The war and false reports have dispersed the Yamada family. Toshiko, now a woman alone and homeless in a man’s world, fails to find help from the emperor and is forced to earn a living as an entertainer in the brothels on the Yodo River. Sadahira, devastated by the loss of his family, seeks refuge as a healer in Hiraizumi, a distant northern province. And Hachiro, who has made his peace with his father, learns of his death and returns to his old life in the capital. There he avenges his dojo master’s murder and takes up the way of the sword again. When their paths finally cross again, Toshiko, Hachiro, and Sadahira are must make the most difficult choices of all.
The final book of the trilogy focuses on the helplessness of women in times of war, and on the complex characters of the two men, one who wants to preserves life at all cost, and the other whose fate it is to dispense death. Their conflicting desires and the turbulent times form a story that is both tragic and full of hope.