.M.'s nephew disappears, a frantic search of an abandoned temple turns up a dark and violent secret. Murders multiply: a merchant finds his wife's headless body and a man is tortured to death. Add two seductive young women who have plans of their own, and both Akitada's career and his marriage are threatened.

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