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  1. #1
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Books - Past, Present, and Future

    The first book in the Tales of Tonogato series is The Road to Kotaishi, released in 2002. Here's the back cover blurb:

    The Darkness is gathering, preparing to unleash itself like a black tide of death to extinguish all light, and thus all life, from the land of Tonogato. Hope rests upon the outcome of a pilgrimage to find the Kotaishi: he alone can unite the feuding kingdoms of Tonogato before they are destroyed, one by one.

    A young apprentice unexpectedly finds himself a member of the pilgrimage, marching beneath the light of a sacred Hikari lantern. As the pilgrims journey through Tonogato he soon finds himself thrust into play as the pawn of unseen forces, both good and evil; a struggle that will dictate the fate of every living being across the land.

    Amidst this clash of colossal powers, a Princess finds her heart leading her on a dangerous journey in pursuit of the pilgrimage, until she finds instead a destiny unlike any she had ever imagined.

    And neither apprentice nor Princess can be prepared for what awaits them on the far side of Tonogato, where lies the magical kingdom of Tejinashi...


    Here are the covers. I created the artwork using Bryce, a computer landscape generation program.



    Rather than repeat reviews here, you can read some excerpts of them here.
    Last edited by Radthorne; April 4th, 2009 at 06:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    My next book, The Sands of Sabakushi, is a sequel to Kotaishi, and came out in 2005. Here's the blurb for it:

    In the cold mountains of the north, the Kotaishi has been found. Yet the struggle is only just beginning, for strife and hatred, envy and arrogance, still blanket the land in a mantle of wretchedness. Crossing the length and breadth of Tonogato, eluding enemies while trying to keep a small band of supporters together, the Kotaishi wrestles with both the realities of power and the frailties of human feelings while combating the seeping influence of the Darkness.

    Even as the Kotaishi attempts to undo what the Darkness has wrought, an even more insidious conflict erupts within the palace of the Zaitan beneath Tejinashi. A new Kotanjin, leader of the magicians, must be chosen, and the maneuvering factions hurtle toward intimidation and violence.

    The fates of both Kotaishi and Kotanjin are inextricably linked, their joint destiny buried far below the sands of the Sabakushi desert, in a city long since lost and forgotten. There lies the key that will lock away the Darkness forever. Yet the sand-laden towers are held by a warrior general of the Darkness, who already stands poised to invade the verdant lands of Tonogato…


    And, here are the covers for it:


    Sabakushi concludes the story of the characters from Kotaishi, and resolves the overall story arc.
    Last edited by Radthorne; April 4th, 2009 at 06:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    By the way, both books are available as a Part 1 / Part 2 pair. The publisher chose to split Kotaishi that way initially because they did not have binding equipment that could handle a single large volume (the two 'parts' together are about 700 pages). So their solution was to split 'em up, similar to what was done for Tad William's Green Angel Tower when it came out in paperback (same reasoning there - the book was just too darn thick).

    Subsequently, Windstorm moved to traditional off-set printing, but by that point Kotaishi was already out in the marketplace in its two-volume version. As a result, they decided that Sabakushi should follow the same pattern (otherwise, it would look rather odd to have one fat book next to two skinny ones). So that's the scoop behind the Part 1 / Part 2 business.

  4. #4
    I AM too a mod! Moderator Rocket Sheep's Avatar
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    Re: Sands of Sabakushi

    I was very impressed with the last half of Road to Kotaishi, and the magical city they all wound up in. It was unique and had a real sense of place which I found interesting... and I don't read a lot of fantasy, usually if it has the words "sword" and "cape" in it, I run away (I have other words for other genres, like "ichor" for horror, so don't take offence).

    Can I expect more of the same magical way out elements that were in Road to Kotaishi to appear in this secret sandy Sabakushi city or even more surprises? I'm taking it as given that the main characters powers will increase threefold now they realise their place in the grand scheme of things.

    Is any of this borrowed from Japanese folklore and legend?

  5. #5
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Sheep
    Can I expect more of the same magical way out elements that were in Road to Kotaishi to appear in this secret sandy Sabakushi city or even more surprises? I'm taking it as given that the main characters powers will increase threefold now they realise their place in the grand scheme of things.

    Is any of this borrowed from Japanese folklore and legend?
    Thank you, my good Sheep. (You know, where else but here could one say a phrase like that?) As a matter of fact, there are more magical elements in Sabakushi, as one of the characters now ends up on the "inside", as it were, of Tejinashi, the city of magicians. As a result, the reader gets to see rather more of the magic in action and some background into how it's all structured. (In the first book, the characters are for the most part "outside" the magician society, and so they [and the reader] view things as a bit more mysterious. Now both character and reader get to peek behind the curtain a bit...) And yes, I do hope there are some fun surprises in store as well...

    Three-fold? Hmm, perhaps not, although there is a certain increase in "ability" due to what the characters have become by the end of Kotaishi.

    I purposefully did not draw on any specific Japanese mythology, as I was trying to keep the books more accessible to a Western audience. So the characters, situations, and the like are much closer to Western storytelling traditions but wrapped in a cloak of Asian imagery and motifs.

    I have another Tonogato book in the works, which will be much the same. However, somewhere down the road I would like to go for something I little closer to real Japanese society and mythology, as I think it could be rather fun.

  6. #6
    I AM too a mod! Moderator Rocket Sheep's Avatar
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    And make a great excuse for a little tax free jaunt to Japan?

  7. #7
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Sheep
    And make a great excuse for a little tax free jaunt to Japan?
    Ooh, I like it....

  8. #8
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Have you given any thought to what Tonogato will look like under a unified rule? The more I think about it, the more intriguing it becomes. Or will it not make it that far due to the substantial differences between the major powers that exist at the end of Sands?
    Given all that happened in the first two tales, does the garden in Hajimeshi retain its unique character or has that function shifted to Tejinashi with the boss lady?

  9. #9
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    The plan for the third Tonogato book is that it begins a new story thread with new characters, set in time about 50 years after the events of the first two books. Thus, the political landscape has changed, as various people have adapated to (or maniupulated for their own benefit) the changes in Tonogato society. Some of the descendents of the original characters are involved in the new story, and of course new characters are introduced. One might consider how tenuous the coalition is at the conclusion of Sands, and what sorts of things might disrupt it over the course of 50 years. Oddly enough, it appears that some of those things might happen!

    Current project plans are such that I'm working on a different, non-Tonogato book at the moment; so it may be a while before I return to Tonogato to actually write that tale. I do have an outline in hand, and a first draft of the first three chapters. Some of what ends up happening with future Tonogato books may depend on what happens with the publisher, too.

  10. #10
    The Lost Prince
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    Only a suggestion

    I think you should post a sticky thread containing a list of your works, ordering details, etc. It allows interested people to become more interested

  11. #11
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HellCold View Post
    I think you should post a sticky thread containing a list of your works, ordering details, etc. It allows interested people to become more interested
    Done! Thank you, an excellent suggestion!

  12. #12
    The Lost Prince
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radthorne View Post
    Done! Thank you, an excellent suggestion!
    Glad you liked it!

  13. #13
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    And, finally, here is the info for the third and final book in The Tales of Tonogato series, The Pool of Shikama:

    The Battle Against the Darkness has passed into legend. Those who fought together to secure the future of Tonogato are nearly all gone, save a lonely few who must now bear witness to the virtual collapse of the fragile Tonogato Alliance. Violence and intimidation are the new tools of power, the ruthless and the cunning wielding them with near-impunity.

    Into this maelstrom falls Satora, a man who long ago gave up interest in the corrupt politics of royal courts, and who has angrily rejected the magic at the very center of his soul. Swept away from his mountain sanctuary by events he cannot control, he finds himself engulfed by the storm of upheaval raging across Tonogato. Forced into using the powers he has forsworn, Satora struggles to harness both magic, and himself, before he succumbs to the darker paths of sorcery.

    Overlaying all of the human struggles is the potential destruction of an entire race of beings who had once helped the humans defeat the Darkness. The secret hidden between the lines of a decades-old letter is the sole key to whether their world will vanish into nothingness forever. And Satora is the only one who can find the locků


    And the covers:


    In celebration of the completion of the series, I've also created a book trailer covering all three books, which is viewable here.

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