Thursday, August 19, 2004

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Tomasu was born amongst the peace-loving people called the Hidden who believed in forgiveness and shunned the thought of war or killing. He grew up knowing only of harmony, without the thought of war. This gentle lifestyle, however, was one day shattered when he returned to his village to find everyone dead. He soon realizes that this mass murder was the work of the most powerful warlord in the Three Countries, Lord Iida. He tried to flee, with Iida's men on his tail, but without knowing the art of war, he was defenseless. He was rescued by another great lord, Lord Otori Shigeru, who adopted him as his own and taught him the basics of life in the warrior class. He was renamed Takeo, to make the neglect of his Hidden religion even more complete. He struggled to fully understand which of his identities were really his own, a problem added to when he discovered that he was gifted with the mystical powers of the Tribe. Now swept up in the complicated whirlwind of alliances and confrontations of the warrior class, he had to determine his place in the world. Was it with the Hidden, who are persecuted for their beliefs? Was it with the Otori clan that had accepted him as its own? Was it with the woman he loved, Lady Shirakawa Kaede, or was it with the other side of his heritage, the Tribe who were so contrary to the beliefs of his childhood? Across the Nightingale Floor is a beautifully written work of sheer creativity, a perfect blend of reality and fantasy that made me tingle in anticipation for its sequel. I was amazed by its tale of love, war, and bitter revenge. Lian Hearn's written world is definitely one worth revisiting. Nadia J.

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