In 12th century Kyoto, the people are abused by the nobility, while armed Buddhist monks terrorize court and commoner alike. In despair, the Emperor calls upon the Heike and Genji clans to quell civil disturbances; although the clans succeed, they quarrel over the spoils of war and plunge the country into a century of warfare. Rising from a youth in poverty, Kiyomori becomes the Emperor's Chief Councilor. Although a gentle, enlightened man, he will leave a trail of bloodshed and ruin in his wake. Adapting a Japanese epic, this classic 1956 novel by Eiji Yoshikawa features a foreword by Davinder Bhowmik, who situates this work in the context of postwar Japanese literature.