The Smoke Dragon

Rated 3.33/5 based on 3 reviews
In a Japan that never was ... Yamabushi Kaidan is a mountain monk with tremendous fighting ability and spiritual powers, Yumi is a brilliant but untested warrior, fighting for her village and her independence, and Kaidan's apprentice Akio is a gifted healer with a courageous heart, but can their combined prowess save the village of Kyuusai from the onslaught of the mysterious Smoke Dragon? More
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About Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Shane Jiraiya Cummings has been acknowledged as "one of Australia’s leading voices in dark fantasy". Shane is the author of the forthcoming Yokai Wars series (Circle of Tears, Clockwork Legion, and Blight of the Underworld) and the dark fiction books The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, Shards, the Apocrypha Sequence (Deviance, Divinity, Insanity, and Inferno), and the Ravenous Gods cycle (Requiem for the Burning God and Dreams of Destruction). He has won the Australian Shadows Award and two Ditmar Awards, and he has been nominated for more than twenty other major awards, including Spain's Premios Ignotus.

Shane is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and former Vice President of the Australian Horror Writers Association. When he is not writing, Shane is an editor and journalist by day. By night (and on weekends), he can be found indulging in hobbies such as playing the guitar, photography, sword fighting, and testing the limits of his new cruiser motorcycle.

In his youth, Shane was trained in the deadly arts of the ninja, and the name Jiraiya (lit. "Young Thunder", after the legendary ninja Jiraiya) was bestowed upon him by his sensei.

Shane was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. He lived for many years in Perth, Western Australia, and Wellington, New Zealand, but he recently returned to his old home town to revisit the ghosts of his past.

More information on Shane (including his free fiction) can be found online at

Learn more about Shane Jiraiya Cummings

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Reviews of The Smoke Dragon by Shane Jiraiya Cummings

humanitysdarkerside reviewed on May 2, 2013

Shane Jiraiya Cummings is a popular writer of dark fantasy. You can get the short-story "Smoke Dragon" for free on his website.

Power-hungry and greedy people are to be found all over the world I imagine. Along with the hunger for more we also sometimes find those who work for a lighter world.

"Smoke Dragon" is the story of the fight between two who are on the polar opposites of the above traits. The people fighting on the side of the Smoke Dragon want what they do not have even if it means killing to get it. On the other side we find Yamabushi Kaidan and his apprentices.

In "Smoke Dragon" we get a story packed with action, magic and martial arts set in a kind of Japan. Mr. Cummings writes a fascinating tale of disillusionment and the fight for something more than oneself and those nearest and dearest to us.


Originally published as “Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon” in Fantastic Wonder Stories, ed. Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications).
◾2008 Ditmar Award Nomination, Best Novella/Novelette
◾2008 Aurealis Award Nomination, Young Adult short story
(review of free book)
andrew mccloud reviewed on Feb. 19, 2011

While I found the subject matter and story line fascinating, I found the characters hollow with only a facade of humanity.
(review of free book)
seandblogonaut reviewed on Jan. 27, 2011

The Tale
The Smoke Dragon tells the story of Yamabushi(a wild mountain fighting monk) Kaidan and his sidekicks Aiko and Yumi as they battle against bandits and their Smoke Dragon and an opportunistic Samurai clan.

It's classic mystical Japan with Kaidan casting spells that augment his martial prowess and dispensing wisdom left, right and centre. The tone is somewhat reserved, perfect for the genre.

What I liked
This piece of fiction took me back to days spent wasted playing in the pseudo-historical world of Tenchu - Stealth Assassin.

I'd like to read more of these Characters and from the extra chapter included at the end of this download its seems Cummings will be doing that in the not too distant future.

What I didn't like
Not too much to dislike really.

It does feel like the opening to a longer tale and while perfectly self contained as a story in its own right I would have liked more so that the characters and their motivation could be filled out.

Final Thoughts
If your a fan of pseudo-historical oriental tales, anime or games, download it. Hell even if you're not into any of the above enjoy a good free read.
(review of free book)
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