The lovely dancer above is Ben Baldwin’s illustration of Lady Snow, from the endpapers for the PS Publishing edition of To Break the Demon Gate. You haven’t met Lady Snow yet, but if you’re a reader of the series you’ll see a few familiar faces. In fact, some of it will be very familiar, since Part 1 of the novel is a revised version of “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge.”
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating as the book is practically published even as I speak–I didn’t know that “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” was the opening to a novel when I wrote it, at least partly because it is a self-contained story arc all to itself. It wasn’t the whole story, and I did know that at the time, but I assumed it was because later stories in the series would expand and resolve it the unresolved issues. I was wrong about that. The stories do not, for the most part, directly address the events from “Moon Viewing,” nor do they ignore it, and some of the closure, as long-time readers know, comes from “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest.” However, that still leaves one heck of a lot of story.
I spoke about the timeline of the Yamada saga in a previous post, and it’s back there somewhere if you’re curious. The main point I wanted to make is that the events of the novel begin with “Moon Viewing” and then precede every other story written in the series to date. After the novel, Yamada’s timeline picks up with “Hot Water” and then goes on through “The Bride Doll,” all of which precede the second novel, Yamada Monogatari: The War God’s Son, which should be out from Prime Books next year. Any other stories I do write or publish, separate from the novels, will probably fall into the timeline between To Break the Demon Gate and The War God’s Son, for reasons that should be clear after reading TWGS. Unless I do something else entirely, which is quite possible.
So one part of the novel surfacing this month may be familiar. Most of it won’t be, including the enigmatic Lady Snow mentioned above. I think you’ll want to meet her. Feel free to tell me if I was right.