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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 listeners say about Heaven's Net Is Wide

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    623
  • 4 Stars
    332
  • 3 Stars
    121
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    21
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    320
  • 4 Stars
    154
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    336
  • 4 Stars
    133
  • 3 Stars
    47
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

weegun

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Prequel But Some Big Moments Were Undeplayed

Overall, this is a great prequel that compliments the main series very well. It manages to introduce new characters like Akane, and explains every reference from the main series satisfactorily. The reader should have a new found interest in seeing the evil Otori uncles and the Tohan punished by Takeo. In many ways the villians steal the show here.

Particularly noteworthy is that the book tells a full backstory without introducing any plot holes or continuity issues in the other books. The one exception may be the very close friendship between Shigeru and Muto Shizuka. If I recall correctly, the two characters did not reference that they had had a relationship that bordered on romance in Across the Nightingale Floor.

The narration is also good. Paul Boehmer has a fantastic vocal range and can imitate young boys, women, and old men equally well. Julia Fletcher is a little less dynamic, and I personally thought Aiko Nakasone brought more life to her characters as the female reader in the other series.

My only serious disappointment was how Hearn treated both the battle of Yiagahara and the death of Takeshi. Both were set up to be pivotal events in the main series. Yiagahara goes from a vivid, moment-to-moment retelling, to a detached recap that relays hours of fighting in a few paragraphs. I feel like Hearn is not comfortable writing extended battle scenes. Similarly, Takeshi's death happened "off the pages" and was relayed to Shigeru and the reader. Takeshi himself is sidelined for huge swaths of the book, and I would have liked if Hearn explored the more adversarial parts of their relationship at times.

All in all though, another excellent novel by Hearn, that can be read before, after, or even in the middle of the main series. I personally read it this time before book 3 (Brilliance of the Moon) and find myself eager to conclude the tale of the Otori's long planned revenge.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Just filled in the gaps...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Had I known to listen to this first before the tales of the Otori would of made the story more enjoyable.

What was most disappointing about Lian Hearn’s story?

Nothing insightful, or new came out of this story. It was filled with gaps while I hoped to gain new insight into the characters. Granted the character development was deep in this story, but that is all this story is. Although it was interesting to learn about a six year old Gemba, it felt like just plugs. Nothing significant actually happens or any interesting surprises. I was left disappointed not caring about the details given for the explanation that could of been crafted in seconds of thought, unlike the trilogy which may have taken a long time to craft such a tale.

Have you listened to any of J. Paul Boehmer and Julia Fletcher ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Good, they were great.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment for sure.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Review

I was so excited to see this book available! The first books in this series were awesome. While I could not stop listening to this book till it was over and it did inspire me to listen to the complete series again, it was somewhat of a let down. I found it hard to keep track of who everyone was and how they fit in this story and the sequels. It has been several years since reading the other books and I agree with the previous reviewer who suggests this one would not make much sense if you have not read the other books. At times I wished there were family trees available for reference. The author seemed to throw people into the story without any development of their place or character. If you have read the other books, I would still recommend Heaven's Net Is Wide.

1 person found this helpful