Set in feudal Japan, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh follows Hattori Mariko, the daughter of a prominent samurai, who is promised to the emperor’s son, Minamoto Raiden. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, she narrowly escapes an ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace. Devising a plan to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, she disguises herself as a peasant boy and earns the trust of the clan’s leader, rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his best friend, Okami.
First of all, kudos to Miss Ahdieh for setting up a rich historical backdrop. Going into the book, I wasn’t sure how much of feudal Japan I was going to see, but thankfully, it wasn’t a mere plot device. There was actual talk of feudal lords and land properties, and the best thing is it wove around the lives of the characters, making for some interesting developments. The inner history nerd in me is delighted.