Winner of the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel
1703. A massive earthquake strikes Japan, killing thousands of people and destroying most of the city of Edo. During the chaotic aftermath, Chamberlain Sano Ichiro finds three women dead inside a house that fell into a crack in the ground. They were in the middle of an incense game, in which players smell burning incense samples and guess what kinds they are. The women's bodies are abnormally well preserved, their eyes bright red. They weren't killed by the earthquake, and their deaths weren't natural. Sano suspects poison and murder. One of the victims is an incense teacher. The others are the daughters of a powerful lord. Sano must hunt the killer while struggling to rebuild Edo and help the earthquake survivors. His chief retainer, Hirata, clashes with the secret society of mystic martial artists he's joined. Sano's enemy, Yanagisawa, plots to regain the political influence he lost after the death of his son. Whose fortunes will rise because of the earthquake, and whose will fall?