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A Tengu's Tale

In the year of 1825, following a proposal by Takahashi Kageyasu, the Japanese Government issued an 'Order to Drive Away Foreign Ships' (Ikokusen uchiharairei, also known as the 'Ninen nashi', or 'No second thought' law), which commanded absolutely all coastal authorities in Japan to arrest or kill any foreigners coming ashore without exception. Grenville Grant, an English smuggler of western medical books, is found to have contacted scarlet fever and rather than risk losing his trade, his Japanese partner has him nursed back to health in a brothel. However, while he is recuperating, the 'Ninen Nashi' law comes into operation, which means he is stuck in Japan and without a way back. Worse follows when the brothel is raided and he is forced to hide out in inhospitable mountain ranges for over a year. He is aided by two young sisters who believe he is a tengu (long-nosed goblin), an esoteric mountain hermit and a huge dog, whilst being continually hunted for sport by a ruthless daimyo (lord) The story weaves from past to present and back, where Rebecca Grant is preparing to enter a red-brick university to study Japanese and uses her gap year to work and study in Japan whilst seeking to uncover links to her male ancestor. All she has is his logbook and his handwritten Japanese-English dictionary.
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About the Author

Richard Downing has lived and worked for thirty years in France, Germany, Norway, Iran, South Africa, Hong Kong, Brazil, South Korea, Australia and Japan. During this time he has had many unique jobs such as smuggler (Japan to Korea) movie extra (Revenge of the Pink Panther) translator/interpreter (Sydney prison) fashion model (Japan and Hong Kong), disc jockey, bus conductor, fruit juice seller on a nudist beach (South Africa) tallyman (on Cape Town Harbour) dishwasher in the red-light area of Hamburg, Germany, manager of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken in Durban, South Africa, strawberry picker (Norway) and grape picker (France) landlord (England) English instructor to the Shah of Iran's Air force (Teheran) and his last job was deputy headmaster at a specialist school for bullied and traumatized children. He is married to a Japanese cooking instructor and lives in Norwich, England. The Devil's Tattoo is his first novel and is set in Japan and is a novel about a surviving kamikaze pilot and his rise and fall in the world of the yakuza. Gaijin House is his second novel and is a set of individual stories and a whimsical look at the world of a group of foreigners living in a fetid, cockroach infested hovel in Osaka, Japan and one which the landlady wants demolished to cash in on the property boom.Refusing to leave she brings in some thugs to force them out.The stories are all culled from Downing's twenty six years spent in Osaka.Eighty percent of the stories are true with ten percent being a blend of fiction and fact and the final ten percent being completely fiction. Gaijin House also contains ten pen ank ink drawings from the well known illustrator Howard Clarke. In his third novel -a crime/historical fiction novel written together with prolific crime writer Tony Nash it is called Hardrada's Hoard and is set in Norfolk, England and Norway. A Tengu's Tale tells the story of what happens when an English ship's captain is marooned in Japan during the country's period of self-imposed isolationism.

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