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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.
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.
Hearn continues her vividly related tale, set in an imaginary medieval Japan. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.