In a classic romance opening, Barbara Fairfax gets her first glimpse of Japan from the deck of an ocean liner. Japan is the land where here parents met, her father died, and where she hopes to escape from highly eligible suitor whom she doesn’t love.
As a house guest of the American ambassador’s daughter, Barbara has a front row seat to history in the making. She, however, is more interested in embassy staffer Duke Daunt than in political jockeying between superpowers.
Hallie Erminie Rives maintains a classic romance storyline for the remainder of The Kingdom of Slender Swords, but she embeds it within a thriller. Rives rounds out the novel with a bit of history, a chunk of local culture, and a sprinkle of religion.
Sounds like a recipe for literary hash, doesn’t it?
But Rives is no ordinary writer.
Her plotting is superb, her characters believable, her descriptions breathtaking.
Her predictions aren’t bad for 1910 either.
Rives anticipates Japan “will make some other nations get a move on” within the next half century. The novel’s bad guy, “the expert,” says it’s easier to dominate the the world by manipulating international financial markets than with weapons, though he has invented the ultimate weapon by harnessing atomic energy.
If that’s an ordinary romance novel, I’ll eat my Ramen Noodles.The Kingdom of Slender Swords by Hallie Erminie Rives Illus. A. B. Wenzell 1910 bestseller #5 Project Gutenberg EBook #42427
This review has been edited to correct the pronouns referring to the author from he/him to she/her. Hallie Erminie Rives was also Mrs. Post Wheeler, wife of an American diplomat whose foreign service took the couple to posts in Europe, Asia and South America.
© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni