These were the years when the warlord Iida Sadayoshi and his son, Sadamu, engaged in unifying the East of the Three Countries, compelled all to submit to the triple oak of the Tohan clan, and looked westwards to expand.
The prosperous Middle Country, coveted by its neighbours, was ruled by the weak Lord Shigemori, head of the Otori clan, who had two sons, Shigeru and Takeshi, and two discontented and ambitious half-brothers, Shoichi and Masahiro, looking for any opportunity to seize power themselves. Where there is weakness powerful men will impose...and retribution will soon follow.
Meanwhile, on a remote mountainside, Kikuta Isamu discovers that the Tribe, a clan of supernatural assassins who sell their skills to the highest bidder, will let none escape that betray the family, even if they are of the family. But they are unaware of Isamu's son, born to his wife and a member of the Hidden, who follows the teaching that it is forbidden to take life and is gifted with his father's magical talents. Every deed provokes, every mistake must sooner or later be paid for. Indeed, "Heaven's net is wide but its mesh is fine".
Thus does fate align itself to bring about the momentous clash of the Tohan and Otori at Yaegahara in a stunning tale of betrayal, revenge, warfare, and love played out in the mythical world of the Otori, which transcends genres, genders, and generations.
© Lian Hearn; (P) Macmillan Publishers Ltd
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