Heaven's Net Is Wide (Tales of the Otori Series #5)

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Overview


Heaven's Net is Wide is the new beginning to the celebrated Tales of the Otori, the prequel that reveals the full story of Lord Otori Shigeru—the figure who has presided in both life and death over the entire series, the man who represents the true spirit of the Otori Clan.

As the story opens, the young Shigeru, heir to the clan, is eager to assert his authority and to face down treachery from within his own family and hostility from the far corners of the Three Countries. As ...

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Overview


Heaven's Net is Wide is the new beginning to the celebrated Tales of the Otori, the prequel that reveals the full story of Lord Otori Shigeru—the figure who has presided in both life and death over the entire series, the man who represents the true spirit of the Otori Clan.

As the story opens, the young Shigeru, heir to the clan, is eager to assert his authority and to face down treachery from within his own family and hostility from the far corners of the Three Countries. As his youthful determination pushes the Otori inexorably toward war with the rival Tohan Clan—and their ruthless, scheming warlord, lida Sadamu—fate appears to have some difficult lessons in store for Shigeru.

Heaven's Net is Wide is the first and last Tale, which both introduces the strange and beautiful world of the Otori and closes the circle. Set in a mythical, medieval Japan, this epic historical fantasy is a story of revenge and betrayal, honor and loyalty, beauty, passion, and the overwhelming power of love.

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
There is, in fact, much to enjoy. Lian Hearn (a pseudonym for Gillian Rubinstein, a British-born Australian who made her reputation with fantasies for younger readers) is a serious student of Japan. She has lived there, immersed herself in its history and culture and reportedly learned its difficult, elliptical language…Her feeling for the place and its past is apparent here, as in all the books, in numerous little touches.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Set in a brutal and breathtaking feudal Japan, this lyrical and moving prequel to Hearn's Tales of the Otori and also the fifth and final entry in this epic chronicle of ruthless warlords and ill-fated love (after 2006's The Harsh Cry of the Heron), focuses on the early life of Otori Shigeru, the young heir to the Otori clan. Raised in a strictly hierarchical society that reveres loyalty and honor, the adolescent Shigeru witnesses firsthand how treachery and duplicity play an integral role in the deaths of thousands of Otori warriors, the bloody annihilation of his family and, inevitably, his complete and utter degradation. As a dispossessed heir, Shigeru finds strength and retributive inspiration in the teachings of his former mentor, warrior-monk Matsuda Shingen, and in his illicit relationship with the resourceful Lady Maruyama, whose life has also been devastated by the Tohan. Equal parts historical fiction, high fantasy and revelatory Taoist fable, the now complete Tales of the Otori is a saga to be treasured. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Washington Post
Nobody should need to ask who the Otori are by now. Scions of an imaginary, quasi-Japanese feudal clan, they've made a big splash.
Kirkus Reviews
The ever-expanding Tales of the Otori series (The Harsh Cry of the Heron, 2006, etc.) gets a prequel, setting the stage for the titanic battles to come. When Hearn's first Otori saga came out five years ago, it was a breath of fresh air. A classic adventure story set in a mythical, medieval Japan, it hewed close to genre requirements without slavishly adhering to them. Later installments, in which the young hero Takeo shook off the religious pacifism of his youth to accept the moral compromises necessary to defeat multiple forces of tyranny, lost some of the first volume's magic, but not all. Completing the circle is Hearn's prequel, which shows the dynastic struggles that took place decades earlier, when evil warlord Iida Sadayoshi was still jostling for power with Otori lord Shigeru. Thrust into the leadership of his clan years before his time, surrounded by other clans with uncertain loyalties, Shigeru must learn not just the ways of the warrior, but also the wisdom of a leader who needs more than military might to survive. Hearn gets back to some of the elements that were so thrilling in the series' earlier entries: Shigeru's interest in how his subjects actually live allows the author to revel in the arcana of her medieval world and give it a rich backdrop. Also nicely developed are the philosophical clashes between the accepted religion, which seems a mild form of state-sponsored Buddhism, and the growing cult of the Christian-like Hidden, whose followers disrupt the status quo by disavowing all forms of violence. Hearn's prose hurtles along, adding a tragic love triangle into the mix and slowing down only somewhat after a particularly woeful turn near the middle. The graceful,understated climax brings the sprawling strands of this epic together in a resoundingly satisfying manner. As impressive an ending as it is a beginning.
The New York Times
"Lian Hearn has created a world I anticipate returning to with pleasure."—New York Times
Booklist
"The Otori saga gets better with each book."—Booklist
The Washington Post
Her feeling for the place and its past is apparent here, as in all the books. - The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594483325
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Series: Tales of the Otori Series , #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 190,813
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

J. PAUL BOEHMER appeared in Sir Peter Halls’ acclaimed Broadway production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband and in numerous Off-Broadway and regional productions. His film and television appearances include The Thomas Crown Affair, Star Trek: Enterprise, Voyager and Deep Space Nine, Frasier, Judging Amy, Guiding Light and All My Children. He is an award-winning audiobook narrator.

JULIA FLETCHER has numerous regional theatre productions to her credit. Her voiceover work includes numerous video games as well as audiobooks.

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

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Amazing Series!

    LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Lian Hearn is one of the most important author in the century!! Anybody who have read Harry Pottery or Lord of the Rings simply must read the entire series of the tales of the Otori. You will submerged yourself into a world full magic, romance, action, adventure, and tragedy. A beautiful story set in Medieval Japan. This Books is definitely a most have!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What started it all

    Heaven's Net is Wide:
    The first book in the Otori series. The book starts with the start up bringing of Shigeru and the original alliances between the clans. It winds through the losses and challenges Shigeru faced and what helped build his character and win the love of his people, which is a strong theme through the other books. There are wars, bargains, hostages, love and new life. Several religions vie for supremacy and are the cause of many of deaths and abuses in the book. A great story about how the characters in the series started and were drawn together through many fateful decisions. A

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Other Prequels Cant Touch This!

    Found it best how it showed the true history from the very beginning! Helps the reader understand why these books have a plot at all! Loved it and I know others will too!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2008

    What happened to the fast pace?

    Wow...Lian Hearn really lost it in this book. The author clearly lost sight of the true purpose of the Otori series. While the Trilogy and subsequent Sequel were amazing, this prequel fell way too short. It was good to see the background of Otori Shigeru and the trouble that he faced throughout his childhood, but I feel that this novel lacks the action and and fast pace that the other novels employed. So basically, if you're into gushy love novels about seperated lovers then this book is for you. But if you're not, then I'd recommend just skipping over this book and not letting yourself be dissapointed.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    Otori Shigeru is the young heir to the powerful ruthless Otori clan. Yet in spite of growing up in an authoritarian pyramidal hierarchy, he understands that greater Japanese society and especially his clan venerate loyalty. --- However, his lessons were also tempered as an adolescent when he observed how dishonorable some behaved seditious backstabbing by his uncles and an assault from the Iida family to gain power. The culmination occurs when his uncles¿ perfidy and the Iida betrayal lead to the deaths of thousands of Otori warriors at Yaeahara and the eradication of his family. He lives, but is heir to nothing as the Otori clan was exterminated. Although those who murdered his family want him dead so he symbolizes nothing, Shigeru survives with an inner fortitude made stronger with what he saw enhanced by a desire for retribution. He turns to his former mentor warrior-monk Matsuda Shingen for guidance and patience, and meets Lady Maruyama who keeps him human and more as she knows what he is going through as the Tohan destroyed much of what she held sacred. However, the hope for retribution might begin in a mountainous village ¿ --- The fifth Tales of the Otori is a brilliant novel that brings the beginning and the end to this great saga of Medieval Japan. The story line is a superb historical fantasy as the audience learns much of how Otori got to where he ends. Fans of the series will fully appreciate this great finish that is also the beginning as HEAVEN¿S NET IS WIDE completes this non-linear epic saga with a sweeping winner. --- Harriet Klausner

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