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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: At the heart of Lian Hearn's beautiful saga of samurai, enchantment, and passion in feudal Japan is the story of two ill-fated lovers, brought to poignant life with the dual performances of Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone. Trading chapters as their stories intertwine, Gray and Nakasone anchor the action with their alternating voices, underscoring the very personal stakes amidst the epic tale of feuding warlords. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy.

Sixteen-year-old Takeo's village has been massacred by an evil warlord, and he is about to be slain by the men who murdered his parents and neighbors. At the last moment, his life is saved by a nobleman, who claims the boy as his kin and begins his education.

But nothing is as it seems. Takeo discovers that he has rare powers that are useful to those around him. As he grows into manhood, he must decide where his loyalties lie: with his noble master and adoptive father; with the Hidden, a secret, spiritual sect whose beliefs are forbidden; or with the Tribe, the assassins and spies who consider him one of their own.

A story of treachery, political intrigue, and the intensity of first love, set in a world ruled by formal ritual and codes of honor, Across the Nighingale Floor crosses genres, generations, and genders to captivate fans of all ages.

Don't miss the rest of the Tales of the Otori series.
©2002 Lian Hearn; (P) 2003 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"The novel fills a unique niche that is at once period piece and fantasy novel." (

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Kenneth
  • Alpharetta, GA, USA
  • 09-17-04


This was a very interesting book. The descriptions of feudal Japan were enthralling and rich with history. You felt in tune with the leading characters. An exciting book that will leave you waiting for the sequel.

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  • Neil
  • Palmyra, VA, USA
  • 09-14-04

I seldom provide a reviews - a must read.

I rarely take the time to rate the review the books I read (listen to), however, this book was so well written I felt obligated to return and take the time to do so. I have done hundreds of books, and due to my commute, I often complete two or three unabridged books a month. This book stands out.

This book written is so well you can see it unfold before you and play out before your eyes. Detail and richness flows from the book, and yet it is a very short read? You are there and feel, see, hear, and touch the scenes before you. The balance between action, drama, and emotion keep you entranched in the story.

Very well done, I recommend it highly.

  • Overall
  • Ryan
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 09-07-04

An Adventure into Japan

This book drops you into the world of Japan, where it has been ripped apart by waging wars and the desire of men. The main character is torn between conflicting heritage, and wishes revenge on his families killer. Follow Takeo through his path of revenge, and feel his inner-most thoughts and feelings from first-person narration.

Never have I had so vivid of images, through excellent word-play as with this audio-book. During fights, you feel as though you are there, and during deep thought you can feel for his anger, pity, love, or desire. From intense first meetings of a lover, to the anger and rage from a betrayed master this is an amazing look into Japan, that has left me waiting for the next.

  • Overall


This was a truly rich and engrossing audiobook. I can't wait for the next one.

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More than worth it.

This is an excellent book. The narrators speak a bit slowly, but I think this helps to catch everything that is going on. They actually cared enough to learn how to pronounce the Japanese names and words before reading the book, and it makes the story so much more enjoyable for me.
That said, the story is very well developed. The characters are real, rounded, believeable, and dynamic. This isn't a predictable story, nor is it one where you find yourself rolling your eyes as yet another cliche is pounded out in your ears. The story line and descriptions make you think you are there in the story. Truly worth your time and money.

  • Overall

Great Book But...

I loved this book, but I had to give it a low review because I couldn't handle the narrators any longer. I'll be buying the 2nd and 3rd books (paper) now that I have found that out that all 3 books are done by the same people.

The narration isn't bad per-say but it does make you want to take a nap even during what could have been the more exciting parts of the book.

Buy these books, but not to listen to, but to read.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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wonderfully captivating.

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  • Rob
  • Madison, WI, United States
  • 08-29-04

A Great Story

I could not stop listening. What a great story.

  • Overall


I thoroughly enjoyed this story, in part because it was told in a different style than I?m used to reading/hearing. Normally I?m put off by an alteration in style, but I?m always willing to give something new a try and in this case the reward was an engaging, interesting tale of intrigue, love, war and obligation that was entertaining and unpredictable.

  • Overall

Excellent -- can't wait for book two!

This is a fantastic story! Not only can I not wait to start book two, "Grass for His Pillow" - which I'll do today (!) - I was happy to find that the newly-published book three, "Brilliance of the Moon", is already available through

I think this book owns all five stars easily; it's a well-written book with a great story to tell and readers who do a great job telling it. I agree with Lisa from Newton, CT, that the female reader does change the flow of the reading and is rather stilted. It was almost a tiny jolt whenever the narration turned over to her, but I found that after a few moments my ear would get used to her voice and the story would take over again.

I also agree with Jody from Tulsa, OK, that the names are a bit difficult (and hard to remember) because they're unfamiliar, so a look over the printer version at some point may help...

But overall a fantastic book and I highly recommend it!