TITLE: CAST IN SHADOW
GENRE: YA - Contemporary
Dear Ms. Paquette:
Seventeen-year-old Tomoe Ikeda wants to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and become the best ninja in Japan. Too bad her skill as a shinobi is matched only by her propensity to get into trouble. By day Tomoe excels at taijutsu, but by night she’s nearly burning down the bonsai in the greenhouse.
But things turn serious when Tomoe stumbles across an older ninja who’s been fatally wounded by an unknown assailant. When the incident is covered up, she begins to suspect her teachers might be hiding something. Tomoe decides to investigate on her own, but doesn’t know who to trust as she uncovers secrets about both her grandmother’s past and her school’s escalating conflict with the rival ninja academy.
Being a twenty-first century shinobi wasn’t supposed to be this complicated. Now Tomoe must discover the killer who’s assassinating innocent ninja - before she loses her chance at becoming a shinobi forever.
CAST IN SHADOW is a contemporary young adult novel, complete at approximately 65,000 words.
After earning a black belt in both karate and taekwondo, I majored in Japanese at university and lived in Tokyo for a year. While there I also learned both kendo and iaido, two forms of Japanese sword fighting. All of these things inspired me to write a novel set in Japan about the life of a young shinobi.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
So many myths surrounded us. Silent assassins. Invisible spies. Mercenaries without allegiance or honor. It all sounded very dramatic.
But really, all I wanted was to win my bet.
I stared at the ceiling, letting my body sink into stillness. Silent. Focused. I’d bandaged the nicks I’d gotten from today’s training. They’d heal fast enough. But my sternum ached with each measured breath. That would take longer to go away, although I’d deserved nothing less for losing control of my momentum. A rookie shinobi mistake. Grandmother would’ve been disappointed.
My heartbeat sped up at the thought. She hadn’t spent countless hours practicing with me so that I could fight like a novice. Angrily, I pushed it from my mind. I forced myself to take deep, even breaths. Concentrated on tonight’s goal. If I wanted to slip out of the dorm, the other girls had to think I was asleep. Despite the mess of a day, a smile tugged at my lips.
My fingers fiddled with the plain silver necklace – the last gift from Grandmother - before ghosting over the homemade smoke bomb tucked in my pocket. I couldn’t wait to try it out. If only she could see me now.
When the last of the girls around me settled into a heavy sleep, I made my move. Soundlessly, I unwrapped myself from my bedding and pulled on black jeans, a black t-shirt, and black shoes. Color that blended with the night. I’d hoped for an overcast evening, but light from a bright, full moon filtered through the windows. It made my job infinitely harder.