It’s 1997, an important moment in Chinese history as Hong Kong is scheduled to reunite with China. This political and administrative switchover naturally must take place in the realms of the dead as well as in the land of the living, leaving the Ministry of Hades scrambling to update its records and account for a group of missing files apparently lost in the transfer. People who are supposed to die in Hong King are disappearing instead, leaving no record of their lives or deaths. The Ministry has traced the source of these vanishings to a cruise ship, the Queen Camellia, owned by the wealthy Kakyoin family. Tsuzuki and Hisoka, both in disguise, are sent on a first-class business trip to investigate the Queen Camellia and her VIP passengers. As Hisoka, playing the part of the reclusive son of one of Japan’s wealthiest business men, probes the dark secrets of the ship’s wealthiest passengers, Tsuzuki is detailed to work as a lowly casino dealer, nosing into the ship’s seamier characters and hidden cargoes. Neither of our heroes is counting on the sudden reappearance of their old nemesis Dr. Muraki, a smiling and urbane gentleman who seems to embody the very essence of evil. As secrets and sins pile up on board the Queen Camellia, Hisoka and Tsuzuki must battle their own grudges and bad memories before they can hope to stand up to Muraki, a rogue as dangerous and hard to kill as he is beautiful. Book 3 of the series is the most graphic so far, venturing into outright horror as the crimes aboard Queen Camellia multiply and Muraki’s perfidy is revealed. Some readers may feel squeamish over graphic illustrations of violence and mayhem as well as Muraki’s sexualized manipulation of everyone around him. The dangers and tribulations of the story are fascinating, however, as is the deepening bond of trust and friendship (that’s all, I swear!) between Hisoka and Tsuzuki. As our two heroes mature, the story’s complexity and emotional depth increase.
Descendants of Darkness, vol. 3