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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Reading like a cross between Frank Herbert's Dune and the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this intrigue-soaked, magic-realist tale is likely to appeal to readers who enjoy experiencing an original world unfold with each new chapter. Those who have read and reread Tolkien will blissfully turn these pages and find themselves missing appointments.
Set in a long-ago world resembling medieval Japan, where warring clans brutally battle it out while the nobility plots political marriages, the action starts almost immediately. Bodies are piling up by the third page, as teenage Takeo witnesses a massacre in his previously peaceful village. He seems to be writing his own ticket to the grave when he knocks an evil warlord from his horse. The boy is saved, though, by Lord Otori, who introduces Takeo to his clan -- hence the subtitle, Tales of the Otori.
Across the Nightingale Floor seems straightforward enough at first, but in Hearn's world, there are plots within plots, schemes within schemes, and skillfully interwoven elements of fantasy. The author does some neat narrative juggling by alternating chapters between Takeo's first-person odyssey and the you-go-girl, third-person story of the Cinderella-like Kaede. Romance is neatly combined with adventure, and it seems likely that any reader arriving at the close of this story will readily pick up the next volume in the series. Lou Harry