Since childhood, Hattori Mariko has always been regarded as a bit odd: too curious, too inventive for a girl of her high station. But even oddness can’t protect her from fate. As she travels by litter from her parents’ home towards the imperial city of Inako, she feels no different from any other well-born young woman, being forced into a marriage not of her choosing. Far away in Inako, in the enchanted precincts of Heian Castle, her betrothed waits: Minamoto Raiden, son of the emperor himself. But between the Hattori lands and Inako lies Jukai Forest, the haunt of ghosts, spirits and desperate men. And Mariko’s entourage, having entered the Forest, will never emerge.