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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: At the heart of Lian Hearn's beautiful saga of samurai, enchantment, and passion in feudal Japan is the story of two ill-fated lovers, brought to poignant life with the dual performances of Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone. Trading chapters as their stories intertwine, Gray and Nakasone anchor the action with their alternating voices, underscoring the very personal stakes amidst the epic tale of feuding warlords. — Ed Walloga
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Publisher's Summary

A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy. Sixteen-year-old Takeo's village has been massacred by an evil warlord, and he is about to be slain by the men who murdered his parents and neighbors. At the last moment, his life is saved by a nobleman, who claims the boy as his kin and begins his education.
But nothing is as it seems. Takeo discovers that he has rare powers that are useful to those around him. As he grows into manhood, he must decide where his loyalties lie: with his noble master and adoptive father; with the Hidden, a secret, spiritual sect whose beliefs are forbidden; or with the Tribe, the assassins and spies who consider him one of their own.
A story of treachery, political intrigue, and the intensity of first love, set in a world ruled by formal ritual and codes of honor, Across the Nighingale Floor crosses genres, generations, and genders to captivate fans of all ages.
Don't miss the rest of the Tales of the Otori series.
©2002 Lian Hearn (P)2003 HighBridge Company
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Critic Reviews

"The novel fills a unique niche that is at once period piece and fantasy novel." (
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jody R. Nathan on 10-04-03

Wonderful epic story

I listened to the sample and could think of nothing else until I downloaded it; and, having just finished, I have just purchased the next book; and am listening to the this one again!

This book has just about everything; epic story; love (requited and not), honor, heroes, scoundrels; magic and wars.

The story starts with the narrator's story. He is rescued by a lord when his village is destroyed. The reasons behind all this, are developed in the story. There is also the story of a young woman, held as a hostage to ensure cooperation between "warlords". They meet and the rest well, I won't tell you. The story goes back and forth between these two characters.

The reading is excellent, but the Japanese names are a bit difficult. I do not know if the names would be easier in print. The images, while painted with spare strokes, capture a feeling of a different time and place. I suggest listening to the sample; if you like that, you will like the book.

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148 of 151 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Herve Bronnimann on 07-09-04

Reads like poetry! Don't miss the sequels!

I?ve always loved Japan, and martial arts have always fascinated on me. So it is with the greatest pleasure I listened to the magic of this book. Magic at several levels indeed, since the leading character, Takeo (Tomasu) is of an ancient tribe and has supernatural powers. Set in medieval and feudal Japan, it starts within the Hidden (the Christians) who are persecuted. That part is historic. Then we learn about the feuds between the clans and the designs of Lord Otori, and how Takeo fits in. I won?t give away more of the story. You?ll have to find out how the clans lead their wars, including assassins and one way to keep them at bay: wooden floors designed to chirp on anyone who walks on them (hence the beautiful title, which is the first thing actually that captured my attention).

Those who have read and liked the White Ninja series by Eric Lustbader will immediately love this book. I thought for a while that the skills (invisibility, power to put anyone to sleep by looking at them) lent to the hero had a natural explanation, such as a natural way to blend into the scenery (camouflage techniques, hypnosis), but it seems they are to be taken quite literally.

But there is so much more magic in this book. The choice of words and sentences reads like poetry. Since the chapters alternate between Kaede (the feminine hero) and Takeo, reading by two narrators of the opposite sex was a great idea. The narration is good and does not get in the way. Some found it monotone (esp. of Ms Nakasone), but I quite disagree; to me, it had a hypnotic quality. Besides, it let the words speak for themselves and did not try to add on to them, which I think was the just touch. On a last note, those like me who speak or have some knowledge of Japanese will also appreciate the accurate and original pronunciation of the Japanese names.

Last note: this is the first of a trilogy. The second (Grass for his Pillow) is even better. Read on!

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32 of 32 people found this review helpful

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