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Publisher's Summary

As Tolkien's The Silmarillion is to The Lord of the Rings, Liam Hearn's Heaven's Net Is Wide is to Tales of the Otori. This is the back story fans have been yearning for.

Set before the Tales begin, Heaven's Net recounts the life of Lord Otori Shigeru, the series' spiritual warrior-godfather and the adoptive father of the Tales' Takeo. We learn about Shigeru's training in the ways of the warrior and feudal lord; his relationship with the Tribe of mysteriously powerful assassins; his fateful meeting with Lady Maruyama, who would become his secret lover; the battle of Yaegahara, where his father is killed; and other turning points that shaped the Tales. The first four volumes gave us only glimpses. Now we are treated to rich detail and more of Hearn's fantastical Japanese world.

Gripping and bewitching, Heaven's Net is a new beginning and a grand finale; a story of monumental battles, supreme loyalty, triumphant love, and heartbreak. It ends just before Across the Nightingale Floor begins, bringing the Otori epic full circle.

©2007 Lian Hearn. Recorded by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc (P)2007 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Equal parts historical fiction, high fantasy and revelatory Taoist fable, the now complete Tales of the Otori is a saga to be treasured." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Maria
  • Brighton, CO, USA
  • 07-16-08

Extremely Satisfied

I listened the first 3 books of the Otori 3 years ago and just loved them. I found this prequel by chance and couldn't wait to listen to it. This was a very satisfying listen. I was so pleased with the book, that I listened to the other 3 again.

Much that is wonderful in Across the Nightingale Floor (1st book) is the enigma surrounding Shigeru’s motives for finding and harboring Takeo. Shigeru is truly inscrutable and devious and charming. This second time around, a lot of the mystery surrounding Takeo seemed reasonable and ordinary, where it was originally puzzling, strange and exciting.

I would recommend listening to this prequel only after you have already finished Across the Nightingale Floor.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Much better than I expected!

I loved the Otori Series, but I was some what sceptical that this story would live up to the first three (I was slightly let down by book 4). Sometimes prequels released after a succesful trilogy seem to be an attempt by the other and publisher to make some extra cash off the series' popularity (i.e. Starwars etc). Not so here. This book was a great story about Otori Shigeru and the events leading up to his discovery of Otori Takeo. Shigeru makes for a fantastic main subject and he deserved to be the focus of his own story. I have been inspired to continue listening to the stories all over again.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Craig
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 09-06-07

Lian Hearn has done it again!

I am a great fan of the Otori series. This prequel is a wonderful treat. So good, I am listening to the series again. Its amazing the number of loose ends this prequel ties up for you that you did not even know existed. I highly, highly recommend!!!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Betania
  • Carlsbad, CA, United States
  • 03-19-10

enjoyable if you read the previous books

I found this last novel in the series enjoyable, especially because I had read the previous novels in the series. It is a prequel but is best read at the end. The story comes full circle and some things you already read about in previous books are explained (others were already obvious in the first books), which is fun and satisfying. The other books might stand alone but this is probably only really interesting if you have already read them.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Rarely take the time to share my experiences

My pleasure in "reading" and rereading all the Tales of the Otori books nudged my to share my experience with others. I very rarely reread books, but these are never boring. They seem to provide a pleasant experience even as the protagonists face terrible challenges. I presume it is the wisdom and strong principles with which the lead characters face their difficulties that keeps the experience uplifting. The atmosphere set by the reading and music adds much to the listening pleasure.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lajuan
  • Idabel, OK, United States
  • 05-11-08


I am entering a second review. I have bought many audio books and CD's. This is the finest production I have yet to enjoy. So well written, masterful. I have no leaning to this type of story but this tale is so well done in every way that I have listened to the entire set of stories many times and have enjoyed them more each time.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very Pleased

I'm very pleased with this prequel. I was wondering if I would really like it, but I could not unplug my ipod. Better than book 4.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Shelly
  • MERIDIAN, Idaho, United States
  • 02-16-12

Sad to be done with this series.

I actually had to give myself some time to grieve when I was done with this series. Normally, I start a new book the same day I finish one, but occassionally I have to let myself say goodbye to characters. I had to do that after finishing this book. I had listened to all five books, and had fallen in love with the beautiful, strong, and humble characters. I fell in love with the land, the traditions, and the passionate patriotism the people held for their countries. It was hard to say goodbye, I didn't want it to end.

The story is written so incredibly well. It takes you back hundreds of years and makes you appreciate another time and the struggles they went through, the hardships they had to endure. As I read, I could imagine the country and the people, even though I don't know a lot about historical Asian culture; Hearn painted the picture in my mind.

Another part of this book that I loved was the faith that the characters held. They may have held different beliefs, but they held them very strongly. I am a Christian with much faith. And even though some of the people in this book believed differently than me (in The Enlightened One), it helped to increase my faith just by seeing the absolute, unmoving stand they took towards their belief. It was beautiful.

Then there was The Hidden. They touched my heart so much. What a struggle they endured! And all for God! It was incredible. God told us we would be persecuted for our faith in Him, and these people were a great example for me and how I would hope to stand firm in my faith during persecution.

All in all, one of the greatest series I've read. I could not have asked for more. I chose "Across the Nightingale Floor" on a whim, and I'm so glad I did! This series truly blessed me. I encourage anyone and everyone to read these books!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Loved it!

Read the first Otori series and loved them as well. I especially loved the ending of Heaven's net which leads me to believe that there is another book coming. When I finished Heaven's net I went to Audible to see if there was a sequel to this book by Lian Hearn but sadly "no". I'm was having trouble connecting the prequel to Book 1, Lord Sagaro to Lord Takao, but it didn't matter I still enjoyed the book.

Good job!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Highly recommended!

I discovered Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori many years ago. It was a happy accident, while shopping at our local Deals store bargain book bin. All sizes, genres, and interest, only $1. I had found many books over the years, usually cookbooks, so I always perused the selections. There was a small soft cover volume of Across the Nightingale Floor that caught my attention. Unfortunately, the book was only the first 193 pages. I was so enthralled with the story, that it sent me searching online to secure the full book. Not only was this story available, but there was an entire trilogy and a prequel to explain the character developement! I purchased all of the books at once. Several years later, I discovered them in audio book form. This discovery was why I joined Audible. I love this format! The stories are wonderful, the narrators are perfectly suited to the stories. I can not adequately express how immersive your listening experience will be!