11 July 2014

Alternating viewpoints between a young man saved from a village massacre and a young woman held captive within the land of her family's enemy, Across the Nightingale Floor is an epic and absorbing novel set in Japan. Combining mystery, politics, and love, this is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to, and easily makes my own "best of" list. Both narrators are intense and representative of the culture and time, and easily swept me up into this fictional fantasy world.

Takeo has only known the life of the Hidden, a cloistered community who follow a spiritual and peaceful path. When a warlord decides to brutally massacre this community, Takeo's narrow escape directs him into the path of Lord Otori, who chooses to save and adopt him. Takeo soon learns that his own mystical talents evolve as he grows up as Lord Otori's son, and finds that he has more to offer his adoptive land than simple dedication and loyalty.

I loved everything about this story, and both narrators excellently grasped the beautiful lilt and pacing I would anticipate for a story set in feudal Japan, for both Takeo and Kaede, the prisoner in the evil warlord's land. Since it's a trilogy, I already have the next installments in my Audible wishlist, and I'm ready to dive in.

Click here to listen to a sample. This story or narration may not be for everyone, but I would argue that if you're looking for something different and want to listen to a beautifully told tale of adventure, love, politics, and mystery, this might be just the story for you.

FTC Disclosure: I purchased this book on the audiobook website, Audible.com

Publisher: HighBridge Company
Release Date: 9/12/03
Audio Time: 8 hours, 25 minutes
Narrators: Kevin Gray, Aiko Nakasone

About the Author (from Bookbrowse.com)
Writing under the pseudonym of Lian Hearn, Gillian Rubenstein is a well-known Australian writer of children's stories. Born in England, Hearn grew up in both Nigeria and an English village and boarding school. She studied languages at Oxford University, travelled in Europe and worked in London, as editor, freelance journalist, script assessor and film critic. She emigrated to Australia in 1973, and came to live in South Australia in 1981.Rubinstein has had a long-standing interest in Asia and returned to Japan in 1999 on a residency to work on what would become The Otori Trilogy.

Visit the author:
About the Narrators
Kevin Gray skillfully voiced Takeo, and in my attempts to research more about him, learned that he unexpectedly passed at the age of 55 just last year. Also starring in the title role on Broadway for The Phantom of the Opera, his untimely death was felt throughout the artistic community. 

Aiko Nakasone is an accomplished stage actress. She was also part of the original cast of RENT, and even had a small part in Meet the Parents, which was sadly edited from the final film. Her audio credits most notably are represented through The Tales of the Otori Trilogy.