Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
Translated from Japanese, Moribito tells the adventures of Balsa, a woman warrior sworn to save eight lives, as she guards the Second Prince, Chagum. Several attempts have been made on the prince's life, and his mother fears that it is his father who wants him dead. Balsa takes Chagum away with her to the mountains in an attempt to hide him. On the way, she discovers that Chagum is the Moribito, the one who hosts the egg of the water spirit and must take the egg to the sea. Not only does Balsa need to protect him from assassins, she must also protect him from Rarunga, the giant spider-like creature that wants to eat the egg. If they fail, the land will face a terrible drought and famine.
What a fantastic story! Truly unique in the blend of Japanese folklore with an action/adventure story. At first the thought of Chagum being the host to the Water Spirt's egg seemed too gross, but the description in the story helped lower the ick factor. I can recommend this book for those looking for lots of action/battles. B- rating.