An up-and-coming sumo wrestler adopted by a couple who run a neighborhood bathhouse. A pleasure quarter where the wealthy are entertained and deals are made. Disaffected samurai, second and third sons, all trying to make their way in the world. Shogunal intelligence agents, monitoring the jockeying between domains and helping the shogun negotiate power with the empress and imperial family, who are based in an older capital in a faraway part of the country.
Rokuro Inui uses familiar elements of Japanese culture and history to build the world of his 2019 novel “Automatic Eve” (originally published in Japanese in 2014), but he quickly makes it clear that this is not Tokyo and Kyoto, this is Tempu and Kamigata, and not everything is as it appears to be.