Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1)
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An international bestseller, Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. Don't miss the related series, The Tale of Shikanoko.
In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.
The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny...
domain of Shirakawa; her mother was closely related to the Maruyama. Since her father had no sons, he would adopt as his heir whoever Kaede was married to. The Noguchi, by possessing her, also possessed his loyalty, his alliance, and his inheritance. She no longer even considered the great things—fear, homesickness, loneliness—but the sense that the Noguchi did not even value her as a hostage headed her list of things she hated, as she hated the way the girls teased her for being left-handed and
“Master Ichiro has been looking for you for an hour!” “Hey, Grandpa,” the other called to the old man. “What are you after, a bowl of noodles or something?” Indeed, the old man did look as if he needed a square meal. He waited humbly, saying nothing, just outside the gate sill. “Where’d you pick him up, Takeo? You’re too softhearted, that’s your trouble! Get rid of him!” “I said I would tell Lord Otori he was here, and I will,” I replied. “But watch his every movement, and whatever you do,
erect, as small men do. He had no beard; his face was sallow in color, and spotted with several large black moles. His hair was still black, but thin. In both of them, the distinctive Otori features, the prominent cheekbones and curved nose, were marred by the defects of character that made them both cruel and weak. “Lord Shigeru—nephew—you are very welcome,” Shoichi said graciously. Lord Shigeru sat up, but I remained with my forehead on the floor. “You have been much in our thoughts,”
crashing like a drum. I went back the way I had come, not using the grapple, but dropping from the walls to the ground, moving even faster than before. Another cock crowed and a third answered. The town would soon be waking. Sweat was pouring from me, and the waters of the moat felt icy. My breath barely held for the swim back, and I surfaced well short of the willow trees, startling the swans. I breathed and dived again. I came up on the bank and headed for the willows, meaning to sit there
around the outer gate of the temple. There was a lodging house here for visitors. The horses were taken away to be fed and watered, and we ate the midday meal, simple vegetable dishes prepared by the monks. “I am a little tired,” Lady Maruyama said when we had finished eating. “Lord Abe, will you stay here with Lady Shirakawa and myself while we rest for a while?” He could not refuse, though he seemed reluctant to let Shigeru out of his sight. Shigeru gave the wooden box to me, asking me to