Broken Keel
Author: Honobu Yonezawa
Specifications: ISBN  978-4488017651
332 pages
13.4 x 18.2 cm / 5.4 x 7.5 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Tokyo Sogensha Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 2010
Awards: Mystery Writers of Japan Award, 2011
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This is a historical mystery. The action takes place in November 1190 on the Solon Archipelago, a group of English-controlled islands in the North Sea. Under orders from the king of England, the Elwin family has built a settlement on the Solons which has grown rich from the North Sea trade. One day, a knight comes to the islands from Jerusalem, currently under siege by the crusaders. He is Fitzjohn of the St. Ambrose Hospital Brotherhood of Tripoli. He reveals that Edric, a murderous knight skilled in black magic, plans to kill Lawrence Elwin, the lord of the isles. On the day that Fitzjohn disembarks, the greatest mercenary fighters from England and the continent also arrive. Lawrence senses that the "Cursed Danes"?sleepless zombies who were driven off the island by a previous generation of Elwins and must be beheaded to be killed?intend to return. And indeed, late that same night, Lawrence is killed with a single sword thrust in a room in his impregnable island castle. At about the same time, a Dane disappears from the turret cell in which he has been confined for 20 years. Lawrence's daughter Amina, the narrator of the tale, asks Fitzjohn and Nicolas, his young retainer, to investigate her father's murder. Two days later, the crime still unsolved, hordes of Danes come rampaging ashore and begin to slaughter the islanders . . .

This ingenious story is about what Fitzjohn calls "the power of reason and logic to defeat magic." An ingeniously crafted work, it combines fantasy elements with a riveting crime-solving scenario.