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Lian Hearn Books In Order

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Publication Order of Tales of the Otori Books

Across the Nightingale Floor (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grass for His Pillow (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brilliance of the Moon (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Harsh Cry of the Heron (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Scars of Victory (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heaven's Net Is Wide (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
His Kikuta Hands (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Grass For His Pillow Books

Lord Fujiwara's Treasures (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Way Through The Snow (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Children of the Otori Books

Orphan Warriors (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sibling Assassins (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Tale of Shikanoko Books

The Emperor of the Eight Islands (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Autumn Princess, Dragon Child (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lord of the Darkwood (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tengu's Game of Go (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Blossoms and Shadows (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Storyteller and his Three Daughters (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Hath No Fury(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Knaves(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brigands: A Blackguards Anthology(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Lian Hearn is an Australian author that writes fiction with Asian themes. Lian went to Oxford University where she studied modern languages. The author got to work as a film critic for a while, and then an art director before her writing career took off.


Lian Hearn loves Japan. After learning French and Spanish, she made Japanese her next target for conquest. At first, it was merely a means of satiating a lifelong curiosity for Japan that she had held.

But then the many trips she took to Japan drove her to write the ‘Tales of the Otori’ Trilogy for which she is best known.

Lian was born in England, though she eventually moved to Australia and typically identifies as an Australian. She loved telling stories even as a child. There was always a grand saga playing out in her head.

The activity kept boredom at bay for the author, especially when she was at school. Reading and writing came naturally to her. Lian’s father loved to read, and the pair of them had a blast making up short stories and poems.

Lian believes she had all the encouragement she might have needed to nurture a love for the written word. Once the stories grew too big for her head, she told them to her friends and even talked them into dramatizing them, though the consequences were not always positive.

Lian Hearn’s curiosity about the Japanese and their culture can be traced back to her days moving back and forth between England and Nigeria. Even though she was born in Europe, circumstances drove Lian’s parents to move to Africa.

As a result, she had to attend boarding school in England. But she was permitted to visit her parents in Africa during the holidays. The experience brought her into contact with people that spoke a multitude of languages.

It gave Lian a new appreciation for language. And once she finished her studies at Oxford, she realized that learning Japanese would bring her as close to the Japanese culture as she was ever going to get.

Her big break came in 1999 when an Australian Foundation called Asialink granted her a fellowship through which she would spend three months in Japan. Asialink purposes to encourage cultural and artistic exchanges between Australia and Asia.

It was a dream come true for Lian Hearn who got to visit museums and old temples, watch movies and get immersed in the Japanese art scene. Lian did not set out to research Japan.

She merely walked endlessly through rural Japan drinking in its people and histories. And by the time she was done, she was so heavily steeped in Japanese lore that the story of Otori practically wrote itself.

People have compared the Otori books to the Arthurian legend but Lian Hearn was not conscious of these similarities when she wrote the series. Most of Lian’s books deal with themes of love, honor, betrayal, and family.

She also tackles death and revenge. The author’s characters live in an era where their actions and prospects in life are decided for them by society. Lian’s stories try to explore how these characters react to that coercion and whether they fall in line or rebel.

The author doesn’t set out to write about good and evil. Her books are about people making choices. Sometimes those choices are good. Sometimes they’re bad. Lian’s books are typically situated within a fantasy setting because it gives her more freedom.

However, the author makes it a point to preserve the Japanese culture around which all her stories resolve.

Lian loves to write fiction because it allows her to create entirely new worlds and fill them with people that might never exist. However, she also endeavors to inject a sense of realism into the picture.

The author’s ideas never get so fantastical that readers struggle to relate to them.

It is worth pointing out that Lian Hearn is a pseudonym for Gillian Rubinstein.

Lian is a relatively isolated writer. She isn’t one for writing groups or even beta readers. Rather, she gets most of her writing done in secret.

She doesn’t like showing her drafts to anyone until they are completed. In fact, she won’t even talk about the projects she has in the works. People never realize that she has anything in progress until she is done.

The approach has its pros and cons. Lian definitely appreciates the fact that her voice always shines strongly in her work because it hasn’t been tempered by the opinions and thoughts of others.

On the other hand, Lian admits that her abilities would definitely benefit from the criticisms of other writers. But even if Lian wanted to engage with writers groups, she doesn’t believe she would fit anywhere.

The author’s books are described as science fiction and fantasy but Lian Hearn doesn’t believe they qualify to be categorized in those genres.

+Across the Nightingale Floor

Iida Sadamu is proud of his famous nightingale floor, a famous work that sings at the touch of a human foot. The floor is the perfect defense for the warlord in his fortress at Inuyama because no assassin can cross it without being heard.

And that is the hurdle awaiting Takeo.

Takeo was a young man living in the mountains with a reclusive tribe who sought peace above all else. He had no idea that his father was a celebrated assassin and that he would be forced to follow the same path.

When Takeo’s village is pillaged and he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru, the young man must learn a new set of preternatural skills before embarking on a journey across the nightingale floor.

+Grass for His Pillow

Takeo’s village was pillaged and his people slain. Left an orphan, he was adopted into a tribe that forced him to work as an assassin, a role that his father previously fulfilled but which he gave his life to escape.

Takeo’s hope for a brighter future now lies with Shirakawa Kaede. Heir to the Murayama, Kaede has never felt so alone. She has a domain that she must unite, this as new suitors begin to vie for her attention.

Kaede wants to hope that Takeo will return to her. But that hope is fading.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Lian Hearn

One Response to “Lian Hearn”

  1. Ann White: 4 years ago

    Children of the Otori series out now 🙂
    Orphan Warriors and Siblings Assasins


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