In the ancient Oriental lands of the Otori, amidst a time of violent war, famine and treacherous alliances, the fate of the young lovers Otori Takeo and Shirakawa Kaede hangs in the balance...Takeo, heir to the great Otori clan, has pledged his life to the secret Tribe. His supernatural skills of virtual invisibility and acute hearing make him ...
In the ancient Oriental lands of the Otori, amidst a time of violent war, famine and treacherous alliances, the fate of the young lovers Otori Takeo and Shirakawa Kaede hangs in the balance...Takeo, heir to the great Otori clan, has pledged his life to the secret Tribe. His supernatural skills of virtual invisibility and acute hearing make him their most deadly assassin. But he must deny the solemn oath of vengeance he made, his adopted birthright of wealth, land and power - and his love for Kaede. If he does not devote himself entirely to the brutal ways of the Tribe, they will kill him. Whichever path he choose, it will lead to hardship and sacrifice in the bitter winter of the high mountains, and test him to the limits of his being. Kaede, heiress to vast lands, is now the valuable pawn of ruthless warlords. She must use her intelligence, beauty and cunning to assert her place in a world of all-powerful men - who must never suspect the dangerous secret she hides. 'The beauty, savagery and strangeness of Hearn's gripping tale is heightened by her exquisite, crystalline prose. The second installment in the "Tales of the Otori" is, astonishingly, even better than "Across the Nightingale Floor"' - "Independent on Sunday".
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-06-30 The pseudonymous Hearn's second thrilling installment of her Tales of the Otori trilogy (after 2002's Across the Nightingale Floor) is once again set in a magic-haunted version of medieval Japan where no one wields unchallenged authority and no one is safe. The swirl of treacherous, shifting clan alliances threatens to overwhelm young lovers and aristocrats Takeo and Kaede. Separated throughout most of the action, the two must develop their talents while trying to maintain their integrity. Takeo possesses superhuman gifts such as the ability to become invisible, project a double image of himself and hear distant conversations; however, he must discipline his skills and control his impetuous temper. He also must work out his relationship with the Tribe, a treacherous secret organization of spies and assassins that saved his life but that may have murdered his father. Kaede, meanwhile, has to escape the powerless role of a woman if she is to protect herself and her family domain from predatory neighbors. Adept at creating vivid natural settings where the supernatural feels unusually plausible, Hearn catches fresh details of trees, birds, rivers and mountains. With quick, direct sentences like brushstrokes on a Japanese scroll, she suggests vast and mysterious landscapes full of both menace and wonder. Hearn shows that middle novels of trilogies don't have to simply fill space between an exciting opening and conclusion. (Aug. 11) Forecast: Hyped as the next J.K. Rowling, Hearn-in fact, Australian children's book author Gillian Rubinstein, who was born in England-disclosed her identity last year but has since kept a low profile. Her anonymity hasn't hurt, with rights to the trilogy sold to 20 countries and movie rights to Universal for an estimated $3.6 million. Don't expect the books to vie for the top of national bestseller charts, though, until the movie release. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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