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Tales of the Otori is a series of historical fantasy novels by Gillian Rubinsteinwriting under the pen ottori Lian Hearn, set in a fictional world based on feudal Japan.

The series initially consisted of a trilogy: The books follow a young warrior named Takeo in his struggles to avenge his adoptive father, escape the legacy of his biological father, and pursue the love of his life in the midst of an enormous power struggle involving dozens of clan lords and thousands of warriors. The story is told primarily in first-person narrative by Otori Takeo.

Tales of the Otori – Wikipedia

He was born as Tomasu in Mino, a small village that houses amongst its people, religious outcasts referred to as the “Hidden”. The Hidden are persecuted throughout the Three Countries for their beliefs, and in the opening loss Mino is destroyed by the warriors of Iida Sadamu, Lord of the Tohan Clan.

Takeo is rescued by Otori Shigeru, a young Lord of the Otori Clan which has a long-standing rivalry with the Tohan, and led back to the Otori stronghold of Hagi. There, Shigeru adopts Takeo and begins to instruct him in the ways of a warrior.

Shigeru’s uncles, hoping to rid themselves of their popular and powerful nephew, send him to Iida’s capital city of Inuyama, ostensibly to be married to a young princess from a different clan named Kaede.

Unexpectedly, Kaede and Takeo fall in love at first sight. As the delegation arrives at Inuyama, it is revealed that Takeo’s biological father was of The Tribe, a group of families with special powers, and they abduct Takeo, making a claim upon him because of his ancestry.

Takeo strikes a deal with them and escapes them, but he arrives too late: Shigeru is betrayed and killed, Iida ultimately perishes at Kaede’s hand after attempting to rape her, and the country is overrun by the army of Arai Daiichi. Takeo is torn between conflicting obligations: These conflicts drive his actions throughout the trilogy, placing him at odds with the Tribe, the Otori Lords, and the armies of Arai Daiichi.

Sixteen years later, Takeo is ruler of the Three Countries, and has three daughters: Shigeko, and twins Maya and Miki the latter two have oos tribal skills from their Kikuta bloodline. Hisao letendas raised by Akio, leyenfas is a ghostmaster, able to communicate with the dead, including his dead mother.

After Muto Kenji dies, the loyalty of the Tribe clans to Takeo starts to wane. Despite installing Shigeko as Lady Maruyama and winning over the Emperor, his army is leyebdas to battle the Emperor’s general, Lord Saga, while Zenko raises an army in alliance with the western barbarians. Kaede bears a son, but after he dies, and Hana reveals to her that Hisao is Takeo’s son, she is driven temporarily insane. Now against Takeo, she destroys the castle at Hagi, and seeks sanctuary with Arai and Hana.


Takeo seeks sanctuary at Terayama, where he is attacked by Akio and Hisao. At the crucial moment Hisao freezes; Akio takes the gun, which explodes in his hands, killing himself and fatally wounding Maya.

Takeo, acknowledging that it is his ofori, holds a knife in Hisao’s hand and falls upon it, ensuring the prophecy of his death is fulfilled.

Shigeko enters into a treaty with Saga, whose army defeats Arai Zenko, and she will marry him as part of the bargain to ensure peace. They will be co-rulers in the Three Countries. In remorse, Kaede considers taking her own life, but at the last moment decides to live on for the sake of her daughter Miki. This prequel begins about 17 years before the start of the trilogy, and ends at Takeo and Shigeru’s meeting that begins Across the Nightingale Floor.

It follows Shigeru’s childhood, his training with Matsuda Shingen, and his coming of age.

Tales of the Otori

Frustrated by his father’s indecision and his uncle’s obscure motives, he takes a band of warriors to the border with the Tohan, and discovers a village of the Hidden, tortured and killed by the Tohan. He encounters the belief system of the Hidden, and meets Iida Sadamu for the first time, sparing his life.

Later, the novel covers his brief turbulent marriage, his relationship with the courtesan Akane, and the battle of Yaegahara. The Noguchi betray them, ensuring the Otori defeat, and victory for Iida Sadamu. Otori Shigemori perishes, but Jatothe ancestral sword finds its way to his son Shigeru, via a member of the Tribe, Muto Kenji.

Shigeru is forced to abdicate, and he patiently waits for an opportunity to avenge his father. Under the guise of a simple farmer, he secretly compiles records on the Tribe, assisted by Muto Shizuka, and conducts a covert relationship with Maruyama Naomi.

The series of novels do not describe a yearly dating system. In a note by the author, she states that there is no conversion between Christian Era dates, and the years in the Novels: The following Chronology can be used for internal comparisons, but does not relate to any external dating system. For this purpose, the opening chapter is set as year 0, which has the side effect of making these numbers equal to Takeo’s age at the time.

The Tribe are a secret organisation that nurture the powers that the world used to have. The Tribe consists of five families that existed before the lords and the clans, a time when magic was common. Since that time the Tribe have retained these abilities through dedication and training.

They are frequently employed as spies and assassins by various institutions within the Three Countries. While they usually take on the guise of merchants or travelling actors and acrobats, some members of the Tribe live rather unassuming lives as traders and money lenders rather than as spies and assassins. They are like ninjas. Little is known about the nature of the Tribe, and the organization is rarely employed with complete trust.

Most of the information that exists on the Tribe was secretly compiled by Otori Shigeru with the help of Muto Shizuka.

Unfortunately for the Tribe, the abilities they possess are being lost with new generations, possibly due to inbreeding depression. This theory is likely since some Tribe members with a non-Tribe parent have shown to have great abilities.


The most ferocious family that is known for its power, harshness, and skilled assassins. They are dr pre-eminent tribal family in Tohan territory. Many true Kikuta have a straight palm line across their hand and have great powers, such as invisibility, splitting off a phantom body, acute hearing, and the ability to put someone in a deep sleep merely by staring at them the ‘Kikuta sleep’. It was said that many of the Kikuta gifts were dying out, which was why the Tribe desired Takeo’s talents so much.

Minor skills, possess by lks weaker Kikuta, include agility dd the ability to perceive invisibility and the second self.

In some very rare cases, some Kikuta members are ghost masters, and have the ability to communicate with the spirits of the deceased, as well as commanding them. They are very traditional in their thinking and do not want to let peace succeed throughout the three countries.

Takeo’s father Kikuta Isamu was the greatest assassin in the Kikuta before he met Takeo’s mother and defected to The Hidden. He was killed later by Kikuta Kotaro when he had refused to fight him because of the Hidden’s religion and the vow he made to never kill again after he married Takeo’s mother.

One of the two large clans of the Tribe that still have substantial gifts, and the major family in the Middle Country. They are renowned for their changing faces; as such, they are skilled as spies. They also share some of the more famous skills of the Tribe with the Kikuta, such as invisibility.

The Muto have strong links with the Otori and believe that the Tribe should change in the future. At the beginning of the series ds is a close alliance between the Muto and Kikuta which wanes throughout the series.

Controversy surrounded Shizuka’s appointment as head of the clan, firstly because she was a woman, and secondly because she was appointed by Otori Takeo and not by the family. A lesser clan of the Tribe leyencas are mainly merchants, money lenders and informants. They possess some of the gifts of the greater clans, and a characteristic practicality which makes them superb assassins e. In The Harsh Cry of the Heron it is mentioned that the Kuroda can perceive invisibility, but cannot become invisible themselves.

The only other Kuroda character encountered in the series ols Kondo Kiichi taking the name Kondo from adoption into his mother’s side of the family.

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