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Blade of the Samurai, the second novel in Susan’s Spann‘s shinobi mystery series set in feudal Japan, begins in June, 1565 when a killer murders the shogun’s cousin. Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are summoned to the shogun’s palace and ordered to find the killer. Blade of the SamuraiThe evidence implicates Hiro’s friend and fellow shinobi, Kazu, who was working undercover at the shogunate; however, the victim’s wife, a suspicious maid, and even the shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want the victim dead.

The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the shogun and depose the ruling Ashikaga clan. With enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time . . . or die in his place. Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in sixteenth-century Japan.

Author’s bio: Susan Spann began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. Her first novel, Claws of the Cat: A Shinobi Mystery (Minotaur Books, 2013) was named a Library Journal mystery debut of the month. The third novel, Flask of the Drunken Master, is scheduled for publication in July 2015.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her highly distracting marine aquarium. Susan lives in Sacramento with her husband, son, two cats, one cockatiel, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.

Follow Susan Spann on Twitter: @SusanSpann.