This is book number 1 in the The Tale of Shikanoko series series.
Welcome to ancient Japan, a place of history and of folklore, where tengu haunt the mountain forests and intrigue haunts the capital. The ambitions of sorcerers vie with the politics of rule and succession, and children are so many pawns in the hands of adults—until they form their own plans. This beginning to an original, magical, historical series will sweep you away. A new folktale whose next installment you can read later this year.— Jocelyn
In the opening pages of the action-packed Book One of Lian Hearn's epic Tale of Shikanoko series, a future lord is dispossessed of his birthright by a scheming uncle, a mountain sorcerer imbues a mask with the spirit of a great stag for a lost young man, a stubborn father forces his son to give up his wife to his older brother, and a powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne, the child who is the rightful heir to the emperor barely escaping the capital in the arms of his sister. And that is just the beginning.
As destiny weaves its rich tapestry, a compelling drama plays out against a background of wild forests, elegant castles, hidden temples, and savage battlefields. This is the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, where animal spirits clash with warriors and children navigate a landscape as serene as it is deadly.
The Tale of Shikanoko
Book One: Emperor of the Eight Islands
Book Two: Autumn Princess, Dragon Child
Book Three: Lord of the Darkwood
Book Four: The Tengu's Game of Go
“[Emperor of the Eight Islands is] a thrilling, fast-paced fantasy with plot twists, political intrigue, romance, and a richly detailed setting that will appeal to a variety of readers, especially those with an interest in Japanese mythology and otherworldly influences."—Karin Thogersen, Library Journal
"Hearn’s new series is off to an exciting and promising start.” —Kristine Huntley, ALA Booklist
"Hearn begins her new series, The Tale of Shikanoko, by introducing the primary characters while setting up conflicts and relationships that will evolve in the three volumes to follow, all to be published this year . . . he fluid prose and morally ambiguous characters are magically seductive." —Kirkus Reviews
"With meticulous attention to detail for the period, along with a bone-deep appreciation of Japanese culture, Hearn's homage to those masterpieces is as close as we're going to get for the moment and tremendously entertaining in its own right. 'The Tale Of Shikanoko' has romance, intrigue, fantasy, passion, betrayal, sacrifice and the old-fashioned pleasure of truly having no idea what will happen next. Now where the heck are Volumes 3 and 4?” —Michael Giltz, BookFilter