Grass for His Pillow, the sequel to Lian Hearn's amazing debut novel, Across the Nightingale Floor, sees the saga's two main characters -- the young lovers Takeo and Kaede -- begin to come to grips with the treacherous paths they must individually follow.
Takeo, the supernaturally gifted orphan rescued and raised as an assassin by Otori Shigeru in Book One, must now honor an old promise and live with the Tribe, a secret society of families with incredible powers and nefarious agendas. Although Takeo has Tribe blood flowing through his veins, the culture is alien to him, and he yearns to return to the "real world," not only to avenge the murder of Otori Shigeru but also to find the love of his life, Kaede Shirakawa, and marry her.
Kaede, meanwhile, has returned to her family lands -- after being held hostage for more than half her life -- to find her mother dead and her father deranged. As lone heir to a once-powerful realm, the ill-starred young woman must find a way to survive in a society where men irrefutably rule.
Hearn's first novel was a masterfully crafted saga, comparable to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and as poetic and profound as the Tao Te Ching. Grass for His Pillow is more of the same -- fantasy, intrigue, and romance on an epic scale -- played out on an awe-inspiring, surreal landscape. Paul Goat Allen