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FSG Originals Presents

The Tale of Shikanoko by Lian Hearn
Author of The Tales of the Otori


Emperor of the Eight Islands

Book 1 of 4 (April 2016)

An ambitious warlord leaves his nephew for dead and seizes his lands…
A stubborn father forces his younger son to give up his wife to his older brother…
A seductive woman of the Old People seeks five fathers for her five children…
A powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne…
These are the threads of an intricate tapestry in which the laws of destiny play out against a backdrop of wild forest, elegant court, and savage battlefield. Set in a mythical medieval Japan inhabited by warriors and assassins, ghosts and guardian spirits, The Emperor of Eight Islandsis a brilliantly imagined novel, full of drama and intrigue—and it is just the beginning of an enthralling, epic adventure: The Tale of Shikanoko.


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Praise for
The Tales of the Otori

[Lian Hearn’s writing is] part Shogun, part Lord of the Rings, and entirely enchanting.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

We find ourselves again transported to a medieval Japan of the imagination: a harsh land ruled by local warlords, an essentially static social order in which family ties bind tightly, a culture that mixes great refinement with unspeakable brutality . . . Deliciously readable.

—The New York Times Book Review

[Lian Hearn writes] tales for a reader who likes well-plotted adventure and has a taste for scenes of violent cruelty interspersed with scenes of calm decorum. . . . A high class voyage to long ago and far away.

—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian (UK)

More from The Tale of Shikanoko

Set in a mythical medieval Japan inhabited by warriors and assassins, ghosts and guardian spirits, Lian Hearn's The Tale of Shikanoko is an enthralling, epic adventure full of drama and intrigue.


Autumn Princess, Dragon Child
The Tale of Shikanoko (Book 2 of 4 - June 2016)

In the second book of Lian Hearn's four-volume epic of mythical, medieval Japan, Shikanoko must rise to new and unexpected challenges as the story builds to a startling, heartbreaking showdown..


Lord of the Darkwood
The Tale of Shikanoko (Book 3 of 4 - August 2016

In the first two volumes, Shikanoko has achieved great triumph and faced great tragedy. Now, he and those around him must face the consequences of both, including the rise of the Spider Tribe.


The Tengu's Game of Go
The Tale of Shikanoko (Book 4 of 4 - Sept 2016)

In the final volume of The Tale of the Shikanoko, all the epic's many battles—personal and political, martial and magical—come to a thrilling climax as destiny determines the fate of the Lotus Throne.

Explore the World of Shikanoko

The Work Behind Shikanoko

Photos from Lian Hearn's Research

About the Author

Lian Hearn is the pseudonym of a writer—born in England, educated at Oxford, currently living in Australia—who has a lifelong interest in Japan, has lived there, and studies Japanese. She is the author of the bestselling series Tales of the Otori.



International Editions

The Tale of Shikanoko is published in Australia by Hachette and in the UK by Picador.



For media review copies or interview requests, contact Alyson Sinclair, Publicist at aly[at]
Librarians and booksellers, contact fsg.publicity[at] for review copies or request an e-galley via NetGalley.


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