This is the final book in the original Otori clan trilogy (there is a prequel, which I love, and a sequel, which I don’t like). Lord Otori Takeo is denying his peaceful upbringing and fleeing his genetic inheritance of supernatural skills as an assassin – and he is fighting for his rights as the adopted son of the Otori clan.
Between them, Takeo and the love of his life, Lady Shirakawa Kaede, can bring peace to the three countries. But the enemies arrayed against them include the corrupt Otori lords who stole their place twenty years earlier; the newly-risen lord who once saved Lady Shirakawa’s life; and the Tribe, who have bent all their supernatural skill on seeing Takeo killed for his defiance of their demands.
It is a climactic end to the trilogy, and ultimately it is as painful and beautiful as all the rest. Do yourself a favour and read the prequel and the trilogy. They’re just brilliant.
Free sample (when Takeo comes across the aftermath of a massacre by members of the Tribe; only a boy is left alive):
‘What happened?’ I said.
His teeth were chattering but he tried to speak normally, his voice coming out louder than he’d intended. ‘Two men came through the roof. They strangled Kitano and Tsuruta. Someone else slashed the tethers and panicked the horses. My father ran after them, and when he came back inside the men cut him open with their knives.’
He fought back the sob. ‘I thought they’d gone,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t see them! They came out of the air and cut him open.’
‘Where were you?’
‘I was in the storeroom. I hid. I’m ashamed. I should have killed them!’
Rating: M/MA for sex, violence, and violent sex (never gratuitous, but it’s there)