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, The Seasons of the Sword follow 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?
Seasons of the Sword Newsletter
Kunoichi Companion Tales
David Kudler, author of Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, is releasing the Kunoichi Companion Tales, a series of prequels to his teen historical novel novel series, Seasons of the sword. These stories introduce characters and themes from the Seasons of the Sword novels, and are currently available exclusively to Risuko subscribers. To read the stories for free, subscribe now.
Kunoichi Companion Tales introduce characters and themes from the Seasons of the Sword novels, and are currently available exclusively to Risuko subscribers, along with news, blog posts, and other exclusive gifts!
To read the stories, subscribe now:
Kunoichi Companion Tales
This series of short stories, set before and between the novels of the Seasons of the Sword series, is available exclusively to our subscribers and to our Kickstarter supporters.
There are at least nine planned stories, each exploring the origins of Lady Chiyome's army of "dangerous flowers":
Kunoichi Companion Tales
- White Robes — Mired in her own grief, Lady Mochizuki Chiyome encounters two young women who give her a whole new, much more interesting opportunity (now available!)
- Silk & Service — A young Takeda warrior meets a servant who is much more than she seems (now available!)
- Waiting for Kuniko — Mieko is waiting at a rendezvous behind enemy lines. In the rain. Without a hat. The person who comes up the road is the last person she expected to encounter.
- Wild Mushrooms — A Hōjō commander is delighted when two pretty young shrine maidens enter his camp on the evening before a battle. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been. (now available!)
- Ghost — At a banquet to celebrate a new alliance, Chiyome contemplates murder, and discovers a new servant (now available!)
- Schools for Talented Youngsters: Monthly Headmistresses’ Dinner — Three unique ladies get together once a month to share the joys and challenges involved teaching young ladies with very particular… talents. (Historical fantasy/crossover — now available!)
- Shining Boy — Plucked off of the streets of the capital, an orphan girl tries to figure out what story she's wandered into (Coming soon!)
- Blade — Toumi doesn't want anyone messing with her business (Coming soon!)
- Little Brother — Returning to the monastery turns out to be as hard as leaving it was (Coming soon!)
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News from the Full Moon
Working with a master educator, author David Kudler has added two sets of resources to those already available for studying Bright Eyes, book 2 of the Seasons of the Sword novels:Continue reading Bright Eyes Resources for Teachers and Students
And Eragon depressed the heck out of me. Continue reading Thanks, Cristopher Paolini! (Or how Eragon led to Risuko)
I got into a conversation recently about whether historical fiction should be “prohibited” if it wasn’t “accurate.” (The discussion started over swearing in historical novels, but spread out from there.)
As a historical novelist… yeah. No.
I think that, of course, historical fiction should be as true to its time and place as it can be. But writing a story set in another time with 100% accuracy isn’t for historical novels — it’s for textbooks. (And even then, it isn’t possible, since so much of history remains up for debate.)
In fact, writing fully accurate historical fiction isn’t always possible. Or even advisable. So I’m glad there aren’t any HistFic cops out there to beat down my door.
There’s a lot that’s almost impossible to find out about life in former times. Dates, names, and outcomes of big battles, marriages, deaths — the important, history-making events of the ruling classes — are easy to learn. What people in a particular part of rural Japan would have had for breakfast in May, 1571? Not so easy.
And even those battles and things don’t always cooperate to allow you to tell the best possible story.
In Bright Eyes, my latest Seasons of the Sword novel, one of the historical characters had changed his name by the time in which the book is set. But if I used the correct name, it was going to be too much like that of another historical character, and I was worried that similarity would confuse readers. Also, the new name was a very famous one — and I didn’t want to give away what happened to him later to the historically literate. (Mind, if they’re real Japanese history buffs, they already know. But why make it easy, right? 😉)
Historical fiction isn’t pretending to be historical fact. It’s just doing it’s best to weave a consistent tale within a long-ago setting. Like fantasy or science fiction, it’s trying to tell a good story — only someone’s already done the world building.