Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale — Teen Historical Adventure Novel

Seasons of the Sword

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Risuko....

Bright Eyes coming 2018 Risuko v2b - medium circleSamurai, assassins, warlords...
and a girl who likes to climb

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:

  1. White Robes — Mired in her own grief, Lady Mochizuki Chiyome encounters two young women who give her a whole new, much more interesting opportunity
  2. Silk & Service — A young Takeda warrior meets a servant who is much more than she seems
  3. Ghost — When Lady Chiyome receives a note from the shōgun, she finds that the messenger is much more intriguing than the message
  4. Shining Boy — Plucked off of the streets of the capital, an orphan girl tries to figure out what story she's wandered into
  5. Blade — Toumi doesn't want anyone messing with her business
  6. 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

Bright Eyes cover reveal! (Also, happy holidays!)

Happy holidays!

Akemashite omedeto gozai masu!

I hope that you’re enjoying a joyful, pleasant holiday season. My whole family is home (with significant others) and so our house is (as Charles Dickens would say) “full to bursting.”

One of the things that has us all excited is the looming publication of Bright Eyes, the long-awaited sequel to Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale. In fact, I just received the first rough proofs of the new book — they’re looking great.

I hope you’re excited too — and to get you in the mood, I’m delighted to be able to reveal the Bright Eyes cover:

Nice, huh?

Like the Risuko cover, it was designed by James Egan of Bookfly Design — and I think he once again knocked it out of the park. What do you think?

Here are the two covers together:

As for the book itself, an editor along with a few “alpha” readers are working on it now — and we’re getting the print, ebook, and audiobook editions prepared for the May 5, 2022 release. And here’s the box of proofs that literally just arrived:

Okay. Yeah. I’m a bit excited, as I said. 🙂

If you backed the original Risuko Kickstarter campaign at the Senior Initiate ($50) or Kunoichi ($100) levels, you’ll have a beautiful print copy of Bright Eyes mailed to you as soon as they’re ready. (We’ll be reaching out this spring to confirm your mailing address.)

If not, don’t worry! You can always preorder today — or, if you’re willing to wait, you can pledge to the new Bright Eyes campaign, coming in March.

In any case, may your coming year be full of joy, light — and good books.

David Kudler

P.S. If you’ve read Risuko but haven’t had a chance to share your thoughts, I’d love it if you’d post a review on Goodreads  or Amazon or your favorite ebook store. Or you can even comment on this post and let me know what you thought directly!

Bright Eyes Complete!

I’ve written nearly sixty-eight thousand words of Bright Eyes, the sequel to Risuko.

The most satisfying word of all to write?

That’s the kanji character for “The End.”


After all this time, I have a complete draft of the second Seasons of the Sword book — and I’m really excited about being able to finally share more than snippets with you!

I’m working hard at editing — and if you’ve signed up for Risuko’s Beta Army, you’ll be hearing from me soon. And we’ve set a release date: May 5, 2022. (That’s Japanese Children’s Day, for what it’s worth.)

Pre-order ebook, audiobook, and print on Stillpoint Digital Press — or Books2Read.com/Bright-Eyes

Keep an eye out for news, exciting offers, and more — and sign up for our newsletter, if you haven’t already! You’ll get free access not only to updates, but downloads of the prequel Kunoichi Companion Tales as well.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering what I happened to the character who refused to die… I killed them off. Gleefully. And I’d do it again!)

The Hero’s Journey ® as a writing tool

Last summer, I had a really interesting conversation with Scott Calhoun of the Inner Typewriter about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey® and how authors can use it to enrich and focus their writing:


Among other things, I look at Risuko, and how my work on it reflects the Hero Journey.

The Hero’s Journey is a registered trademark of Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF.org)

Seasons of the Sword
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