Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale

· Seasons of the Sword Book 1 · Stillpoint Digital Press
227 reviews

About this ebook

Can One Girl Win A War?

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

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack and my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

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



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.

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 possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?


As featured in Kirkus, Foreword, and on the cover of Publishers Weekly!

Tight, exciting, and thoughtful... The characters are nicely varied and all the pieces fit into place deftly. -- Kirkus Reviews

Risuko is an artfully crafted novel that evokes a heavy sense of place and enchantment.... Risuko's development and evolution are fascinating to watch in this powerful and relentless coming-of-age adventure. -- Foreword Reviews (spotlight review)

Vividly portrayed, flush with cultural detail, and smoothly written. -- BookLife

227 reviews
Third-party review
I got this book from Netgalley for review. Unfortunately, I just wasn't able to get into this book. The characters were flat and overall uninteresting. Everyone was severely one-dimensional and that greatly distracted from the story.
Third-party review
See the full review on my blog: Book Riot Challenge: Risuko https://
Third-party review
This is a wonderful YA book that even an old lady like me can enjoy thoroughly. The main character is immediately endearing and the cultural details add to the story's imagery. I'm looking forward to the next book!

About the author

A native of Sausalito, California (famous mostly for being the town at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and for having a cookie named after it), David Kudler is an author, editor and performer. 

He is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Stillpoint Digital Press. Since 1999, he has overseen the publications program of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, where he has served as the managing editor of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series.

Risuko is his first novel. Bright Eyes, the sequel, comes out on May 5, 2022.

He lives in Mill Valley, California (the next town north from Sausalito) with his wife, teacher and author Maura Vaughn, their two author-to-be daughters, and their non-literary cats.

He is working on Bright Eyes, the sequel to his award-winning young-adult historical adventure novel Risuko.

Want to keep up with him? Sign up at stilpt.us/risuko!

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