Here are two chapters that were cut from the original manuscript of Risuko. This out-take — Crossing the River and Meeting the Mountain — was originally placed between what are now chapters 7 (“The Wind“) and 8 (“The Mountain“—you may recognize one bit of dialogue between Risuko and Masugu from that chapter). I cut them because it was taking too long to get to the Full Moon — to the heart of the story. But there’s some fun stuff, including a meeting with a major historical figure I’ll be talking about soon! (There are a few characters that I’ve cut out as well.)
At the beginning, Masugu and his riders have just found Lady Chiyome’s party at the Mt. Fuji Inn. Masugu offered to let Mieko ride wide him, but she refused, and so Risuko is sitting in front of the Takeda warrior on his stallion as the chapter begins.
By the way, if you read through to the end, there’s a question; be the first to answer it and win a free Audible download code!
Chapter 10—Crossing the River
The whole world seemed to roll and rumble as the great beast leapt ahead, charging down the one street of the town toward a distant white triangle that peeked up over the horizon: Mount Fuji. More Imagawa soldiers lay scattered like deadwood along the street, and several of the tiny houses were burning.
Waste. Such waste.
The rest of the squadron had formed up behind us, and so I felt as if a flood of thunder was pushing me forward. The icy wind whipped the horse’s mane and my own hair across my face until cold tears flooded my eyes. I lowered my head and cleared my vision.
Lady Chiyome makes everything clear, except when she makes everything confusing (Mochizuki Chiyome)
My shaking arms suddenly went still, as if instantly turned to ice. Looking down, I saw that Fuyudori had disappeared. I was trapped and alone.
“Do hurry, Risuko-chan,” said Lady Chiyome in that quiet voice that still managed to sound quite piercing. “I don’t want to have to call Kee Sun to haul you in. He might slip and drop you, and that would be the most awful mess.” Continue reading Read Risuko—Chapter 19: In the Web→
In which Risuko makes a climb and a discovery — and Lady Chiyome delivers a surprise (Teen Historical Adventure)
“If you come with me quietly, Risuko–chan,” Fuyudori said in very hushed tones, waking me from a dreamless sleep, “I can show you something worth watching.” She pulled down my covers, giving me no choice in the matter.
Yawning and shivering, I threw on a winter coat and sandals. Fuyudori placed her finger over my lips, looking down at Emi and Toumi, who were still sleeping.
It always felt as if it were the middle of the night when Fuyudori woke us. But as we made our way out of the relative warmth of our dormitory, there was not even a hint of a winter dawn in the night sky. The snow had stopped and the sky cleared. The stars blazed down on us, big as snowflakes themselves.
InDTale Magazine, a news and review journal for indie publishing, posted a glowing featured review of Risuko!
It is easy to invest in the characters, and once the reader starts this book, it’s almost impossible to put it down. Risuko goes through a lot of character growth throughout the book. An entertaining story with excellent writing and haunting descriptions, a relatable heroine, and fast-paced writing.
We’re having another Goodreads giveaway for Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale! Entries are only open until Friday, April 1 (no fooling!), so head on over to the world’s largest social site for book lovers and sign up now!
In which Risuko, Emi, and Toumi learn a lot about knives — and rocks. (Teen Historical Adventure)
As I entered Kee Sun’s kitchen, I kept my face down so as not to catch Toumi’s eye, or Emi’s. I didn’t want either of them to see that I was upset. I took a stack of bowls and began to walk toward the dining hall to get ready for the mid-day meal, but Kee Sun stopped me. “No, girlie,” he chortled, his scar twisting, “Not to go in there this morning. Yeh don’t go in there while Lady Chiyome is running her ladies through their paces unless yeh want yehr head handed back to yeh in one of those bowls.”
In which Risuko learns to play the flute, but all is not as it seems, and someone says farewell
When Fuyudori cheerfully woke us the next morning, none of us—Emi, Toumi, Mai, Shino, or myself—was very happy about it. My legs were sore from the combination of riding all day and then staying on my feet all evening. And that wasn’t even counting scurrying through the juniper and gripping that branch with my knees while arrows hissed overhead.
One of the older girls whined, “Why do we have to get up? They have kitchen duty.”
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Kee Sun celebrates Risuko, Emi, and Toumi’s first night at Mochizuki — though not without some unexpected flare-ups.
I was certain that Kee Sun wouldn’t let us eat until after all of the cleaning was done. But as we brought the last of the dishes in from the hall, we found the cook smiling and gesturing to the small feast that he had laid out for us on the low cutting table: grilled beef, kimchee, soybeans, rice—even sake—was set out just as it had been for the banquet.
I enjoyed Risuko very much. The prose is very vivid, the culture and Japanese language blended in as smoothly as supernatural elements in a well-written fantasy. Risuko is caught between trying to function in a war torn world, and daring to dream about making a difference. — Michele Lee, MonsterLibrarian.com
MonsterLibrarian Review: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler
Kano Murasaki, better known as Risuko (Squirrel) loves only one thing more than climbing—her family. But her mother has just sold her to Lady Chiyomi, a mysterious woman who runs a compound that trains women to be soldiers in Japan’s hundred year long civil war. It takes Risuko a while to figure this out, but readers will know it right away. Chiyomi’s women are spies, body guards, assassins. They are intelligent, strong, capable, and clever. Risuko fits in well, except it’s not the traditional role little Japanese girls grow up imagining themselves in.