Brilliance of the Moon (Tales of the Otori Series #3)

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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 final volume travels beyond the Three Countries, to the outside influences that threaten to intrude upon this isolated realm.
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Brilliance of the Moon: Tales of the Otori, Book Three

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Overview

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 final volume travels beyond the Three Countries, to the outside influences that threaten to intrude upon this isolated realm.
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Brilliance of the Moon, the third and concluding volume of Lian Hearn's bestselling Tales of the Otori trilogy (Across the Nightingale Floor and Grass for His Pillow), pits the fate-driven lovers Takeo and Kaede against impossible odds as they fight to save their marriage, their lands, and their own lives.

As Takeo plots to avenge the betrayal of his adopted father and take his rightful place as the leader of his clan, a holy woman's prophecy haunts him: "Three bloods are mixed in you. You were born into the Hidden, but your life has been brought into the open and is no longer your own. Earth will deliver what heaven desires. Your lands will stretch from sea to sea. Five battles will buy you peace, four to win and one to lose…"

While Takeo is traveling throughout the Three Countries defeating evil warlords and ruthless bands of outlaws, his wife, Kaede -- legendary for her beauty -- is abducted by a sadistic nobleman who, stating that Kaede's marriage to Takeo is invalid, forces her to wed him. A political prisoner once again, Kaede must rely on her intelligence to survive long enough to see Takeo again.

As bloody as it is beautiful, as poetic as it is profound, feudal Japan in Hearn's portrayal is a realm that readers will not soon forget. The Tales of the Otori saga is like an intriguing fusion of Arthurian legend and Taoist philosophy -- a philosophical battle between obeying rigid cultural mores and striving to live an honorable life. In a word: Brilliant. Paul Goat Allen

Gerald Jonas
The Brilliance of the Moon, by Lian Hearn, is a worthy conclusion to an inventive trilogy that the pseudonymous author calls ''Tales of the Otori''; all three volumes are set in an imaginary medieval Japan where some people, including the hero, Takeo, are capable of truly mind-bending powers.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Set in an imaginary medieval Japan, the pseudonymous Hearn's third elegant installment in her epic fantasy (after 2002's Across the Nightingale Floor and 2003's Grass for His Pillow) is a fragrant blend of romance and martial-arts action. Her warrior hero, Takeo Otori, feels destined to fulfill the potent prophecy of a holy woman: "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." Intrigue, heartaches and battles ensue as Takeo, of mixed blood and conflicting loyalties (to the pseudo-Christian Hidden, the noble Otori clan and the dangerous, supernaturally gifted Tribe), seeks to unite the Three Countries. Desperately in love with Kaede Shirakawa, whom he secretly wed at the end of Grass for His Pillow, Takeo must now assist her in reclaiming her lands of Maruyama while balancing his own need to avenge the deaths of his blood father and his adoptive father, Lord Shigeru. The fates of such characters as Kaede's lover, Dr. Ishida, and her nemesis, Lord Fujiwara, who's determined to possess her, provide some cool aftershocks, while the afterword adds another-that a book four may follow. Agent, Joe Regal at Regal Literary. (June 7) FYI: Hearn is the pseudonym of Australian children's book author Gillian Rubinstein. Foreign rights have been sold in 23 markets. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Hearn continues her vividly related tale, set in an imaginary medieval Japan. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Kaede and Takeo find themselves in danger after their hasty marriage. Lord Fujiwara is furious that Kaede chose to marry another man when he considered them betrothed, and the warlord Arai considers Takeo presumptuous. The Tribe is split over the decision to kill Takeo. The young lovers must find allies in unexpected places to claim the domains that are rightfully theirs. In the end, they are both saved by a timely earthquake. This is a satisfactory conclusion to the story line, although the afterword virtually promises a sequel. Hearn's writing is evocative and subtle. A great deal of the excitement and intrigue of the first book is missing, but readers who have stuck with Takeo and Kaede will want to continue following their adventures.-Susan Salpini, TASIS-The American School in England Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Otori trilogy smashes its way to a conclusion. Previously (Across the Nightingale Floor, 2002; Grass for His Pillow, 2003), the harsh beauty of the pseudo-Japan that Hearn had created allowed readers to think that something kinder might flower there, nurtured by the star-struck love between the ethereal beauty Kaede and Otori heir Takeo. But this time out, human nature rears its petty head and the results aren't pretty. The war that was threatened after Takeo's killing of the oppressive Lord Iida has finally been unleashed across the land, and Takeo is mustering a small, determined army to fight it-barely after Takeo and Kaede have stopped saying their wedding vows. It seems that everyone is gunning for Takeo: the rest of Iida's Tohan clan, as well as an alliance of families from the east, and the mythical Tribe (a scattered people who sell their near-magical, ninja-like skills to the highest bidders and think their kin Takeo a traitor). It doesn't take long for Takeo to leave behind the last bit of humanity left in him from Nightingale, when he was a foundling of the Hidden, the kindly Christian-like cult ferociously hated throughout the land. Here, Takeo appears to have become just another cruel warlord, torturing enemies for information and meting out cruel deaths as examples to others. This shift in personality gives the book a more mournful tone and that tempers its surging battle scenes and even dulls its romantic leanings. Hearn makes the parallels between her world and real-life Japan more obvious here-there are more references to a "mainland" as well as pale-skinned "barbarians" with strange, powerful new weapons-a device that works well with the book's increased sense ofrealism. There is heroism, to be sure, and many a noble speech, but there are also a sadness and an acknowledgement of human folly that raise Hearn's writing far above where it's been before. Lyric fantasy with a rare sense of the tragic. Film rights for entire trilogy to Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall/Universal. Agents: Howard Sanders, Richard Green/UTA
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Product Details

Meet the Author


LIAN HEARN was born in England, currently lives in Australia, and has had a lifelong interest in Japan.
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Read an Excerpt

1

The feather lay in my palm. I held it carefully, aware of its age and its fragility. Yet its whiteness was still translucent, the vermilion tips of the pinions still brilliant.

"It came from a sacred bird, the houou," Matsuda Shingen, the abbot of the temple at Terayama, told me. "It appeared to your adopted father, Shigeru, when he was only fifteen, younger than you are now. Did he ever tell you this, Takeo?"

I shook my head. Matsuda and I were standing in his room at one end of the cloister around the main courtyard of the temple. From outside, drowning out the usual sounds of the temple, the chanting, and the bells, came the urgent noise of preparations, of many people coming and going. I could hear Kaede, my wife, beyond the gates, talking to Amano Tenzo about the problems of keeping our army fed on the march. We were preparing to travel to Maruyama, the great domain in the West to which Kaede was the rightful heir, to claim it in her name-to fight for it if necessary. Since the end of winter, warriors had been making their way to Terayama to join me, and I now had close to a thousand men, billeted in the temple and in the surrounding villages, not counting the local farmers who also strongly supported my cause.

Amano was from Shirakawa, my wife's ancestral home, and the most trusted of her retainers, a great horseman and good with all animals. In the days that followed our marriage, Kaede and her woman, Manami, had shown considerable skill in handling and distributing food and equipment. They discussed everything with Amano and had him deliver their decisions to the men. That morning he was enumerating the oxcarts and packhorses we had at our disposal. I tried to stop listening, to concentrate on what Matsuda was telling me, but I was restless, eager to get moving.

"Be patient," Matsuda said mildly. "This will only take a minute. What do you know about the houou?"

I reluctantly pulled my attention back to the feather in my palm and tried to recall what my former teacher, Ichiro, had taught me when I had been living in Lord Shigeru's house in Hagi. "It is the sacred bird of legend that appears in times of justice and peace. And it is written with the same character as the name of my clan, Otori."

"Correct," Matsuda said, smiling. "It does not often appear, justice and peace being something of a rarity in these times. But Shigeru saw it and I believe the vision inspired him in his pursuit of these virtues. I told him then that the feathers were tinged with blood, and indeed his blood, his death, still drive both you and me."

I looked more closely at the feather. It lay across the scar on my right palm where I had burned my hand a long time ago, in Mino, my birthplace, the day Shigeru had saved my life. My hand was also marked with the straight line of the Kikuta, the Tribe family to which I belonged, from which I had run away the previous winter. My inheritance, my past, and my future, all seemed to be there, held in the palm of my hand.

"Why do you show it to me now?"

"You will be leaving here soon. You have been with us all winter, studying and training to prepare yourself to fulfill Shigeru's last commands to you. I wanted you to share in his vision, to remember that his goal was justice, and yours must be too."

"I will never forget it," I promised. I bowed reverently over the feather, holding it gently in both hands, and offered it back to the abbot. He took it, bowed over it, and replaced it in the small lacquered box from which he had taken it. I said nothing, remembering all that Shigeru had done for me, and how much I still needed to accomplish for him.

"Ichiro told me about the houou when he was teaching me to write my name," I said finally. "When I saw him in Hagi last year he advised me to wait for him here, but I cannot wait much longer. We must leave for Maruyama within the week." I had been worrying about my old teacher since the snows had melted, for I knew that the Otori lords, Shigeru's uncles, were trying to take possession of my house and lands in Hagi and that Ichiro continued stubbornly to resist them.

I did not know it, but Ichiro was already dead. I had the news of it the next day. I was talking with Amano in the courtyard when I heard something from far below: shouts of anger, running feet, the trampling of hooves. The sound of horses plunging up the slope was unexpected and shocking. Usually no one came to the temple at Terayama on horseback. They either walked up the steep mountain path or, if unfit or very old, were carried by sturdy porters.

A few seconds later Amano heard it too. By then I was already running to the temple gates, calling to the guards.

Swiftly they set about closing the gates and barring them. Matsuda came hurrying across the courtyard. He was not wearing armor, but his sword was in his belt. Before we could speak to each other, a challenge came from the guardhouse.

"Who dares to ride to the temple gate? Dismount and approach this place of peace with respect!"

It was Kubo Makoto's voice. One of Terayama's young warrior monks, he had become, over the last few months, my closest friend. I ran to the wooden stockade and climbed the ladder to the guardhouse. Makoto gestured toward the spy hole. Through the chinks in the wood I could see four horsemen. They had been galloping up the hill; now they pulled their heaving, snorting mounts to a halt. They were fully armed, but the Otori crest was clearly visible on their helmets. For a moment I thought that they might be messengers from Ichiro. Then my eyes fell on the basket tied to the bow of one of the saddles. My heart turned to stone. I could guess, only too easily, what was inside such a container.

The horses were rearing and cavorting, not only from the exertion of the gallop, but also from alarm. Two of them were already bleeding from wounds to their hindquarters. A mob of angry men poured from the narrow path, armed with staves and sickles. I recognized some of them: they were farmers from the nearest village. The warrior at the rear made a rush at them, sword flailing, and they fell back slightly but did not disperse, maintaining their threatening stance in a tight half circle.

The leader of the horsemen flung a look of contempt at them and then called toward the gate in a loud voice.

"I am Fuwa Dosan of the Otori clan from Hagi. I bring a message from my lords Shoichi and Masahiro for the upstart who calls himself Otori Takeo."

Makoto called back, "If you are peaceful messengers, dismount and leave your swords. The gates will be opened."

I already knew what their message would be. I could feel blind fury building up behind my eyes.

"There's no need for that," Fuwa replied scornfully. "Our message is short. Tell the so-called Takeo that the Otori do not recognize his claims and that this is how they will deal with him and any who follow him."

The man alongside him dropped the reins on his horse's neck and opened the container. From it he took what I dreaded to see. Holding it by its topknot, he swung his arm and threw Ichiro's head over the wall into the temple grounds.

It fell with a slight thud onto the petaled grass of the garden.

I drew my sword, Jato, from my belt.

"Open the gate!" I shouted. "I am going out to them."

I leaped down the steps, Makoto behind me.

As the gates opened, the Otori warriors turned their horses and drove them at the wall of men around them, swords sweeping. I imagine they thought the farmers would not dare attack them. Even I was astonished at what happened next. Instead of parting to let them through, the men on foot hurled themselves at the horses. Two of the farmers died immediately, cut in half by the warriors' swords, but then the first horse came down, and its rider fell into the pack around him. The others met a similar fate. They had no chance to use their swordsmanship: They were dragged from their horses and beaten to death like dogs.

Makoto and I tried to restrain the farmers and eventually managed to drive them back from the bodies. We restored calm only by severing the warriors' heads and having them displayed on the temple gates. The unruly army threw insults at them for a while and then retired down the hill, promising in loud voices that if any other strangers dared approach the temple and insult Lord Otori Takeo, the Angel of Yamagata, they would be dealt with in the same way.

Makoto was shaking with rage-and some other emotion that he wanted to talk to me about-but I did not have the time then. I went back inside the walls. Kaede had brought white cloths and water in a wooden bowl. She was kneeling on the ground beneath the cherry trees, calmly washing the head. Its skin was blue-gray, the eyes half-closed, the neck not severed cleanly but hacked with several blows. Yet, she handled it gently, with loving care, as if it were a precious and beautiful object.

I knelt beside her, put out my hand, and touched the hair. It was streaked with gray, but the face in death looked younger than when I had last seen it, when Ichiro was alive in the house in Hagi, grieving and haunted by ghosts yet still willing to show me affection and guidance.

"Who is it?" Kaede said in a low voice.

"Ichiro. He was my teacher in Hagi. Shigeru's too."

My heart was too full to say more. I blinked away my tears. The memory of our last meeting rose in my mind. I wished I had said more to him, told him of my gratitude and my respect. I wondered how he had died, if his death had been humiliating and agonizing. I longed for the dead eyes to open, the bloodless lips to speak. How irretrievable the dead are, how completely they go from us! Even when their spirits return, they do not speak of their own deaths.

I was born and raised among the Hidden, who believe that only those who follow the commandments of the Secret God will meet again in the afterlife. Everyone else will be consumed in the fires of hell. I did not know if my adopted father Shigeru had been a believer, but he was familiar with all the teachings of the Hidden and spoke their prayers at the moment of his death, along with the name of the Enlightened One. Ichiro, his adviser and the steward of his household, had never given any such sign-in fact, rather the opposite: Ichiro had suspected from the start that Shigeru had rescued me from the warlord Iida Sadamu's persecution of the Hidden, and had watched me like a cormorant for anything that might give me away.

But I no longer followed the teachings of my childhood, and I could not believe that a man of Ichiro's integrity and loyalty was in hell. Far stronger was my outrage at the injustice of this murder and my realization that I now had another death to avenge.

"They paid for it with their lives," Kaede said. "Why kill an old man and go to all that trouble to bring his head to you?" She washed away the last traces of blood and wrapped a clean white cloth around the head.

"I imagine the Otori lords want to draw me out," I replied. "They would prefer not to attack Terayama; they will run into Arai's soldiers if they do. They must hope to entice me over the border and meet me there." I longed for such a meeting, to punish them once and for all. The warriors' deaths had temporarily assuaged my fury, but I could feel it simmering in my heart. However, I had to be patient; my strategy was first to withdraw to Maruyama and build up my forces there. I would not be dissuaded from that.

I touched my brow to the grass, bidding my teacher good-bye. Manami came from the guest rooms and knelt a little way behind us.

"I've brought the box, lady," she whispered.

"Give it to me," Kaede replied. It was a small container woven from willow twigs and strips of red-dyed leather. She took it and opened it. The smell of aloes rose from it. She put the white wrapped bundle inside and arranged the aloes round it. Then she placed the box on the ground in front of her, and the three of us bowed again before it.

A bush warbler called its spring song and a cuckoo responded from deep in the forest, the first I had heard that year.

We held the funeral rites the following day and buried the head next to Shigeru's grave. I made arrangements for another stone to be erected for Ichiro. I longed to know what had happened to the old woman, Chiyo, and the rest of the household at Hagi. I was tormented by the thought that the house no longer existed, that it would have been burned: the tea room, the upper room where we had so often sat looking out onto the garden, the nightingale floor, all destroyed, their song silenced forever. I wanted to rush to Hagi to claim my inheritance before it was taken from me. But I knew this was exactly what the Otori hoped I would do

Five farmers died outright and two died later from their wounds. We buried them in the temple graveyard. Two of the horses were badly hurt, and Amano had them killed mercifully, but the other two were unharmed; one I liked in particular, a handsome black stallion that reminded me of Shigeru's horse, Kyu, and could have been its half brother. At Makoto's insistence we buried the Otori warriors with full rites, too, praying that their ghosts, outraged at their ignoble deaths, would not linger to haunt us.

That evening the abbot came to the guest room and we talked until late into the night. Makoto and Miyoshi Kahei, one of my allies and friends from Hagi, were also with us; Kahei's younger brother Gemba had been sent to Maruyama to tell the domain's senior retainer, Sugita Haruki, of our imminent departure. Sugita had assured Kaede the previous winter of his support for her claim. Kaede did not stay with us-for various reasons, she and Makoto were not at ease in each other's presence and she avoided him as much as possible-but I told her beforehand to sit behind the screen so she could hear what was said. I wanted to know her opinion afterward. In the short time since our marriage I had come to talk to her as I had never talked to anyone in my life. I had been silent for so long, it seemed now I could not get enough of sharing my thoughts with her. I relied on her judgment and her wisdom.

"So now you are at war," the abbot said, "and your army has had its first skirmish."

"Hardly an army," Makoto said. "A rabble of farmers! How are you going to punish them?"

"What do you mean?" I replied.

"Farmers are not supposed to kill warriors," he said. "Anyone else in your situation would punish them with the utmost cruelty. They would be crucified, boiled in oil, flayed alive."

"They will be if the Otori get hold of them," Kahei muttered.

"They were fighting on my behalf," I said. Privately, I thought the warriors had deserved their shameful end, though I was sorry I had not killed them all myself. "I'm not going to punish them. I'm more concerned with how to protect them."

"You have let an ogre out," Makoto said. "Let's hope you can contain it."

The abbot smiled into his wine cup. Quite apart from his earlier comments on justice, he had been teaching me strategy all winter and, having heard my theories on the capture of Yamagata and other campaigns, knew how I felt about my farmers.

"The Otori seek to draw me out," I said to him, as I had said earlier to Kaede.

"Yes, you must resist the temptation," he replied. "Naturally your first instinct is for revenge, but even if you defeated their army in a confrontation, they would simply retreat to Hagi. A long siege would be a disaster. The city is virtually impregnable, and sooner or later you would have to deal with Arai's forces at your rear."

Arai Daiichi was the warlord from Kumamoto who had taken advantage of the overthrow of the Tohan to seize control of the Three Countries. I had enraged him by disappearing with the Tribe the previous year, and now my marriage to Kaede would certainly enrage him further. He had a huge army, and I did not want to be confronted by it before I had strengthened my own.

"Then we must go first to Maruyama, as planned. But if I leave the temple unprotected, you and the people of the district may be punished by the Otori."

"We can bring many people within the walls," the abbot said. "I think we have enough arms and supplies to hold the Otori off if they do attack. Personally, I don't think they will. Arai and his allies will not relinquish Yamagata without a long struggle, and many among the Otori would be reluctant to destroy this place, which is sacred to the clan. Anyway they will be more concerned with pursuing you." He paused and then went on: "You can't fight a war without being prepared for sacrifice. Men will die in the battles you fight, and if you lose, many of them, including you yourself, may be put to death very painfully. The Otori do not recognize your adoption: They do not know your ancestry; as far as they are concerned you are an upstart, not one of their class. You cannot hold back from action because people will die as a result. Even your farmers know that. Seven of them died today, but those who survived are not sad. They are celebrating their victory over those who insulted you."

"I know that," I said, glancing at Makoto. His lips were pressed together tightly, and though his face showed no other expression, I felt his disapproval. I was aware yet again of my weaknesses as a commander. I was afraid both Makoto and Kahei, brought up in the warrior tradition, would come to despise me.

"We joined you by our own choice, Takeo," the abbot went on, "because of our loyalty to Shigeru and because we believe your cause is just."

I bowed my head, accepting the rebuke and vowing he would never have to speak to me in that vein again. "We will leave for Maruyama the day after tomorrow."

"Makoto will go with you," the abbot said. "As you know, he has made your cause his own."

Makoto's lips curved slightly as he nodded in agreement.

—from Tales of the Otori Book Three: Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn, copyright © 2004 Lian Hearn, published by Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

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(27)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    good

    good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Great book

    I love this book even though i didn't really read it but myt favorite book is the second book. :* ;)

    Your read and read a romance book but also it is book about feudal japan so your also learning.:)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2009

    Enjoyed The Battles

    There was something exciting about the rise to power.
    So many surprises!

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Keep's you interested

    Reads as a transition in the story. Almost is if coming of age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Third in the series as well as the first two

    I enjoyed this series. Brilliance of the moon continues in the same way as the first two, Across the Nightingale Floor and Grass for his Pillow, however I felt that the ending was a bit rushed and the closure to the characters seemed a bit forced.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Best Way To End It all!

    Even though it was the end of the trilogy, it left an opening that can show what happened after Lord Takeo brought peace to the Three Countries!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2006

    Brilliance of the Moon

    A great book to finnish off the other two before. Lots of mystery and twists to the plot and very well drawn out ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    swept me away to a time and place I loved

    I could not wait for this final book in the trilogy. Occasionally when there is pent up anticipation, books/movies/events can be disappointing. This book was not one of those times. Ian Hearn meant for it to be magical, and it was . You disappear into the story and live the fullness of the emotions and the sense of morality of the characters,-wishing in a sense that the world could be full of people this noble. I want to tell people to read this Japanese story, only to remember that it is a fictional country with a Japanese flavor. Great book to end the trilogy that is my favorite story in years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005

    Amazing story

    I would like to give this book,(it is actually a trilogy)10 stars! What a beautiful book, how well is written, what an amazing story. First one, Across the Nightingale Flooris also a fantastic read. Please read this trilogy, the Otori Tales, it is one of the best books ever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    Excellent books

    I love all three of these books. They captivate the mind from the very first page. It's the tale of a young man torwn between two ways of life, one an heir to a warlord and the other an assassin. This book is an example of that love conqures all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2005

    excellent trilogy

    This trilogy is so beautiful, so well written that it is very hard for one that reads it,to find a book that will be as satisfying and so haunting in the same time. One of the best books I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2005

    Excellent

    Tales of the Otori are the first three books on Feudal Era Japan I've read read. I am considering of writing my very own Feudal fiction, and this book have helped me out a lot. I learned so many things from the books. If anyone loves reading stories of Japan, romance, and betrayal, then this is the story for you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2004

    Genius, Magic, Dynamic Epic Story 25 CDs of Magic and Slendor, hypnotic narration

    In all my 47 years of robust reading. I have finally found the 3 Volumes, approximately 1,500 pages worth of The Splendid Masterpiece. The finest book of all great books I have ever had the pleasure to read and listen too on CDs. I can say my life is now complete, now that I have read Lian Hearn's 3 Volume but One Story trilogy book, of brilliance and excellence which far exceeds any other. Unlike Lord of the Rings which is another marathon book or War and Peace, those books pertain to a more select audience, whereas Lian Hearns work appeals to all, to young and old alike, while bridging all boundaries, of age, race, creed, belief, and storyline type. If I can only say one sentence to define this great (understatement of a) book, it would be to repeat myself. Now that I have read this book, my life is now complete! I will die fulfilled. The Brothers Karamazov for example is a great piece of classic literature, but lacks the fun and enjoyment of non stop reading pleasure, where Dostoyevsky stretches a story to complete tidbits you will need to know later, and thus reaches periods of boredom in his books, He always turns out masterful work, like many writers he proves his talent and genius. Where Lian Hearn has produced a book twice the size of The Brothers Karamazov, and Hearn maintains a dynamic story full of entertainment touching on every human emotion intertwined throughout his books, his book never reached a point of boredom or even slowing down; one wanting to stop reading the book, never. If one could; then I would say most readers would want to read this book non stop which is impossible due to its length. One reason I suggest the CD set of the story, as it is easier to cover more ground in one sitting than reading 1,500 pages. The story is approx. 16 hrs. in length on CD. I have heard Volume One, The Nightingale Floor is in pre-production for a film/movie while each book or Volume will be shown and taped in individual seperate installments. It will be a sure Classic for the silver screen. For anyone needing or wanting to read a new book, which will definitely give them a new fresh lease on life, and a feeling of content fulfillment, I suggest you read this 3 volume series of books, which we are ever so lucky to be graced with. If I never read another book, I am thus fulfilled, and if my time is near I can depart this earth saying, aahh my life was complete, and Lian Hearns work or books, completed me as far as my sensory experience of reading, imagination, fascination and enlightment with pleasure goes. Then I am more than ready to go. But hey, i am not in a hurry. I am just saying, this book is that much of one of the greatest books of all time, all places, all styles. The completion of reading of this book is in my top 10 moments of life and living. Of course my first moment was getting married, second having and witnessing the birth of my son, third watching and interacting with my son and wife as he became a man. Meeting Mickey Mantle one on one in person. All the heavenly things in life, this is definitely one of those experiences worth catching. If you have not read this book, you have not read anything yet worth mention (joking of course).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2004

    When the story and audience merge as one

    Tales of the Otori, is drama at its best, achieving the highest goal of success according to Konstantin Stanislavski, the great Father of the method school of acting (which has produced some of the greatest actors of our time, DeNiro, Brando, James Dean, Al Pacino, Marilyn Monroe, and hundreds of others). Konstantin stated when the audience merges with the story as if it is their lives unfolding in the story, then this is the epitome of success in drama. Tales of the Otori more than achieves this goal. Starting out slow to set the characters and lands, while defining all the key characteristics of the long story to come. The story begins to blast off, and one cannot wait to turn read forth. It is a very hard book to put down. Being so, i bought a copy on DVD and listened to it as I went to bed each night. Some nights it kept me awake needing to listen to the next CD, and what excitingly and guessing what may follow next in the storyline. However if one paces oneself and listens to one CD per evening just prior to going to bed. One will conquer insomnia, and have pleasant dreams. This book single handedly reknewed my interset with a fever buying books on CD. The narration is hypnotically soothing. Easy to follow while listening too, it keeps ones attention intact, unlike many books on CD which boringly lose our interest after 12 minutes of boring material (even though parts of other books may be exciting, alls it takes is 12 boring minutes to lose a persons attention span on the average). I never had this problem with Tales of the Otori. On the contrary, A must have to anyone's library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2004

    dissapointing

    to be honest here. this book wassn;t a good way to end it. this book is pretty bad. so was the 2nd it was so boring. the only good book in the seris was the 1st it was great.. i recomend do not read it. but read the 1st and think of a better ending. DO NOT READ OK

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2004

    I Loved it!

    Oh, my gosh! I waited for this book for a year, and it was well worth the wait! It blew me away! What an ending to a story that has kept me reading for over three years. This is one of those books you will read over and over again, just like the first two. This is a great series and I suggest it to anyone and everyone! Read it, you'll love it to death!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2004

    This book takes your breath away!!!

    GOD!!! This last book is so beautiful and sad and intense, so well written!!!5 stars is not enought, but I hope that people will hear and read this book, because it is incredible. Lian Hearn is so talented, I hope that he will be a prolific writer!Please, do not ignore the Otori tales, you will laugh and cry reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2004

    Brillance of the Moon by Lian Hearn

    Lian Hearn has brilliantly provided closure to the trilogy. Hearn once again submerges you into an abyss of mystical intrigue, drama, and sub-plots within the setting of an ancient Japan. As you envision yourself inside the world of the Otori and it comes to an ending, you can't help but wonder if Lian Hearn is thinking about giving his fans another taste of his talent with a continuation of another character's perspective, specifically Takeo's son. The Kikuta, the Muto, Arai, the Otori, the Hidden, the warrior monks, and Takeo were all fascinating characters, and true works of art! Lian Hearn, please don't stop writing! I'm already waiting for the next book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2004

    A Great Book

    I really enjoyed this book. I like these type of books. There's just one thing I would better discribed...the part that involved fighting. The story overall was cool, I was just hoping the fights would have better descriptions to it (but oh well).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2004

    A LYRICAL, PERSUASIVE VOICE PERFORMANCE

    Kevin Gray received plaudits for his readings of ' Grass For His Pillow' and 'Across The Nightingale Floor,' Books One and Two in the Tales of the Otori Series. He delivers another blockbuster performance with the final book in the trilogy, 'Brilliance of the Moon.' His performing voice is soft yet strong, persuasive, almost lyrical. Aika Nakasone more than holds her own with the sable voiced Gray. Now safely wed hero Otori Takeo and Shirikawa Kaeda take little time to honeymoon but 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.....' However, their enemies are formidable as their marriage has infuriated warlord Arai Daiichi and Lord Fujiwara. He is able to emerge victorious in two battles but, meanwhile, he learns that his bride has been kidnaped and turned over to the vengeful Fujiwara. Obstacles mount and actions escalates, holding listeners in thrall as this mystical tale of medieval Japan unfolds. 'Brilliance of the Moon' is first-rate entertainment leaving listeners hoping for just one more adventure.

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