My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Risuko....
Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan -- or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.
Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.
Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers
Season of the Sword #1
Can one girl win a war?
Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn't possible have the power to change the outcome.
Or could she?
Kunoichi Companion Tales
David Kudler, author of Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, has released "White Robes," the first story in a series of prequels to his upcoming teen historical novel novel. The Kunoichi Companion Tales introduce characters and themes from the Seasons of the Sword novels, and are currently available exclusively to Risuko subscribers. To read the story, subscribe now.
"White Robes" introduces Lady Mochizuke Chiyome, a recent war widow who is mired in grief. She has become tired of mourning, tired of wearing the white robes that are the traditional Japanese garb of the grieving. On the road, she encounters two young women who open her eyes to a whole new purpose in life — and a new way to end Japan's century-old civil war.
There are six planned stories:
- White Robes — Mired in her own grief, Lady Mochizuki Chiyome encounters two young women who give her a whole new, much more interesting opportunity
- Silk & Service — A young Takeda warrior meets a servant who is much more than she seems
- Ghost — When Lady Chiyome receives a note from the shōgun, she finds that the messenger is much more intriguing than the message
- Shining Boy — Plucked off of the streets of the capital, an orphan girl tries to figure out what story she's wandered into
- Blade — Toumi doesn't want anyone messing with her business
- Little Brother — Returning to the monastery turns out to be as hard as leaving it was
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News from the Full Moon
I’ve always been a writer. But for most of my life, I have also been an actor. As a matter of fact for many years, I was a classically trained professional stage and screen performer.
That meant I had to learn how to use a sword.
I took classes in stage combat, but I also joined my college fencing club, picking up the saber (which was the closest thing to the kind of sword fighting I had already learned as an actor).* Continue reading Twelfth Night: Training Kunoichi, Pt. 2
Anyone who’s read Jim Butcher’s books knows he loves his mashups. His Dresden Files combines a classic gumshoe-detective tone with elements and tropes from every type of fantasy fiction and mythology you can think of. His Codex Alera novels were inspired when he was challenged to write a mind-bending combination of prompts: the Roman Empire and Pokemon.
The Aeronaut’s Windlass, the fun first novel in Butcher’s new Cinder Spires series, is yet another mashup: a rollicking nautical(ish) tale in the tradition of C.S Forester’s Horatio Hornblower set in a Steampunk world where steel rots and electricity doesn’t seem to exist but the ability to use a quasi-magical substance/force called aether allows for interesting takes on familiar technology, and in which the planet’s surface is barely habitable, leaving humanity confined to spires — enormous, nation-sized towers built in the distant past. Continue reading Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Twelfth Night and Kunoichi
I spent last night training a kunoichi.
My wife Maura is directing a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at her school. As often happens, I’m helping out, working with the actors on the language and teaching them combat. It’s fun to break out the scansion and fencing I learned as a young actor.
The students enjoy it too — though I’ll admit they prefer the sword fighting to the verse. Continue reading On Training Kunoichi
Thanks so much to all of you who helped me complete my 2017 SAG Awards ballot! It was a lot of fun — and very interesting to see what choices you made (and where they did and didn’t agree with mine).
I’ve compiled the list of the winners here. In the single case of a tie, I gave myself an extra vote. Shh!
This was a ballot I was very pleased to be able to cast:
And the winner is…
Waiting for next Seasons of the Sword book? Author David Kudler just shared this sneak preview from the next exciting installment in Risuko’s adventures:
Bright Eyes Sneak Peek: The Cave
I love to climb.
I suppose that’s a silly thing for me to say, at this point. Of course I love to climb. Still—it’s true. It’s always been true. That earliest memory—of my mother weeping with my sister in her arms: I see it from above. Even though we had just moved into the tiny house, even though I was just four years old, I had already found my way up into the rickety rafters. I had always felt more at home up in the air than on the ground. Safer.
There was a reason that my mother came to call me Squirrel.
Yet as I stared at that sheer rock face from within the confines of the Full Moon, I must admit that I was nervous. Afraid.
Toumi snorted as she and Emi shouldered past me, bows and quivers over their shoulders. “Scared, Mouse-chan?”
I shook my head. But we both knew it wasn’t true.
Emi smiled as they walked out the gate. I think she meant it as reassurance. It felt as if she were consoling me: It’s been nice knowing you, Murasaki.