Riverhead, Aug 2003, 24.95, 292 pp.
Following his killing of the malevolent Lord Lida, Takeo feels ambivalent towards the Tribe who saved his life, but killed his adopted father even while he struggles to learn how to master his extraordinary powers. Takeo decides to learn more about the enigmatic Tribe of assassins in lieu of accepting his deceased adopted father's crown. However, Takeo quickly realizes the way of the Tribe is not for him because being a hitman goes against his nature, but one does not just retire from the Tribe so he must find a way to leave.
Princess Kaede waits for her beloved Takeo to return to her, but does so in her homeland of Maruyama. She learns that her father has lost much of his power and land. Knowing that war is imminent anyway to fill the Lida void, Kaede plans to restore her family to its previous level of strength.
The second Tales of the Otori fantasy is an exciting novel that has a middle feel to it so that the audience will be better suited starting with the prequel. Still, Takeo is a fabulous individual struggling with powers and finding a place in a sword and sorcery society that seems on the brink of destruction. Kaede takes more center stage this time while she waits for her beloved to return to her, she does not sit idly on the sidelines, but instead assertively takes charge of the family restoration. In spite of the “book two trilogy syndrome”, GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW is a solid tale that the audience will appreciate as the viaduct to what looks like will be a tremendous climax.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner