The second book in the Tales of the Otori trilogy continues the epic story of Otori Takeo and Shirakawa Kaede, the young lovers whose fate is played out in an ancient Oriental world, where ritualised codes of high honour counter the cruelty of savage bloodfeuds. Takeo has pledged his life to the Tribe, a secret clan of spies and assassins who claim his legendary supernatural skills for their own ruthless purposes, in doing so he must deny his birthright as an Otori lord and his love for Kaede. If he does not serve them, the Tribe will kill him. Kaede, separated from Takeo, must use her intelligence, beauty and cunning to assert her place in a world of allpowerful men who must never know that she is carrying Takeo's child. In growing from boy to man, Takeo must make a choice and the dangerous path he undertakes is a journey of high adventure, treachery and passion that establishes this extraordinary trilogy as one of the most brilliant and enduring works of modern fiction. GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW, the sequel to ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, is one of the most eagerlyawaited novels of 2003. Lian Hearn has created a brilliantly imagined culture. Here is epic storytelling whose appeal crosses genres, genders and generations.
In his blackwalled fortress at Inuyama, the murderous warlord, Iida Sadamu, surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard. Brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people, Takeo has learned only the ways of peace. Why, then, does he possess the deadly skills that make him so valuable to the sinister Tribe? These supernatural powers will lead him to his violent destiny within the walls of Inuyama and to an impossible longing for a girl who can never be his. His journey is one of revenge and treachery, honour and loyalty, beauty and magic, and the passion of first love.
In the third volume of the phenomenal series that began with the bestselling ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR and then GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW, the teenage lovers, Takeo and Kaede, are now married. But their destinies are determined by forces beyond their control. Takeo leads an army into battle, and Kaede, far from his protection, is treacherously betrayed. Their love will survive until death – which, in the savage, beautiful world of the Otori, is only ever a lightning swordstroke away. ‘Lian Hearn is creating an imaginary world every bit as absorbing as Middle Earth and Hogwarts . . . This is the same mysterious oriental landscape that beguiled Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon audiences’ Guardian ‘Quite simply the best story of magic, love, sex, revenge and suspense since Philip Pullman.’ Independent on Sunday
The epic conclusion to the bestselling Tales of the Otori-'"one of the most thrilling new series of our time." -The Times (London) A dazzling epic of warfare and sacrifice, passionate revenge, treacherous betrayal, and unconquerable love, The Harsh Cry of the Heron takes the storytelling achievement of Lian Hearn's fantastic medieval Japanese world to startling new heights of drama and action. Fifteen years of peace and prosperity under the rule of Lord Otori Takeo and his wife Kaede is threatened by a rogue network of assassins, the resurgence of old rivalries, the arrival of foreigners bearing new weapons and religion, and an unfulfilled prophecy that Lord Takeo will die at the hand of a member of his own family.
The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the rich and stirring finale to a series whose imaginative vision has enthralled millions of readers worldwide, and an extraordinary novel that stands as a thrilling achievement in its own right.