My new book, Reincarnates: Die Without Sin, will be released in Japan this week (November 10.) It is a fantasy novel set in modern-day Japan, and it will be published as a Japanese-language original under the title of 『健太、斧を取れ！』 by Gentosha (ISBN: 978-4-34401-911-9.)
This book will mark several firsts for me: 1) The first time I have had a novel published in hardback; 2) The first novel I have brought out as a Japanese-language original (all of my Japanese-language original books up until now have been non-fiction;) 3) The first fantasy story I have had published; 4) The first time I have attempted to write a series; and 5) The first time I have published a book with the eminent publishing house, Gentosha.
The story is set in modern-day Japan, containing a mixture of real life, historical facts and mythological creatures, and it works on the premise that nature controls the balance between good and evil by only allowing people who have died without sin to be reincarnated. Sin, of course, is a subjective element, and major sins, such as murder or suicide, means the perpetrator can expect no further lives. Smaller sins, on the other hand, are accumulated over the course of multiple lifetimes, but once a certain line has been crossed, it means that further reincarnations are not possible. When a person has been reincarnated fifteen or more times, nature regards them as having gained sufficient wisdom to be let in on a variety of secrets that are not available to people with fewer accumulated lifetimes, and that’s where the fun begins. The main plotline depicts two children who have reached their sixteenth lives and have been taken under the wing of a mentor, who reveals to them these hidden secrets. During this, they become involved in a power struggle between mythological creatures to annex a part of the country that traditionally belongs to a different species of creature.
Although seemingly fantastic in concept, the logic stands up well to scrutiny, and I am convinced that it will not only provide a good read, but also food for thought.
I originally wrote the book in English, but I was determined from the start to publish it as a Japanese-language original, so I took great care over making sure the prose matched up with the style of Japanese writing before handing the completed manuscript across to my translator, Junko Watanabe (who has translated more than twenty of my non-fiction books up until now but is also a translator of fiction in her own right.) The result is extremely satisfying, and despite several delays during the editing process, I am delighted that it is finally about to see the light of day.
Now all I have to do is start plotting out the sequel.