*During a snowy March in 1701, the once mighty and feared house of Asano is taken apart by the conniving Lord Kira Hozukenosuke. The honorable Lord Asano Takuminokami of Ako was young in years but an old-school wartime samurai at heart. He had no use for what had become a corrupt matrix of meaningless rituals with contrived customs created by politicians who had nothing better to do during the peacetime of the Shogunate rule.
Unwilling to conform to the usual bribery that Lord Kira expected, Lord Asano fell prey to Kira's sly machinations. Provoked into drawing his sword within the walls of Edo castle - an unforgivable taboo, Asano is sentenced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide), while Kira goes unpunished.
Left without a lord, the samurai of Ako have no choice but to relinquish control of their castle and disband their clan. To put their enemies at ease, the ronin (masterless samurai) of Ako keep their plan for revenge secret for eighteen months.
In the forests outside of Edo, Oishi Kuranosuke has brought together the faithful few to prepare for vengeance. For now the time has come to defend their honor, and raise their swords one final time. *Source: Inside front cover