Lian Hearn's third installment in the Tales of the Otori series Brilliance of the Moon
brings a mystical and violent conclusion to the saga of Takeo Otori as he fulfills his destiny to reclaim the Otori lands. At the climax of Grass for his Pillow
, Takeo's passion for his beloved Kaede was finally realized with their secret and forbidden wedding. As spring approaches, Takeo and Kaede prepare for war and embark on a campaign to reclaim their respective realms. But just when victory seems certain, Hearn characteristically uproots her characters with unseen treachery and the two lovers are again separated. Takeo must summon courage from his conflicted heritage as he marches towards his destiny. The fates of other Otori characters are also determined in a succinct and magical finale.
This third chapter in the Otori saga lives up its predecessors. Hearn's mythical ancient Japan is again brought to storybook life. Although the novel's climax comes suddenly and almost unexpectedly, the afterword hints at another tale to be told by the heirs of Kaede and Takeo's legendary rise. --Jeremy Pugh
From Publishers Weekly
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. FYI: Hearn is the pseudonym of Australian children's book author Gillian Rubinstein.
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