ISBN is

978-1-57322-225-9 / 1573222259

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1)

by Hearn, Lian

Publisher:Riverhead Hardcover

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Across the Nightingale Floor more than lives up to its billing as an exceptional new literary sensation, from the tragic excitement and drama of a sacked village on the opening page, to the later multi-layered court intrigues and tales of family revenge by ancient Japanese dynasties. The engaging story and appealing characters combine incredibly well to produce a highly readable book that should appeal to many different-aged readers.

Takeo is just 16 when he loses his family to the evil Lord Iida and it seems like incredible luck when he is saved from death by the noble Shigeru, rightful heir to the Clan of the Otori. As Takeo travels into new territory and towards a new, unknown life, the tribal rivalries, romances and histories at large in this new world are revealed to him. These are treacherous times. Everyone is at risk, and few can be trusted. Takeo also has a special gift--inherited skills that mark him out as different from other men. He is at once desirable and highly dangerous to those in power. His life is soon in danger.

It's a fascinating landscape and a riveting story; it's genuinely very difficult to put down once you've started it. Unusually for a children's book with so many characters, several with strange-sounding names, the story is easy to follow. The writing is exceptional, with very few words out of place. The author, a pseudonym for Australian writer Gillian Rubinstein, is generous enough to paint the characters and scenery in great detail, yet keeps the writing clipped enough for the plot to move along at a steady pace. Importantly, there are no slow bits.

The book does not flinch from adult content and is certainly a mature read. There are numerous deaths, several beheadings, torture, cruelty and even a little lovemaking. All, however, are within context and not gratuitous. (Age 12 and over.) --John McLay

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