Emperor of the Eight Islands

Lian Hearn. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $14 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-53631-2
In this series opener, Hearn (Heaven's Net Is Wide) takes inspiration from Japanese classics to tell a tale of warring clans and unusual magic. There has been friction between the Kakizuki and Miboshi clans for years, and now it is all coming to a head. The emperor's life is failing and each clan supports a different son as his successor. Into these grand events steps the young man Kumayama no Kazumaru, once heir of his clan but now dispossessed by his uncle and left for dead in the Darkwood. He is rescued there by the mountain sorcerer, Shisoku, but also transformed by strange rituals. Now called Shikanoko, "the deer's child," and possessing a magical stag mask, he struggles to direct his fate. Shikanoko is captured, released, instructed, and controlled by a series of lords and wise men, coming ever closer to mastery of his forest power. Eventually, his own destiny becomes entwined with that of the empire. This fast-paced tale of dynastic change intriguingly sets up the remaining three books in the series. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/16/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-374-71501-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-152-8
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