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Heaven's Net is Wide (Tales of the Otori) by [Hearn, Lian]
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Heaven's Net is Wide (Tales of the Otori) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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)
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From Booklist

This prequel to Hearn’s popular Tales of the Otori series tells the story of young Otori Shigeru during his formative years and his defeat at the battle of Yaeghara. Boehmer smoothly reads chapters highlighting Shigeru, while Fletcher narrates chapters centering on Otori’s illicit lover, Lady Maruyama, in a clear though occasionally stilted voice. Both actors ably read their respective parts, but because this book contains a large cast of characters and a multitude of Japanese names, some listeners may have trouble identifying the characters. Recommend to series fans and others who enjoy harsh, violent, and realistic historical fiction with a strong sense of place and a dose of fantasy. --Jessica Moyer

Product Details

  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 580 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594483329
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (September 4, 2008)
  • Publication Date: September 4, 2008
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023001397X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230013971
  • ASIN: B004KSRVF0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,257 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
Prequels are always a dangerous thing. We know where the story is going to go, and in many ways there is no suspense because we know whether certain characters will survive or perish. But the lure for authors (and publishers) is undeniable despite the fact that it is the rare prequel that enhances a series rather than merely rides on its coattails.

Lian Hearn's "Heaven's Net is Wide" defies that generalization. Hearn has written a novel of strength and beauty, loss and betrayal, love and hope. This novel lays the foundation for her enjoyable "Tales of the Otori" series.

The greatest strength of this novel is that it focuses on Lord Shigeru, young heir of the noble house of Otori. Lord Shigeru is the man who discovers young Takeo, the hero of the later novels, but while Shigeru casts a large shadow over the later books, he's not much of a direct actor (for obvious reasons). So this novel focuses on this valiant, tortured, stoic young man as he struggles to save his house and his realm from destruction.

It is also a novel about love, as the poignant affair between Lord Shigeru and the beautiful Lady Naomi of Murayama blossoms into full-fledged adoration.

Readers of the Otori series will have probably already read this book. If you haven't yet picked up this series, this novel is an excellent place to start, as Hearn lays a terrific foundation for her later work.
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Format: Hardcover
This is book 0 in the series--it ends just where Across the Nightingale Floor starts. In quality, it's comparable to Nightingale Floor, and certainly better than books 2, 3, and 4. You'll meet many of the Nightingale characters here, many of whom play a much more significant role in Nightingale Floor. You'll find the training in the martial arts, the court life, etc, that made Shigeru who he was. There are battles, heroic deeds, sacrifice.

One of the things I didn't like is that there's too much drawn in black and white. Shigeru has no visible flaws. Most of the "good" people have some fatal weaknesses, such as impetuosity. Shigeru's father, the head of the clan, seems impossibly weak. Shigeru's uncles are among the "bad" people, and I cannot recall any of the bad people who has any kind of redeeming good fault. There's no need to make this kind of delineation in a novel. Tony Soprano and Flashman are much more appealing and interesting because of their character flaws. Mother Teresa, recently in the news, had a serious crisis of faith--and she's more human for it. Bad people need not be 100% evil to be good villains. Shigeru is the top swordsman in the Three Countries--it wouldn't have hurt to have made him good, but not number 1--then the problem for him would have been how to deal with swordsmen better than he was. That would have made things a lot more interesting.

So--for those who liked Across the Nightingale Floor, a decent prequel.
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Format: Hardcover
Lian Hearn is an amazingly descriptive writer. She practically paints the scenery with her words. Chapter after chapter of dense writing... her stories take place practically inside the character's minds. What they see, feel, think... it's absolutely wonderful.

This last installment of The Otori Series is just as wonderful as the other four books. You become as attached to the characters as a reader can be, and I suggest you buy it! It's an honest to God, not cheesy in the least, Samurai Vrs. Ninja story! I have deeply enjoyed this series and I intend to make everyone I know give the book a try!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Best books ....almost ever but I have too contain myself from exaggerating...but it's a close call with a few others
I've read the series at least 3 times now and I love it...I'm constantly checking for more of this type/style/world/character from this artist
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