Neko is a young girl who finds being a proper lady boring. She only wears the stiff, confining dresses to please her mother, Lady Rumiko. Instead of a life at court, Neko dreams of becoming a great swordman like her father, Toru. But girls can't become swordsmen, and she must sit outside the courtyard fence and watch her father train young lords instead of her. Eventually, Toru takes pity on her and they begin training together at night. He's surprised when young Neko turns out to be a prodigy, and the lessons soon become more serious.
As the years pass, Neko's exceptional talent becomes a source of both pride and shame for her father. His best student must be kept hidden away instead of shining bright. Meanwhile, Neko finds herself struggling with her culture's narrow gender roles that limit who she can be. Her prim and proper cousin, Miyu, tries to convince her to be more ladylike if she ever wants to be happy and successful (i.e. married).
When tragedy strikes, Neko decides to track down those responsible and make them pay. Her family wants her to stay safe at home, and Neko must decide between honoring the living and avenging the dead.
NEKO is a fast-paced novel that develops along with its hero. It is a modern telling of the classic quest tales of antiquity. A 21st century twist on the traditional Japanese monogatari, or epic saga. Fans of historical fiction, action/adventure, and humor will enjoy it. As will anyone simply looking for a good read.
About the Author
Wallace Howard grew up in North Carolina and Texas. He graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in Philosophy. For those of you wondering what a philosophy degree can do for you, we'll quote Bruce Lee: "You can think deep thoughts about being unemployed." For twenty years, he's had a special interest in religion, especially Japanese Soto Zen and early Christianity. He currently live in Memphis, TN with my wonderful girlfriend Jamy and their sometimes wonderful cats: Oliver and Coltrane. For more information, including short stories and previews of upcoming work, check out the author's official webpage: www.wallace-howard.com