No matter how arduous their cases or stingy their salaries, even the employees of the Summons Department are entitled to a vacation. This year Hisoka, Tsuzuki, Chief Konoe, and the rest of the office will be wintering in Hokkaido, famed for its hot springs, crab dumplings, and luxury hotels. A perfect snowy week in the lap of luxury is just getting off to a good start when Tatsumi stumbles across a gathering of talking animals and discovers that the mythical Queen of Snow has vanished from her castle. Always up for a little excitement, the whole staff of the Summons Department takes off in different directions to look for the Queen, encountering a fascinating menagerie of mythical beasts and spirits in their travels. Tsuzuki and Hisoka make it back to the office just in time for the yearly inter-departmental archery contests giving Tsuzuki yet another chance to either embarrass himself, impress his friends, or manage a little of both. After all this romping around in the more pleasant neighborhoods of the underworld, Tsuzuki is due to be assigned another hard case. Sure enough, he and Hisoka are detailed to go undercover as a student and teacher at an exclusive boarding school for boys to investigate a gruesome murder. At first glance the spoiled students of St. Michael’s seem like any other group of teenagers – jockeying for position with empty threats and promises of favors. Hisoka and Tsuzuki both sense deeper and more sinister undercurrents in this isolated spot, fueling jealous rages, sexual violence, and a desire of secrecy. As accusations fly and one scene of death follows another the school’s entire population seems to be implicated in a game of forbidden desire, disguise, and control. In fact, the explanation is even more complicated, forcing Tsuzuki face to face with old enemies and an unexpected ally from another Department. This volume’s second story leads to bit more explicit sexuality and violence than present in previous volumes, but the series remains appropriate for older teens.

Descendants of Darkness, vol. 4
Yoko Matsushita
ISBN: 9781591167020
Viz, 2004

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