It occurs to me, with the mixing of short fiction and novel-length stories that make up the Yamada timeline, that it might not be a bad idea to set this all out now, at least to the degree I understand it (and if you think the writer knows everything about what they’ve done, think again). Most of the stories occur in the timeline/continuity in the order that they were written, but the novels do throw one or two curves into the mix, so here goes:
“Fox Tails” – First Yamada story written. Knew it was a series then, didn’t know where it was going.
“Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” – Second Yamada story. Yamada’s sad history with Princess Teiko is revealed. This was the story where I think I first got a good handle on who Yamada was and what he was about.
YAMADA MONOGATARI: DEMON HUNTER. First Yamada collection. The stories contained therein were usually a reader’s first introduction to the series and were published over a span of years and appear in the order they were written, but the continuity is not complete in them because….
Here’s where it gets a little complicated:
TO BREAK THE DEMON GATE. First actual Yamada novel. TBTDG incorporates “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” which forms the first section of the book, and no, I didn’t know that it was the first section of a novel when I wrote it. I figured that out later. The balance of the novel concerns the events leading up to Yamada’s final confrontation with Lord Sentaro. This was written after several of the stories appearing in YM:DH but before “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest,” which ends the collection, but in the continuity of the series, they all, except “Fox Tails” and “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge,” occur after the events of the novel. At the end of TO BREAK THE DEMON GATE, Yamada has still not made peace with the memory of Princess Teiko. That comes later (see “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest.”) I’m not sure when the PS Publishing limited edition is coming out, but Prime Books has the trade reprint scheduled for December 2014.
“The Sorrow of Rain” – If you have no idea what this story is, that is because it hasn’t been published yet. But it falls in the timeline before “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest” but after TO BREAK THE DEMON GATE.(Edited to note: Oops. It falls after “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest.” I misremembered.)
THE WAR GOD’S SON – complete but under revision. The events of this book occur about seven years after “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest,” and take place after all the short stories written to date in the continuity. The novel is set during what is usually referred to as The Nine Years’ War in Japanese history (though, with delays and truces, it was more like twelve). The tearing of the social fabric that will eventually bring about the end of the Heian Period and the rise of the samurai is already evident, but won’t manifest completely for another hundred and twenty years. We also get to meet Yamada’s elder sister. There is no current publication date scheduled.
And that’s where it stands. Confused? I would be. I often am.
So, where is the best place to start with the Yamada stories? Demon Hunter? Or, are the first two stories (Fox Tails and Moon View at Shijo Bridge) available somewhere? Looking forward to starting!
The first one, “Fox Tails,” is only available in print versions (other than Yamada Monogatari), though it actually might not be the best place to start. It had more of a “noirish” bent than later stories. “Moon Viewing” wouldn’t be a bad place, and it’s still available as a podcast at . Otherwise I’d go to BCS and try If that one doesn’t appeal to you, then you’re probably not going to care for the others.
Looking forward to the new novel, and to the already written tales that I haven’t read yet – if there is such a thing.
There’s at least one.