by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Spirit Hunters. Book 2: The Open Road, by Paul Kidd. Illustrated.
Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com/Perth, Western Australia, Kitsune Press, May 2016, trade paperback $25.84 (395 pages), Kindle $7.99.
Spirit Hunters. Book 1: The Way of the Fox was published in September 2014, and reviewed here in January 2015. It contains the first three Encounters of about a hundred pages each. I said that, “Spirit Hunters is set in the realm of traditional Japanese mythology, vaguely around 900 or 1000 A.D.” The Spirit Hunters are a quartet who wander throughout medieval mythical Japan hunting yokai — supernatural spirits. Lady Kitsune nō Sura, a fox woman, and her companion Tsunetomo Tonbo, a huge human samurai with “a solid iron staff longer than he was tall. The business end was grimly studded with spikes. It was the weapon of a monster slayer – a thing designed to obliterate helmets, armour and anything organic that might get in its way,” are “itinerant Spirit Hunters, traveling throughout Japan looking for evil Spirits to kill – hopefully for pay.” Asodo Kuno is a young bottom-ranking samurai who hopes that killing demons will gain him a reputation and higher status. Chiri is a shy rat-spirit who Sura persuades to join them. She is accompanied by two little spirits of her own: Daitanishi the rock elemental, and Bifuuko the apparent insect; an air elemental.
Sura and Chiri are the main characters who make this a furry book. Sura is described in the first book as:
“A fox woman lounged upon a fallen log like a reclining Buddha, eating a roasted chicken leg. Beside her, there were the embers of a camp fire and a pair of backpacks ready for travel. The fox woman had a long, clever pointed muzzle, and great, green eyes filled with humour. Her body was human in size and shape – excepting for its lush pelt of fur, her fox head with muzzle and long pointed ears, and her long, elegant red tail. She wore a priestess’ robes decorated with images of peaches – with each peach missing a single bite. The fox called out to Kuno in a loud and merry voice while she wriggled her black-furred toes.” (The Way of the Fox, p. 12) She gets the quartet into their adventures, blithely assuring them, “Trust me – I’m a fox!”