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By Lesley Downer

Japan, 1868: the final shogun has been defeated, the age of the emperors is set to start - and in Japan's frozen north a diehard band of loyalists plans a determined final stand. Hana is simply seventeen while her husband is going to warfare, leaving her on my own and extremely susceptible.

When enemy infantrymen assault her condo she flees for her existence around the shattered urban of Tokyo and takes safe haven within the Yoshiwara, its recognized excitement sector. There she is bought right into a brothel and compelled to coach as a courtesan. Yozo, a tourist, adventurer and excellent swordsman, returns to Japan after six years within the Victorian West to find that the realm he left at the back of him has been destroyed. traveling north to affix his insurgent comrades, he's captured in the course of their ultimate conflict. Escaping, he makes his manner south to the single position the place a guy is past the succeed in of the legislation - the Yoshiwara.

There within the Nightless urban the place 3 thousand courtesans mingle with geishas and jesters, the battered fugitive meets the attractive courtesan. yet every one has a mystery so bad that when printed it is going to threaten not just their union - yet their very lives...

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It was a mouth-wateringly magical moment, the omelette delectable in the extreme. Thanks to Freddie, who spent his days scavenging food to give to the chef to cook, we were invited back regularly. We used to joke about how as Other Ranks we had been banned from Raffles Hotel before the surrender but now had our own personal chef. It was brilliant. We got our ration of rice and eagerly took it to him. He was quite a character, short and stout, not much taller than Freddie. A typical chef, he had a fiery temper but good humour in equal measure.

That much I knew. Men became weaker all the time. The lack of fluids especially afflicted those with malaria and dysentery. Prisoners who collapsed were given some precious space, while the rest of us had to bunch up even more. The train was forever stopping in sidings and without any breeze from the movement the temperature soared ever higher. No one spoke. We had nothing to say. Besides, I wanted to save my energy. Who knew what was ahead of us? When night came the carriage slowly cooled to a more bearable temperature.

At this stage the medical officer still had a little quinine. The boys looked after me and I stayed in the hut, wrestling with the shakes, sweats and fever, while they were delighted to be rewarded for their efforts with the rice ration that I was too ill to eat. As I suffered they grinned and wolfed down the extra spoonfuls of rice. During this period of camp life Changi was still quite a disciplined and organised place. British and Australian officers were basically in charge of running the camp and the Japanese left us pretty much alone.

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