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Risuko Sneak Peek: Chapter 11 — Full Moon

11 — The Full Moon

Risuko survives another battle, and Lady Chiyome’s party finally arrives at its destination. But why are Lt. Masugu’s troops so uncomfortable?

The battle, if that’s what it was, didn’t last very long.

Quickly, the sound diminished to almost nothing. There was still some shouting, but it was growing more and more distant.

I snuck carefully out of my hiding place and made my way downhill toward where I knew the road must be.

It was not quite the scene of carnage that had met us that morning when we had first met Masugu-san and his soldiers. There were three dead men I assumed were part of the bandit gang. They’d been piled by the side of the road. There was also one dead horse, and one of the lancers was growling in pain as one of his comrades pulled an arrow through his thigh.

Most of the rest of the Takeda soldiers were missing. Aside from the wounded man and his nurse, only Masugu was there. Lady Chiyome and Mieko were talking with him. Mieko held an arrow in her hand. Continue reading Risuko Sneak Peek: Chapter 11 — Full Moon

New Year Excitement! Risuko — Chapter 10: Dark Letter

Akemashite omedeto gozai masu! (That is, Happy New Year!)

We’ve got an exciting new chapter of Risuko to start the year off with a bang. In 10 — Dark Letter, Risuko and Toumi stray from the trail and discover far more excitement than they’d bargained for. 

 10 — Dark Letter

We spent the night at a small Takeda fort guarding a rocky, barren place called, for some reason, Rice-Paddy Pass, which marked the border between Worth and Dark Letter Provinces. We were so high that there weren’t any trees. I felt naked. The air was dry and cold, we were exhausted, and the soldiers manning the garrison were edgy, as if waiting for an attack, though how — or why — an army would march so far and high I couldn’t imagine. Perhaps they were frightened of ogres.

The next morning, everybody—even Mieko—looked as grumpy as I felt.

Lady Chiyome shouted to rouse us. “Let’s go! I want to be back at the Full Moon by mid-day so that I can take a real bath and eat real food.”

As it turned out, Mochizuki was down in the valley below Rice-Paddy Pass. We began to descend, and for the first time in days I grasped the mane of Inazuna, Masugu’s stallion.

“Easy,” murmured Masugu—I think more for the horse’s sake than mine. To me, he said, “I thought you liked heights?” Continue reading New Year Excitement! Risuko — Chapter 10: Dark Letter

Sneak Peak! Risuko — Chapter 9: Worth

9 — Worth

As Risuko, Masugu, and the rest of Lady Chiyome’s party approach their destination in the mountains, Risuko learns yet another uncomfortable truth — about herself and two other members of the group.

Up and up we rode, around a beautiful lake, and toward the mountain peaks.

A warbler sang from one of the trees and I whistled back. It was a funny time of year for the bird to be here.

“You do bird sounds?” Masugu asked.

I nodded.

“Can you do a loon?” We’d heard one that morning on the lake.

I grinned. That was one of my favorites. I raised my fingers to my hands and gave the loon’s long, sad call.

“Well done!” Masugu laughed. “And how about… a nightingale?”

I turned around to look at him for a moment.

He laughed again. “Fine, fine, I was kidding.” He stared down at me. “How about an owl. Can you hoot three times like an owl?”

“You’re kidding again, right? That one’s easy.” To prove my point, I raised my hands to my mouth again and gave three long hoots: one as a wood owl, one as a snowy owl and one as a Scops owl. Continue reading Sneak Peak! Risuko — Chapter 9: Worth

Risuko sneak peek! Chapter 8 — The Mountain

8 — The Mountain

Headed further from her family and home, Risuko discovers an unsettling truth.

For three days, we rode quickly, without speaking until the mirror of the sun passed behind the mountains. On the first two days, we passed large groups of soldiers bearing the Takeda four-diamond banner marching toward the battles we had just left behind. By the third day, we might as well have been the only people in all of Worth Province —in all of Japan. We passed no one. Even the villages seemed empty.

Every night, the soldiers would make camp—in dry rice paddies or on the edges of fields. They would start preparing a simple meal, which Emi, Toumi, Aimaru and I would help clean up. The men would start talking to each other, and to the Little Brothers, occasionally. They would speak respectfully to Lady Chiyome occasionally, and even tease Aimaru and us three girls a bit.

None of them ever spoke to Mieko-san, though the lieutenant seemed always to know where she was. Continue reading Risuko sneak peek! Chapter 8 — The Mountain

Read Risuko: Chapter 7 — Wind (Kunoichi, Takeda)

7 — Wind

The war comes to Risuko and her new companions — but will the advancing army be captors or liberators?

Mieko stood calmly and bowed to us.

From a small curtain at the end of the hall opposite the kitchen, we heard a whimper. Aimaru sprinted toward it, his battered knife still in his hand. With a yell, he yanked down the curtain, and revealed the old innkeepers, huddled on the floor of their small room.

After a moment of shocked silence, Aimaru bowed to them. “Pardon me for intruding,” he said, as if he had merely turned in at the wrong door.

The old couple seemed barely to recognize that he was there.

We all stumbled out of the dining hall into the corridor. Two more Imagawa soldiers lay dead there, and the elder Little Brother was standing impassive above them. Emi and I started to run toward the front door to see who our rescuers might have been, but Lady Chiyome called out sharply, “Stay here, young idiots! We don’t know who those horsemen are!”

Continue reading Read Risuko: Chapter 7 — Wind (Kunoichi, Takeda)

Read Risuko — Chapter 6: Tea and Cakes

Ch. 6 — Tea and Cakes.

Risuko discovers that waking up in a war zone can lead to surprises. (Author David Kudler says, “One of my favorite chapters!”)


A rumble woke us all the next morning. It sounded like a peal of distant thunder. But Mieko and Kuniko were already on their feet before I could sit up and wipe the sleep from my eyes.

“What is it?” I asked Emi, who was rubbing her eyes next to me. “It’s awfully cold for thunder and lightening, isn’t it? And it doesn’t feel like an earthquake….”

Emi shook her head and scowled. We both listened carefully as we pulled on our clothes—mine still slightly damp from the night before, smelling faintly of stale soy sauce and burnt rice.

Another low rumble shook the morning silence. From where I had been sleeping near the kitchen, I could see a grey, thin light leaking beneath the outer kitchen door.

We began to fold away our bedding with a sense of uncertain urgency. I was about to ask again what that rumble might have been, when a new sound broke the silence and explained everything. It was a sharp, high crack. Musket fire. And not very far away, from the sound of it.

My legs went cold and I dropped my bedroll.

The battle had come to us. Continue reading Read Risuko — Chapter 6: Tea and Cakes

Read The Mt Fuji Inn – the next exciting chapter of Risuko!

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 5 — The Mt. Fuji Inn

There were three rooms downstairs besides the dining room and kitchen, but the two closest to the front door were both closed off. The doors were edged with black soot. Lady Chiyome had the Little Brothers carry her chest to the rear room.

Mieko and Kuniko led Toumi, Emi and me to the dining room. I was surprised that Mieko left her own bedroll there in the room with us; I had expected her to spend the night with the lady, but she stayed with us and quietly took charge of the servants’ quarters. Continue reading Read The Mt Fuji Inn – the next exciting chapter of Risuko!

Sign up to win an advance copy of Risuko!

Win a free copy of Risuko!

We’re giving away an advance paperback copy of Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, signed by author David Kudler.

The giveaway is being held on Goodreads — sign up now  by clicking below or by visiting the Goodreads Risuko page.

Hurry! Sign-up to win an advance copy ends on Friday, October 16.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Risuko by David Kudler

Risuko

by David Kudler

Giveaway ends October 16, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Read Chapter 4 of Risuko — The Edge of the World

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4 — The Edge of the World

Around me, everyone was rushing around the courtyard, loading supplies on the two packhorses, putting on extra layers of clothing.

When I reached them, Emi smiled, a small grin, and handed me a warmer coat, and then a sleeping mat. “That’s for tonight. Put it with ours on the white horse.”

I was so surprised at the tiny smile that it took me a moment to accept the bundle from her. Continue reading Read Chapter 4 of Risuko — The Edge of the World

Read the list of characters in Risuko!

We’ve posted the list of the major characters in Risuko! Check out who’s who, find out which historical figures are part of the book, and even get a peak into who’s going to be appearing!

Risuko — Character Names

Note: In Japan, as through most of East Asia, tradition places the family name before the given name. For example, in Kano Murasaki, Risuko’s proper name, Kano is her family’s name and Murasaki her given name—what English speakers would call her first name. Continue reading Read the list of characters in Risuko!