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Cold Sake: A Yamabuki Story

Cold Sake: A Yamabuki Story [Kindle Edition]

Katherine M. Lawrence , Laura Lis Scott

Kindle Price: £0.77 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description

Product Description

Not all vengeance is exacted by the living.

Yamabuki, a female samurai, 17 years old....

Along a lonely road, at a forgotten inn, she fights for her life and her sanity. A vividly and faithfully told story of a haunting set in historic Japan of the 12th century.

The scent was intense, but it did not smell at all of freshly spilt blood. It smelled of rot.

As Yamabuki bent down to get a closer look at the dead woman, the brazier sputtered and died. It was then Yamabuki heard a gurgling sound.

The corpse moved.

Suddenly Yamabuki was grabbed by something that twisted her wrist with such force that it brought the warrior to her knees.

She struggled to get loose, but in moments she was on her back.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 263 KB
  • Print Length: 51 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Toot Sweet Ink; 1 edition (13 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HGJM43O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #909,515 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of an exciting new series 10 Jan 2014
By Anne Vonhof - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are two selections here, both starring the same character, Yamabuki, a female samurai in Japan at the end of the turbulent Heian era (around 1175 CE). One is a stand-alone short story - Cold Sake - while the other, Haru (Spring), is the first chapter in a longer book about Yamabuki. I loved them both, and eagerly await the next publication.

Katherine Lawrence writes with a very strong sense of place, of time, and of character. Yamabuki rides alone in both of the selections, apparently depending on her own wit and ability to survive. Japan seems to be fragmented at this time - there may or may not be a recognized emperor; and the common people, local law enforcement and aristocrats she meets may or may not recognize and honor her status as an Imperial messenger. She's more than up to the task, though what it may have already cost her is not yet known, or what it may cost her. It's clear she has a back story, and the author has given us some information and some hints - an early life in the Imperial Court, perhaps a map-making patron, a high-ranking birth family. I want to know more.

At the end of the first chapter, it's clear that Yamabuki is out very far from the Imperial Court, both geographically and emotionally, on a mission to find and perhaps kill a new unknown sword maker. This gives the narrative an added impetus - why is she out here alone? What are her allegiances? Why was she sent? Did she come on her own?

Interestingly, even though Yamabuki doesn't believe in them, it's clear that there are real gods and real supernatural beings in her world; and it seems likely that she will be thrown in with them whether she believes or not. In Cold Sake, she survives the attack of a vengeful female spirit, but does she believe, or does she think it was all a dream?

The Pillow Book of Lady Sei Shonagon is well known. Lawrence has named the Yamabuki saga, the Pillow Book of a Samurai, and includes a pawky little story explaining why Lady Sei Shonagon called her book the Pillow Book. I can't wait for the next installment!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and spooky samurai story 25 Dec 2013
By Nina G. Wouk - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This story is hard to describe without putting in spoilers. It's fast-moving, the characters are convincing, and it makes medieval Japan come alive. It's moral but not heavy-handed. A promising debut.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly researched and unique story in the genre of Japanese historical fiction. 25 May 2014
By A. Hurst - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Japanese tradition is long and complicated, with subtleties that are truly hard to capture in a work of extant fiction. However, Katherine M. Lawrence does a wonderful job of it. Peppered throughout "Cold Sake" and "Haru" are little details like using the old calendar (Year of the Monkey, for example), and translating the tongue-twister names of people in the pre-modern era so that their inherent meanings can be gleaned even by readers unfamiliar with the language.

Doubly impressive is the character Yamabuki herself, deftly crafted and executed on the page and throughout the story. Skillful, confident; full of Japanese "warrior spirit", Yamabuki embodies much of what the original tales of samurai and the feudal era would have given her, making Lawrence's work feel authentic. It is also reminiscent of Lafcadio Hearn's gothic tales of Japan, as well as "The Tale of Heike", but again, with the pleasant and refreshing twist of a female protagonist.

I was thoroughly pleased with the portrayal and use of Yamabuki's gender as well––the story avoids the usual traps of the 'female warrior trope' by keeping Yamabuki human, indeed sometimes gloriously androgynous, yet the fact she is a woman is essential to the story.

"Cold Sake" takes up roughly half of the Kindle file, with the other half being dedicated to an excerpt from a novel Yamabuki will be featured in as well. Lawrence certainly gave a great teaser––I am eager to pick up the next installment in the series.

The only problem I had was that, while the beginning and the end of the stories were quite strong, the middle parts seemed to drag at times, focusing too much on establishing more setting or explaining terms and culture for the reader. As a student of Japanese and a long-term resident of Japan, I realize that not everyone going in will have an understanding of the language, and even with the help of the well-organized appendix in the back, might stumble through a few parts of the text. Still, if you are looking for a unique window into the world of medieval Japan, "Cold Sake" is a great place to start.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected delight 9 Feb 2014
By Eristic - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on the recommendation of a friend and while it is not a genre which would normally interest me, I ended up loving the book almost immediately. The combination of a strong female protagonist in the somewhat unusual role as a Samurai warrior seemed unlikely at first first, but was the story developed, I was completely engaged, so much so that I was surprised and unhappy when I reached the book's end, unhappy that I'd run out of story.

I will definitely buy the book when it is published and look forward to the further adventures of Yamabuki and her horse Mochizuki.

Very good, very exciting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and fascinating main character 27 April 2014
By Carolyn Burke - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Cold sake is a wonderfully written book with an amazing and fascinating heroine. I look forward to her experiences in this.long ago and unfamiliar land!
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