Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Across the Nightingale Floor: Book 1 Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn -  Books - Hachette Australia

Title: Across the Nightingale Floor
Author: Lian Hearn
Series: Tales of the Otori #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Asia, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Japan
Dates read: 18th October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: He was gone from the garden, and I was beginning to wonder if I’d seen another mirage, when I heard voices from the upstairs room.

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In his fortress at Inuyama, the murderous 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.

Brought up in a remote village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people, Takeo has learned only the ways of peace. Why, then, does he possess the deadly skills that make him so valuable to the sinister Tribe? These supernatural powers will lead him to his violent destiny wihtin teh walls of Inuyama – and to an impossible longing for a girl who can never be his. His journey is one of revenge and treachery, beauty and magic, and the passion of first love.


This was a seriously beautiful and powerful novel. I’ve had it sitting on my shelf for a while, and just hadn’t gotten around to it… and wow. Was I missing out (this seems to be a pretty common theme with me though…). I loved the world building, the characters, the story… everything that Hearn constructed in this was just… intense. And wonderful. Definitely looking forward to reading Grass for His Pillow soon.

The setting and historical feel of this story was awesome. I remember going to Japan as a young child, and I’ve studied the language for years. Which just made this feel even more amazing as I journeyed throughout the pages. Not only was it a historical fiction based in an entirely new and unique location (compared to the other historical fictions on my shelves). But it was one that already draws me in and fascinates me. Which may be a pretty significant contributor to my love of this story…

As much as I loved this story. It wasn’t a happy one. Throughout the whole thing I felt like my heart was breaking a little. it didn’t really matter what point of the story I was at, there was a little bit of heart break. This was that bittersweet kind of story that is beautiful, but it’s beautiful because of all the greys, and there is no rainbow. Which, of course, just served to make it all that much more unforgettable.

This is definitely one of the best books that I’ve picked up in a while. I have been steering clear of books with a lot of backstory lately (I have no idea why) and I think that this has cured me of that. There is so much political intrigue, drama and tangled webs. Which just leaves you thinking “what will happen next” after you turn that final page.

<- Heaven’s Net is WideGrass for His Pillow ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

10 thoughts on “Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

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