'The pseudonymous Hearn's second thrilling installment of her Tales of the Otori trilogy (after 2002's Across the Nightingale Floor) is once again set in a magic-haunted version of medieval Japan where no one wields unchallenged authority and no one is safe. The swirl of treacherous, shifting clan alliances threatens to overwhelm young lovers and aristocrats Takeo and Kaede. Separated throughout most of the action, the two must develop their talents while trying to maintain their integrity. Takeo possesses superhuman gifts such as the ability to become invisible, project a double image of himself and hear distant conversations; however, he must discipline his skills and control his impetuous temper. He also must work out his relationship with the Tribe, a treacherous secret organization of spies and assassins that saved his life but that may have murdered his father. Kaede, meanwhile, has to escape the powerless role of a woman if she is to protect herself and her family domain from predatory neighbors'.
Source: bookseller's website.
Peace comes at the price of bloodshed-five battles will buy you peace, four to win and one to lose. At the temple of Terayama, the words of the blind sage's prophecy continue to haunt Takeo as he readies his armies for battle. Determined to avenge Shigeru's death and claim his rightful inheritance, Takeo and Kaede, together with Takeo's forces; fight their way to the domain of Maruyama. But then they must separate. Takeo makes plans for a battle by the sea, and Kaede returns to her family's home at Shirakawa. Will they see each other again?
Source: Publisher website panmacmillan.com (Sighted: 12/01/10)
'Thanks to his enlightened leadership, 15 years of peace and prosperity have passed since Otori Takeo united the Three Countries, but his enemies continue to plot their revenge—including the Tribe, a ninja-like group of assassins, and the duplicitous Lord Zenko, one of Takeo's retainers. Perhaps the greatest threat, however, is the prophecy of a holy woman that Takeo will die only at his son's hand; his only son, an unacknowledged bastard, is being raised by his sworn enemy Kikuta Akio, the head of a Tribe family. With his beautiful (and legitimate) daughter and heir Shigeko by his side, Takeo must navigate these treacherous shoals to save his lands and his legacy from destruction'. (Publisher's blurb)
''It was as if they were pieces on a board which had been kicked over, each scattered in the dirt and alone.'
'Orphaned or left fatherless: such is the fate of many children of the Otori and the Tribe. Sunaomi and Chikara, sons of Arai Zenko, also carry the burden of their father's treachery, but their aunt, Kaede, is able to save their lives on condition they become novice monks and never leave the temple at Terayama.
'Sunaomi has been brought up as a warrior, yet his grandmother is Muto Shizuka. He cannot escape that he is also a child of the Tribe. As he discovers unimagined talents within himself he comes up against Hisao, Takeo's son, the ghostmaster, as well as Saga Hideki, the most powerful warlord in the realm, the Emperor's General.
'Taking place in the magical medieval world of Tales of the Otori and following on from The Harsh Cry of the Heron, Orphan Warriors is a coming-of-age adventure story in a human world of courage and sacrifice behind which always hovers a supernatural world of danger and dread.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.