Book Jacket

 

rank 126
word count 28141
date submitted 27.08.2011
date updated 29.07.2013
genres: Fiction, Fantasy
classification: moderate
incomplete

A Priest's Tale

Lindsay Llewellyn

When does the end cease to justify the means?
Kayt'an Sahn has been sent to stop a bloody conflict - but at what cost?

 

While a princess waits for her handsome prince, a priest sets out on a journey she didn't choose, in company she'd rather avoid, to a country where priests of her religion are killed on sight.

If she's going to survive in this strange new world, she's going to have to fight for her principles and face her prejudices - but first she needs to discover which is which.

This book is a finished work - see www.APriestsTale.com
It is the sequel - The Tangled Web - that I'm working on.

 
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tags

adventure, bandits, fairytale, faith, gods, identity, journey, lighthearted, loss, magic, prayer, priest, prince, princess, religion, spy, war

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151 comments

 

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Stark Silvercoin wrote 646 days ago

A Priest's Tale is a well-written story about a very unworthy priestess, who slowly begins to come into her own. An interesting choice for a main character, she grows on readers over time.

Author Lindsay Llewellyn does a good job of keeping the plot moving forward. There are quite a few twists and turns, and some really brilliant moments as Kayt’an begins develop as a person. Chapters are kept short, which is a good plan. It helps to enhance the action-packed parts of the novel, and speed us through the somewhat slower areas.

The dialog is quite strong. Characters speak based on their training, their motivations and their social status. The schemers are sufficiently threatening without really trying, and totally believable. It’s also lovely to find a fantasy novel where the world is not totally black and white. Like the main character, it exists in shades of grey. When the marauders describe a simple plan to her to end the war, it all sounds perfectly sane, even if it involves more murder. They believe in their plan, yet they are not evil. It leaves a lot for the priestess to figure out.

A Priest’s Tale is a study in characterization, and we don’t often find that in fantasy settings. It all combines into a satisfying read, a sort of thinking-man’s fantasy novel that should prove popular once published.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Owen Dorr wrote 664 days ago

Though lighter than my own book Bard's Tale it is a great read. Mixing light humour with the drama of what is going on.
I've highly starred this book because before I knew it I was deep into the third chapter which to me is a sign of a good writer. I had entered the world you had created with ease and was able to put aside my daily cares for awhile. The second and most important reason was that you have mastered the art of first person narrative which I have myself have struggled to achieve.
If I am, as some people on the site have called me, the Bard then you are in truth the Priest, the Shaani.

All that is a posh way of saying I really liked it and will back you to the Editors Table.
Owen.
Quick plug. If you liked Lindsay's book try mine for a darker look. (Oh go on please.)

rikasworld wrote 753 days ago

I have come back to make another comment as the more I read of A Priest's Tale the more I like it. There are some great books here which I would definitely take out from the library if published but this one I would buy!

Mark Cain wrote 850 days ago

Lindsay, I've read the first three chapters. You spin a good yarn: lots of action, a strong character in the priest. You're also doing a good job of withholding information, or rather, releasing it in small doses to keep up the suspense. I'm backing the book and, as I have time, I'll read some more.

Congratulations!

Mark

KathrynW wrote 207 days ago

Lindsey

I was intrigued by your profile and impressed by your website. I wanted to see the kind of alternative reality a priest would create. In A Priest's Tale you have woven together a credible world with its own traditions, politics, peoples and theologies. The religion practised has faint similarities to Christianity, with a trinity, a suffering saviour and a message of love. Also, at best it is paid only lip service by the peoples it reaches out to, and at worst disbelief and disdain. This is a feminised faith however, with an all female priesthood and a female goddess.

It is a well written tale, with excellent characterisation, realistic dialogue and a credible sense of place. I have read everything you have uploaded here, and was very impressed by the opening chapters. However as the story progressed, I did find it difficult to keep up with your cast of characters. Your plotting is fast paced and I would have appreciated more personal interaction between the characters to firmly distinguish their personalities and their motivations. A glossary of terms, names and a map of the geography would also have helped, though I realise this is not possible with Authonomy.

I hope you are doing well with the self-publishing. You certainly deserve a following. Fantasy is not my genre, but I did enjoy this. I started reading because I was interested in your backstory. I used to work for the General Synod of the Church of England.

High stars and on my WL

Kathryn
Waters of Grace

Irene Cho wrote 226 days ago

Not at all what I was expecting from the pitch - it's much, much better. You have a strong, savoury voice in your writing - if I can put it like that - and by chapter 3, I was completely hooked. The sardonic humour tickled me, and Saahni is a character you can't help loving even though she's coming across as the most self-absorbed, cantankerous and unlikely priest. Reminds me of some I used to know back in the day. Only thing I might say is that in the first scene with Karl it felt slightly laid-on-thick, but it didn't detract too much. The scene with the pot-banging stranger had me snickering, even though I'm sure I probably shouldn't have been. Happy to shelve, and will look for on amazon. Two excellent if opposite fantasy reads in one day - I'm a happy girl as I head for work.

Bradley Darewood wrote 249 days ago

I've only made it through Chapter 5 so far, but I must say this is absolutely brilliant. I love how you start with a falling temple bell and end up with servitude to a warlord. The unlikely events are so skillfully rendered that their unlikeliness adds to the joy of reading and discovering what you have in store for us next.

Each event builds on the next, masterfully shifting the story from one unexpected twist to another, all delivered by richly portrayed characters with entertainingly strong personalities. You are very talented at using humor and interpersonal conflict to drive the plot effortlessly forward: a bumpy ride has never been so entertaining!

Bradley Darewood wrote 250 days ago

I was really drawn by your premise of a dystopian fantasy that challenges the pro-status-quo elements of the genre (I'm ultimately trying to do something similar though it's not immediately obvious in my, far less polished, unfinished work), but at the same time i gotta admit i was apprehensive since discussion of religion tends to make me feel a bit nauseous.

I was pleasantly surprised to find all of my fears immediately allayed, you some how managed to be simultaneously visceral, evocative and agnostic in representing the priestesses POV, allowing her to reveal herself in all her ferver to the reader. You have a talent for voice, and it was a pleasure to read the priestess.

I've gotta say that I only read the first two chapters so far, but I love that you start with the ugly princess and follow with the impetuous priest. I love what you're doing with this and thanks for writing it!

Michelle Richardson wrote 260 days ago

A Priest's Tale- A great opening with the 'cursed' princess who fears no prince will ever wish to rescue her and then straight into the interesting world of the priest. The writing is good and the character charming, she's a feisty thing isn't she!
There is a real sense of a world being built here and I am placing this on my WL. High stars for now but I was pleasantly surprised by the immense charm, which drew me in.
Nice job!
Michelle - 43 Primrose Avenue

JTMcInnis wrote 282 days ago

Lindsay,

Sorry it's taken so long, but I'm here to keep an old promise. I took a break from Authonomy and have just gotten back this summer to try to catch up a bit. I read in your profile that you have been diagnosed with RSI. What is that? I'm not familiar with the abbreviation. In any event, I'm sorry about that and hope you are in no great pain. But congratulations on publishing APT. For what it's worth, here is my feedback after the prologue and the first two chapters.

I thought your pitch was good and that your prologue was wonderfully effective. They do exactly what they're suppose to do: make the reader want to read more.

After reading to the end of the second chapter, I must honestly say that I'm neither entranced nor put off by your story. Of course I do want to know how the priest came to be the veiled princess, if that is what happens. This would be enough for me to keep reading. How she gets from one point to the other sounds like it could be an epic, life-changing journey for her.

The opening scene with the bell and tower roof crashing down is interesting. You certainly start things off with a bang. But I found myself not liking the priest very much in this chapter. A shrill, swearing priest who spits and looks down her nose at the village folk, careful for her own dignity: none of this is very appealing or priest-like in the best sense. But perhaps this was your purpose. She does show some signs of humility and good sense when the crisis comes in the next chapter.

I don't see much to object to in your writing, specifically. The frequent dashes you use are a little irritating to me, though this is no big deal. In the following example, why do you need them at all? It seems like an unnecessary break in the natural rhythm:

full of -- wholly unrighteous -- ire.

I understand that you want to stress the unrighteousness of the ire, but seems to me you could do it just as well without the dashes. And in this example, wouldn't good ole commas supply the pause you need, without unnecessary dashes (dashes always seem to me to indicate a longer, more out-of-the ordinary pause, as when you interrupt a clause with something very long)?":

"He had -- as always -- missed the point"

I was a bit confused as to the early mention of Karl and Abitha, and then your later mentioning of them in the next chapter. In the beginning I'm not sure what or who they are. I'm sure I'm missing something that is right there in front of me.

OK. Best of luck with this. I wish you well.

Jeff

Seringapatam wrote 459 days ago

This is lovely writing. I have read up to chapter three and find that I am hooked already. You have a good way with words that a lot of people struggle to find. A well researched subject here, told well, with nice flow, brilliant description of your characters. You have used all this so well to draw the reader into the book and then you have repositioned your thoughts well to keep them there. Love this book big score.
Sean Connolly British Army on the Rampage..(B.A.O.R). Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Happy New Year. Sean

Lam25 wrote 460 days ago

A gripping beginning - well-paced, and with an intriguingly self-righteous narrator. I've read four chapters, and hope to have time to read more!

Andrea Taylor wrote 503 days ago

Intriguing, interesting, appealing and well-written. I have only read two chapter but want more!
Will dip in again when I have more time, but high stars!
Andrea
The de Amerley Affair

CARite wrote 549 days ago

The Priest's Tale
The story flows well, Early on, there is a tension that pulls the reader in and keeps them reading. Keep going, It is a well written tale and I'd like to read more...

Cindy
CADreilling / The Line - Beginnings

Lara wrote 570 days ago

October and a new shelf of books in process. Always good to tussle with a real moral dilemma. . Good luck.

RM A RELATIVE INVASION

Abby Vandiver wrote 574 days ago

Congratulations on being published. Good luck on sales and getting it published here in the US.

Abby

Hey C T wrote 575 days ago

Well written and amusing I love your heroine. The way she stands up to everyone even if it isn't the right thing to do. Reminds me of someone.....

Made me giggle in places, the idea of that bell tumbling down and all the dust and muck covering her. Your writing made the pictures for me and it was great.

BACKED!!

Stan_the_Man wrote 576 days ago

Very good book so far. I will read more soon, along with the other books on my shelf, and try to give you my opinion. Backed and rated high.

J C Michael wrote 589 days ago

Hi Lindsay,

I've read three chapters and skimmed your previous comments so here's my contribution.

Personally I liked the lack of description. I've got a picture of your characters in my mind, and they could be completely wrong, and probably are, but to mt it doesn't matter. I'm far more interested in the story than what colour eyes everyone has, what hairstyle they've got, or the full layout of the village. If I don't need to know something in order to follow your plot then I won't worry about you not putting it in.
The second thing I liked was the way in which your MC was so flawed, yet so realistic because of it. Presumably the remainder of the story will see her character develop and that should make for an interesting element of the storyline as a whole. Now I'm not saying she's unlikeable, just that she isn't perfect, just like none if us are.
Going back a step the prologue hints at another strand of the story that isn't touched upon again straight away do that adds a mystery element and a desire to know how things will tie together, in other ways a neat trick to grab the readers interest.
In summary a good opening with some nice touches. Rated accordingly.

James

PS One typo. Can't recall the specifics but it's where you are saying that things had always been that way and I think it was the first "had" that didn't seem right.

Tod Schneider wrote 597 days ago

What a great opening! I love the scene with the bell tower, and the protagonist's personality quirks. It's refreshing to see a princess, at least at the starting gate, show some faults, to humanize her, and give her room for growth over the course of the story. Nice sense of humor, with plenty of adventure along the way. Excellent stuff! Best of luck with this!
If you have any interest in reading other children's literature, (yes, there is a princess involved) please come visit the Lost Wink.
Thanks,
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

Jennwith2ns wrote 597 days ago

I LOVE this--both for the story and the voice, and also for the resonance. I mean--anyone who's been "in ministry" can feel a kinship with Kayt'an Sahn, I think. :-) Or maybe I just mean I can. The commenter below calls her an "unworthy priestess"--but I get that she's a priest, and while she may not be what either faithless or faithful (of any religion) want in a spiritual leader, I think she's far more realistic than our expectations allow. Can't wait to read the rest! Keep me posted on publication details . . .

OldKarl wrote 608 days ago

A Priest's Tale is an interesting tale. It calls the reader to become personally lost in the logic, history and flow of its events. The planning for this flow of history is most difficult to track. I admire the ability to handle this touch comfortably.

On a negative note, and I have only just begun the book, I will be picky on a couple items. First, the gentle romance of English as it dances lightly on the tongue is a gift from God to lift the soul. The grammar and lexicography of these pages is more a trotting Belgian work horse. Please shorten up your sentences, yet insert words of care and wonder into them. A fantasy novel provides endless opportunities to hang your skills from skyhook moons as chandeliers in the night. Show me with words how you let me in on your secret passion to touch my face with the depth of humanity.

Also, very much aligned with the first, when I read a sentence of more than 15 words, I tend to stop reading after about 12. You can save a lot of energy if you limit your sentence structure to these 15 words.

Finally, simply read your writing back to your own ears. Most of us who read do so because we enjoy letting the words bubble and flow over our tongues and through our ears. We read because we love the feel of good words flowing around our inner beings. Teach yourself to enjoy this. Then you will write those classic phrases.

StaKC wrote 613 days ago

Fascinating story, written with beautiful prose. Good dialogue, wonderful descriptions. Love it.

healthpolicymaven wrote 613 days ago

I love the name Kat'an Sahn, a clever play on words. This is a nice story for younger readers. Well paced and well written.Ranked and on my watchlist.
All the best
Roberta

Frank Talaber wrote 620 days ago

Hi Lindsay,
Well written and very fast paced. I enjoyed reading this might decide to finish the rest of the chapters. The characters are strong and stand out well. overall well done writing.
Frank

revteapot wrote 622 days ago

... This MC appears to be a volital personality, very high strung and not particularly aware of their surroundings.

...

What I see here is a mistake caused by the often given advice "show don't tell." This is all SHOW and no TELL - so as a reader I'm confused because I haven't been TOLD who, what, where and when.

...



Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful comment. I'm sorry you didn't like APT.
Truth be told I don't bother with much description for two reasons. Firstly because I don't much like reading - and tend to skip - detailed description, so I didn't (and couldn't be bothered to) write it :) Secondly, the principal forum for drama in this story is my MC's head, so that is what gets the lion's share of description.
So I am unashamed that Kayt'an is highly strung, unaware of her surroundings and an unreliable narrator - that's kind of the idea. The reader has the task of deciding how much of what Kayt'an is saying is a reasonable account. It often isn't.

Lindsay

KAJordan wrote 622 days ago

The prologue is in 3rd person, but chapter 1 is in 1st person. This MC appears to be a volital personality, very high strung and not particularly aware of their surroundings.

I'm not a fan of 1st person, because unlike 3rd, it doesn't allow the author to describe a scene. The character has to do it, which is a problem with this Main Character.

Chapter 1, already I have a poor sense of time or place. The narrative character walks into a temple, which is not described. We have a wooden Karl, Abitha and an apprentice - (who really ought to come and give the pair of them (who?) a wipe down.) I'm left wondering if these are statues or busts? Where are they? On tables? Sitting on the floor?

The MC appears so Self-Absorbed s/he is walking on a blank canvas like a cartoon character.

At this point, I'm confused. We have statues? Of saints? No, can't be saints, they are mentioned in Chapter two as people.

There is a village, which is not described, and a smithy, which also is not described. There is no sense of where the temple is located in relation to these buildings.

My confusion deepens as I'm given more names, but no descriptions or sense of where these people fit in: Ruid, Re'a, Saen, Kayt'an Sahn, Saahni, Karl is both the smith and a statue. Then there is Fris'an, Ephatha, Fristian, Hathil, Ra'an, Talin, Abitha (who is also a statue).

Ladlastide is not explained. Is it a date? a season? A Great Wedding is mentioned. Whose? Again, if the narriative was in 3rd the author could supply this information.

The MC does not explain.

I'm going to stop here - I read to the middle of Chapter 3.

What I see here is a mistake caused by the often given advice "show don't tell." This is all SHOW and no TELL - so as a reader I'm confused because I haven't been TOLD who, what, where and when.

Suggestions - 1) drop the current prologue. Instead, describe the village to the reader. TELL the reader who, what, where and when.

The use of mechanics is good, on a scale of 1 to 5, it rates a 5.

Conflict is also a 5, very good work.

However, there are too many names, so characterization is 2. I'm confused about the statues(?) the names, who the rest of these people are, and why I should care. I'm not sure what the MC's name and gender are. The MC's POV has completely over run the story, like a run-away train. The only thing clear is what s/he feels and thinks.

Suggestion - 2) rewrite in 3rd person because the MC has completely run amok and appears to be on a blank canvas. S/he pay no attention to her surroundings, thus is an unreliable narrator. Put him/her on a short leash - let the author do the descriptions.

Setting is a 2 - there is no sense of place or time. This is the fault of the MC.

There is a temple, a village and a smithy - and the MC never reveals where these places are, what they look like, or how many people inhabit this area. There is also no sense of technology, season, social setting, goverment - though there are Gods, but the religion appears extremely weak for a rural/agricultural/mideveal setting.

You've got the beginnings of a good story here - but your MC is not a reliable Narrator. At this point, you have a responsibility as an author to rein him/her in.

You can either supply the details in a prologue, or you can slow things down by putting in all the details OR you can cut the number of characters and fill in the details without slowing the pace as much. I know re-writing in 3rd person would be a tremendous amount of work. However, Fantasy is usually written in 3rd to take advantage of different points of view. This also gives the author a chance to use descriptions of the settings (world-building) so the reader isn't relying on the MC.

The alternative is to keep the POV as 1st, put the MC on a short leash and make them a more reliable narrator. MAKE THEM TELL THE READER who, what, where and when. Then concentrate on TELLING the story - and don't let anyone mess you up with the 'show don't tell' cliche.

This is going to take some work - but I think you have a story and a style of story-telling that warrants the effort. The important frame work is in place, but the devil is in the details. (If you'll pardon the pun.)

Lucy Middlemass wrote 629 days ago

A Priest’s Tale

This has taken me far too long to get to.

Your long pitch impressed me mainly because I’d never expected the priest to be a woman. I feel like a terrible feminist now. I love that you haven’t used “priestess” too.

Some closer crit below but all completely ignorable.

Prologue

This opening has a melancholy and dark feel. It seems like the beginning of a fairytale and of course, invites the reader to wonder what could have happened to the princess.

“even as her father shunned her.” I can only understand this to mean something like “even at the same time as her father shunned her.” Without the “even”, it would mean something closer to “in the same way as her father shunned her.” I think you might mean the latter? Not sure though.
“not a living soul saw her naked face.” This bit seems to repeat what we already know. I like “naked face” though. The “living” part seems unnecessary because what kind of dead soul would be trying to look?
If the princess acknowledges her condition is, in fact, her own fault, it’s unfair to blame fate.
“whom no prince…” This should be “who” because the princess is the subject not the object of the sentence.

Chapter One

The character of the priest in this chapter is one of the best developed I’ve seen on here. You cleverly reveal who she is through the mis-match of her actions and thoughts. She is not quite what she seems and that’s a difficult effect to achieve, especially using the first person.

“Abitha, hair braided and knotted by skilled woodwork..” is great. All of this opening part is very good.
“her apprentice” Is this another statue? I guess so. I like part in brackets here.
“as if it simply desired a change of view.” Love this.
“It had a terrible beauty that I comprehensively failed to appreciate.” This is from her POV, so how is she simultaneously able to see its terrible beauty and not? That’s assuming, I suppose, you mean “appreciate” as “understand” rather than “feel grateful for”. Since she admits it’s a mess, I think you must mean “understand.”
I don’t understand how Karl is a wooden statue and someone able to take instructions on hinges.
“always unfailingly” You could cut one of these. Something unfailing is always.
I like “sweeten the moon”. I don’t know what it means but I like it.

I’m sorry I haven’t read any further. I’m much impressed by your ability to create character and that’s an unusual thing to find. I have not read nearly enough to discover how the world of the princess and that of the priest might come together but I’d certainly like to. My shelf is full at the moment but I’ll leave this on my watch list and star it highly.

Lucy

Cas Meadowfield wrote 637 days ago

A Priest's Tale is beautifully written and vividly described... I love it.
Ch1 'wholly righteous' do you mean holy?
Ch6 when I read about her falling out of the tree I laughed till I cried.
Ch10 'what make me special? Makes...
Ch11 your characters are all so different and strongly drawn...
Ch12 the ending makes me want to read on....
Well done
Cas Meadowfield
The Wind Maker

Mommy Lynn wrote 639 days ago

Hi Lindsay,

I've read the prologue and the first three chapters of "The Priest's Tale" and I'm intrigued. The premise is good, it flows well and it moves at a good pace.

A couple of thoughts:

I thought the prologue was well written. There was one sentence that felt awkward: "Even her father... - and Lord Reath, of course, always him."

Chapter 1 was a little rough for me. I'm not sure why, but I had to go back and re-read some of it to get a better understanding of who the characters and Gods were. By chapter 2, however, I found myself caught in the rhythm of the story.

Be careful of the use of the word "had." There are places where it's appropriate, but I've found a few instances where it was awkward. One example would be in chapter 1, paragraph 3: "I had had lots of practice." Perhaps "I have had" or "I've had lots..." might flow better.

For the most part, I really enjoyed you story. I think that you are able to draw a reader in and make them stay to the end. Good luck!

Mommy Lynn wrote 639 days ago

Hi Lindsay,

I've read the prologue and the first three chapters of "The Priest's Tale" and I'm intrigued. The premise is good, it flows well and it moves at a good pace.

A couple of thoughts:

I thought the prologue was well written. There was one sentence that felt awkward: "Even her father... - and Lord Reath, of course, always him."

Chapter 1 was a little rough for me. I'm not sure why, but I had to go back and re-read some of it to get a better understanding of who the characters and Gods were. By chapter 2, however, I found myself caught in the rhythm of the story.

Be careful of the use of the word "had." There are places where it's appropriate, but I've found a few instances where it was awkward. One example would be in chapter 1, paragraph 3: "I had had lots of practice." Perhaps "I have had" or "I've had lots..." might flow better.

For the most part, I really enjoyed you story. I think that you are able to draw a reader in and make them stay to the end. Good luck!

D.J.Milne wrote 639 days ago

Hi Lindsay
Following your invite for a read swap I have read your first 3 chapters.
You have created an array of memorable and interesting character and names and a truly believable world in which they inhabit. The story telling glides along nicely and the first person POV works very well indeed. The mystery of the scarred princess, through to the priest clinging on to the hope that villagers will return to the ‘faith’ and cursing those who don’t is a nice opening scenario. The scenes of the collapsing bell tower and the villager’s reactions are superbly written. The mysterious stranger, and the discovery that the king is behind the destruction of the villages are great plot layers that I am sure you develop nicely. I like your fast paced style which lends itself to an enjoyable read.
One thing that has reassured me is that you have not been frightened to have short chapters but many of them, up to 37 I see for a book of + 100k. I have been struggling with this, with longer chapters with fewer of them and I am thinking about splitting them.
I enjoyed the read and have highly starred it.
Good Luck
D.J
The Ghost Shirt

Cherry G. wrote 639 days ago

A Priest's Tale. Prologue and Chapters 1 to 6

The prologue was intriguing. Who is the princess and why is she scarred? A lovely mystery here which makes the reader want to move on. Just one minor comment . You use the word "even" twice in respect of her father's avoidance of her. This might be intentional as a way of emphasis, but it felt a little repetitive to me (I'm being ultra-critical here!)
Chapter One. I know from my own writing that the first person is very difficult, but you succeed in creating an interesting character who is clearly flawed. isolated and dissatisfied with her life. Perhaps there's a parallel with the scarred (and cursed?) princess. And we have a mystery...why did the bell fall? Was it really an accident (or punishment from the goddess?)or was it someone trying to kill her? You also introduce Karl, an influential figure in the village. Kayt'an's contact with him emphasises her powerlessness and the general disinterest of the villagers, but also humour. You are good at humour. Only one criticism (if you can call it that.) I was confused that the statue was called Karl and then the blacksmith had the same name. Was this symbolic? Maybe you could make this a bit clearer by your character thinking of the irony of the blacksmith having the same name as the worthy assistant to the goddess?
Chapter Two. There is a change of mood here: instead of Kayt'an's frustration and isolation, there's a sense of imminent danger and her vulnerability. The two men who enter the temple: who are they and what do they want? Then there's the sinister Lord Reath (a connection with the princess in the prologue here, for Reath is referred to as a man of war) who seems to have ordered her to be killed. And where does the king stand in all of this? There's a big question the reader needs answering: the priest appears to have no influence, no one seems to care about the bell or the temple. So why is she important enough to kill? What role does she have in the destruction of the village and in the apparent political and religious conspiracy? How does she connect with the princess? You build up the tension and the mystery in this chapter and end on a neat cliffhanger.
In Chapter 3 we learn more about Lord Reath and see Kaytan's courage in standing up to him whe her life seems to be in ruins. She does not recognise her own courage and is contemptous of her own self centredness and weakness, but the reader sees positive qualities emerging (such as concern for others.) She is also a good healer, or else Lord Reath would never have wanted her in his team of specialists.
Chapter 4-6 You introduce more humour here with for eg the eggs for breakfast. It gives a nice relief to the tension and sense of danger. And you do not let the reader know too much...making us carry on reading to discover what awaits Kaytan and how her life will connect with that of the princess.
Backed and star rated.

Cherry
The Girl from Ithaca

RMAWriteNow wrote 640 days ago

Hi Lindsay; here for our read swap, four chapters and prologue.
I enjoyed the prologue with the 'ugly' princess and thought a fairytale type story was on the cards: I was very wrong and glad to be so.
Onto the chapters. Very good indeed, I had my pen ready for mistakes and put it away. Very well written. Kay'tan made a good MC, I liked to think of her as a Priest 'Saahni' with attitude.
The problems with the bell then Karl and then stranger, all adding to her woes. I felt your main asset was your pacing of the story which I found very good and your use of created language (all very believable and consistent.)
Kayt'ans setting off for adventure, so to speak, had reason, as did her abduction and job proposition as a healer.
There is no surprise your book is doing so well, to me. In this genre books have to be very good to do well as there are so many; this is.
I think others have mentioned this but the ONLY issue at all with your work for me, was the pitches. Particularly the long pitch which I didn't think did justice to the quality of your story or writing skills.
I wouldn't have read this from the pitch but highly enjoyed it and fairly whizzed through my read once started.
This is a top stars book and I genuinely wish you well with it.
Thank you for inviting me to read it.
RMA
The Snow Lily

AudreyB wrote 641 days ago

Hi, there – this is your return 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.

I love how the pitch gives me vital information about the world I’ll be visiting without resorting to expository phrases. It makes me curious to read more. The prologue further shows me that I’m in for something *different* and I like that.

The falling of the bell and Kayt’an’s reaction—going to the blacksmith and having a fit—ring realistally true. I see the humor the blacksmith intends, yet my sympathies lie with the struggling priest. Very well written.

“…falling and fragmenting as I fell.” Lovely.

You’ve got immanent where you want imminent.

Water bottle?

“…the basic fair I had provided…” You wanted fare.

“It seemed the most sensible conversation I was having was when I parroted…” Get rid of at least one was. “It seemed the only way I could hold a sensible conversation was to parrot…” Or something.

I am reading between bursts of housekeeping. I am enjoying the tone and voice of your writing very much. Totally unexpected for a character who is a priest.

I assume she’s climbing to get eggs. Hilarious.

I really like how I don’t have any idea what to expect next. So many stories are formulaic and predictable. Yours is original.

I am curious about the princess, however. I hope I see her again soon, to get some hints about how she ties in with our Priest.

After reading your first two posted chapters (like me you cram more than one chapter in per chapter, a dizzying practice), the only suggestion I really have is that it would be great if your pitches revealed the subtle humor of your manuscript. I think you’d attract more readers if people knew going in how funny this is.

Best wishes to you on Authonomy!!

~AudreyB
Forgiveness Fits

Stark Silvercoin wrote 646 days ago

A Priest's Tale is a well-written story about a very unworthy priestess, who slowly begins to come into her own. An interesting choice for a main character, she grows on readers over time.

Author Lindsay Llewellyn does a good job of keeping the plot moving forward. There are quite a few twists and turns, and some really brilliant moments as Kayt’an begins develop as a person. Chapters are kept short, which is a good plan. It helps to enhance the action-packed parts of the novel, and speed us through the somewhat slower areas.

The dialog is quite strong. Characters speak based on their training, their motivations and their social status. The schemers are sufficiently threatening without really trying, and totally believable. It’s also lovely to find a fantasy novel where the world is not totally black and white. Like the main character, it exists in shades of grey. When the marauders describe a simple plan to her to end the war, it all sounds perfectly sane, even if it involves more murder. They believe in their plan, yet they are not evil. It leaves a lot for the priestess to figure out.

A Priest’s Tale is a study in characterization, and we don’t often find that in fantasy settings. It all combines into a satisfying read, a sort of thinking-man’s fantasy novel that should prove popular once published.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Sonya Lano wrote 648 days ago

I read chaps 19 - 22 + the interlude and for a while I was like 'Who is Hayden and where did this mention of him come from' before I realized he was Reath!!! You told me about the Aamre change but not about the Hayden-Reath thing (or else I didn't notice it or forgot you'd mentioned it :-) ) But no matter; it was fun to figure it out. Which ones are the newer names, btw? Aamre and Hayden? I personally like Reath better but that might just be because I started out reading him as Reath. And Hayden seems more harmless to me, though I don't know why.
I really liked these chatpers (though that says nothing much, considering I like them all!). The interaction between the characters fascinates me and keeps me reading, never knowing what's going to happen next... Sometimes Aamre's self-pity annoys me but I suppose that's partially your intention! It doesn't annoy me much though and doesn't make me like her any less at all.
My favorite lines in this last section I read were:
- I would rather be a frightened woman than an apathetic fish
- Fryn'gh sank to the level I normally operate at
- I cast a quick look at the horses just to make sure we were done with them for now - I laughed at this scene so much; you do such a good job of showing how the bandits always know what's going on and she's totally out of the loop (I usually am, too, until their actions make everything clear, so I think you do that extremely well)
- There was a lot of tail flicking going on and my horse had its nose wrinkled like a disgusted old lady - 'wrinkled like a digusted old lady' - this is such a wonderfully funny and evocative description! I could imagine it clearly

I particularly liked the scene where she nearly cried (after spilling the seeds) and for a second everyone stilled and looked at her. I thought that reflected real life in that something major seems to be going wrong and it's something minor that nearly sets you off.
I loved it when she was startled by the horse and all the bandits jumped to their feet ready to fight. I could imagine her staring at them all groggily.
btw Aamre calls Hazzor 'little spy' - how tall is she and how tall or small is he? I know I could go back to the first chapter and see if it's mentioned but I'm too lazy!
One part of this section did read a bit unbelievably to me: I'm not quite sure I believe Fryn'gh would heal Hazzor just to prove he's 'better' than her. I can imagine she would rile him up enough to do it, just not for that reason. Though maybe I underestimate his childish behavior lol! Still, I think I read it twice and still wasn't convinced.
I only have one technical note: commented. 'though I reckon -> either change the full stop after commented to a comma or capitalize "though"
I think that's about it :-) Looking forward to having more time this week to read more - and I'm loving watching The Priest's Tale climb the charts / rankings!

Daniel Antonello wrote 649 days ago

Hi Lindsay, as per your message to swap reads, i have starting reading a priests tale and i am gklad i did, it is exactly the kind of stuff i like, very similar to my own style of writing, namely easy reading with good dialogue and imagination. the way all the classic fantasy books of my youth were written. It earns itself a horde of stars and a place on my shelf.

could you please look at my book and let me know what you think, supporting if you think it is worthy. thanks.

Daniel

Charlotte12 wrote 654 days ago

I liked the prologue. It was short and sweet and to the point. The only thing that seemed a little out of context for the flowing prose was the, ‘So she sat in her tower…’ It seemed to pull the tone from intense and deeply moving to something you would find in a light-hearted fairy tale story. But that’s my opinion.

Chapter 1 is very well written and flows well. I don’t have much criticism to add here. I also have to commend you on writing so successfully in the first person, which is not easy to do.

Very nice job. Will star highly and back when I have some space on my shelf.

Dyane
The Purple Morrow

Oriax wrote 654 days ago

Lindsay,

I liked the prologue, it was intriguing, which is what a prologue should be. There was a phrase in it that made me smile though:

‘She had learned not to leave her quarters unveiled’

This might just be my twisted mind but this phrase makes me think of a horse without a veil on its hindquarters.

The opening scene with the bell and the crumbling temple is well-described and the whole concept is highly original. I won’t comment on grammar etc because you are much better at it then me. There were just a couple of things that I think might be typos. Kayt’an taps wooden-headed Karl on the head in the temple, then we find a Karl in the smithy. Should the statue have another name, or is it like a statue of Saint Patrick in an Irish church ie half the men are called Karl?
The other one is where you say Fristhan when I think you mean Fris’han

I didn’t notice any glitches in the plot, though I did wonder why Kayt’an’s captors told her they were the king’s men, and because she knew, they were obliged to kill her. She’d only seen one of the three and he didn’t have any insignia, so if they’d let her go immediately she’d have been none the wiser.

I did think that some of the dialogue could be condensed. For example when the ‘lunatic’ argues with Karl about the purported arrival of the soldiers, and Kayt’an is volunteered to do a recce. Then later, in the will-he won’t-he scene where Lord Reath is deciding whether or not to kill her. Again Kayt’an’s argumentative banter that gets up everybody’s nose seems not quite right. That she should be arrogant and aggressive I could accept, but her nagging, disparaging tone is guaranteed to piss off more people than it wins over. She seems to realise that she isn’t a good communicator, but she doesn’t change her tone whoever she’s talking to.

The problem I had with this was not the story, which is interesting and original, it’s the character of Kayt’an. I have trouble remembering she’s a woman. Her self-pitying and belligerent attitude seem pretty masculine to me, especially as she does a lot of snarling and spitting. She grumbles and mutters and finds fault with everything like an old woman/man, though I suspect she is meant to be quite young. I ended up having the same attitude towards her as Hazzor, that she was just a self-righteous, useless encumbrance on society. I realise she’s meant to be like this and most people find her tough and feisty rather than whingey, so maybe don’t take too much notice of me. I don’t get on with priests anyway.

I’ll try and find the time to read more. Love her or hate her, Kayt’an doesn’t leave the reader indifferent. I’d like to think she changes as she’s dragged about with the army, and I hope she doesn’t get the treatment soldiers usually reserve for women.


Sonya Lano wrote 654 days ago

Wow, I read from chapter 9 to chapter 18! Couldn't stop myself! I love the characters and the events just strung me along without much hope of me stopping it!
Some of the memorable parts for me: her singing - it reminded me of my own! My cats start to walk around getting agitated when I do it, and dogs in the building next door start howling. I love how Axyl just throws her over his shoulder; that was hilarious; I could so hear her indignation. I also love how she kicks the wizard (er, not that I'm a violent person, but I thought the way he sat on his rump was funny :-) ) I esp. thought the scenes between Aamre and Hazzor and Aamre and Fryn'gh were well done, and the scene where they partially heal Hazzor and Fryn'gh punches the air afterward had me grinning too! I think the characterizations are quite perfect - the constant bickering and occasional spurious peace between her and Fryn'gh, Abe's incorrigible teasing, Ranyl's edge-of-danger, edge-of-sanity, Hazzor's quiet competency, tenuous patience and occasional annoyance, Axyl's taciturnity (is that a word even?), and Thorn's easy-going-ness (I KNOW that one's not a word but you know what I mean!)
My favorite lines were:
- I missed Amtil like a thread from my soul
- Ranyl asked Hazzor to gag me. Thankfully, I was not the only one Hazzor routinely ignored.
- How did such a man manage to stroll in this weather?
- In a burst of originality I shouted, "No!" - this one still has me giggling!
- oh, boy, this was fun
- if Hazz's getting religion he must be close to death

Some of the parts I wasn't sure about:
- When they were explaining turning east Ttaroc against the west and starving Gayton out; it took me a while to understand this but it might just be that I always have trouble with politics and strategy. If I'm understanding right, Yr (of W'shten) is only attacking east Ttaroc so they will secede from the west (where Gayton resides) and then they will attack the west. If I'm not understanding this right I'm going to feel pretty stupid, so I hope I grasped it correctly!
- When Fryn'gh says "I'm astonished anyone's actually trying in this war." he means he thinks Ttaroc will lose, right, and he doesn't know why anyone is even bothering trying to fight back?
- the following conversation I had to read a couple times: "Can you show me what you ... see?" "Only if you were a magic user or had any magic talent." I scowled. "What? Not my fault..." - You have "I scowled." in the middle of what I'm pretty sure the mage is saying. It took me a few reads through this to figure out who was speaking. I would put the "I scowled." in its own paragraph so it's clearer that the quotes around it aren't her, but the mage.

Here are my grammar notes (as usual just disregard what you don't agree with):
- grabbed my shirt-front and slammed back against the wall - This might read better if you had "me" in there: grabbed my shirt-front and slammed *me* back against the wall
- who have no other shelter - ** - why the two stars here?
- Eastern Territories - ** - two stars again?
- What make me special? - What *makes* me special?
- of the jerkin, Hazzor - the comma shouldn't be here
- afflicted - ** - two stars again?
- to settle again that was offered: - this reads a bit strangely - do you mean something like to settle again *for what* was offered - or something similar?
- Goodnight Saahni," - missing vocative comma before Saahni
- Listen Reath, I know - missing vocative comma
- trouble you sir, speak as - missing vocative comma
- Haenid's tits," - should be a full stop instead of a comma
- Oh Holy Lady, how - missing vocative comma (unless "Oh" is part of the Holy Lady's name)
- Axyl put me down - missing vocative comma
- to chaff my cheek - to *chafe* my cheek
- Ah my sunny buck, I feel - missing vocative comma
- seeing the mage sat on his rump - seeing the mage *sit or sitting* on his rump
- looking at a woman sat in the mud - looking at a woman *sitting* in the mud
- and then when Abe only shrugged. - this is an unfinished sentence
- Hazzor will you not - missing vocative comma
- Now children, if you - missing vocative comma
- "Saahni" - missing full stop
- But we've going to have - I think you mean: But *we're* going to have
- "But - ** - two stars again?
- Oh blessed Three, if I - missing vocative comma
- "cos obviously - I think it should be: 'cos obviously
- self-absorbed hypocritical - missing comma between these
- Where does - ** - two stars again?
- Fryn'gh hates me - ** - two stars again?
Oof I hope something is here is helpful! I'll definitely be back to continue later, but during the day when there's no danger of me reading all night long again :-D I was going to put up more chapters on Dance but way too tired right now

healthpolicymaven wrote 655 days ago

This is not my genre, I read the intro and the first two chapters(trying to catch up on my reads). It is well written though and I agree with the comment on solid first person narration. Rated and ranked. I will add it to my watch list.
All the best
Roberta

Billy Young wrote 656 days ago

I always find it a bit of a cheat when you have more than one chapter contained in each page here on Authonomy. saying that though this time i found it a blessing as it meant that I didn't have to turn the page as often. Other than some minor grammar issues this is a very good read and one that if I were buy an new book and spotted would be tempted into buying. Will add to my shelf when I find the room :~)

Sonya Lano wrote 657 days ago

I just read four more chapters and still loving it! I'm enjoying the new characters and the interaction between them, the writing flows perfectly and the wit is endlessly entertaining as well as the tale itself :-)
Just one thing: I think I missed what the "classic colouring of a Ttarcine" is (though this is possibly because I really don't have a good memory and I just don't remember you mentioning it).

Here were some of my favorite lines:
- Most people find getting up and picking things up helps
- Clearly, a self-proclaimed wit of some sort. Perhaps that was why he travelled so far from home.
- Each step is so simple, so small, so reasonable. Every day you can see the way back and then, suddenly, a door shuts behind you and you've become a monster
- Get your knife off my neck and leave me to my prayers before I curse you properly
- I was beginning to wonder if she is even human
- What was this urge everyone seemed to have to pull my hair? It was like being a little girl again
- you're a terrible storyteller. Don't do it.

And I also made some grammar notes:
- "Saen's Ball"s, Saahni," - I think you mean: Ball's
- "Saahni you can only - missing vocative comma after Saahni
- "Please, Sahnithi" even now I needed - you're missing punctuation after Sahnithi - I would suggest a period and then capitalize Even
- It's time Kayt'an. - missing vocative comma
- that was then darlin'," - missing vocative comma
- not slowed down Sahnithi?" - missing vocative comma (btw I really like this sentence too!)
- Sat in the firelight - I think you mean "Sitting" here instead of sat
- the old priest's disciple still her nights in the temple - do you by chance mean: the old priest's disciple still *spent* her nights in the temple ?

Well, I hope this helps a bit! In any case I'm being quite thoroughly entertained by your book, as you can see - even reading the lines I picked out makes me chuckle as I remember the scenes :-)

Sonya Lano wrote 658 days ago

I - absolutely - LOVE - this! I love the character's voice, her little comments and jibes, the way she's irreverent and snooty and indignant. The first paragraph - "who really ought to come and give the pair of them a wipe down" - brilliant, had me giggling out loud :-) The bell throwing itself at her, the way she called out that she's okay and - oops, no one's there... The characters were well-fleshed out, the exchanges between them were well-done. The pace of the story is good, and I really love the way she tells Reath that she just wants to go to bed after he offers her the deal. His reactions are funny, too, how irritated he is, but she doesn't really give a damn!
Some of my favorite lines:
- (though I learnt later that what Reath appeared to be doing was no guarantee of anything)
- He looked like a mouse, cornered by a snake, hoping against hope, if he only looks small enough, the snake might move on in search of a better meal.
The only thing that slowed the pace of the story down (for me) was that in a couple places it's weighed down just very slightly by introspection. If you can, it might help to try to shorten those. This is, of course, my own opinion and you can tell me to go mind my own writing (though I beg you please don't; I'm already a fan of your writing and your character so I'd be devastated if I were forbidden to come back and had to do so secretly! I really do love it all, and anyway one of my friends is always telling me to cut the introspection in my own writing so I apparently like it). I wish I could be more specific about the scenes I thought the pace slowed a bit at; the only thing I can remember now is I found myself thinking that it took her a tad too long to take Challawin seriously when he came to warn the village (and yes, I do realize that for her the possibility of attack is probably absurd; it's just not so absurd to me as a stranger coming into the story).
Also, when the army passes, I wondered why she gives up on the village so quickly? Armies generally move at a walk - why couldn't she run and somehow get around them and get to the village before them? Is there no cover for her to do that? Or is she just a coward, too afraid to even risk it for them?
But those things were minor and in no way stopped me from thoroughly enjoying the story and her voice - ah, that voice! Really fanastically done.
I have a couple grammar notes (naturally just ignore anything I note that you don't agree with):
- a fit immanent - You probably mean "imminent" here
- in a couple places you have double opening quotation marks: such as in: ""Saahni." and ""No, no!" cried the stranger
- took out my water bottle and a biscuit, which I ate as I walked - this sounds a bit like she ate the water bottle too; I almost expected one of her asides in there "ate the biscuit, of course, not the bottle" :-)
- And always mother would reply - and always *Mother* would reply - also I might suggest putting this brief dialogue in italics so that it's clearer that it's a flashback, because I at first thought it was Reath speaking the first sentence
- the guilt that had been bubbling, under the surface - the comma shouldn't be here
I read up to Chapter 4 and soooo want to read more but I have to get back to the real world right now :-( For now this is getting 6 stars and backed to the desk! Fantastic writing - and your pitch! Oh, that pitch is so perfect. I got so enthralled by the story and your writing that it was eclipsed, but it, too, deserves a note because I read it yesterday and it stayed with me nearly all night long and was the first thing I thought about this morning so I've been antsy to start reading your book all day long - and now that I've finally started I'm having a blast, and I think I'm a bit addicted - I say as the Real world calls in vain yet again for me to return.
And no, I'm not mad. Really :-) Great story, character, writing. My kind of book. I'll definitely be back to read more

Fontaine wrote 658 days ago

Not my ususal genre but I really enjoyed the chapters I read. I liked the prologue with its enticing story of the disfigured Princess.
Your MC is great, very feisty and believeble. I love the way you have created a world and a religion and it held my interest in a way I didn't expect.

The political struggle is well drawn and I liked the interaction between The Priest and the King's Men. I have just got to the bit where the other side have got her. I really think you have a gift for this kind of writing. You may have converted me to fantasy.
Thanks for a good read. Highly starred.
Fontaine
(Stonebird).

Cupcake xx wrote 658 days ago

Hi! Here for the reccomendation!

I must say, I found myself pleastantly surprised when I read the first chapter. Your writing is very good. I love your character a lot.
Your writing is very good - full of vivid descriptions and keeps the reader engaged.
I would just suggest maybe adding a little more setting description in the first chapter? Just a little - to fully bring your world to life. But not too much more.

I wish you all the best with this - watch-listed (for now!)
Alex.

Neuravinci wrote 659 days ago

Oh wow, I loved this first chapter. The priest's personality is quite interesting and I feel like I know her already. She's fearless even as she feels fear. Quite interesting. And the plot is fast and page-turning (if I had pages to turn), and so it keeps me wanting to read and read. On to chapter two!

Phoenix Grey wrote 661 days ago

I really like this - it's just my kind of story. I think that the voice it is told in is authentic, and the character of the priest is well-crafted. The other characters are believable too. I like the way you have created the sayings - it really adds authenticity to the world it is set in. The way you have inserted the memories and information on the world is good too, the story flow around it.

The only niggle is that in places you have put 'said' at the end of the paragraph and then put the speech in another. It is usual practice to keep that together, as far as I'm aware, anyway:)

Otherwise, though, it reads brilliantly. I have given high stars and given it a place in my shelf.

arne wrote 661 days ago

This book is very well written. The character of the priest is well developed and the story draws my interest from the beginning.I was suggested this book by someone that has it on their bookshelf, and I must say that it is a great read. I made it through the first three chapters this morning and I will try and get more read in the future.

Searcher wrote 664 days ago

Quite a tale you've got going on here, Linday. Your writing is wonderful and fitting for the tale... very visually descriptive, making it easy to lose yourself as you read. Your humor enhances the story. One line in particular caught my fancy but I can't remember now what it was. I did stop to look up a gorse bush! I've just started Part 2, Chapter 4. I do wonder why you didn't add your chapters individually. I'm adding your book to my watchlist to continue reading but need to take a break first. Lots of stars & I'll be back soon to read on!

Jane

August74 wrote 664 days ago

Very charming writing. The Priest's voice is hilarious, her fiery nature very vivid and entertaining. I've read the prologue and the first two chapters and it has that great beginning of an epic adventure feel to it. The scarred princess is intriguing and there was nothing that detracted from my interest to find out what would happen next.
I wish you much luck with it. Excellently paced too.

revteapot wrote 664 days ago

Though lighter than my own book Bard's Tale it is a great read. Mixing light humour with the drama of what is going on.
...
If I am, as some people on the site have called me, the Bard then you are in truth the Priest, the Shaani.

All that is a posh way of saying I really liked it and will back you to the Editors Table.
Owen.
Quick plug. If you liked Lindsay's book try mine for a darker look. (Oh go on please.)



I whole-hearted endorse the plug ;)
If you like APT, odds are you'll like her brother teller of tales, the Bard!
L

Owen Dorr wrote 664 days ago

Though lighter than my own book Bard's Tale it is a great read. Mixing light humour with the drama of what is going on.
I've highly starred this book because before I knew it I was deep into the third chapter which to me is a sign of a good writer. I had entered the world you had created with ease and was able to put aside my daily cares for awhile. The second and most important reason was that you have mastered the art of first person narrative which I have myself have struggled to achieve.
If I am, as some people on the site have called me, the Bard then you are in truth the Priest, the Shaani.

All that is a posh way of saying I really liked it and will back you to the Editors Table.
Owen.
Quick plug. If you liked Lindsay's book try mine for a darker look. (Oh go on please.)