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If you like Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori series) by Lian Hearn

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

The first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn is Across the Nightingale Floor: Set in an imaginary, ancient Japanese society dominated by warring clans, Across the Nightingale Floor is a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry-and the intensity of first love. In a culture ruled by codes of honor and formal rituals, Takeo must look inside himself to discover the powers that will enable him to fulfill his destiny.

If you enjoyed this series' attention to historical detail and Southeast Asian-themed setting, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

The Chinese Bell Murders by Robert Van Gulik
In the spirit of ancient Chinese detective novels, Judge Dee is challenged by three cases. First, he must solve the mysterious murder of Pure Jade, a young girl living on Half Moon Street. All the evidence points to the guilt of her lover, but Judge Dee has his doubts. Dee also solves the mystery of a deserted temple and that of a group of monks' terrific success with a cure for barren women. (amazon.com)

 

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
A fictional portrait of the last empress of China follows Orchid, a beautiful teenager from an aristocratic family, who is chosen to become a low-ranking concubine of the emperor and rises to a position of power in the Chinese court. (worldcat.org)


 

The First Samurai: the Life and Legend of the Warrior Rebel, Taira Masakado by Karl F. Friday
Was samurai warrior Taira Masakado a quixotic megalomaniac or a hero swept up by events beyond his control? Did he really declare himself to be the "New Emperor"? Did he suffer divine retribution for his ego and ambition? (publisher description)

 

 

Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden
Chronicles the rise to power of Genghis Khan, one of the world's most powerful and fearsome rulers, from his tragic beginnings, to the murder of his father, to his legendary exploits as a feared warrior who conquered much of the known world. (worldcat.org)

 

 

The Samurai by Shusaku Endo
One of the late Shusaku Endo’s finest works, The Samurai tells of the journey of some of the first Japanese to set foot on European soil and the resulting clash of cultures and politics. (amazon.com)

 


 

Shogun by James Clavell
In medieval Japan, a beautiful woman is torn between two ways of life when she meets an English adventurer. (worldcat.org)

 


 

The Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson
Lady Asano vows to avenge the forced suicide execution of her father and restore his name to honor. To do so she will have to travel the Tokaido Road. (worldcat.org)

The Way of the Traitor by Laura Joh Rowland
In 1690 Nagasaki, the body of a Dutch trader washes up on the coast where foreign "barbarians" are lodged and guarded. Japan's preeminent detective-samurai, Sano Ichiro, risks his honor and his life to find the killer. (worldcat.org)

 

 

In addition to the novels listed above, you may be interested in the following film:

Ran by Akira Kurosawa
An aging warlord decides to split his kingdom between his three sons, who will live in three separate castles. The two eldest sons are quite happy, but the youngest thinks his father has gone mad, and predicts that it won't be long until the two older brothers are fighting with each other. (catalog description)