In his Japanese warrior trilogy, The Tales of the Otori, Lian Hearn dives into a gripping account of deep love, gritty warfare, mystical powers and hardened betrayal. And he does so with the poetic prose of master writers.
The thing that I have come to appreciate the most about his writing is that the depictions of the ancient tales are woven around a latticework of what most readily appears to the western reader as a very identifiable and believable historicity that may very well have existed in the hand-me-down legends that pass through the virtual gateways of Japanese myth. Seeing how these myths, then, play out in a western authorship, makes his books take on that very mysticism on which he bases his themes. And that certainly goes for his style as well.
Just as in his characters’ level of patience and poise, he writes in a way that sells his scene with obvious, painstaking precision.
To say that he wrote a “trilogy,” though, isn’t quite true. The trilogy exists and is certainly worth the read. But he has also gone in and written a prequel and a sequel that gives a two-fold capstone to the series.
The first in the trilogy is called Across the Nightingale Floor, and talks about the young master who, unbeknownst to him, is the last in a long line of mystical tribesmen. He’s trained at an art which he will later use to shroud his real powers — all the while honing them to become invisible, move with phantom-like fluidity and scale impossible climbs.
My review will end with this book, but I discuss more in the video. And I don’t want to give the rest away, but you can feel free to find out more about his other books at these links:
The video review is below:
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