Book Jacket

 

rank 185
word count 41115
date submitted 07.01.2010
date updated 27.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Fantasy
classification: moderate
incomplete

Nobody's Knight

G. M. Atwater

It's a hell of a lot more dangerous to save a dragon than to slay one. Morgan is figuring that out.

 

All Morgan wants is to work on his carpentry, drink his beer, and mind his own damned business. For the right price, he can be persuaded to solve problems like marauding bears, or even the occasional dragon.

No one in their right mind would imagine him rescuing a dragon. But when some do-gooder elves ask him to do just that, Morgan accepts their coin. The consequences prove deadly. Morgan is stuck smuggling a traumatized elf and a dragon whelp out of the district, one step ahead of assassins.

He soon realizes the only way to save his own hide may be to save the dragon. With the aid of a sketch-artist elf, a chubby naturalist, and a graduate of Evan ap Gruffydd's School for Audacious Gentlemen, Morgan embarks on what looks unnervingly like a quest.

But Morgan and his companions are unable to escape an ever-widening web of intrigue, conspiracy, threats of civil war, and really annoying politics.

(NOTE: Revised. Re-posted for constructive critique. COMPLETE, 14 chapters loaded.)

 
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tags

adventure, battle, dragons, drama, fantasy, fiction, humor, intrigue, kingdoms, politics, revenge

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Chapters

13

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Chapter 13

 

"I wonder if God is punishing us."

The words echoed hollowly in the dimness of their prison, their sole illumination a narrow window high in the cellar wall. Its rectangle of light taunted them with all they did not have.

"For what?" growled Morgan, slanting a dour look at Gwilym slumped nearby.

A miserable set they were, battered and weary. Oran started from a doze at the sound of their voices, but Cinuin sat motionless, having spoken but once since their capture.

"I don't know," Gwilym sighed. "Though my own sins have grown to monumental proportions, lately."

Morgan snorted. "Yes, I'm sure at some point you must have slapped an old lady or stole from the widows and orphans box."

"I killed a man, Morgan!" Gwilym's head jerked up, dark eyes ablaze. "Or have you forgotten?"

"I don't forget a thing, boyo."

"Nor do I."

The fire gusted out of him and Gwilym's head hung even lower than before. Morgan had no further words and he sank back into the swamp of his thoughts.

No matter how he looked at it, they were well and truly buggered. He must have missed some sign, some warning or hunch, or a twinge in his big toe, for pity's sake, that would have guided them to a safer route. Surrender in the face of hopeless odds had seemed a good idea. After all, a live man could potentially escape. A dead man seldom got far at all.

But his thoughts shifted to the fanatical vicar and Morgan felt ill. How in God's name--indeed, how in the name of God--could any man consider burning another human being alive? Heaven knew what brutal 'penance' the man planned for Cinuin.

Yet the simplest question remained the largest: why were they not dead? Given current politics, there seemed no reason to take the dragon and its keepers alive, unless as some sort of hostages. Pawns, Oran had named them, and now the game had changed: still chess but with new and unseen pieces in play.

A sudden clanking jarred him alert and his heartbeat jumped as the heavy oak door swung inward. Yet it was merely two of Sir Aubrey's men-at-arms with a pail of water and a handful of cloths. The door boomed shut and Morgan sighed, pushing himself to his feet to retrieve the bucket and bandages. Judging Cinuin the worst, he set the pail down beside the elf.

"Cinuin? You want to take care of this, or shall I help?"

For a moment, he felt unsure Cinuin even heard him and wondered if they had lost the poor devil already.

But the dark head nodded. "If it pleases you."

Clamping his mouth tight against a thousand violent thoughts, Morgan dipped a rag in the water and swabbed at the matted mess of Cinuin's hair until water ran in dirty streams to pool by Morgan's knee. He grimaced when he finally uncovered the injury: a nasty gash, which should have sutures. The wound cleaned, Morgan set about making a proper bandage.

"We'll have to watch this," he said. "If the wound goes bad, it would be a hell of a thing to amputate your head."

"No fear," Cinuin replied. "Once Sir Aubrey's priest is through saving my soul, I may have little need for my head."

Morgan's hands stopped without his bidding, but then he finished off the bandage and shifted to rise.

"Let me." Gwilym stood over him, hand held down.

With a nod, Morgan let him have the bucket and slumped where he sat, and watched the young man kneel to tend Oran.

"Bless you, lad," Oran said with a wan smile. "I'm afraid my old head isn't as hard as it used to be."

From what Morgan could see, as he watched proceedings, the injury at the back of Oran's balding pate appeared more knot than gash. Nonetheless, Gwilym dabbed at it with awkward care.

Finally, Gwilym asked, "Are you a witch, Oran?"

The older man sat up, and Gwilym sank back on his heels to hear his answer.

"No, dear boy," Oran replied. "I am a wizard."

'I'll be damned', thought Morgan, yet by this point, surprise had blunted teeth. However, Gwilym's spasmodic swallow indicated he took the revelation with less equanimity.

"What's the difference?" he asked.

Oran resettled, a scholar preparing to deliver a lecture. "First, I will tell you what a wizard is not. A wizard does not make magic potions or cast spells. He does not foretell, enchant, hex, or charm, and he never, ever grants wishes."

The hermit paused to meet his student's guarded gaze. "A wizard is an academic, a practitioner of the art of observation, both of the seen and unseen worlds. My vocation is the study of how things work. How do birds find their way back to the same nesting grounds every spring? What causes whirlwinds--and can they be caused at will? How much of Man's survival is in the strength of his body, and how much the strength of his spirit?"

Frowning, Gwilym looked to the stained rag in his hands. "But you did things today that ... shouldn't happen."

Eyebrows lifted, Oran asked, "Did I? What did you see?"

The youth's frown deepened to a scowl. "I saw a great bloody fire, is what I saw--we all did!"

Strangely, Oran just smiled. "That, my lad, is what I meant for you to see." He paused, his study of Gwilym's face suddenly intent. "You did not see what truly was."

"But I heard Aubrey's men screaming! I felt heat, I--."

"No. Your mind saw fire and thought it should be hot. Have you seen any man with so much as one whisker singed?"

Blinking, Gwilym joined Morgan in baffled silence.

"Of course you haven't," Oran answered himself. "Nor, you may recall, were the horses frightened--they saw nothing at all. Unfortunately for us, Sir Aubrey realized this, as well."

"But ... I saw ..."

Oran's round cheeks bunched in a smug smile. "Oh, the fire that started it was real enough. Little trick of mine--begin with reality and let illusion build from there. But that meadow is as green this moment as when we first arrived."

Gwilym raised a hand to rub his forehead, realized he still held the sodden rag and let his hand drop.

"How can you make over fifty people see the same illusion?"

"The power of suggestion, lad. The human mind is a remarkable instrument, capable of an unending array of wonders." The wizard's eyes twinkled. "What if, for example, a ghost is simply a potent echo of a dying man's wish to live?"

Warily, Gwilym asked, "You speak with ghosts?"

"No, no. But the mind, dear boy, is able to perceive and accomplish many extraordinary things. How do you imagine Cinuin has been such a comfort to our dragon?"

"He's an elf."

"And you're a man. Is there some reason men may not learn the gifts of the elves?"

"But that's not ... it's not ..."

"Godly?" Oran waited until Gwilym's eyes meet his. "If God created heaven and earth, then surely He created all that goes in it. What if the elves retain gifts and graces that men in their foolishness have thrown away?"

The hermit paused, and his smile took on a gentler cast. "There, I didn't mean to trouble you. You are a brave, goodhearted young man. I should think that counts for something, even with God."

Yet that kindness must have missed its mark, for Gwilym's face contorted and he flung himself to his feet. Morgan and Oran both stared as the youth stalked across the room, where he turned, thumped his back to the wall and slid down to sit in a heap. When Morgan looked back at Oran, the older man pulled a rueful face.

'Bugger off' radiated from Gwilym's hunched pose as clear as shouting. And yet ... Morgan lacked either the heart or the sense, he was unsure which, to let well enough alone. Before he could think better of it, he got up, walked over and sat down beside the sullen youth. Of course, Gwilym ignored him.

After a while, though, Morgan said, "I suppose we could have arranged to get killed back there. Refused to surrender, kicked Aubrey in the nuts, had our heads lopped off. Would have avoided this whole bloody mess."

No answer, unless he counted the tautness in the lean-muscled body beside him.

"But then again," Morgan mused, "it would seem a damn fool thing to volunteer to be dead when the 'alive' option is right in front of us."

He felt Gwilym's shoulder shift against his. Twice, he heard Gwilym's breath catch, as if trying to summon words to speak. When he did, the words took Morgan wholly off guard.

"I should have prayed for that man I killed."

Morgan snorted. "Plenty of time for it, now."

"No!" The whisper came fiercely. "I should have done it then! If we take a man's life in battle, we must pray for his salvation. It may be his only admission to Heaven."

"You are not a priest, Gwilym."

"No. But I was trained to be a knight." The youth's low voice forced out each word spread thick with the sauce of self-loathing. "And a knight defends those in his care. He does not surrender them to fates worse than death!"

A knight. Jaw clenched, Morgan tipped his head against the wall. God help him. Yet before he could muster response, someone blocked the meager light and Cinuin crouched before them.

His face shadowed, the elf asked, "Are you not a knight?"

Gwilym speared the elf with a smoldering glare. "Why are you here? You and Gregory can run faster than any of us--we could have covered your escape!"

"I did that once. I did not like it. Are you not a knight?"

"No. I am the fatherless son of an unwed mother. Though the Temple knights trained and tutored me, the accolade is forbidden to me. I may not take the sacred fraternal oaths."

"Ah." Cinuin briefly bowed his head in thought. Then he fixed his gaze on Gwilym and said, "I find less and less use of spoken oaths. The oaths I have learned to trust are those of the heart." He paused. "Yours is the heart of a friend."

  With that, Cinuin stood and passed from them soundlessly as a breath of air. The leaden weight in Morgan's stomach did not feel any lighter, but perhaps, for Gwilym, Cinuin's statement amounted to forgiveness.

"Come on," Morgan said, nudging the lad with his shoulder. "It's cold over here."

In truth, that cellar room owned no spot warmer than any other. But when they sat once more with their friends, the chill of the place seemed to recede just a little.

#

The guards returned bearing supper, and thereafter the inky darkness swelled to fill every corner of their small prison, pressing each into his own silence. As the night wore on, Morgan doubted anyone slept.

He dearly wished for that first sliver of daylight in the window, for night gave a man too much time to think. But he dreaded the dawn, also, for with it would come Father Basil's piety. Yet he found his fear for Oran and Cinuin washed over with a shameful undercurrent of relief--that he had been omitted from Father Basil's reckoning.

Finally, he heard a heavy and very much awake sigh.

"There must be something we can do," Gwilym said lowly.

"Like what?" growled Morgan.

"I don't know. Something."

Morgan stifled a nasty remark about praying for miracles, and remained silent. A moment passed ere Gwilym spoke again.

"Maybe we can trick the guards."

"Maybe. How?"

"We could pretend someone is injured?"

"We have two someone's injured already. One is scheduled to be turned on a spit."

"You are a bastard, Morgan." Yet the youth said it without real heat. "Perhaps we could pretend to be ill."

"And you imagine they would care?"

Gwilym's gust of dejection echoed hollowly. "Then what about an illness with ... spots, or something. Oran, could you make it look like spots?"

A scrape of cloth on stone indicated the wizard's wakefulness. "Why, perhaps I could, but--."

Morgan snorted. "Do that, boyo, and they'll likely nail the door shut and brick up the window, with us inside."

"All right," snapped Gwilym, "let's hear your ideas, O Font of Brilliance!"

It became Morgan's turn to sigh. "I don't have any."

"Perhaps ..." Cinuin's voice startled them all. "... we could dig?"

"With what?" Gwilym retorted. "This room is solid rock! Although ..." He paused. "If we could reach the window, perhaps we could chip loose the mortar between the stones."

Glancing upwards in the blackness, Morgan said, "We'd have to take turns standing on each other's shoulders, but ...."

Gwilym's reply sounded as if he held his head in his hands. "But we'd need hours to do it and that's time we don't have."

Silence fell again, somehow even darker than before--the churning of four frantic minds nearly audible, for all that.

At length Morgan said, "The door."

"What about it?" asked Gwilym.

"Maybe we can do something to the door."

Cinuin suggested, "Weaken the hinges?"

"That requires tools," Morgan replied. "If I had my kit, we could chisel the wood away and pry loose the nails, but ...."

Which of course he did not have.

"Maybe we should just kick the bloody thing down," he grumbled.

"It's four inches thick, Morgan," Gwilym observed dryly. "And if you didn't break your foot, I'm quite sure someone would hear us trying."

"Oh, bloody hell on a Sunday!" Morgan snarled, and slammed an ineffective fist against his thigh. "Why can't four reasonably intelligent people come up with one bloody idea? We might as well wait until they bring our breakfast then bash the guards in the head and run like hell."

Silence. A rather long and weighted silence.

Finally, Cinuin said, "You know, that--."

"That's brilliant!" cried Gwilym. "They have weapons--we'd be instantly armed!"

"You can't be serious!" Morgan exclaimed.

"It's an escape, Morgan," Gwilym said patiently. "By definition that includes an element of risk."

"And you say I'm the madman."

"Morgan, think about it!" Hard fingers clutched his arm from the dark. "It may be our best chance--it will be Oran and Cinuin's only chance."

"Aubrey will have archers--."

"Crossbowmen," Gwilym scoffed. "You know better than I how slow those things are. They get one shot, then they have to stop and reload--and we're still running."

"What, then? We run where?"

"The stables--don't you think, Cinuin?"

"Yes. Gregory is somewhere there."

Dear God, the young lunatic almost made sense.

"We won't have time to take any horses," Morgan noted. "The time we lose saddling up, they'll be outside preparing for us. Our best bet is to stay on foot, grab Gregory and rattle our shanks. Every man we put down, we take his weapons. No 'honorable' fighting. Understood? This is dirty work."

"Of course, Morgan." Gwilym's grin became audible. "Listen, didn't we pass a stream and a pond on the way in?"

"Aye. We might be able to use the shrubbery and trees to our advantage. Now, if we--."

Perhaps darkness made men daft. Or perhaps desperation made them bold. But Morgan bent forward, heads literally together with his companions, and did his best to foment a plan to defy the odds. After all, they had precious little left to lose and everything to gain.

Chapters

13

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Maevesleibhin wrote 830 days ago

G.M.
I have read through the end of chapter eight and I am completely hooked. This is a very fun, entertaining and well crafted dragon fantasy, and I highly recommend it. I give it six stars and put it the waiting list of my bookshelf for an upcoming shuffle. I am frankly surprised that I am reading it here rather than as a store-purchased book. 
You ask for constructive critique, but most of what I have is praise.
Hook and plot- I am picky on early hooks for most genres. This title delivers handsomely. The first, really clever thing you do is to make your main character funny. This is a very clever technique, as this does not in the slightest pretend to be a comedy. So I open the first page expecting a "life in the shire" introduction and I find myself cracking up. Besides this, you quickly develop Morgan with broad stokes as a part-time dragon slayer (like it is the most natural thing the world for a carpenter to o for a bit of extra lolly). Second, while not dropping the comic tone, you bring the quest in on chapter 2.This was a clever hook on various fronts. First, you brought in elves as the customers, adding a bit of mystery to the whole thing. Second, you made the request unusual- for a slayer to be a rescuer. This would not have worked if you had not made Morgan so very indifferent when we first meet him. As it is, you add a thriller element to this, making Morgan the highly trained but out of his depths MC of a classic thriller. 
The plot is fantastically well developed so far. You take us through his indifference to the fate of the elves to his becoming unwillingly involved to his actually caring, all very compellingly. Part of this you do by clearly defining their objective early on- it looks like a simple enough objective, and Morgan keeps promising to drop out. This is a clever device because it keeps the waypoints of the plot relatively short, and kept the story moving.
Character development. Morgan is an exquisitely developed character. You are careful to quickly show him in many different contexts and situations, and show his wit and brawn. You present him at work, at drink, with friends and even with his parents. Very clever. 
The elf Cinuin is veiled in mystery, which is actually a benefit in his case. Nevertheless, he is well drawn in his enigmatic self .
The supporting characters, from Oran to Lord Guy to Rhys are all painted with efficient, elegant broad strokes.
Part of the great success of this book for me is it's great character development of Morgan. He is a fabulous character, and you handle his transition from a mercenary to a flag bearer of the mission very well. 
Last, but not least is Gregory, who, of course, is the most adorable dragon imaginable. 
Ambiance and setting- this is one of the aspects that really surprised me about your book- how well you wrote these fantastic descriptions that at times were almost poetic. Several of your dawn descriptions made me pause- such lyricism is not expected in a fantasy book. Your descriptions are rich and vivid, from the smells in the Cock and Crown to the view of the moor, to the squalid randomness of Oran's hut.  This is mythical Wales at it's finest. But you are also very careful not to go overboard, mixing description and ambiance with plot. 
Internal consistency- there are a few points where you do stretch in this regard. Mostly it has to do with Morgan's pursuers. When he goes back into town after his house is burnt to the ground it is hard to believe that he would not have been found out. Ciunin is just a bit too lucky not to wind up dead, particularly as he is haunting about with a great dragon calf (he says he outran the pursuers, but he has a bit of trouble keeping up with Morgan). Most problematic, how did Guy's men not catch up with the gang, particularly as dragon tracks cannot be easy to miss. Now, your book is so good on other fronts that this becomes a minor issue. And I don't have a good answer to fix them  (well, maybe the elf could have some sort of mesmerizing power, and maybe Morgan could spy the men leaving town before venturing into the inn). So it is a very minor critique. However, as I read further I become more aware of internal consistency, which can make the difference between a good and a great fantasy for me. 
Mechanics- this book so far is deliciously polished and beautifully written, far beyond the standard of the genre. I found no typos or other issues. I did have an issue with the underlining (I recommend you use italics instead) and the hash mark as section breaks (I suggest three asterisks).

Here are my comments as I read
1
Great first line
Recommend you consider stars rather than a hash for the break 
"Everything he needed he carried with him, short of a speedy way to cut off his own head and end his suffering."
Lol
Oh, this is really funny
"Furnace heat lashed over him, crisping his eyebrows and gone, and he lunged once more to his feet.". And gone? All but gone?
"Besides that," he panted to the corpse, "you made me step in a pile of dragon shit!"lol
Truly excellent first chapter. Fantastic tone and character development. 
2
Fantastic ambiance. 

"I do not know the location, sir, or we would not be having this absurd conversation" But the conversation is not absurd. So, maybe "it would be absurd to be having this conversation"

Very good story development and plot hook. 
Fabulous description of the dragon. 

This is very good. Good new hook as one is ending. 

3
Great change of scenery

 " withdrew another arrow and moistened thumb and forefinger fingers to smooth the fletching. "don't need "fingers"

"That's how it usually works," Morgan replied. "It's sort of inherent to the nature of ambushing.". Lol

This is a good chapter, rich in both ambiance and plot development. You have made me very curious about all this fuss over a baby dragon. Morgan is very clever, which combines well with his sloppiness to make an endearing character 
4 Very good burial scene. Good setup. 
I am a bit surprised he decided to go back- how could the posey not find him? But you get away with it, so it is not a big concern. 
The cheese eating dragon is funny. Very well described. 

"As all precious things become beautiful, when one fears they will lose them."
That's for sure. 
Very good. Nice familial scene. 



"To walk in your forests is to feel the pulse of the world beating faster, stronger, more real.". Nice. 
Fun scene with feeding the dragon.
Good explanation of the reasons behind the mission. 

 6
I like Oram, and the conversation about him being a wizard is very funny. 

I love your attention to detail, like Morgan's morning headbath. 

Fantastic chapter, getting the quest started

7 Ffantastic description of the town. 

8
Gwilym well introduced. 
Funny with the prunes. 
One would think that the dragons tracks are easy to follow. Not sure how you can fix this without magic. 
Very good cliffhanger chapter. 


I will send you more comments when I read what you have posted. I am a big fan, and there is true lack of justice in the world if this does not make it to the desk. 

Best,
Maeve

Sharahzade wrote 1453 days ago

NOBODY'S KNIGHT
G. M. Atwater

I feel as if I have fallen out of bed whilst having a lovely dream. I long to continue this adventure. I do hope you intend to give us more. I see there are others who hunger for the rest of this tale.

Dragons soar through the minds of many of us writers. I have a healthy dose of them in my book. Instead of responding to every request that I have been getting to read and back others books, I decided to go shopping for a story that would appeal to me containing dragons. I found yours.

I must say it was a thrilling ride on this quest. My traveling mates have become so familiar that now I shall miss them sorely. Please be kind enough to let me know where I can meet up with them once more should you care to show the way.

My heart goes out to Cinuin and I agree with Morgan about the injustice he has suffered. I feel protective of little Gregory. He is a companion who carries possibilities I can only imagine. I wonder if he can mind speak. I love him. Thank the gods for Oran and his caring ways. We are fortunate to enjoy his company. Gwilym is indeed a mystery. He is closed and yet seemingly rather innocent. I am not sure what to make of him. I get that he means well but has crosses to bear.

I want to thank you for allowing me to travel along with this fine group. May they continue with safe journeys and reach their goal.

My best to you.
Sincerely,

Mary Enck
Author of A King in Time

Ancient Reader wrote 1541 days ago

Dear G.M.,

Just finished all you had up and want to know where can I find the rest of it? I am dazzled and in love with this ungainly crew of questers and their bedraggled baby dragon!

You are a fine and talented author and it would be an injustice to all fantasy for this not to be published!

Of course, it helps my review that I am crazy about dragons, although in all else I have read about them, their stink has not been mentioned. I never thought about it, but no doubt you are right!

"A thing of awful beauty, terrible and grand to behold in flight . . ." Perfect!

Love the first chapter; plenty of action and an antihero main character. Who could ask for more?

Having The Cock and the Crown as a second family and home to Morgan is a refreshing idea. Most pubs or inns hardly present that kind of image.

Each chapter leads the reader on with great hooks to keep reading. It's fascinating and I had no trouble wanting to read it all.

Cinuin's description of why the elves love the mortal world is so lovely and so unexpected in a fantasy. Usually, the elves just want to get out of the mortal world.

"Thick clouds dragged their bellies across the heath . . . " Wow! I can just see it!

"Knobs of rock thrust throughthe heather like the ends of old bones . . ." Excellent at capturing the eerie feeling of the bog.

The dragon "burbling" is just right; something bewteen a trill and a growl.

Well, my dear, you have outdone yourself with this! It is fantastic and If I could shelve it twice, I would! All the best! It is shelved!

Ancient Reader

Miss Wells wrote 1543 days ago

Terrific writing from the oft, full of vigour and an ease which belies the evocative power of the cleverly chosen word combinations. There’s a thrilling surprise in most of your sentences, an unexpected little gift hidden in the midst of them. Somehow the story manages to be both prosaic and magical at the same time – prosaic because we recognise the world you describe, magical because of the way you describe it. This trick brilliantly prepares us for the mythological realm of your tale. Loved this to bits.

alias miss ferkit wrote 1559 days ago

G.M.! This here? This here is an endangered species: exceedingly good prose. Looks effortless, and perhaps, for you, it is. I'll pick a sentence more or less at random: "He offered the purse pinched between two fingers, and let it drop heavily into Morgan's outstretched palm." Perfect sound, perfect image, perfect thud. There are other sentences, perhaps more wonderful and illustrative - but I chose a workhorse sentence (that carries action) because - this is your *baseline*, and it's a helluva baseline to have! That this prose is carrying a delectable *story* is of course, what should make it all into an exceedingly good book. Oh! The story! Love it - but need to read more to comment knowledgeably.

Shelved with great admiration,

Andrea Levin
(Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute)

Darius Stransky wrote 10 days ago

Nobody's Knight
G. M. Atwater

Well then GM Atwater (even the name feels medieval!)

I saw your work on another person's shelf.

Read the pitch and decided to dip my talons into your tale

I like the 'timelessness' (that the right word?) of your setting.

I concentrate on thirteenth century Europe in my novels and your hero could quite easily slip into my world as easily as an arrow cuts through the air.

Dialect - in any form - is sometimes avoided by less talented writers than you but you achieve it effortlessly.

Your characters speak with an old other-worldliness that is so well done.

Descriptive prose mixed with action sequences and throughout we have that undercurrent of humor and sarcasm pervading the book.

I rate this highly and award you an immediate six stars

Added to watchlist and I will return.

Thanks for the journey

Best wishes to you and yours
Darius
The King's Jew

vee8 wrote 13 days ago

I came upon this via the 'Pitch me' link at the bottom of the home page. Normally it is the last refuge of waifs and orphans, lonely books whose authors long since fled the site, but this day, to my surprise, I find not just an LP that held my attention, (I have seen many of those on the pitch me,) but one where the author is still in residence. So, I felt compelled to read on, and pleased I am that I did!

My first impression is the dialogue, and in particular, the dialect. Most experts say it is wise not to try and 'Write as it is spoken.' In their opinion, it seldom works. It is, however, a rule I disagree with, and we have broken it ourselves in our own work. I am not the one to say if we got away with it, but here, I can say, quite happily, that you certanly have. Tones and inflections, to say nothing of colloquial slang and curses, all ring clear and resonant.
But, to the story itself, and a very graphic description of the liquid aftermath of a hangover! Too much detail!
The battle with the dragon is very visual, summoning up flashing images and action in my mind. I like too how both the narrative and dialogoe have an old-world touch to them, in perfect keeping with the period and setting.
Loving Morgan's sass to Guy! Sort of reminds me of myself when younger; the only one who could sass the Squadron-Leader and raise a smile!

I read the following two chapters, the meeting with the elves in the pub and the assult by the mysterious stranger, and greatly enjoyed what I have read so far. This reads, almost, like a kids fairy story, but beefed up, so as to be perfectly pitched to a more mature readership. Not quite as violent as 'Game of Thrones,' but still with the spirit of adventure and excitement.

I see from your bio you are not keen on YA books, so please don't worry about a return read, I fully understand if it's not your thing. I'm backing this simply because I think it's a great book, and not as a fishing expidition for return favours.

p.s. I also see from your bio you advocate keeping and arming bears. I have no problem with keeping bears. I'm all for wildlife conservation. But putting an AK47 into the claws of an 800lb Grizzly is, to me, a recipe for disaster.
Bears can be dangerous critters at the best of times.
Arming them can only end in tears.

Dawn Wessel wrote 62 days ago

To me the first part of this book feels like a cross between Aragorn and the Hobbit with a hint of hilarity and I truly enjoyed reading it so much so that I couldn't put it down (so to speak). The first chapters drew me in and kept me reading steadily until I reached the chapters where they were on the moor always travelling but never getting anywhere and it lost me a bit. Truth be told I expected their journey to take them out of the beaten tracks and into unknown territory. The introduction of the Knights Templar kind of theme is not my favorite but I did read until the end (just to make sure they got away).

Judging by the comments below your book is obviously popular and I'm not going to ruin it. I give it lots of stars due to your great writings skills. I noted a few possible errors:

Chap. 6: "Beyond Orin" shouldn't it be "Oran"
Chap. 11: "They're horseback" - I think you mean "they're on horseback"
"do over" (near the bottom) " did you mean "do it over"?


Fontaine wrote 78 days ago

Chapter 2
This story is excellent and I found myself thoroughly engrossed and I never read Fantasy! I like the atmosphere in the pub and the way Morgan has at least Blodwen who cares about him, in a motherly way. The description of the elves was very good and their contrast to ordinary folk, well drawn. I like Morgan very much and his bluff manners make me smile. The idea of the professional dragon slayer being employed to save one, is clever. I loved the description of the little dragon and wonder whether we are going to meet it again.

Nitpicks which you can ignore if you like. Only my suggestions.

'For over thirty years, Blodwen and her husband, Cedric looked after.'.. maybe shoud be 'had looked after'.

he half dozed in his corner seat when the room went hushed - he was half dozing?

Also 'room went hushed' is a bit clunky, maybe 'fell silent'?

'look anywhere else' - 'look elsewhere' or 'look anywhere but at the elves'.

the elves' directions - the pot boy's directions?

spitting likeness - usually 'spitting image'. or 'was the spit of him.'

I'll read on as soon as I can. Really enjoying it.
Fontaine.

Fontaine wrote 80 days ago

Chapter 1
Wat a great start to this thrlling tale. You write beautifully and there are so many gems in there, I can't list them all, but I particularly liked 'flurry of slippers'! The dragon killing scene was superb and I liked his reationship with the lord of the castle. I will read more and comment further. Highly starred.

GreenPen2 wrote 283 days ago

I don't think I've ever come across a dragon story that I liked. I'm super picky with the fantasy stories I read, but "Nobody's Knight" is now on my (albeit short) list of favorites!

Gregory is adorable; I love how the wizard casually mentions his discovery that dragons are sensitive to prunes, all the while Gregory is in the background burping blue fire!

Your word crafting is appealing and easy to understand, with a decidedly European taste that is refreshing for a history-loving American. I enjoy the casual humor mixed with real emotions over the horrors and injustices each character is facing. I'm quite intrigued by Ciunin and Gwilym as well and can only wonder what secrets they have buried in their past. I have a weakness for supporting characters, and often cheer them on more than the main character, but that's my own problem. I must say, I greatly enjoyed it, and would love to see it printed someday so I can find out what happens!

Kiwititus wrote 315 days ago

This is really well written and hugely enjoyable. I got through the first two chapters without finding a nit to pick. Morgan is a great character, the elves are suitably superior, with a hint of higher purpose. Your part time hero seems to be pretty much of a loner, which I guess fits him for the part, but the folk at the tavern seem to treat him like a son (almost). Apart from killing dragons, I guess he has done something to deserve this, and the implication is probably enough...

I think your rhythm is almost perfect - almost too perfect. I'll certainly be reading more. I've been looking for readable, clever fantasy on this site, and this is one of the best.

Full stars, and a backing. Picked your book off Chalybs bookshelf, because he liked mine too :-)

Tim Stead
The Seventh Friend

Kiwititus wrote 315 days ago

This is really well written and hugely enjoyable. I got through the first two chapters without finding a nit to pick. Morgan is a great character, the elves are suitably superior, with a hint of higher purpose. Your part time hero seems to be pretty much of a loner, which I guess fits him for the part, but the folk at the tavern seem to treat him like a son (almost). Apart from killing dragons, I guess he has done something to deserve this, and the implication is probably enough...

I think your rhythm is almost perfect - almost too perfect. I'll certainly be reading more. I've been looking for readable, clever fantasy on this site, and this is one of the best.

Full stars, and a backing. Picked your book off Chalybs bookshelf, because he liked mine too :-)

Tim Stead
The Seventh Friend

OpheliaWrites wrote 320 days ago

Great new book even if the opening chapter is a bit too long. I loved the fresh voice of Morgan, his attitude, his natural and clever dialogue, and his many vices. I'm not for dragon tales but this one does capture the imagination. One of my favorite lines, "Tricky lot, us carpenters." I never knew carpenters had such a sense of humor.

Well done!

Seringapatam wrote 402 days ago

G.M. A really good read and although I have shown interest in thei kind of book before have never got around to reading one. I have to say I was impressed and will be reading others. Your book is like new pot of jam. Full of sweet goodness, but you know if you dip your fingers in you are going to be left wanting more of this sticky lovliness. I enjoyed the flow of this book as much as I did the story. Its because you write so well that I not only stuck to this book like glue, but wanted to read on and on. Sometimes I get bored with books very quickly because this is overlooked. Well done for this and I will be scoring well.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Andrea Taylor wrote 508 days ago

Fantastic! Immediate, enthralling, amusing, believable....it has everything to make it a winner. Stars, and on my bookshelf when I re-arrange later.
Andrea
The de Amerley Affair

Abby Vandiver wrote 528 days ago

Good story. Some descriptions were hard for me - "sunlit morning fog." Injust can't pictue sunlit fog. Fog keeps the sunlight out. I felt a little lost at the beginning, didn't know where they were. But overall you write well.

Good start.

Abby

Spilota wrote 569 days ago

My only complaint about this story is that there's not enough of it uploaded!

Nafeez wrote 572 days ago

I've just joined authonomy, and just been browsing for a decent read, and found this. Haven't dabbled in fantasy for a while, but your blurb had me hooked. I've just finished the first chapter, and have gone line and sinker. Really enjoying this, and pleasantly surprised to find such great writing here. I'm not just saying that. I'm here for good solid critique of my own work and will only give praise where I think it's due, but the quality of this really took me by surprise. Will post more as I read more...

Nigel Fields wrote 600 days ago

G.M.
This is my first Dragon Fantasy, and I'm glad to report that it proved to be enthralling. Great opening line. From the dialog alone, Morgan and Farmer Howel emerge as colourful characters and they capture our interest.
So many savvy lines in these first two chapters: . . .be-ringed finers flicked the servant on his way; the elf clasped long fingers . . . "or we wouldn't be having this absured conversation." I enjoyed your description of the elf. And your timing for revealing the plot, the rescuing of the young dragon, was perfect. Six stars!
Best,
John B. Campbell (A Lark Ascending)

Iva P. wrote 634 days ago

This my first dragon-slayer story and I did not know fantasy could be so enjoyable. Thanks to authonomy, one is able to experience all kinds of genres and make excellent discoveries like this one. All I can say is bravo. Six stars.

Iva P. / Fame and Infamy

One teeny weeny remark: At the end of chapter 2, you should prepare the reader for the assault. The change of the situation was so sudden, that I was two lines into the paragraph before I realized what was happening. One simple sentence before the attack would introduce the sense of danger and alert the reader that something major is going to happen. Just my two cents. :)

Sonya Lano wrote 645 days ago

So far I've only read the first chapter but thought I'd comment anyway because I really like the story! You have an excellent first sentence and a promising story beginning here in my opinion, and the pitch looks to be a fantastic premise. I love your sense of humor! The character is well-drawn and entertaining - and the minor ones are, too.
Some of my favorite lines were:
- It coom back
- Everything he needed he carried with him, short of a speedy way to cut off his own head and end his suffering

As for constructive criticism, there were a few moments in the story where I paused because something read a bit off to me, or you didn't describe enough for me to envision what you were describing; I list them here:
- When he stepped into the dragon feces, I was thinking that this pile of crap has GOT to be a lot larger than dog stools, so I would imagine Morgan's entire shoe immersed in it, not just it crushed under his sole, so I wasn't so sure I believed he could simply wipe it off on a tussock of grass. I would think the boot would be entirely covered and he would either have to take it off and battle with one bare foot, or tolerate the stench :-)
- When I read the phrase "burning away the last haze of beer" I thought his hangover was completely gone, so when you wrote at the end of the scene that he collected his sword and his "lingering hangover", it made me go back and check how you'd phrased it before.
- When the dragon was fighting, it seemed to be too close for Morgan not to have been burned to a crisp - esp. the "A jet of flame burst full in his face" part. I expected him to duck behind something or somehow block the flames; I didn't believe he could jump back or duck down far enough to escape them. Of course I'm imagining the jetstream of fire to be at least a man's height in width, which would engulf him entirely even if he were flat on the ground; maybe you should specify how thick around the dragon's fire-stream is?
- this might sound nitpicky, but if his eyebrows are crisped, then I would think his nose is going to be crisped too, since it's sticking out a lot more.
- How large is the dragon? I have no idea how big "vast" and "great" are, as these are relative, and I didn't see anything more specific than that when I skimmed back through (maybe I missed it). It would help for me to know if the dragon was just a couple times taller than Morgan, or ten times taller and broader? Or more?
- Maybe say what color the dragon is earlier in the scene? When I looked back through it looks like you only describe its colors when it's dead, so the entire fight scene I think I was imagining a green dragon and find out only at the end that it's dark.
- Are its wings dark like the body? I'm pretty sure you don't say (but again, I might have missed it).
- What kind of body does it have? Long and serpentine, or bulky and unwieldy? I'm pretty sure this isn't described, either, but, yet again, maybe I missed it.

As to technical things (grammar, etc.), this phrase reads wrong to me (it feels like you're missing a verb before "gone"): crisping his eyebrows and gone. Maybe "crisping his eyebrows and vanishing"? Not sure.

So there were my notes. Not sure how helpful they are.
And no, I don't expect a swap read. Esp. since one of my books is fantasy romance and other young adult, neither of which you read :-) But I like your story so I hope I'll be back again to continue it

rikasworld wrote 663 days ago

Lovely, that's all I've got to say really.
I've finished all you have uploaded and really enjoyed the read. I love the Welsh, Norman background with the elves and dragon added in. The characters are very attractive and three dimensional, and the baby dragon is really starting to become an interesting force.
It's really enjoyable. I feel they are friends I would like to spend more time with.
Six stars, obviously and staying on my watch list with my favourites.

Searcher wrote 674 days ago

First,... the title caught my eye,... your description convinced me to open the book and ... I was hooked before getting half way through the 1st chapter. Your characters are easy to visualize! Your writing is excellent! This is a fun romp! Great job! Backed with stars! I haven't finished all 14 chapters so I'm headed back to read more!

Jane

Eileen Kay wrote 686 days ago


Great pitch, very appealing, with a good sense of humour. “Really annoying politics” is an excellent turn of phrase. So our protagonist prefers beer and minding his own business, but he is forced into some damnable quest? Very nice. That should annoy him – well done. It’s fun watching someone be annoyed.

He’s a sort of bounty hunter for dragons. It’s great that he’s cynical and reluctant and sarcastic. And hungover. All of this is very appealing.

People who like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchet will probably like this too.

Best wishes from
Eileen Kardos
The Noodle Trail

jmoshins wrote 708 days ago

This reads true to me - that is I can lose myself in it only occasionally being drawn up short by some phrase or style that is anachronistic (e.g Sod off) which sounds to my American ear as something you'd hear in a modern setting. But overall it remains true to the style and age.

CJMcKee wrote 763 days ago

Excellent read so far! Definitely hooked and can't wait to read more! I am enjoying your writing style, fast paced and interesting, very well developed characters. All the senses come alive within your book. Well done!

AudreyB wrote 770 days ago

Hi, there – this is review from AudreyB. I am often accompanied on my reviews by my English teacher alter-ego, The Grammar Hag. If I say anything you don’t like, it was probably her idea.

“…served notice of this fact…” sounds prissy, and I don’t think I’m reading a prissy book. A manly “…told him as much…” would sound more expected.

You really convey a lot of information in that first conversation. I know that Morgan drinks. I am assuming he lives alone. I know that he hunts something (I’ve read the pitches so I know it’s dragons) and is being hired by this Lord Guy to hunt some that have returned. Really very well done.

“scuffmarks where fingers of hazy sunlight pried between the trees.” Well, that’s just lovely.

Now I’m really annoyed about the “served notice of the fact” line. You are one skilled writer. Besides the outstanding word choice—every image and detail is rendered in the absolute right words—you also do an amazing job with structure. You provide no details we don’t need. You create a sense of mystery. Every sentence is interesting.

I am reading way outside my preferred genre because Evie liked your book. I can sure see why. I like it, too.

~AudreyB
Forgiveness Fits

Sheilab wrote 814 days ago

Hi GM - I can't recall why I added this to my list (possibly Maeve's recommendation??) but I'm SOOO glad I did. You had me hooked with the opening line - so much so that I have just burnt my kids' dinner! This is fantastic, fabulous fun. Starred and will be shelved as soon as there's a space. Wonderful!
Sheila

Soulfire wrote 823 days ago

Hahaha! This is so much fun to read. I think I could fall deeply in love with your main character. The descriptions of his hangover are the best I've ever read.

This certainly puts a smile on my face as I read it and draws me in. If I must be at all critical, I spotted some of the things already mentioned below e.g. the eyebrows 'and gone'? The only other thing I'll say is I felt there could be too many 'ands' used in the sentences. It could be personal taste but I think I'd prefer sharper sentences, especially during the dragon fight.

Having said this, I've watch-listed you and given a big star rating. I feel just a touch of editing polish would make this gem really shine. Great entertainment and shouldn't that be what fiction is all about?

Fantastic. I'll watch the book's development with great interest.

Kind regards,
Paul.

T. Atkins wrote 827 days ago

Extremely well-written. Interesting plot and subtle characterization. Well done!

Maevesleibhin wrote 830 days ago

G.M.
I have read through the end of chapter eight and I am completely hooked. This is a very fun, entertaining and well crafted dragon fantasy, and I highly recommend it. I give it six stars and put it the waiting list of my bookshelf for an upcoming shuffle. I am frankly surprised that I am reading it here rather than as a store-purchased book. 
You ask for constructive critique, but most of what I have is praise.
Hook and plot- I am picky on early hooks for most genres. This title delivers handsomely. The first, really clever thing you do is to make your main character funny. This is a very clever technique, as this does not in the slightest pretend to be a comedy. So I open the first page expecting a "life in the shire" introduction and I find myself cracking up. Besides this, you quickly develop Morgan with broad stokes as a part-time dragon slayer (like it is the most natural thing the world for a carpenter to o for a bit of extra lolly). Second, while not dropping the comic tone, you bring the quest in on chapter 2.This was a clever hook on various fronts. First, you brought in elves as the customers, adding a bit of mystery to the whole thing. Second, you made the request unusual- for a slayer to be a rescuer. This would not have worked if you had not made Morgan so very indifferent when we first meet him. As it is, you add a thriller element to this, making Morgan the highly trained but out of his depths MC of a classic thriller. 
The plot is fantastically well developed so far. You take us through his indifference to the fate of the elves to his becoming unwillingly involved to his actually caring, all very compellingly. Part of this you do by clearly defining their objective early on- it looks like a simple enough objective, and Morgan keeps promising to drop out. This is a clever device because it keeps the waypoints of the plot relatively short, and kept the story moving.
Character development. Morgan is an exquisitely developed character. You are careful to quickly show him in many different contexts and situations, and show his wit and brawn. You present him at work, at drink, with friends and even with his parents. Very clever. 
The elf Cinuin is veiled in mystery, which is actually a benefit in his case. Nevertheless, he is well drawn in his enigmatic self .
The supporting characters, from Oran to Lord Guy to Rhys are all painted with efficient, elegant broad strokes.
Part of the great success of this book for me is it's great character development of Morgan. He is a fabulous character, and you handle his transition from a mercenary to a flag bearer of the mission very well. 
Last, but not least is Gregory, who, of course, is the most adorable dragon imaginable. 
Ambiance and setting- this is one of the aspects that really surprised me about your book- how well you wrote these fantastic descriptions that at times were almost poetic. Several of your dawn descriptions made me pause- such lyricism is not expected in a fantasy book. Your descriptions are rich and vivid, from the smells in the Cock and Crown to the view of the moor, to the squalid randomness of Oran's hut.  This is mythical Wales at it's finest. But you are also very careful not to go overboard, mixing description and ambiance with plot. 
Internal consistency- there are a few points where you do stretch in this regard. Mostly it has to do with Morgan's pursuers. When he goes back into town after his house is burnt to the ground it is hard to believe that he would not have been found out. Ciunin is just a bit too lucky not to wind up dead, particularly as he is haunting about with a great dragon calf (he says he outran the pursuers, but he has a bit of trouble keeping up with Morgan). Most problematic, how did Guy's men not catch up with the gang, particularly as dragon tracks cannot be easy to miss. Now, your book is so good on other fronts that this becomes a minor issue. And I don't have a good answer to fix them  (well, maybe the elf could have some sort of mesmerizing power, and maybe Morgan could spy the men leaving town before venturing into the inn). So it is a very minor critique. However, as I read further I become more aware of internal consistency, which can make the difference between a good and a great fantasy for me. 
Mechanics- this book so far is deliciously polished and beautifully written, far beyond the standard of the genre. I found no typos or other issues. I did have an issue with the underlining (I recommend you use italics instead) and the hash mark as section breaks (I suggest three asterisks).

Here are my comments as I read
1
Great first line
Recommend you consider stars rather than a hash for the break 
"Everything he needed he carried with him, short of a speedy way to cut off his own head and end his suffering."
Lol
Oh, this is really funny
"Furnace heat lashed over him, crisping his eyebrows and gone, and he lunged once more to his feet.". And gone? All but gone?
"Besides that," he panted to the corpse, "you made me step in a pile of dragon shit!"lol
Truly excellent first chapter. Fantastic tone and character development. 
2
Fantastic ambiance. 

"I do not know the location, sir, or we would not be having this absurd conversation" But the conversation is not absurd. So, maybe "it would be absurd to be having this conversation"

Very good story development and plot hook. 
Fabulous description of the dragon. 

This is very good. Good new hook as one is ending. 

3
Great change of scenery

 " withdrew another arrow and moistened thumb and forefinger fingers to smooth the fletching. "don't need "fingers"

"That's how it usually works," Morgan replied. "It's sort of inherent to the nature of ambushing.". Lol

This is a good chapter, rich in both ambiance and plot development. You have made me very curious about all this fuss over a baby dragon. Morgan is very clever, which combines well with his sloppiness to make an endearing character 
4 Very good burial scene. Good setup. 
I am a bit surprised he decided to go back- how could the posey not find him? But you get away with it, so it is not a big concern. 
The cheese eating dragon is funny. Very well described. 

"As all precious things become beautiful, when one fears they will lose them."
That's for sure. 
Very good. Nice familial scene. 



"To walk in your forests is to feel the pulse of the world beating faster, stronger, more real.". Nice. 
Fun scene with feeding the dragon.
Good explanation of the reasons behind the mission. 

 6
I like Oram, and the conversation about him being a wizard is very funny. 

I love your attention to detail, like Morgan's morning headbath. 

Fantastic chapter, getting the quest started

7 Ffantastic description of the town. 

8
Gwilym well introduced. 
Funny with the prunes. 
One would think that the dragons tracks are easy to follow. Not sure how you can fix this without magic. 
Very good cliffhanger chapter. 


I will send you more comments when I read what you have posted. I am a big fan, and there is true lack of justice in the world if this does not make it to the desk. 

Best,
Maeve

DerekTobin wrote 850 days ago

Hi GM
I enjoyed this first chapter - a nice intro to your boozy, dragonslaying/saving protagonist. The writing was tight and no clunky sections to slow me down. I am definately curious to see how it all goes and so will read more. Job well done. Starred and on my w/l
Derek

I. Soldatos wrote 856 days ago

I've read six chapters in one go and I can only say that this is marvellous. Funny, engaging and well-written. I will be coming back to read everything's that's posted. Something that's stuck in my head since I started reading --and the impression has not faded-- is that it reminds of Terry Pratchett. The more sober Terry Pratchett in books such as "Nightwatch" (which I think is his best one), rather than the hysterical, laugh-out-loud funny Pratchett as in 'Small Gods'.

I know you are looking for intelligent critique, but really, there's not much to comment on. The writing is polished and flows very nicely, and I was gripped from the word go. The only thing that jarred is the use of the word 'ere'. It doesn't fit the overal style of the narration (it would be fine within dialogue), and I would recommend it be replaced by your ordinary, vanilla-flavoured, 'before'. Oh, and "momentarily" means something different this side of the pond, so I had to stop there and think about it, momentarily, ;-) --so if you don't want UK readers being brought up short, there, you could use a different word --or two.
The only other thing I can say is, 'well done'! Truly, very well done! :-)

All the best,
Irene

revteapot wrote 858 days ago

Huzzah! I've been hunting for a decent dragon tale since I joined authonomy, and finally I've found it. Not only is this a dragon tale, it's a Welsh dragon tale! Not only is it a Welsh dragon tale, but it is a Welsh tale of a *baby* dragon. Not only only a Welsh tale regarding a baby dragon, but it's damn good! I was happy as a pig in muck reading this. It is beautifully penned, with finely balanced description and a lovely turn of phrase, and the opening premise carries great potential.

I confess I stopped reading quite soon, not because I tired of it, but because I much prefer reading a book in paper form and I look forward to reading this in comfort once it is published.
(I'm afraid there'll be a lag before I back this, since I don't often turn on my PC.)

Well done.

Lindsay
A Priest's Tale

KGleeson wrote 922 days ago

I couldn't resist dipping back into Morgan's adventures, between other obligations, despite aching eyes. This reads so well and is so polished it provides the perfect escape and relaxation I would get from any really good book. This is a fantasy equipped with humour and a rip roaring good tale, two irreistable combinations. In the next two chapters we learn more of Morgan whose compassion for the elves reveals a deeper side than the battle weary, cynical Morgan he appears. This is a real hero, one who knows there's much against him and doesn't really want to take up the challenge but his compassion, sense of honour and obligation compel him to.

The dialogue is so well timed here and the characterization still distinct the reader has no problem zipping along through the engaging narrative. There is little to complain about here except why isn't it published? Kristin

Michael2402 wrote 922 days ago

Hi,

I have just read your first chapter. I loved the dialogue between the characters and felt it really came to life when they were bouncing off one another - Especially between Morgan and Lord Guy. However, I found that when Morgan went on his hunt that the story was maybe a little too compressed. There was some lovely description but I felt that the process he went though could have been more mapped out. It didn't flow for me.

Take this as you will, I'm on here to get honest, constructive criticism on my work so that is what I want to offer other people. I hope you find it helpful.

I do like the set up and find the premise very interesting.

Michael

Bill Scott wrote 925 days ago

This was obviously written by a sorceress. It held me, spellbound, against my will.
Well done.

Bill
HAKTAW HEART

KGleeson wrote 931 days ago

This is old fashioned storytelling at its best, I have to say. I was only really going to read chapter 1 today and come back when I had more time, but I couldn't help myself I had to read the next chapter (my work still waits me). With great craft that shines through every word chosen for its effect we the reader are treated to a story filled with humour and hijinks. A classic quest set in a fantasy world with earnest elves and seemingly cynical dragons slayers come carpenters.

From the very beginning you establish the fantasy world well, with great economy and not overburdening the reader with extensive and overblown descriptions. We see and feel the moors with each carefully chosen words and get a sense of the time period from the clothes and tools and to some extent, the dialogue. That you mix the dialogue with some old turns of phrase and modernisms like "ta" actually works for me and adds charm to the story. There is a slight modern sensibility running through it but since a strong thread of humour runs through it I think it works in the end.

You have strong characterizatons skills that are deftly employed through the dialogue and mannerisms. I really did enjoy the encounter with Lord Guy and also the elves. Morgan comes across so strongly and not at all as a cliche with his combination of carpentry skills and dragon slaying abilities and sarcasm. You also have a good sense of rhythm and timing in your story; you know when to close a scene and you don't overload it with backstory. You feed the reader just enough to get him to the next point and to understand what's unfolding. So rare in so many fantasy tales and just adds to the quality of your story. And with that I do have to say it's one of the best fantasy novels I've seen here on authonomy. And as a person who runs a book club of teens gaga for fantasy it's one of the best I've read in a while.

If the first two chapters are anything to go by this is highly rated. I will return and read the rest at some point soon. Kristin

MikeofEvil wrote 942 days ago

I've read the first chapter and am impressed and interested. I'll be coming back for a longer read shortly :)

Maghan Gilson wrote 964 days ago

Backed. I'll come back to leave a review when I have more time.

Arion Naomi wrote 981 days ago

This novel, so far, is truely splendid. I love dragon adventures and I feel that there is decidedly more that could be told about the fate of this unlikely fellowship. The fact that I read this entire thing under six hours even amazes me; it is that captivating.

You are quite the story teller! Your character development is enviable.

I can not wait until the end of the journey.

Happy Writing,
Arion

briantodd wrote 997 days ago

This tale continues to fly along with no sign of flagging at all. Lots of proper characters and a great adventure, full of surprises and just enough hazard mixed with the humour. Morgan continues to jump off the page. He is very much a twenty first century leading man. I am still picturing this in my head in a cartoon format but one of the highest quality, for all the family, as it works on many layers, with every character voiced by a top actor. Owen Wilson for Morgan perhaps?

briantodd wrote 1009 days ago

I liked that reptilian eye on the cover of this. Reminded me of the scene in the original ‘Jurassic Park’ where actor Bob Peck encounters a velociraptor. The witty short pitch and long pitch are great hooks although the repetition of rescuing a dragon then saving a dragon could be reworded to better effect.
This Morgan sounds like a great character and it’s a good touch to have us meet him when he is hungover.
His interaction with the ethnic farmers is funny although the line ‘sinews rattling against bones’ doesn’t sound right. His first encounter with a dragon felt a bit too easy but perhaps you have a reason for making it so.
Lord Guy is a strong character and the dialogue and interaction with Morgan is great. There is a great pace to this and the motivation of the elves when they appear is a bit of a mystery, however It has certainly got me hooked. The milieu feels a bit like the original ‘Shrek.’ ****** from me and one to come back to when I need cheering up. Will comment again shortly

J. N. Khoury wrote 1031 days ago

Love love love!! Great voice, great character-building, no wasted time with back story or lengthy description. Snarky, competent MC promises a fun and exciting read! I'm gonna take a second to back this and then on to chapter 2! I can't wait to find out what happens next.

I love the Welsh influence. I'm curious as to whether its actually set in ancient Wales. Guess I'll have to keep reading to find out.

If you get a moment to take a gander at my complete fantasy THE HEIRESS OF RHIANGAR I'd appreciate it. With your excellent narrative voice and obviously good handle on the genre, your comments and maybe even backing would be particularly appreciated.

Best of luck! Happy writing!

J. N. Khoury

susanbrauner wrote 1031 days ago

Hi GM, What a great beginning chapter. Loved your main character, your descriptions were great and he was easy to visualize. Your writing seems very professional and the book cover is perfect. There are so many excellent books on this site that should be published and yours is one of them. I hope you make it and I'll put you on my watchlist for now (shelf is loaded at the moment). As you move up, I'll get you on my bookshelf and help get your book to the top.

Susan
The Adventures of Sohi: Mystery of Moon Island

MarsdenCyn wrote 1041 days ago

One the most entertaining dragons tales I have ever read! A reluctant knight able to see the irony of his situation keeps this story from getting too full of itself.

I was all set to back this until I got to chapter 6. What the hell happened? "... dewy morning alive with birdsong, where sunbeams kissed the cheery pink faces of hollyhocks." --are you kidding? I thought this must have been a one off, but no, the purple prose continued for the next four chapters ("...blue veils of dusk, ..." in chapter 5 should have been a warning of things to come).

The story is otherwise well-written with pacing that keeps the reader's interest. The backstory is seamlessly woven into the story and the imagery (at least in the first few chapters) is well crafted without being overly wordy, proof that a good storyteller doesn't need to detail a scene to describe it. That is why I am so disappointed with the middle chapters.

As others have commented, the characterization is excellent. The motley band is comprised of well-thought out personalities that Morgan has to learn to work with, which prompts the question, why a third-person narrative if the story is entirely from his point of view?

Technical issues:

Typos: Ch. 2: "I don't fancy you skipping out on [meas] soon as you get what you want."
"They seem to think there's a wee [dragpm] out there in need of rescue."

If the sixth elf is repacking his satchel, shouldn't the dragon be amidst its 'five' tall wardens?

Ch. 5: "So everyone wants to save the dragons." They were just talking about those who want the realms closed, so it would make more sense that 'not' everyone wants to save them.

Ch. 6: Only periods and commas go inside quotation marks, unless the question mark is part of the quote, so it should be "... What 'companions'?"

Ch.8: We know Gregory is the dragon and Morgan named him; it doesn't need to be repeated in the narration. Beside, the latter instance isn't punctuated correctly.

Ch.9: Unless Guy is drumming his leg, "beat" is the wrong word. It is a theatrical term that has no meaning in prose. If he paused, say so.

Typo two paragraphs later: a capitalized "Nor" in the middle of a sentence.

Ch. 10: split infinitive: They were the tallest things out here ... needed to [not] be incinerated.

Lynne Jones wrote 1043 days ago

This is one of the best fantasy stories I've read for a long time. Morgan is a gruff but honourable hero and the plot is an original one. Quite often with fantasy I find myself getting the characters mixed up or forgetting who is who, but not so here; each character has a distinct identity and the names are easy to remember. The pace is fast and there's plenty of action, mystery and magic - and a quest! I've really enjoyed reading this.

aurorawatcher wrote 1079 days ago

Morgan is incredibly human and therefore flawed and I loved that! He is a hero despite his flaws and that makes him very approachable. A long time ago, a writer described a hero as "the slowest guy, so he had no choice but to turn and fight." Morgan comes to the quest with his heels dug in and he keeps balking the whole way, but he still does what he needs to do and that's human. There's always a temptation to make your lead character into a nice flawless guy or at least have him overcome his flaws. You didn't fall into that trap. Good for you! Good for the book!

LuvingSolitude wrote 1081 days ago

Why is this not published?
Why has an editor not snatched this up?
Honestly, this is one of the greatest books I have ever read!!!!!!!! There so much action, and emotion, the characters are brilliant and so diverse (I am personally in love with Cinuin and gregory :)), the plot is brilliant and captures the attention from the very start with an unlikely, drunk and grumpy hero who in the end turns out to be a big softy at heart.

The plot is imaginative and brought to life with intricate, vibrant settings, though I read all the chapters up in one setting, if felt as though I had only just begun and had been transported to some mystical, brilliant world that came to life...but all too soon it was over, and I guess until more chapters are up, I'll have to let my imagination take over and concoct some means of continuation.

Words simply cannot convey how much I love this book and how talented I think you are, this is far better than many published novels out there.
Please, PLEASE put up more chapters, I am dying to know what happens!!!

Backed, Backed , Backed!!

Bron
The Endless Awakening.

j.barnes wrote 1085 days ago

A nice quick first chapter that sounds like it will build up to something bigger

PCreturned wrote 1097 days ago

Hi,

As promised, I'm here to have a look at your book. :)

I'll comment as I read since I find that the easiest way to keep track. Please don't be offended by any suggestions. After all, they will just be my thoughts. You can always ignore me if you think I'm wrong or stupid. ;)

(Sorry in advance for any typos, but my keyboard’s a bit knackered:()

Chapter 1: I think this is the 1st time I've seen a fantasy book start with a hungover character ;). Good for you for messing round with conventions a bit. Hmmm when he sobers up it looks like he's off to do some serious business. And it's certainly not gonna be carpentry.

I've a tiny suggestion here. I think, where possible, it's best to lead off with dialogue as it reads quicker and easier that way. eg instead of "Morgan braced his hands on his knees and spat. "I'll be there" " I'd write something like "I'll be there." Morgan braced his hands on his knees and spat".

Reading on... Hmmm looks like 2 cows have been killed by some huge creature. looks like Morgan's off to hunt this beast. And he finds it. Seems like a dragon. Wow I'm amazed at the way he fights it. So fearless. He's either v brave or v stupid. And he actually manages to kill the dragon singlehandedly. Astonishing!

I've a tiny suggestion on dialogue, though. I don't think you need beats and speech tags simultaneously. eg in " "Yes, yes," grumbled Morgan and pushed past into the room..." we know who's speaking from the action. I think just " "Yes, yes." Morgan pushed past into the room..." would work fine and use fewer words. ;)

Reading on... I like the interaction between Morgan and Guy. It's fun. Feels like they've known each other for a long time. Hmmm there's a hint at the end of the chapter Morgan's an ex-soldier. That could explain a lot.

Chapter 2: Good description of the tavern. I can really picture it. Sounds like Morgan's a regular there ;). I like his banter with Blodwen. They're only playing, but her fondness for morgan still comes through. Hmmm I wonder what the elves are doing here, though. They don't seem to fit in. Ah the elves seem to be looking for Morgan. That exaplins it.

I've a small suggestion here. I think you don't need to explain your dialogue quite so much. eg in " Solidly, the elf pursued his thought. "The female is known..." I don't think you need any of the explanation as the dialogue does such a good job of letting the reader know what's going on. I think just " "The female is known..."" would read better and faster. Your dialogue's good. Let it shine on its own merits. ;)

Reading on... I feel like I blinked and missed something. The elves want to rescue a dragon? Are they mad? I'm intrigued. What on Earth are the elves up to? Well whatever they're up to, Morgan doesn't seem to mind so long as he gets paid. He happily takes them to the location, then has a heroic nap ;). I almost laughed outloud when the elf sketched him. Really shows how arty/highbrow the elves are, even in incongruous situations.

Aha the elves are successful. they have thir dragon, safe and well. I still wonder why they want it. Odd. Hmmm and at the end of the chapter Morgan gets a firm warning to stay away from dragons in the future and any who have dealings with them. This must be connected with him helping the elves. Something serious is going on, I think...

I just saw how long this comment's getting. I guess I better stop before it grows to a ridiculous size. I'll sum up now, and then shut up. :)

I think you have a great story here, filled with mystery and tension. Your descriptions are well done, and really paint pictures of what's going on. And he dialogue is believable and feels real. I especially like the way you stretch out the tension by releasing information, little be little. At the end of each section, I want to read on and find out what new developments your story has in store. Why do the elves want a live dragon? What will they do with it? Who warned Morgan off? It's starting to feel like he's accidentally involved himself in a struggle far greater than he could have known. To find out, the reader will have to read more. ;)

I've rated your book as highly as possible, and hope you get noticed by an agent. I think there's a real audience out there for your work.

Best of luck,

Pete


Piet wrote 1107 days ago

Other than a couple of typo's, didn't really see anything that needed correction. Would like to see the completed version.

maddog 1 wrote 1110 days ago

Amusing, if a little shallow.

Stark Silvercoin wrote 1110 days ago

Nobody's Knight is a fantasy novel that effortlessly combines adventure and humor. Many fantasy books feature characters that are larger than life, the traditional 2D heroes, tirelessly fighting evil. You won’t find them here. The hero Morgan is more of a mercenary than a crusader. And he’s very human. Basically all he wants to do is drink himself sick and work on his carpentry projects. He gets involved in a world-changing quest only reluctantly, because he needs the money.

But he also has the skills to get the job done, and a compassion that he strains to keep hidden, making him a unique character that readers will love. But he is just one of a motley crew taking on their epic quest, each one extremely well-detailed and full of both skills and flaws. Author G. M. Atwater knows how to write a “realistic” fantasy story. His talent could breathe fresh air into this genre where writers have gone to the cookie-cutter well a bit too often. It is my hope that Nobody’s Knight will spawn a series of quirky, funny, well-written fantasy novels.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven