Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river -- and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy -- the Prince Chagum -- on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince's own father.
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, translated by Cathy Hirano, is the first of the Moribito series, consisting of ten books, to become available in the United States. Since their release in Japan, the books have sold millions of copies and won widespread praise. It is currently being adapted for a major television series. After a chance encounter with Chagum, the Second Prince of New Yogo, Balsa, a legendary female bodyguard, finds herself responsible for his life. This proves to be the greatest challenge Balsa has yet to face, as the prince's life is threatened by his own father, the Mikado, and his pack of vicious hunters. Roaming the Japanese countryside in search of safety, Balsa and Chagum gather bits and pieces of disturbing history and legend as they come to learn more about the demon within the prince and the Mikado's sinister plan to destroy it. Full of stylish action, Moribito will quickly entrance fans of manga and Japanese martial arts. The violence is mild, and Uehashi delivers her tale in a vocabulary appropriate for younger and older readers alike. Reviewer: Jordin Brown