Book Jacket


rank 5908
word count 45165
date submitted 24.01.2012
date updated 10.02.2012
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
classification: moderate

Masters of the Sacred Fire

R.S. Atkin

The peace of Mildew Farm is shattered when two best friends are plunged into a deadly adventure of dark magic and monsters.


On a seemingly ordinary farm in the north of England, sinister events are unfolding. Two farm workers, Jacob, a serial daydreamer and would-be adventurer and Walter, a short mute, find themselves in trouble when Jacob breaks the rules set by the cruel farm owner, Grenville. The rule that no one is to talk to his beloved daughter, Eleanor. Only Jacob can’t help himself and after meeting her by chance he falls head over heels in love with her. Jacob knows his master's cruelty but is unaware of what is in store for him.
After somehow finding out his secret, Grenville uses dark and terrible powers to turn Jacob into a twisted and deformed scarecrow. To save his friend, Walter, who is the most unlikely of heroes, steals the scarecrow and takes it far away from the farm. But Grenville sets out to find and destroy him.
Having never lived away from the farm and the warmth of the barn where he slept, Walter soon finds himself lost, cold and alone. He now has to survive a death-defying ordeal on his quest to escape Grenville’s wrath and undo the spell put upon Jacob.

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adventure, magic, monsters, wizards

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jmoshins wrote 738 days ago

You are a great storyteller. I like your style. It's very straight forward and unpretentious. You do get in a bit of trouble occasionally with your similes (heart beating like galloping...) but generally it fits well with your style and I think it would be the kinds of stories you might enjoy being read to you or told around a table.

TaniaJohansson wrote 760 days ago

The poem at the start is brilliant. Well written and immediately immerses you in the story. You write well and the story builds nicely. I thought you did the fight scene with the wolf very well. These sorts of scenes can be tricky when you are trying to be descriptive without slowing the pace of the action, but you executed this well.
A couple of editing points:

end of chapter one:

were perfectly preserved, forever etched upon on her face. (forever etched upon her face)

...despite theirlooks he felt a strange a sense of.... (...felt a strange sense of...)

Chapter 3

You repeat 'she could see' in quick succession.

Overall enjoyed the story very much. Best of luck! Highly starred.

Tania Johansson
Book of Remembrance

A G Chaudhuri wrote 766 days ago


It’s an excellent idea to start with a poem, RS – a very innovative way to feed the back-story instead of an extended narration that's very likely lose the reader. Assuming that the simple and wonderful lines are yours, I’d say that you’re one of the rarer talents on this site – an author and a poet. Rhyme and rhythm don’t come easily to all, but you’re obviously gifted, my friend. Effective short pitch and an equally well-written long pitch – there’s just enough information to pique the reader’s curiosity.

Reading on, I really enjoyed your description of the small idyllic town and the simple townsfolk. Your competence as a writer is further reflected in the manner in which you’ve ‘shown’ instead of merely telling us. It was all very visual. And then, came the darkness. Wow, what a fantastic prologue! I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to read more. A couple of minor observations: # the opening poem deserves to be hived off into its own separate chapter, and # I felt that the prologue was a tad too long and despite that, you haven't introduced the lead characters of Jacob and Walter in it.

But on second thought, you need not change a thing.

* * * * * * For you :-)

Best regards,

David Southam wrote 769 days ago

First, some issues I noticed:


“Two farm workers, Jacob, a serial daydreamer and would-be adventurer and Walter, a short mute, find themselves in trouble when Jacob breaks the rules set by the cruel farm owner, Grenville.”
You need a comma after ‘adventurer’ as ‘a serial daydreamer and would-be adventurer’ is a parenthetical element.

“The rule that no one is to talk to his beloved daughter, Eleanor.”
This does not function as a sentence. I would reword it or attach it to the previous sentence with a colon or dash.

“Only Jacob can’t help himself and after meeting her by chance he falls head over heels in love with her.”
I would enclose ‘after meeting her by chance’ in commas as an aside.

“He now has to survive a death-defying ordeal on his quest to escape Grenville’s wrath and undo the spell put upon Jacob.”
The ordeal isn’t death-defying, it’s deadly.

Chapter 1:

“As he walked out into the street carrying boxes of trinkets…”
A comma is needed before ‘carrying’.

“He then opened it to set out his goods and waved as Freddie Smithe who ran the stall next to his arrived.”
Again, ‘who ran the stall next to his’ is an aside, and therefore needs to be placed within commas.

When creating compound adjectives, such as ‘red-faced’ and ‘thick-set’, it is usually best to include hyphens between their constituent words.

“…scratching his thinly haired flaky scalp.”
Following on from my previous point, ‘thinly haired’ is fine, as the first word in this compound adjective is an adverb that is clearly intended to modify the adjective that follows it.
You need to include a comma after ‘haired’. When several adjectives are used in a chain, they need to be separated by commas.

“Then as he usually did…”
You need a comma after ‘then’.

“Nothing very fancy, but then this was not a very fancy place.”
“Just your everyday market stall goods and common items.”
Again, these do not function as full sentences, so I would rewrite them or attach them to their preceding sentences with colons or dashes.

I'll leave the proofreading at that. I hope you find these comments helpful and not condescending.

I really enjoyed your story. It's involving and well-imagined, and your writing really draws the reader into the tale. I loved your characters and your dialogue, which made the read thoroughly entertaining.

Great work. Lots of stars for you.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 776 days ago

I like the way this story begins with the poem. A good way to set a tone for the book and give back story all at the same time. You’ve created likable characters for this; I like the way they talk about ordinary things like going bald or getting fat; makes them feel very real. And makes a great contrast to the terror when the odd creatures suddenly appear. A good read, I’ve starred this and am adding it to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Philthy wrote 799 days ago

Hi R.S.,
I’m here because I owe you a read. So sorry it’s taken me this long to get here. Below are my findings/comments. They are of course my humblest opinions, so please take them for whatever they’re worth.
I love your short pitch. Clean and direct, while presenting a great hook. I would, however, suggest deleting “one day.” It’s unnecessarily wordy.
“seemingly” is a weak word.
Consider revising “in the north of England” to “in northern England”
The semicolon in the second sentence should be a comma.
“terrible trouble” Wordy. Drop the “terrible”
“The rule that…” combine this with the prior sentence in order to condense and make this punchier and more impactful as a hook.
“meeting by chance” should be “meeting her by chance” and then you can drop the “with her” at the end of the sentence”
“masters cruelty” Masters is possessive and needs an apostrophe
“for what is” replace “for” with “of”
This is a great premise, but the pitch could use some editing.
Chapter One
Lovely poem, but what is this to the reader? Is it a fable of the character’s world? Some context would be nice. Maybe a citation at the bottom. I would not do without it. It’s a good way to begin here, mainly because I think it’s a well-written poem. Just give it some context.
This might be a personal preference, but your first line seems a bit cliché and overdone to me. Plus, it provides little context, which makes it somewhat weak as a hook.
“north” should be lowercased
Wonderful imagery!
Your descriptions and flow are superb. You have a knack for dialogue, especially with the prose that transitions from one dialogue to the next. That’s crucial, and few authors seem to do that part well. Nicely done. It really helps make your characters pop.
“thick set” should be hyphenated here
“thatched roof” also needs to be hyphenated here
Delete the comma after “out on to the street” (and on to should be onto)
This is a great first chapter with interesting characters. Again, your dialogue is well-written and doesn’t feel forced. My biggest suggestion is to continue scrubbing for punctuation and grammar. Cleaning things up will really help strengthen the delivery of the story.
Best of luck. High stars from me!
(Deshay of the Woods)

RK Summers wrote 800 days ago

I like the way this has begun, starting with a poem about the history of your fantasy land. Although the writing itself could be tightened up, there is a very good story here with strong plot elements and good characterisation. I particularly enjoyed David and Eliza turning into scarecrows, although did happen to find it a little creepy... In a good way, of course.

I think with a good edit, cutting out all the superfluous words and fixing the little grammar issues (missing commas, etc), then this will be perfect. Good luck to you, fellow fantasy lover!


Scott Toney wrote 801 days ago

R.S. Atkin,

{Master of the Sacred Fire}

First, I agree with Warrick that the poem was an excellent way to begin your novel! It was clearly well thought out and I loved the flow and the deep essence of it! It gives something in the start that makes us anxious to see how things will unfold.

I really enjoyed how your first chapter started out. You write well and seem to have a good handle on grammar. You also use just enough description to draw us in to your world and I really felt as if I was there with them when the darkness was coming and they began to see the dead. You start off with us in a fairly usual medieval town and then bring us to this dark, intense place. That was when you really had my attention grabbed and held in! I’ve never read anything like when you had the characters taken by the spell and turning into three-like things. It was really cool and to end the first chapter with the baby crying was perfect!

I’ve gladly rated {Masters of the Sacred Fire} 6 out of 6 stars and have added it to my watchlist so that I can come back soon to read on! I’ll also have some open room on my bookshelf soon and will be placing your book there soon.

Have a fantastic day and that’s for the great read! This is a book that I could see myself having on my bookshelf someday. Great read!

- Scott, The Ark of Humanity

NMott wrote 801 days ago

Hi, spotted your forum post and came to take a look.
I don't think most of the prologue is doing anything useful. You could simply cut to the attack, and reduce it to just a few paragraphs, or do away with it and have a short flashback in a later chapter.
Bear in mind that YA is the genre that sits between Childrens fiction, 9-12yrs age band, and 17+ Adult Fiction, so target readership is 13-16yr olds. Agents & publishers are liable to feel that 18yr old main characters are too old for this readership. 15-16yrs would be better. And any romantic sub-plot should be of the 'first love/first kiss' variety.
Reading the opening chapter I think the writing style & content may appeal more to the lower end of the age band - 12-13yr olds.
Eleanor feels a bit stereotyped, ie, the princess-type of character in old fashioned fairytales. Maybe work on making her a bit more three dimensional.
Jacob and Walter are an interesting pair of characters.
All the best with it,

Warrick Mayes wrote 813 days ago


A great first chapter.
How clever to start with some fine poetry (and it rhymes and scans!).

The next bit was a bit slow, and I was starting to wonder where it was going, who were the main characters.

Then , gradually the action started, and this is where your fine descriptive skills came good, the pace picked up and it becames a much better read.

I would question how much of the initial section you really need - don't lose the poem though.

I spotted one thing on the last line of the poem "Will goodness and fail evil win?" should surely be "Will goodness fail and evil win?"

Generally your narrative was good, but there was one sentence that felt clunky, and I would shorten it from "As the cockerels crowed, waking people in the nearby houses, the sleepy town of Monkdale awoke." to "As the cockerels crowed the sleepy town of Monkdale awoke."

Best regards

Laura A. D. wrote 816 days ago

This is a masterful collection of tales that are spun with exceptional skill. Your profile bio is inspiring and you are good at what you do. :)
Blessings and best wishes,
Laura A. Diaz
"They Call Me Blanca"