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A Thousand Miles of Wind, the Sky at Dawn, 風の万里 黎明の空, Kaze no Banri, Reimei no Sora is the fourth novel in The Twelve Kingdoms fantasy series written by Fuyumi Ono. The Japanese edition split the novel into two volumes. TokyoPop reunited both halves into a single English-language volume titled The Twelve Kingdoms: Skies of Dawn, published in March 2010.
The book focuses on three main characters: Youko, Suzu, and Shoukei. Youko struggles to fight corruption as the newly crowned queen of Kei, while Suzu and Shoukei overcome their own personal demons before meeting Youko and aiding her cause. The first volume consists of chapters 1-9, while the second volume comprises chapters 10-21. The epilogue, From The Chronicles of Kei, The Annals of the Red Child, summarizes the events of the book.
The novel was adapted as the third arc of the anime series, consisting of episodes 23-39. An English version of the adaption was released by Media Blasters as the largest portion of The Twelve Kingdoms, Premium Collection Two.
Plot introduction[edit | edit source]
After a year of depending on her ministers to govern the kingdom of Kei, Yoko follows Keiki's advice and descends the mountain to live among her people, eager to learn how to be a better leader from the village's wise-man, Enho. However, when Enho is kidnapped, Yoko finds herself thrust into an all-out war between the kingdoms. Friendships and alliances are put to the test during the Battle of Wa Province. Can Yoko summon the strength to take up her responsibilities as king?
Overview[edit | edit source]
The recently crowned ruler of Kei, Youko Nakajima, has grave doubts about her own suitability to rule. She is surrounded by advisors who bicker among themselves and offer contradictory advice. The only advisor she trusts is the kirin Keiki, and she is unsure whether listening to advice from the softhearted kirin is a good idea. Desperate to learn enough about her kingdom to rule wisely, Youko is sent by Keiki to study with a wise teacher named Enho. When Enho is abducted, Youko seeks to solve the mystery of his capture, only to discover that the corruption in her kingdom runs much deeper than she ever imagined.
Suzu Oki, a Japanese girl who was swept away into the Twelve Kingdoms, lives a life of misery serving the cruel mistress Lady Riyo. When she is ordered to climb down a cliff to fetch the kankin plant, she decides that she must run away. She beseeches the help of the queen of Sai, only to be told that she must go elsewhere to seek her destiny. Having learned that like Suzu, Youko is from Japan, Suzu journeys to Kei. On her way, she meets a curious near-sighted boy named Seishuu. Suzu tells him that if they go to Kei, the queen will restore his vision. However, when they arrive, Seishuu dies when Shisui lord Shoukou drives his carriage over him. When she seeks justice, she discovers that the local townspeople have little appetite for defying Shoukou's will. On the edge of despair, she discovers that there are others who are willing to fight Shoukou, if only they can be convinced that the time is ripe for revolution.
Shoukei is a pampered princess of the Kingdom of Hou. Her idealistic father is killed after being tricked by his scheming wife into executing her harmless rivals, and Shoukei is forced to live secretly as a peasant. When the other peasants discover who she really is, she flees the kingdom. Forced into servitude under the queen of Kyou, Shoukei decides that her only recourse is to steal the queen's jewelry, sell it, and use the money to make her way to Kei, where she will supplant Youko, who Shoukei believes is unworthy. On her journey, she meets the hanjyuu Rakushun, whom she attempts to blame for her thievery. When Rakushun forgives her, and she discovers that he is Youko's friend, she realizes that her disdain for Youko is misplaced. When she arrives in Kei, she witnesses a crucifixion ordered by Wa lord Gahou. Only then does she realize that her calling is to correct mistakes like those made by her father. After intervening, she finds that there are others who will help her, but only she can unravel the secret of who is undermining Youko's rule.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Anime[edit | edit source]
Plot Differences[edit | edit source]
The anime adaptation utilizes the character Ikuya Asano in addition to the characters from the book. Asano travels by boat with Suzu and Seishuu, is enlisted by Shoukou, and has several encounters with his former friend Youko Nakajima. He has possession of a pistol, which he claims he found in the interim since he fell over a cliff in The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow.
Shoukou, the prefect of Shisui, is given additional scenes. He questions why the gods have not seen fit to punish his misdeeds and he asserts that he plans to continue defying the heavens as long as he can. Youko reveals her true identity to him at point when no one else in Wa knows who she really is.
Packaging[edit | edit source]
The anime adaptation of the book can be obtained by buying either The Twelve Kingdoms, Premium Collection Two or by purchasing disks 6, 7, 8, and 9 individually. Collection Two refers to the book as A Great Distance in the Wind, the Sky at Dawn,  and it also encompasses The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas.
Reviews[edit | edit source]
Reviews were generally positive, and reviewers particularly praised the story's character development. Chris Beveridge comments that "Twelve Kingdoms continues to be one of the most richly detailed worlds that I've seen animated and with fascinating characters that are all leading vastly different lives with different experiences."  Theron Martin says that "The extensive attention to character development which has been a hallmark of the series continues." 
Conversely, TokyoPop's initial English edition of the novel has been widely criticized for editing errors that included the omission of one chapter and the presence of mojibake. It is unknown whether these errors will be corrected in later reprints. The paperback edition corrects some errors, such as the mojibake, and includes the omitted chapter, though other editing errors are still present.