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Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1)
by Lian Hearn
ISBN 1573223328 / 9781573223324 / 1-57322-332-8
Publisher Riverhead Trade
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The debut novel of Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series, Across the Nightingale Floor, is set in a feudal Japan on the edge of the imagination. The tale begins with young Takeo, a member of a subversive and persecuted religious group, who returns home to find his village in flames. He is saved, not by coincidence, by the swords of Lord Otori Shigeru and thrust into a world of warlords, feuding clans, and political scheming. As Lord Otori's ward, he discovers he is a member by birth of the shadowy "Tribe," a mysterious group of assassins with supernatural abilities.
Hearn sets his tale in an imaginary realm that is and isn't feudal Japan. This device serves the author well as he is able to play with familiar archetypes--samurai, Shogun, and ninja--without falling prey to the pitfalls of history. The novel fills a unique niche that is at once period piece and fantasy novel. Hearn unfolds the tale of Takeo and the conflicting forces around him in a deliberate manner that leads to a satisfying conclusion and sets the stage for the rest of the series. --Jeremy Pugh [via]