Not all vengeance is exacted by the living.
In 12th-century Japan, Yamabuki, a young woman samurai, 17 years old, travels deep into the Oku wilderness. Along a lonely road, at a forgotten inn, she seeks shelter, warm food, and cold saké. But as darkness falls, she ends up fighting for her life…and she finds that there are terrible things under heaven that no weapon can vanquish, and that her only way to survive is to heal that which cannot be healed.
Read this chilling and heart-wrenching tale of Yamabuki, the woman samurai featured in Katherine M. Lawrence’s Cold Blood: Yamabuki vs. the Sword Master.
Mochizuki neighed nervously. “Why are you nickering?” But before she finished speaking, she saw two riders approaching through the twilight. Weapons sheathed, they rode toward her at a canter.
In a single motion she swung back into the saddle.
The strangers slowed to a trot. If they were brigands, their armor likely would be a hodgepodge of looted pieces; yet, both of these riders wore elegantly matched sets of armor.
But that didn’t mean they weren’t a threat.
She sat straight up in the saddle, paying attention to every subtlety.
The strangers brought their mounts to a halt. “I am Shinjo Taro!” the elder warrior declared, raising his voice above the thump of hooves, pulling the woven blue silk cords of the bridle.
The comely one, the one who rode a half stride behind Taro, called out, “I am Sato Jiro!”
It was protocol for samurai to announce their names before a duel.
Do they seek combat?
“May we ask your name?” Taro’s request was as much a command as it was anything.
“I am Taka Yamabuki!” she growled in answer as she had been taught, suppressing her female voice-range.
She eyed Taro—the dark and scarred one. His wild mane of hair could not conceal a grisly scar across his forehead. His forearms and face were likewise marked. Part of an ear was missing; two sword hand fingers, gone.
Fingers lost in battle, or forfeited for missteps?
Jiro looked at least ten years younger than Taro. For all of Taro’s battle scars, Jiro was flawless and untouched.
He resembled a youthful courtier, or a young page; yet when their gazes met, she saw something icy and deadly lurking behind his eyes.
—from Cold Saké, by Katherine M. Lawrence. ©2014 All rights reserved.
- Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-9912667-5-3
- Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9912667-4-6
- Large-Print Paperback ISBN: 978-1-193194-14-8
- EBook ISBN: 978-0-9912667-8-4