Undoubtedly the most unusual piece of bridge fiction ever published, Samurai Bridge takes the reader to a remote village in early 19th century Japan. At first, the characters may seem familiar -- the heroic masterless samurai (a ronin), the evil town magistrate, the downtrodden peasants, the tea-house madam with a heart of gold, and so forth. But soon we realize that these people are different -- they are all fanatical bridge players, and the climactic battle between the forces of good and evil will take place not in the dojo, but at the card table. A host of fascinating people inhabit this book -- a seductive ghost with her own agenda for the ronin, a Buddhist monk who finds it hard to relinquish earthly pleasures, a bathhouse-girl whose humble appearance masks something much more deadly, an out-of-work actor who has unwillingly become involved in a complex masquerade, a notary whose father was bridge professional to the Emperor until he fell out of favor, and many more. There is plenty of swordplay and romance as the story moves along, interspersed with philosophical asides on the Zen of bridge and a fascinating account of bridge as played at the Imperial court. Sex, violence, mystery, and lots of bridge hands too, this is Seven Samurai as Charles Goren might have written it! The book is illustrated throughout with pen and ink drawings in the classic Japanese style.