I was born in England and emigrated to Australia. I think the main influences on my writing were my teenage years and studying modern languages (French and Spanish) at Oxford. I love languages and words: to learn a foreign language is to enter into a love affair with a country and its culture. It is to become a different person and begin to think in a different way. Coming to Australia brought me closer to Japan, a country I had been interested in for many years. Australia has many links with Japan, and is in the same time zone, though a different hemisphere. Being an Australian means being between West and East and living in a society that has formed itself out of many different and contradictory elements. I identify with this.
Set in a brutal and breathtaking feudal Japan, this lyrical and moving prequel to Hearn's Tales of the Otori and also the fifth and final entry in this epic chronicle of ruthless warlords and ill-fated love (after 2006's The Harsh Cry of the Heron), focuses on the early life of Otori Shigeru, the young heir to the Otori clan. Raised in a strictly hierarchical society that reveres loyalty and honor, the adolescent Shigeru witnesses firsthand how treachery and duplicity play an integral role in the deaths of thousands of Otori warriors, the bloody annihilation of his family and, inevitably, his complete and utter degradation. As a dispossessed heir, Shigeru finds strength and retributive inspiration in the teachings of his former mentor, warrior-monk Matsuda Shingen, and in his illicit relationship with the resourceful Lady Maruyama, whose life has also been devastated by the Tohan. Equal parts historical fiction, high fantasy and revelatory Taoist fable, the now complete Tales of the Otori is a saga to be treasured. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.