Trying to survive in the streets of twelfth-century Kyoto, a homeless child is brutalized and left to die. Even the selfless physician who saves him cannot soften the boy’s hardened spirit. Angry with the world and desiring vengeance against those who caused his parents’ suicides, Hachiro feels rejection almost everywhere and reacts in kind. This anger he forges into an amazing skill with a sword. He becomes the most famous swordsman in the city. Many deaths are due to Hachiro’s reputation, until he seeks solitude and redemption by leaving the capital.
The love of women proves even less kind than the cut of a sword. His obsession with a forbidden passion forces Hachiro to join the war between two powerful clans where he finds another dangerous woman and treachery.
When at last he returns home, he finds Kyoto in ruin and his beloved master dead. In the midst of the tragedy of this ravaged city, he discovers his redemption, something he had given up hoping for. But first he must face the danger of losing all when a secret enemy sets his trap.