by Lian Hearn (Picador) ISBN 9781509812813
Lian Hearn has obviously studied Japanese mythology and history, which adds authenticity to the story. The countryside is so well described that you feel as if you are there. This is a tale set in an imagined feudal Japan with temples, elegant castles, wild forests, and battlefields.
The rightful emperor is lost. Shikanoko is condemned to live as an outlaw in Darkwood. He is half man and half dear – a mask he cannot remove. Other mighty lords rule the Eight Islands. There is rivalry and suspicion among them. There is a drought and famine in the land, damaging it as though it is cursed. Only Shikanoko can restore it back to health by bringing the preordained emperor to the lotus throne.
The story is enthralling, brimming with intrigue, action, adventure, and romance. You are transported to another time in another world.
The map and list of characters is definitely useful to facilitate following the many characters in a rather intricate and complex story. To top it all, there are additional supernatural characters that add to the intrigue.
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