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Harsh Cry of the Heron (Tales of the Otori Series #4)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2006


    The fourth and final episode in the popular Tales of the Otori series is every bit as compelling and exciting as its predecessors (Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow and Brilliance of the Moon). Author Hearn has captured our imaginations with his stories set in medieval Japan where sorcery, martial arts, and warfare hold sway. Those who heard Brilliance of the Moon will remember that hero Otori Takeo and Shirikawa Kaeda are now wed, but they have scant time together as he sets off to secure what he considers their birthrights. They remember the holy woman's prophecy: 'Your lands will stretch from sea to sea, but peace comes at the price of bloodshed. Five battles will buy you peace, four to win and one to lose.....' Now, with The Harsh Cry of the Heron sixteen years have past and there has been peace throughout the Three Countries that he brought together. However, his unrelenting enemies are bent on destruction. It seems that all Takeo and Kaeda worked to establish may be destroyed. Perhaps even more frightening to Takeo is another prophecy - 'that he can only die at the hand of a member of his own family.' Devastation threatens from without and perhaps from within. The Harsh Cry of the Heron is a bit of a surprise for fans as Tales of the Otori was introduced as a trilogy. That surprise is more than a pleasant one when the text is read by two such talented performers as Julia Fletcher and Henri Lubatti. Julia Fletcher is a multi talented actress known for her work on animated works and video games. She's especially effective when the oeuvre is fantasy as she has a wonderfully resonant low voice that fully captures other worldly characters. The equally gifted Henri Lubatti has numerous film and television roles to his credit - a powerful companion voice for Ms. Fletcher.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    Over fourteen years have passed since Otori Takeo defeated his enemies and united the Three Countries. Prosperity and harmony are everywhere, but underneath the surface calm, Takeo¿s foes rage as they treacherously plan to avenge their previous defeat. Kikuta Akio and his assassin, followers of the Tribe, want a return to their notorious past that Takeo stopped his brother-in-law Lord Zenko wants to usurp power the Emperor wants to end Takeo¿s independence by dispatching deadly warlord Saga to do whatever it takes and finally the seer prophesizes that his unrecognized illegitimate son will one day kill him. Akio raises Takeo¿s teenage son Hisao by training the lad to hate his father. Takeo has never told his beloved wife Kaede that he has one more offspring from a previous relationship instead they raise their daughters in love with Shigeko being his acknowledged heir. To reconcile with the emperor, keep his family safe, and to insure Shigeko inherits his legacy and rule, he offers to Saga his daughter in marriage as he knows the forces of military, assassins, and magical destiny will soon converge on him. --- The forth Otori tale is a terrific historical Feudal Japan thriller with some fantasy elements. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action. However, it is the cast that makes the tale and the full saga is one of the best of the decade as the audience obtains a taste of political maneuvering to survive. Readers will want to read the quartet, but also know that THE HARSH CRY OF THE HERON can stand alone, a tribute to Lian Hearn¿s talent. --- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 24, 2009

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    Posted December 29, 2010

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