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Publisher's Summary

An epic fantasy set in a mythical, medieval Japan, Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series has crossed genres, generations, and genders. Grand and complex in its themes, elegantly written, each book in the original trilogy has become a worldwide best seller. This surprise fourth installment (and real conclusion), The Harsh Cry of the Heron, achieves new heights of drama and action.

16 years of peace and prosperity have passed since Lord Otori Takeo united the Three Countries. Takeo and his beloved consort, Kaede, have three daughters and a happy family life. Their success has attracted the attention of the distant Emperor and his general, the warlord Saga Hideki, who covet the wealth of the Countries. Meanwhile, the violent acts and betrayals of the past will not lie buried, and other secrets will not stay hidden. Everything that Takeo and Kaede have achieved is threatened.

In full ninja versus samurai fashion, Hearn delivers a kinetic, heartbreaking, and uplifting resolution to a thoroughly gripping saga.

Don't miss the rest of the Tales of the Otori series.
©2006 Lian Hearn; (P)2006 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Seizes you from start to finish." (The Washington Post)
"Hearn seamlessly fuses fact and fantasy to create a sprawling, bewitching realm of magic." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Otori saga gets better with each book, and this is the most absorbing entry in the series, complete with intrigue, magic, romance, and action. A perfect final chapter." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall


I loved the first three books, and thought that the tale was over.. Well, the first three books did not achieve a couple of things that needed to be achieved. I won't say, ( so not to ruin the story ), but, just like in real life, ( no matter how well things are going ) your past catches up with you. It ties up the remaining loose ends that were left from the first three. The story was incredible. Not nearly as much action as the last three. It would not have been apropriate if it had anyway. The characters were really well written. Some do make turns, but it only adds to the realism of the characters. An absolute marvel to listen to, if you like drama! Incredibly awesome if you like Fantasy, and yes, absolutely wicked if you favor the gothic.

  • Overall
  • Ronald
  • Petaluma, Ca, United States
  • 10-20-06

Not worth it

I really enjoyed the first 3 books and this one was not in the same mold. It starts very slow gets better for a while and the ending is a bust. Save yourself the trouble.

  • Overall
  • Donna
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 10-16-06

A Beautiful 4th Movement

I listened to the other three books in a row and absolutely fell in love with the setting, the characters, and the narrators. When I saw there was a 4th book (much to my surprise) I was thrilled, but disappointed that the original narrators would not be returning. I bought it anyway and I can't say I was at all disappointed. Although the new narrators aren't quite as good as the one before them, they still bring the story to life and I didn't ever think that they weren't doing the words justice.

As well as following the story of Takeo and Kaede, a vibrant new cast of characters are introduced. I was enchanted from start to finish, and I believe any fan of the series will love this latest volume. I do hope it's not the end, but if that is to be, the ending her is heartwrenching and beautiful.

  • Overall
  • Erick
  • los angeles, CA, USA
  • 09-29-06


Well, I've been waiting for this book for a couple of years (ever since i found out that the author inked a deal for a fourth and fifth book on her Otori series) and all I can say is that this book was a let down. What I liked about the first books was the pace (not too fast or slow) and the characters. In this book the pace is way too slow and the characters stopped being interesting and sometimes just plain boring. I found myself something thinking about fast-forwarding this book a couple of times. Also, the author just takes too long to build up the conflicts and leaves not space for the resolutions. It just seems that the author got caught up writing and then she realized that she had to end this book, the ending just seems too sudden and there are many questions about what happen to some of the characters. I even checked if I this was the abridged version of the book, it feels like a lot of content had been edited out.

  • Overall

Just as Good as previous titles

The last installment in the Otori saga is just as good as the previous three. The ending of this book is very emotional and different in tone from the other books. This is one of the best books I've read this year, if not ever. If you have not read the other novels, I would highly recommend them because they are some of the best books written in recent years. Fans of all genres should like all Hearn's books.

  • Overall


What a wonderful story and completion (?)of the Tales of Otori. Was concerned by the change in narrators (don't ya hate that!), but they both were excellent. As much of the story was in the voices of the children and the parents were older, the change was seamless. If you have not read the other books, the story stands on its own and has enough summary to understand continued plot. Strongly recommend reading/listening to all four books; what an epic.

  • Overall

Hated it

I'll admit up-front that I only made it through the first couple of hours of the audiobook, but that was really all that I could take. I greatly enjoyed the previous three volumes of the Otori. This one, however, seemed artificial, juvenile, and without spirit.

I would not recommend it based upon either the story itself, or upon the narrators.

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