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A land of incomparable beauty torn by civil war An ancient tradition undermined by spies and assassins A society of rigid castes and codes subverted by love Takeo is raised among the Hidden, whose beliefs forbid them to kill. When his family fall victim to religious persecution at the hands of Lord Iida of the Dairyo clan, he is rescued and adopted by the warrior, Shigeru, of the Otori clan. Defeated ten years before by the Dairyo, many of the Otori still want revenge and look to Shigeru, the rightful heir, to lead them. However his uncles, the lords of the clan, would prefer to see him dead, and so would his greatest enemy, Iida. Fifteen year-old Kaede, a hostage of the Noguchi, allies of the Iida, has acquired the reputation of bringing death to any man who desires her. A marriage is arranged with Shigeru, ostensibly to bring the Otori into alliance, but really to mask his murder. Unknown to Takeo, his real father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary skills, including night vision, invisibility, creating a second self when fighting, and many methods of assassination. They sell their services as assassins and spies to the Warlords. Takeo has many of these skills. In addition he has supernatural hearing and skills as an artist, and both Shigeru and the Tribe want to use these skills for their own purposes. Conflicted by split loyalties and tormented by his own divided nature, Takeo realises he must find his own way through this world of intrigue and violence, beauty and passion. He must make his own destiny.
This is the story of a young man whose family is massacred and who is rescued by a noble. It is also the story of a young girl who has been imprisoned in a castle simply to be held hostage for the good behavior of her family. It is a story of magic and loyalty and love. It won a number of awards for young adult fiction.
A beautiful, haunting evocation of the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, this thrilling follow-up to Grass for His Pillow and Across the Nightingale Floor delves deeper into the complex loyalties that bind its characters from birth. Filled with adventure and surprising twists of plot and fortune, this third book in the Tales of the Otori series travels beyond the Three Countries, to the outside influences that threaten to intrude upon this isolated realm.
Both Takeo and Kaede have visions of their future. Takeo works to escape the Tribe and fulfill the last wishes of his adoptive father, Lord Shigeru Otori. And Kaede, heir to two seats of power, moves forward step by step, aided by her own wits and a precarious alliance with Lord Fujiwara. In their separate worlds, the two long for each other, knowing that they are meant to be together, wondering if they will ever see each other again. . . .
'Their realm is held in balance by their union . . . Break that union and the Three Countries will fall apart. ' Otori Takeo and Kaede have ruled the Three Countries peacefully for over sixteen years, following the events laid out in the epic Tales of the Otori. They have three daughters: Shigeko, fifteen years old and heir to the Otori, and Maya and Miki, thirteen-year-old twins who have inherited the supernatural skills of their father. Kaede knows nothing of the prophecy that Takeo will die at the hands of his son and longs to give him a male child. Nor does she know of the boy he fathered sixteen years ago - a boy whose heart is filled with hatred and whose skills as a Ghostmaster give him the power to incite the dead. Takeo is determined that clan conflicts will never again ravage the Three Countries, but warriors are born to fight: the warlord Arai Zenko has deadly ambitions, the Emperor himself has challenged Takeo's rule and, despite a delicate truce between the deadly Tribe and the Otori, revenge still eats at the heart of renegade leader Kikuta Akio . . . Against these gathering threats Takeo draws strength from his love for Kaede, but even this is not beyond the reach of their enemies . . .
The new beginning and the grand finale of Lian Hearn's celebrated Tales of the Otori is "rivetingly elegant" (Washington Post). Heaven's Net Is Wide is the prequel that reveals the full story of Lord Otori Shigeru-the figure who has presided in both life and death over the entire series, the man who represents the true spirit of the Otori Clan. The first and the last tale, it introduces readers to the strange and beautiful world of the Otori and closes the circle where it opened in Across the Nightingale Floor. Set in a mythical, medieval Japan, this epic historical fantasy of revenge and betrayal, honor and loyalty, beauty, passion, and the overwhelming power of love, has enthralled millions of readers the world over-and now, with the cycle complete, its audience will only continue to grow. .