Sunday, June 24, 2007

Heaven's Net Is Wide-Lian Hearn

Heaven's Net Is Wide
Lian Hearn
Riverhead, Aug 2007, $26.95
ISBN: 9781594489532

Otori Shigeru is the young heir to the powerful ruthless Otori clan. Yet in spite of growing up in an authoritarian pyramidal hierarchy, he understands that greater Japanese society and especially his clan venerate loyalty.

However, his lessons were also tempered as an adolescent when he observed how dishonorable some behaved; seditious backstabbing by his uncles and an assault from the Iida family to gain power. The culmination occurs when his uncles’ perfidy and the Iida betrayal lead to the deaths of thousands of Otori warriors at Yaeahara and the eradication of his family. He lives, but is heir to nothing as the Otori clan was exterminated. Although those who murdered his family want him dead so he symbolizes nothing, Shigeru survives with an inner fortitude made stronger with what he saw enhanced by a desire for retribution. He turns to his former mentor warrior-monk Matsuda Shingen for guidance and patience, and meets Lady Maruyama who keeps him human and more as she knows what he is going through as the Tohan destroyed much of what she held sacred. However, the hope for retribution might begin in a mountainous village …

The fifth Tales of the Otori is a brilliant novel that brings the beginning and the end to this great saga of Medieval Japan. The story line is a superb historical fantasy as the audience learns much of how Otori got to where he ends. Fans of the series will fully appreciate this great finish that is also the beginning as HEAVEN’S NET IS WIDE completes this non-linear epic saga with a sweeping winner.

Harriet Klausner

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