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22 March 2013

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori #1)

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series set in a land that resembles feudal Japan.

The 3 countries are at an uneasy peace. Lord Iida plans to take over all three countries. He already controls on and the land he won from the Otori in the last battle. But war is not the only way between clans. Otori Shigeru loathes Iida both for his brutality in the previous battle and for stealing his family's land. But even more so, he hates him for the death of Shigeru's brother. While he appears calm, he is plotting his revenge.

Tomasu was raised in a village of pacifists called the Hidden. Their religion teaches them to harm no creatures. Their religion is opposed by  Iida. He and his men are seeking the Hidden and killing them. While Tomasu was picking mushrooms in the hills above his town, Iida and his men raided the village and killed all of the residents. Now Tomasu is running for his life.

Shirakawa Kaede is a hostage. She was taken by Lord Iida and placed in the household of one of his trusted men in order to keep her father in line. Now she is told she will be married off as a bargaining chip to avoid war. She knows not where she is being sent. Indeed she has spend the last 10 years working as a servant instead of being educated as a woman of her class.

Hearn has created a wonderful series. She captures the feel of feudal Japan and weaves her stories around the culture and art of time period. Readers will race to read the entire series. There are five books in the Tales of the Otori series.

Hearn, Lian. (2002). Across the Nightingale Floor. New York: Riverhead Books.

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