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Trim: 6 x 9 ISBN: 978-1-4215-2775-8
When her brother Hiroki disappears after a violent altercation with school bullies, Yuriko finds a magical book in his room. The book leads her to another world where she learns that Hiroki has been possessed by a spirit from The Book of Heroes, and that every story ever told has some truth to it and some horrible lie. With the help of the monk Sky, the dictionary-turned-mouse Aju, and the mysterious Man of Ash, Yuriko has to piece together the mystery of her vanished brother and save the world from the evil King in Yellow.
Miyuki Miyabe's first novel was published in 1987, and since that time she has become one of Japan's most popular and best-selling authors. Miyabe's 2007 novel Brave Story won The Batchelder Award for best children's book in translation from the American Library Association. The Book of Heroes is her sixth novel to be translated into English.
Ash stroked his pointed chin with his fingers, and his half-lidded eyes slowly turned to U-ri. “Best not to give that girl Michiru a false sense of hope. There is no guarantee we can bring Hiroki back.”
U-ri felt her hackles rise. “What do you mean we can’t bring him back?”
“Maybe not in the way that Michiru hopes, at least. He has become the vessel, after all.”
It sounded like he was declaring that Hiroki Morisaki would never again return to his old life. U-ri swallowed the cold fear she felt rising in her throat. “So we can’t even find him?”
“That I do not know. It’s mostly up to you.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because I’ve been around.” Ash turned to Sky. “You there.” His tone was cold, accusatory. Sky tensed. “Why did you accompany U-ri?”
U-ri stepped between Ash and the devout. She felt like she had to protect her servant, though she wasn’t sure why. “Look, when The Hero broke free of its prison the Hollow Book was damaged.” U-ri quickly began to explain all that had happened in the Dome of Convocation–mixing her own thoughts with what the Archdevout had told her. Ash listened without blinking. It was less like he was actually listening and more like he was simply letting U-ri explain herself into exhaustion. When she paused, he looked again at Sky.
“I asked you, not her,” he said. “I want to know what you think.”
U-ri glanced sidelong at Sky. He looked confused. When he began to speak, he did so shakily.
“I am…a nameless devout. I waited in the nameless land for Lady U-ri to arrive. I…wanted to see the world beyond. I wanted to join her. That is why I was cast from the nameless land–”
“That’s enough,” Ash grunted, cutting him off.