Amid the political machinations of feudal Japan, Sano faces a daunting, complex investigation. Twenty months spent as the shoguns most honourable investigator of events, situations and people have left Sano weary. He looks forward to the comforts of his arranged marriage and months holiday to celebrate the union with his new wife. However, the death of the shoguns favourite concubine interrupts the couples wedding ceremony as Sano is recalled to perform his duty. After Sano traces the cause of Lady Harumes death to a self-inflicted tattoo, his must travel into the cloistered world of the shoguns women to untangle the complicated web of Harumes lovers, rivals and troubled past, and identify her killer.