When Aiko becomes privy (through a Geisha banquet) to information on an ultra nationalist organisation called the Ketsumeidan, she contacts the Tokyo police. Tokyo Police Inspector Yuudai Sato. The unlikely alliance join forces to try to prevent the assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister and to try to stave off the inevitable march to war. When they prove unsuccessful, both must face the horrors that war will bring to them and their loved ones.
Ketsumeidan is a solid, chunky read and gives us some real insight into the life, culture, customs and social mannerisms of pre-war Japan. The sharp contrast between the "average man or woman" and the ruthless, vicious, indoctrinated conscripts could not be more apparent. Many of those left behind cannot believe the atrocities committed by their military on behalf of the Japanese people. This juxtaposition is perhaps no more eloquently highlighted than that between the serene, world of the Geisha's and the murder and rape of thousands of innocent Chinese civilians in the Japan/Chinese conflict.
I found the story dragged ever so slightly at times, but the stark horror of those left behind to face the Allied bombing raids on Tokyo as well as the atrocities being committed in China, were always enough to keep me reading. As a social history of a long-forgotten time, Ketsumeidan served as an excellent read to someone for whom historical fiction is a "junkie's fix". I enjoyed the read and can definitely recommend it.