Across the Nightingale Floor
Across the Nightingale Floor
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Series: Tales Of The Otori Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Takeo, a member of a subversive and persecuted religious group, returns to find his village in flames, is rescued by Lord Otori Shigery, and is thrust into a world of warlords, feuding clans, and political scheming.
Catalog Number: #4750013
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2003
Pages: 305 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-573-22332-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-573-22332-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2002022339
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
This first in the Otori trilogy, set in an ancient Japan, has all the right ingredients-- exotic setting, cruel villains, selfless heroes, magical powers, and star-crossed lovers who will become more important to the fate of their society than they could have ever imagined. Sixteen-year-old Takeo, the only survivor of a raid on his village by the evil Lord Iida, is rescued at the last minute by the kind and charismatic Lord Otori. But was the rescue really the coincidence that it appeared to be? Does Lord Otori have reasons beyond kindness for taking Takeo under his wing? He seems to know quite a lot about the boy, and about the strange abilities that Takeo is just starting to discover in himself--abilities that could help him to play a pivotal role in the fight to wrest power from Iida. Takeo's journey of self-discovery, his first great love, and his transformation from confused boy to brave warrior in a chaotic time will keep readers riveted. The Lord of the Rings phenomenon should pave the way for the success of worthy adventure trilogies (film rights have already been sold for this one), and this tale of love, loyalty, and courage is deserving of comparison to old favorites.
Kirkus Reviews
Mythical medieval Japan never seemed so attractive as in this breezy epic, the first in a trilogy, about a boy with strange powers who gets caught up in a long-simmering inter-clan conflict. The village is doomed, but British-born newcomer Hearn still makes you care about it and its inhabitants. In a preface, he admits using "echoes of Japanese customs and traditions" as he sets his action in a resolutely imaginary country where warring clans battle for supremacy. The village in question is in Dairyo country, ruled by Iida Sadamu, a devil in warrior's garb, and many of the villagers belong to a secretive, Christian-like cult called The Hidden, which has aroused Iida's wrath with its subversive talk of kindness. When Iida shows up to destroy the village, 16-year-old Takeo is wandering in the hills, though even then he would have been killed by Iida's soldiers if it hadn't been for the fortunate appearance of Shigeru, a lord of the Dairyo's rival clan, the Otori, who was doing some wandering of his own and demonstrated his handy way with a sword. Shigeru spirits the traumatized boy back to Otori lands and adopts him after noting a strong resemblance between Takeo and his own late brother. It's also revealed that Takeo is a member of an ancient clan of pseudo-magical beings with sorcerous ninja-like powers—useful during an assassination attempt on Shigeru. A secondary storyline follows 15-year-old Kaeda, who, since childhood, has been held hostage by an overlord who wants to keep her father, a less powerful lord, in check. Once a marriage is arranged for her to help cement a political alliance, her path and Takeo's wind closer and closer together in a complex plot that Hearn carries us through with the greatest of ease. What could have been a Shogun -like exercise in bloat becomes a rousingly muscular piece of romantic adventure, replete with shadowy assassins, fluttering battle flags, and doomed love.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Fleeing the slaughter of his village and pursued by Lord Iidu's warriors, Tomasu, 16, expects to die. Raised among the Hidden, he is forbidden to kill and is expected to forgive his enemies, tenets he sets aside in favor of revenge. When Otori Shigeru steps into his path, Tomasu thinks the worst; instead Shigeru kills one pursuer and seriously wounds another. Given the name Takeo by Shigeru, the grieving teen gives up speaking for a time and finds that his hearing becomes preternaturally sharp. Other strange abilities manifest themselves as well, marking him as a member of the Tribe, five families resembling ninjas. Shigeru also desires revenge upon Iidu for the loss of much of the Otori ancestral lands and the death of his younger brother. Takeo allies himself with Shigeru and accepts formal adoption. Meanwhile, Lady Shirakawa Kaede, tarnished with a reputation for bringing death to men, is contracted to marry Shigeru. These story lines converge just as Takeo's life begins to fly apart. His situation is complicated, and his unique talents and background mark him as a hero of epic proportions. Although much about this tale seems to place it in feudal Japan, Hearn states that this is an imaginary country. In this riveting first entry in a trilogy, all major characters are introduced and the various conflicts defined, but readers will have to wait for future volumes to reach the final resolution. This book should be popular with many readers, not just those who admire well-written and intriguing fantasy.-Jody Sharp, Harford County Public Library, MD Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Word Count: 86,764
Reading Level: 5.9
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.9 / points: 14.0 / quiz: 66870 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:20.0 / quiz:Q33248
Lexile: 840L

An international bestseller, Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. Don't miss the related series, The Tale of Shikanoko.

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny...


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