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  • It is completely absorbing, showing Lesley Downer's deep knowledge of Japan and her mastery of its complex history during the nineteenth century.

    LIAN HEARN, author of Across the Nightingale Floor
  • A persuasive storyteller and the setting is mesmerising.

    Antonia Senior, THE TIMES
  • Superb. A wonderful evocation of an alien world, with entrancing characters and a riveting narrative that fits perfectly with the historical facts.

    JOHN MAN, author of Genghis Khan
  • Lesley Downer has pulled off a remarkable achievement in making the beautiful, strange and dangerous world of one woman in a 19th-century Japan facing Western invasion utterly believable, and utterly gripping.

    VANORA BENNETT, author of Portrait of an Unknown Woman
  • Atsu is what we all want to be: a courageous woman of heartbreaking intelligence… set against our own darkest selves. This tale of western imperialism has so many resonances in the modern world, written with passion, depth and brilliance, and a sense of time and place that is earning Lesley Downer a reputation as the Shogun’s Writer for the twenty first century.

    MANDA SCOTT, bestselling author of the Boudica novels

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