The first instalment in a magnificent epic by the creator of the global phenomenon the Tales of the Otori, Lian Hearn, whose books have sold over four million copies worldwide
An ambitious warlord leaves his nephew for dead and seizes his lands.
A stubborn father forces his younger son to surrender his wife to his older brother.
A mysterious woman seeks five fathers for her children.
A powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne.
These are the threads of an intricate tapestry in which the laws of destiny play out against a backdrop of wild forest, elegant court, and savage battlefield. Set in a mythical medieval Japan inhabited by warriors and assassins, ghosts and guardian spirits, Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn is a brilliantly imagined novel, full of drama and intrigue - the beginning of an enthralling, epic adventure: The Tale of Shikanoko.
'Brutally thrilling historical fantasy' Herald Sun
'Wildly successful... Convince[s] as if being read in translation, as if Hearn is merely the medium for some lost and ancient text. Much like Game of Thrones, the book can be read as political intrigue, with great strength deriving from the character studies. Nobody is black or white, rather shades of grey' The Age
'Moves onwards with the narrative force of a flood. It is easy to let the book sweep the reader away, to engage with strange events... very compelling characters [and] huge imaginative vitality' Sydney Morning Herald
'The action comes thick and fast . . . Compelling characters and captivating worldbuilding' Japan Times
'A must-read' Aurealis
'One of the great joys of genre novels is that they usually care deeply about plot, satisfying the innately human desire for story. And there is story aplenty here. The unfolding events are so fascinating, the writing so lithe and seductive. There's no need to have read Hearn's earlier Otori series, set in the same remarkable fantasy world, to enjoy this one. Indeed, her new epic seems sure to recruit a fresh legion of fans' The Saturday Paper
'Stands alone for fine storytelling' West Australian
'Colourful and fascinating characters' Courier Mail
LORD OF THE DARKWOOD: Books 3 and 4 in THE TALE OF SHIKANOKO.
Don't miss any of the novels in the OTORI saga
ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR
GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW
BRILLIANCE OF THE MOON
THE HARSH CRY OF THE HERON
HEAVEN'S NET IS WIDE
Brutally thrilling historical fantasy - Herald Sun
Wildly successful... Convince[s] as if being read in translation, as if Hearn is merely the medium for some lost and ancient text. Much like Game of Thrones, the book can be read as political intrigue, with great strength deriving from the character studies. Nobody is black or white, rather shades of grey - The Age
Moves onwards with the narrative force of a flood. It is easy to let the book sweep the reader away, to engage with strange events... very compelling characters [and] huge imaginative vitality - Sydney Morning Herald
The action comes thick and fast . . . Compelling characters and captivating worldbuilding - Japan Times
One of the most thrilling series of our time. - The Times on TALES OF THE OTORI
A classic in the making. - Sydney Morning Herald on GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW
The best story of magic, love, sex, revenge and suspense since Philip Pullman. - Independent On Sunday on TALES OF THE OTORI
An engrossing fantasy saga of literary quality. - The Age on TALES OF THE OTORI
One of Australia's most internationally successful writers, Lian Hearn's books have been translated into 42 languages and have sold millions of copies. Nine of her books are set in a mythical country based on medieval Japan: these are the five Tales of the Otori books, starting with Across the Nightingale Floor; The Tale of Shikanoko: Emperor of the Eight Islands and Lord of the Darkwood; and Children of the Otori: Orphan Warriors and Sibling Assassins (to be published in 2020). She has also written two historical novels set in nineteenth-century Japan, Blossoms and Shadows and The Storyteller and His Three Daughters.
Lian's passionate interest in Japan began when she was a teenager. She received an AsiaLink arts fellowship for travel and research in 1999. She travels frequently to Japan and has studied Japanese for many years. She has always been deeply interested in languages and has a BA and MA in French and Spanish from Oxford University. She worked as an editor and film critic in England and Australia before beginning her career as a novelist in 1986, under the name of Gillian Rubinstein, with the bestselling and award-winning children's novel Space Demons.
You can follow Lian on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.