StormdancerStormdancer
  • 'Stormdancer is an intoxicating joyride into steampunklandia with a magical dose of mythology, the supernatural, violence, dystopian themes, and a top-notch brassy heroine who rivals Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. Yes, I did say that!' Huffington Post
  • 'A thrilling addition to the dystopian scene…. A fast-paced, fantastical adventure that is sharp as a Shogun's sword.' The LA Times
  • 'The master of unique and intense plots and huge twists.' USAToday.com
  • 'Soars higher than the thunder tiger Kristoff writes about; superb.' Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
  • 'Exhilarating… The innovative setting, fast-moving plot, vivid descriptions, and thrilling action scenes make this a refreshing addition to the steampunk canon.' Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW (Pick of the Week)
  • 'What's that? You say you've got a Japanese Steampunk novel with mythic creatures, civil unrest, and a strong female protagonist? I'm afraid I missed everything you said after "Japanese Steampunk". That's all I really needed to hear.' Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN'S FEAR
  • 'With airships, demons, and lashings of revolutionary swordplay, this chi-fueled vision of a steampunk feudal Japan will blow your split-toed socks off.' Scott Westerfeld, #1 New York Times bestselling author of LEVIATHAN
  • 'In this breathtaking debut fantasy, Kristoff has given us an adventure teeming with impossible quests and betrayals, rebellion and murder, jealousy and harbored secrets… truly unforgettable.' Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of CINDER
  • 'Kristoff's debut is a lyrical triumph of chainsaw swords and thunder tigers that steampunk fans and mythology buffs will devour.' Kevin Hearne, New York TImes bestselling author of the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES
  • 'Kristoff pushes the steampunk genre exactly where it needs to go, away from Victorian London's over-trodden lanes and into the great wide world. STORMDANCER slammed my head into an updated vision of the great chanbara films of Kurosawa and Kobayashi.' K.W Jeter, author of MORLOCK NIGHT and INFERNAL DEVICES

Bio

Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is a tragic nerd, but has spent the last ten years dumping expeez into his Intimidation stat, and now nobody is brave enough to say it to his face. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

Jay prostituted his writing arm in the soulless crack-house of advertising for over ten years. He’s hocked petrol guzzling monstrosities to sexually inadequate men, salty condiments to schoolchildren, and toilet paper to anyone with a bottom. He has won several awards nobody outside the advertising industry gives a toss about.

Jay is the author of of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK, set to be published in over a dozen countries. The first installment, STORMDANCER, and part two, KINSLAYER are both out now. Part 3 is due for publication in 2014.

Jay is 6’7" and has approximately 13264 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He has a sweet beard.

He does not believe in happy endings.

The World of the Lotus War

Kigen City Map
Kigen City Map

In the Year of the Serpent, during the nine-hundred and seventy ninth year of the reign of the Tenma Emperors, four clans arose in defiance of the empire’s tyranny. The war was long and bloody, and countless samurai were sent to the halls of the Yomi underworld. Yet as its resolution, the corruption of the Tenma was purged, and a glorious new dawn began under the rule of our first Shōgun – Kazumitsu I of the Tora Clan.

Twenty four clans existed in the Shima Isles under the rule of the Tenma.

Two centuries after the rise of the Kazumitsu dynasty, only those four who rose in defiance remain.

Tiger (Tora)

Tora

The Tora are the greatest of the four clans of Shima; devoted to mastery of the body and the mind. The Tora developed the first true martial art forms and codified Bushido – the Way of the Warrior. Tora children, male and female, are trained in the martial arts from a young age, and Tiger clansmen contribute more warriors than any other clan to the glorious wars that expand the imperium. They venerate Hachiman, the God of War above all others.

The greatest house of the Tora clan, the Kazumitsu Dynasty, has ruled the Shima Imperium for two hundred years. The current Shōgun, twenty year old Yoritomo, can trace his lineage directly back to Kazumitsu himself.

Tora lands lie to the south of Shima, on the isle of Seidai. Their capital city, and the capital of the imperium itself, is mighty Kigen, the City of Beginnings, from which all roads in the empire spring.

The spirit guardian of the clan, great Tiger, is associated with ferocity, hunger and physical desire. As a clan, the Tora are self-assured, ruthless and often short-tempered.

Dragon (Ryu)

Ryu

In the days before the rise of the Kazumitsu dynasty, the Ryu were a seafaring clan of raiders who pillaged among the northern clans with impunity. Like their namesakes, the Dragons were masters of the seas, braving the fury of the storm and elements. Since the fall of the Tenma and the spread of civilization in Shima, the Ryu have become renowned as great explorers and traders, sending their sky-ships to every corner of the known world. They are dauntless warriors, and their infamous Iron Cavalry are amongst the most feared samurai in the Imperium. They venerate Susano-ō, the God of Storms.

The Ryu clan is ruled by the Daimyo Haruka, a twenty year veteran of the gaijin wars. His hatred of the Kitsune clan, with whom the Ryu share their northern border, is well known.

Their lands lie to the north-east of Shima, incorporating the islands of Seidai, Tou and Kogane. Their capital is the cityport of Kawa, a bustling hub of commerce and trade.

The spirit guardian of the clan, fierce Dragon, is a powerful spirit beast associated with elemental forces and random destruction. As a clan, the Ryu are fearless, inquisitive and often impulsive.

Phoenix (Fushicho)

Fushicho

Since the beginnings of the empire, the Fushicho have been renowned as the most creatively gifted of all the clans. Shima’s greatest poets, artists and artisans have been of Phoenix blood, their work living on long after their creators have gone to the halls of Enma-ō. This is not to say the Fushicho are effete – some of the greatest swordsaints and martial artists in history have been of Phoenix blood – but as a clan, they have always prided themselves on form as well as function. Fushicho sky-ships are the fastest and most graceful in all of Shima’s skies, and Fushicho-forged weaponry is prized above all others. They venerate Amaterasu, the Goddess of the Sun.

The Fushicho clan is ruled by two Daimyo - Shin and Shou- twin brothers who chose to rule jointly rather than have their clan torn apart by a succession war.

Their lands lie to the west, on the island of Yotaku. Their capital is the beautiful Danro, a city of brass and silver, adorned with gardens of glass, although the Daimyo themselves hold court in an enormous sky-ship known as the 'Floating Palace' which hovers above the city.

The spirit guardian of the clan, immortal Phoenix, is an elemental force closely tied to the concepts of enlightenment, rebirth and creativity. As a clan, Fushicho are spirited, energetic, and visionary - although many say there is a thin line between genius and madness.

Fox (Kitsune)

Kitsune

The Kitsune clan are renowned for their cunning, relying on stealth and guile as well as force at arms to carve out their niche in the imperium. Of the four clans, the Foxes are the easiest to discount, viewed as provincial and somewhat artless by their fellows. However, the Kitsune manage to endure and prosper, through a combination of guile, tenacity and simple outrageous good fortune. They venerate Tsukiyomi, the God of the Moon.

The Kitsune clan is ruled by Daimyo Isamu, a direct descendent of Okimoto, the greatest general of his age.

Their lands lie on the northernmost tip of Shima, and include the country’s last true wilderness – the dreaded Iishi Mountains, where oni, hungry dead and other more terrifying apparitions are said to still walk with earthly feet.

The kami guardian of the clan, wily Kitsune, the nine-tailed Fox, is said to bring good fortune to those who bear his mark. The saying ‘Kitsune looks after his own’ is often used to account for inexplicable good luck. As a clan, the Kitsune are quick-witted, subtle and stubborn as mountains.

Reviews

Kinslayer Kinslayer Stormdancer Stormdancer
Stormdancer is an intoxicating joyride into steampunklandia with a magical dose of mythology, the supernatural, violence, dystopian themes, and a top-notch brassy heroine who rivals Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. Yes, I did say that!

Huffington Post

A thrilling addition to the dystopian scene…. A fast-paced, fantastical adventure that is sharp as a Shogun's sword.

Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

The master of unique and intense plots and huge twists.

USAToday.com

Soars higher than the thunder tiger Kristoff writes about; superb.

Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

Exhilarating… The innovative setting, fast-moving plot, vivid descriptions, and thrilling action scenes make this a refreshing addition to the steampunk canon.

Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW (Pick of the Week)

What's that? You say you've got a Japanese Steampunk novel with mythic creatures, civil unrest, and a strong female protagonist? I'm afraid I missed everything you said after "Japanese Steampunk. That's all I really needed to hear.

Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of
THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN'S FEAR

With airships, demons, and lashings of revolutionary swordplay, this chi-fueled vision of a steampunk feudal Japan will blow your split-toed socks off.

Scott Westerfeld, #1 NYT bestselling author of
LEVIATHAN

Set in a complex and richly imagined world, STORMDANCER draws on inspirations as widespread as epic fantasy, steampunk, and Japanese mythology, effortlessly piecing them together into an alternate history that is as vibrant as it is disturbing. Yukiko is an admirable heroine, made of compassion and courage, but it's the remarkable friendship forged between Yukiko and the majestic thunder tiger, Buruu, that readers will find truly unforgettable. In this breathtaking debut fantasy, Kristoff has given us an adventure teeming with impossible quests and betrayals, rebellion and murder, jealousy and harbored secrets. I eagerly look forward to seeing where his imagination takes us next.

Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of
CINDER

Kristoff's debut is a lyrical triumph of chainsaw swords and thunder tigers that steampunk fans and mythology buffs will devour.

Kevin Hearne, New York TImes bestselling author of the
IRON DRUID CHRONICLES

Kristoff pushes the steampunk genre exactly where it needs to go, away from Victorian London's over-trodden lanes and into the great wide world. STORMDANCER slammed my head into an updated vision of the great chanbara films of Kurosawa and Kobayashi. I'll be waiting for more.

K.W Jeter, author of
MORLOCK NIGHT and INFERNAL DEVICES

 

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FAQs

When will KINSLAYER be released?

It's out! Don't tell me you missed it? I sent you a reminder and everything!

What about release dates for book 3in the series?

The as yet unnamed finale of THE LOTUS WAR, will be released 17 September 2014. And then we’re done with the series. Which will be sad! but not as sad as dragging it out for another 5 books so i can buy a Pacific island!

So there's only three books in the series?

Three novels, yup. There are some novellas and short stories about too. You can find the short story PRAYING FOR RAIN here. There was a novella printed for the KINSLAYER pre-release called THE LAST STORMDANCER which I might still have a couple of copies of, so shoot me a death threat. There was also a kid’s book called THE LITTLE STORMDANCER, but that’s pretty much impossible to find now. However, there’s a youtube video of one of my lovely readers reading the book, which you can find here.

“Steampunk fantasy”? Which is it – a steampunk book, or a fantasy book?

Both. Techinically all Steampunk is fantasy, but THE LOTUS WAR has elements of more traditional… (I hate the term, but I’m going to use it) ”High Fantasy” settings. No magic swords or Dark Lords™ or “It’s so heavy, Sam.” “Cheer up Mr Frodo!” “But I’m so tired, Sam.” “Give us a kiss, Mr Frodo!” shenanigans.

But it does have griffins. Well, A griffin. So calling it straight steampunk would kinda be like lying.

So THE LOTUS WAR is set in feudal Japan?

Wellllllll, sort of. It’s set on a group of islands with a culture similar to Japan during feudal times. The language, culture and societal structures are all drawn from Japanese counterparts. But feudal Japan didn’t have many griffins, given that they’re, you know, mythical beasts and whatnot. So the real answer, if we want to be 100% accurate, is “no”.

The setting is a country is called “Shima” (which is Japanese for “Island”).

Are THE LOTUS WAR books a YA series?

The protagonist in my book is a sixteen year old girl. Does that automatically make it YA? My agent says “Hells to the no”, all wiggling his hips as he does so. My editors say “Definitely not, and who the hell let you out of your cage? Get back to work”.

I’d describe THE LOTUS WAR books as ”pure crossover”. The protagonist is young, but the themes and language and style are going to resonate with an older reader. They are heavy. In theory, everyone is going to find something in there to like. You will all be bawling your eyes out at some point in the series, no matter how old you are. I promise.

Where are THE LOTUS WAR books being published?

So far – U.S.A, U.K, Australia, New Zealand, France, Poland, Spain, Hungary and Brazil. Fingers crossed there will be more!

Where did you get the idea for STORMDANCER?

A dream. But I tell most people that I bought it at the Ideas Shop because I’m a bit of a smart-ass, truth be told.

Stephanie Meyer and a lot of other writers do “play-lists” of the music they were listening to at the time they wrote their books. Why don’t you do that?

Because it would frighten the children.

OH MY GOD. Has anyone told you that you look like Dave Grohl?

Yes. Yes, they have.

Do you have a Literary Agent?

Indeed I do. His name is Matt Bialer. He’s quite good at his job. Which is like saying Muhammad Ali was quite good at knocking people right the fuck out.

Can I send you my manuscript to read?

To be honest, it’s probably not a good idea to send your manuscript to anyone who isn’t a publisher, agent, or trusted friend. I probably fail on all three counts. I’m sorry for failing you.

If I'm insane enough to want you to blurb my book, how do go about getting you to read it?

Shoot me a death threat. Time is at a premium right now, but some awesome folks helped me out when I was in your shoes, and I'm a believer in sharing the love.

Can you teach me the secret handshake that will get me into Literary Circles?

(Hold Low Punch) Back, Back, Down, Forward, (Release Low Punch).

What will you do after the LOTUS WAR series is finished?

Get a bit misty-eyed, probably. Then publish some more books. Watch this space :)

Contact

Death threats, malevolent computer viruses and STORMDANCER slash fic may to sent to Jay at: misterkristoff-AT-gmail.com

For STORMDANCER related publicity information, please contact Cassandra Galante: cassandra.galante-AT-stmartins.com

For Australian publicity inquiries about STORMDANCER, please contact Charlotte Ree:
charlotte.ree-AT-macmillan.com.au

For Agent related information, please contact Lindsay Ribar: lribar-AT-@sjga.com

Press Kit

This is the place where press and press related resources live. Regular folk might find some of it useful, too, eg, if you wanted to know what I look like so you can run the other way when you see me coming.

Cover Art - Kinslayer

Cover Art - Stormdancer

 

Kinslayer synopsis

A SHATTERED EMPIRE 
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

Stormdancer Synopsis

A Dying Land

The Shima Imperium  verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. 

An Impossible Quest

The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death. 

A Hidden Gift

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. 

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Author Shots

Click thumbnails for high-resolution version, then run to the hills

All photography to be credited to Christopher Tovo - www.christophertovo.com

Author Bio

Short Version:

Jay Kristoff is the author of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK. The first installments, STORMDANCER and KINSLAYER are out now.
Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13,520 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.
He has a sweet beard.
He does not believe in happy endings.
You can stalk Jay on his website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Long Version:

Jay Kristoff is a tragic nerd, but has spent the last ten years dumping expeez into his Intimidation stat, with the result that nobody is brave enough to say it to his face. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

Jay prostituted his writing arm in the soulless crack-house that is advertising for over ten years. He’s hocked petrol guzzling monstrosities to sexually inadequate men, salty condiments to schoolchildren, and toilet paper to anyone with a bottom. He has won several awards that nobody outside the advertising industry gives a toss about.

Jay is the author of of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK, set to be published in over a dozen countries. The first installment, STORMDANCER, and part two, KINSLAYER are both out now. He is represented by Matt Bialer at Sanford J Greenburger Associates.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13870 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Jay Kristoff

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