In the ancient lands of the Otori, in a time of war and famine, the fate of the young lovers Otori Takeo and Shirakawa Kaede hangs in the balance.
Takeo, heir to the great Otori clan, has pledged his life to the secret Tribe. To follow their brutal directions and become their most deadly assassin he must deny the spiritual vows of his peaceful upbringing, his birthright of wealth, land and power - and his love for Kaede. If he turns his back on the Tribe they will kill him. Forced to take a path that leads him to extreme danger Takeo grows from boy to man.
Kaede, heiress to vast lands, is now the valuable pawn of ruthless warlords. She must use her intelligence, beauty and cunning to assert her place in a world of all-powerful men - who must never suspect the dangerous secret she hides.